Mosquito hunt

Published 6:45 pm Friday, July 19, 2013

The Asian Tiger mosquito.

The Asian Tiger mosquito.


County to begin spraying this week

Mosquito numbers are growing in Beaufort County, so Environmental Health is stepping in to control the problem.

According to a press release from the Beaufort County Health Department, mosquito spraying will commence in the coming week. From dusk to early evening and from early morning until dawn, trucks will be hitting the areas in the county where the most mosquito activity. Right now, that’s the Northwest part of Beaufort County, from Washington to the Martin County line.

“It’s a very, very light dose of pesticide,” said Eugene McRoy, an Environmental Health program specialist with the health department. “Basically, the spray will get flying mosquitos.”

McRoy said that’s why mosquito spraying happens in the hours specified — during the times of the day when the spray has the longest hang time in the air and mosquitos are flying in force. But what the spray won’t do is decimate the population of one certain breed of mosquito.

Unlike other species, the Asian Tiger mosquito is most active during the day and is dormant during the hours when it’s most effective to spray for mosquitos. The county, instead, advises home and business owners to help in controlling the Asian Tiger numbers because their adopted habitats are smaller, more protected environments: buckets, fountains, tires or anything else commonly found around the yard that can collect water.

“If they don’t get rid of those sources, they’re never going to get rid of the problem,” McRoy advised.

The health department recommends the following to help eliminate mosquito breeding sites:

-Empty or throw away containers in your yard that can collect water such as tires, buckets, bottles, toys, etc.

-Change water in pet bowls, bird baths and flower pot saucers at least twice a week

-Clean clogged rain gutters

-Repair leaky faucets

-Keep water from accumulating on tarps and boat covers

Bio-friendly larvacides, known as “mosquito dunks” that control larval growth (without harming other animals) can also be purchased at local garden and hardware stores.

McRoy also asks that anyone who has bee hives or newly constructed fishponds to alert the health department as to their location.

“The spray we use can potentially be toxic to bees and, of course, if we know of a beehive, we want to avoid it,” McRoy said. “We just try to be careful.”

McRoy said, most years, it’s the salt marshes in eastern Beaufort County that drive mosquito numbers up. The problem lay elsewhere this year, likely because of the heavy rainfall in the western part of the county, he said.

For more information, contact the Beaufort County Health Department’s Environmental Health Section at 252-946-6048.