Too many mosquitoes already and it's going to get worse

It's been a busy spring for Horry County's mosquito control department and it's about to get even busier.

Tropical Storm Andrea dumped more rain on the area last week after an already unusually wet spring.

Residents of the Riverbanks Mobile Home community near Socastee called the county asking for help to get rid of the pests.

"They are really bad. Any time you walk outside, they get you," said Riverbanks homeowner Ashley Hernandez.

It didn't take long for the county crew to locate a prime mosquito breeding spot in the mobile home park. One scoop of water taken from inside an old tire resting outside a home revealed hundreds of swimming larvae.

The two-man team went from one home to the next in Riverbanks, dumping water out of planters and buckets, and dispensing advice to homeowners.

"Your tire right here, too, drill a hole in the bottom of it. It's full of them," mosquito control supervisor Terrill Mincey told one property owner.

After the tropical storm dumped three inches of rain on the county last week, Mincey knows his phone will be ringing.

"It'll take about 5 to 15 days for whatever's going to hatch off from that to come out, so we're expecting it to get a little busier, yes."

Mincey says his team treated 6,000 stormwater catch basins with larvicide tablets around the county this spring.

Each tablet kills mosquito larvae in 100 square feet of water for up to 180 days.

The mosquito control department will also do landing rate counts of mosquitoes to determine the best places to do spraying.

"There's thresholds that we have to meet before we can actually go out with the trucks or the airplane to spray. Once we meet those thresholds, depending on what it is, we'll send a truck or we'll send an airplane up to spray an area."

All of that has helped, he says, but property owners can do a lot to help themselves, too.

"Dump their buckets, dump their trash or if they've got any kind of container, birdbaths, anything around home," he said.

Many people suspect drainage ditches to be the prime spot for breeding mosquitoes, but Mincey says backyards can also be breeding sources in an amazingly small amount of water.

"Something as small as a 16 ounce cup can breed thousands of mosquitoes in your yard with water in it."

Mincey advises homeowners to inspect their property after every rainfall, looking for standing water that could be a breeding spot for mosquitoes.