Horry County Stormwater officials have a plan to improve how they locate areas with substantial mosquito populations, in order to conduct spraying.
The Stormwater Department has joined DHEC’s mosquito trapping program. The department will roate ten mosquito traps around 50 county-owned locations, including parks, athletic fields, boat landings and fire stations.
“We’re already starting to see them. We are starting to get service requests in,” said James Brock, Horry County Mosquito Control Supervisor.
Brock will present the mosquito trapping program to the Horry County Stormwater Advisory Board on Tuesday. He said the traps will help the Stormwater Department estimate mosquito populations throughout the county, identify the types of mosquitoes present, and test them for viruses.
“It’s definitely going to give you a better idea, instead of standing out there for a minute, two minutes trying to get mosquitoes to bite you or land on you.”
According to Brock, the Stormwater Department planned to put out the traps this week, but will need to wait a week or two longer, until nighttime temperatures increase. He said the traps will help them decide where to conduct aerial spraying.
“We can find the hotspots, and say ‘hey, I know we have problems in this area so we can stay on top of it’. We don’t have to have a service request, somebody saying ‘hey, we got mosquitoes’,” said Brock.
The Stormwater Department also purchased 2,500 additional larvicide tablets to drop in stormwater drains and ditches across the county, some of which kill larvae on contact. They plan to disperse them in April. Brock says the tablets are critical to stopping the mosquito population from growing.
“Where we didn’t treat in 2016, and we did treat in 2017, we saw a 68% reduction in service requests, complaints about mosquitoes, so we know it’s working,” Brock said.
According to Brock the construction boom in Horry County is also contributing to mosquito population growth.
“It’s growing so fast here. With all the trees that are being cut down and the lots being cleared, they’re creating more habitats for us to contend with,” he said.