The war on mosquitoes is escalating rapidly this week as Beaufort County Mosquito Control plans five days of heavy-hitting spraying in response to residents' complaints.
Department director Gregg Hunt said with the addition of two more problem areas this weekend -- Hilton Head Island and Daufuskie Island -- most of Beaufort County is now reporting issues. Significant problems have also been reported in Bluffton and northern Beaufort County, including St. Helena Island.
"And I'm sure most of the county is under siege," he said.
Although some spraying started as early as mid-February, the department is deploying its five spray trucks and the plane this week throughout affected areas. The spraying will be determined day to day, based on where problems are reported, he said.
Last year, the department received fewer than 1,000 complaints. This year, just weeks into the mosquito season, residents have already called several hundred times, Hunt said, including 85 complaints last week.
"It's going to get worse before it gets better," he said. "We're had more recent rains, and that means we will have more mosquitoes hatching and maturing within about two weeks of the rain."
He urged residents to report mosquito problems and to combat the pests by getting rid of any standing water on their property.