Uncharacteristically warm weather, an historic rainfall event, and persistent standing water had Calhoun and Charleston counties scrambling to keep mosquitoes under control as late as December of 2015. So how are they fairing now as mosquito larva begin to hatch in the spring of 2016?
Without a doubt, mosquito season is under way, and mosquito control programs are gearing up. In Calhoun County, truck-mounted spraying is the first line of defense in the battle to keep mosquitoes at bay. Technicians spray along county roads weekly targeting areas of heavy production, areas with standing water from last year’s flood and subsequent rainfall, as well as in areas with planned public events. Additionally, community members are urged to contact the county administrator’s office to report increased mosquito activity.
Down in Charleston County, equipment calibration is already under way as experts continue to survey thousands of acres of land as well as track data to deal with the more than 60 mosquito species that call the Lowcountry home. Inspectors monitor rainfall events, tides, and service requests to accurately target mosquito populations throughout the county, and then spray using airplane and truck-mounted spraying equipment. In areas with semi-permanent standing water, ground crews resort to introducing small predatory fish to consume mosquito larva.
In addition to naturally occurring sites, Charleston County officials have to account for dredged material disposal sites scattered throughout the county. Sediment from the Charleston Harbor’s federal shipping channel is taken to dredge disposal sites to maintain the 45 feet of depth required by federal law.
How You Can Control Mosquitoes at Home
Unlike their saltmarsh cousins who thrive in saltwater, container-breeding mosquitoes flourish wherever standing water is present. A kiddie pool, a tire, and a pet’s water bowl are all potential breeding grounds. Making sure to drain containers while they are not in use can help limit exposure to mosquitoes around your home. Additionally, wear long clothing and apply mosquito repellent if you will be outside for a prolonged period of time.
For more tips and information:
Taxonomist Ed Harne of the Charleston County Mosquito Control Division explains the Citizen Awareness Program in Charleston County.
An excerpt from South Carolina Headlines on SC Public Radio – Mon, Mar 28, 2016: