Florence County ready for mosquito season; DHEC wants dead birds to help track West Nile

Pee Dee

EFFINGHAM, S.C. (WBTW) — With the weather warming up Monday, you may be looking forward to summer.

But along with summertime comes more mosquitoes.

Florence County officials say they’re ready to tackle these pesky bugs.

“These are our spray trucks,” Florence County environmental services officer Todd Floyd said as he showed off pickups equipped with mosquito fighting gear. “Hopefully to make contact with as many mosquitos as possible.”

Floyd said the county has already started doing some spraying for mosquitoes and hopes to start spraying full blast next week.

“We’ll spray the population centers,” he said. “And we’re also getting ready to treat the ditches and woodland pools to try to control any mosquito breeding… As complaints come in we’ll send trucks and spray again.”

Meanwhile, South Carolina’s Department of Health and Environmental Control is asking for the public’s help tracking West Nile Virus, which mosquitoes can transmit to people.

The state health department wants people to report or submit certain kinds of dead birds, so it can test for the virus.

DHEC would then notify local mosquito control agencies if they were to find a high rate in a particular area.

“And at that point, this department will concentrate all its resources into spraying that immediate area and a large area around it to try to contain any kind of West Nile virus outbreak,” Floyd said.

State health officials say that in 2018, 87 birds tested positive for West Nile in the state. Only one did last year.

DHEC wants to test crows, blue jays house finches and house sparrows.

Some Effingham residents say the mosquitoes can be an issue in the summer.

“They get kind of bad,” Josh Baker said. “The gnats do too. The way the water stands around here, it gets real bad.”

Floyd said there are things homeowners can do to mitigate the issue.

“Bird baths, or pots, turn them over,” he suggested. “Most people breed their own mosquitos unfortunately and they don’t realize they’re doing it.”

You should never handle a bird with bare hands. Click here to learn more about how to help DHEC track this virus.

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