Untamed Lowcountry

Will freezing temps mean fewer Lowcountry bugs this summer? Here’s what we found out

If you’re already imagining a little league baseball game or a backyard bonfire where you won’t have to deal with nagging mosquitoes, think again.

According to Beaufort County Mosquito Control director Gregg Hunt, the cold weather that has taken over Beaufort County in the last week will not necessary lead to fewer bugs this summer.

“It probably killed the number one pests in Beaufort County, adult salt marsh mosquitoes, but their eggs will remain viable,” Hunt said.

The mosquito larvae, which are laid in salt marshes across Beaufort County, will survive and continue to develop and attack again when temperatures warm up later this spring.

Any remaining adult mosquitoes that were not killed by the cold, most likely sought shelter in the underground stormwater systems for the constant temperature and protective environment, Hunt said.

Mosquito Control recently set up traps across Beaufort County’s stormwater system to determine how many mosquitoes are hiding underground.

“I don’t think it (the cold weather) will have a major impact on the mosquitoes,” he said. “But we won’t know for sure until later this year, starting in April, May or June.”

Following Hurricane Matthew in 2016, Beaufort County Mosquito Control broke records for most complaints received by the department in a day, a week, a month and a year. Two cases of West Nile were confirmed in Beaufort County in the eight months following the hurricane.

As for other spring and summertime pests, scientists also say that ticks can also make it through the cold winter weather. According to the Bangor Daily News in Maine, ticks completely exposed in temperatures of zero or below may be killed. Otherwise, the critters will remain relatively unharmed.

Maggie Angst: 843-706-8137, @maggieangst

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