Mosquitoes a big nuisance in the Pee Dee

Florence County Environmental Services has received hundreds of complaints in recent weeks about mosquitoes.

"It's pretty much county wide. We know we have a problem. We knew we had a problem before the first phone call came in because of this. We run our light traps. We go out ourselves and do land counts. We try to be a head of the game," said Herbie Christmas with Florence County Environmental Services.

Chris Lee says the mosquitoes in the Mars Bluff community of Florence County are making it impossible to enjoy the outdoors.

"It's a hindrance on trying to be outside. You can't be outside talking to friends or doing any kind of work. Mosquitoes get so bad, you just have to go back inside. That's all there is too it," said Chris Lee.

Florence County Environmental Services has been spraying about 20 gallons of pesticide nightly to help control the problem, but Christmas says recent rains and river flooding have made matters worse.

Florence have received 33.22 inches of rain so far this year compared to an average of 41 inches for an entire year in the past few years.

"We're way above average for our annual rainfall here in Florence, according to our reporting stations. You have water in places that you don't normally have it. You have water in places that we can't or haven't larvacided on a normal bases. So, there's just many more places for the adult mosquito to lay her eggs than normal," explained Christmas.

Christmas says it's best to empty any standing water around your home. As an example, remember to clean out bird baths, gutters, and small inflatable pools.

Residents in Darlington County who live along the Great Pee Dee River say the mosquitoes are like shadows that follow them everywhere.

"The kids can't even go out and play without coming in eat up with mosquito bites," said Paula Heglar.

Darlington County Council voted this budget year to not fund mosquito control.

In past years, the county has spent about $38,000 to spray for mosquitoes throughout the year, but this year council decided to spend the money on other programs due to continued cuts in state funding.

Council redirected $15,000 to the Fourth Circuit Solicitor's Office and $15,000 to the Fourth Circuit Public Defender's Office.

Some residents say cutting mosquito control from the budget wasn't a smart move by council.

"If they're not going to help us out with spraying like we need to , I think that was a bad mistake," Heglar said.

Officials say it's possible council could revisit the issue next year and reinstate funding for the mosquito control program.