Mosquito population rising as water recedes - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Mosquito population rising as water recedes

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - While the peak of the flooding is over, the manager of Horry County's Mosquito Control Program, James Brock, said the mosquito problem is really just now beginning.

Brock counted 15 mosquitoes landing on him per minute near the Lees Landing community Thursday afternoon.

"It's definitely worse than 2013. Floyd? I'd say it's right there with it," Brock said. "It's going to be a nice crop of them. That's for sure."

County employees have been doing landing counts by day to figure out how many mosquitoes are in particular areas then they're spraying neighborhoods with four trucks by night to kill them. The trucks are also focusing on spraying in parks and recreational areas, Brock said.

Brock said mosquitoes are starting to hatch now and the population should peak around Monday. He said the cool weather at the beginning of this week had slowed it down some.

Now, Brock said the program's hotline has received more than 60 calls in the past day from people complaining about mosquitoes. He said they received half that number of calls for the entire month of July.

The county will send someone to investigate as many of those calls as possible.  They'll check around the home for standing water. Brock said trash cans, tires, bird baths and children's toys are the worst culprits. He said 100,000 mosquitoes can breed in just a few inches of water.

The mosquito control program is also doing aerial spraying. Check out the details of that here.

October is usually the tail end of mosquito spraying season, but for Zap Pest Control the calls this month have doubled a typical October.

"A lot of people having standing water in their yards and things like that, which breeds mosquitoes," said Lennie Johnson, owner of Zap Pest Control.

Johnson said the adult mosquitoes spend their days feeding on the nectar under the leaves of plants. So that's where he aims his spray gun.

"You can see how close [bushes] are to the patio right here where these homeowners like to sit," he said. "So without treatment, they're going to be getting eaten up by mosquitoes out here."

The treatment is good for 30 days. 

Johnson said people still experiencing flooding really just have to wait for the water to go down for the adult mosquito population to hit its peak, so it can be treated. 

In the meantime though, people should dump out anything that may be holding small amounts of water, Brock said. 

He also said people should wear light-colored clothing and bug spray if they must go outside.

Brock said pets should be treated for heartworm and livestock should be vaccinated for Triple-E.

SCDHEC reports two reported human cases of West Nile Virus this year in South Carolina.

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