The substantial amount of rain in the area isn’t just raising concerns on the highways and farmland. With rain comes a prevalence of standing water, which brings more mosquitoes.
“We’ve certainly seen an increase in mosquito calls,” said Scott Heath, the general manager of Aiken Pest Control. “I’d say we’ve had about a 35 percent increase in mosquito calls from last year, so it’s definitely been an issue.”
According to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, there are at least 61 different species of mosquitoes in the state alone.
Mosquitoes hatch from eggs, and, in the immature stages of life, they develop in water until they mature to the adult stage and fly.
There are several ways homeowners can eliminate breeding sites around the house. This includes draining standing water from pipes and potholes, as well as repairing leaky pipes and outdoor faucets, according to the department.
It is also suggested people use control products that contain an active ingredient such as methoprene.
The best methods to prevent mosquito bites include avoiding being outside at dawn, twilight and night, keeping car windows rolled up and garage doors closed at night and using yellow light bulbs or sodium vapor orange lights for outside lighting. Yellow light bulbs or sodium vapor orange lights are less attractive to mosquitoes than blue-white mercury vapor lights.
“People should be cautious of standing water, especially around the backs of houses and sheds,” said Bradley James, the president of All Star Pest Control Pros. “Also, piles of leaves or any kind of foliage are damp spots where they reside.”
The biggest concern with mosquitoes is their spreading of the West Nile virus. Even with the reported increase of mosquitoes in the area, the department of health has not reported any recent West Nile cases for people, horses, birds or mosquitoes in Aiken County.
Still, officials encourage residents to watch for warning signs. Only one in 150 victims get significantly ill from the virus; 20 percent of West Nile victims exhibit mild symptoms, and 80 percent of victims will exhibit no symptoms. Serious symptoms vary from inflammation of the brain, spinal cord, and surroundings areas, to headache, high fever, neck stiffness, stupor, confusion, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness and paralysis. In milder cases, symptoms are limited to fever, headache, body ache and occasionally, a skin rash.
“It’s important to clean and change out standing water locations around the home,“ James added. “When numbers start getting higher, it’s always a good idea to contact local pest control agencies.”
More information can be found at www.scdhec.gov/environment/envhealth/pests/mosquitoes.htm.
Derrek Asberry is a beat reporter with the Aiken Standard news team and joined the paper in June.
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