Let this take a bite out of your day:
The mosquito feeding frenzy in Beaufort County this week is but an appetizer for what is to come.
“It’s bad out there,” Gregg Hunt said.
He’s in charge of Beaufort County’s mosquito control — a year-round undertaking that involves a small air force and fleet of trucks. Not to mention scores of traps set out to monitor mosquitoes as mere pests as well as carriers of diseases.
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Then there is the “dead bird surveillance” to test for the potentially deadly West Nile virus, which Hunt said has not shown up here this year, but is being documented in nearby Chatham County, Georgia.
Hunt told me Thursday morning — shortly after I lost a pint of blood during my early-morning walk with Brae Brae the wonder dog — that we currently are experiencing a mosquito trifecta of misery.
That is, we’ve had lots of rain, high tides and hot temperatures.
With that trifecta comes a “Catch 22.”
“The rain produces mosquitoes,” Hunt said, “but we can’t spray in the rain.”
Still, five trucks were spraying Wednesday, something they do in the dead of night. And the fixed-wing plane has been able to get up about two times a week to spray.
For the record, our mosquitoes didn’t quietly go away after all that cold weather last winter, when snow and ice stayed on the ground on Hilton Head Island for five days.
We did get a reprieve this year because the mosquito season started late, Hunt said. It started in late June and early July, instead of the typical April.
And the worst is yet to come. That will be in September and October.
Meanwhile, here’s a game plan for life in a county that boasts 57 different types of mosquitoes springing from hundreds of acres of salt marsh.
▪ Complain. More politely, that would be “make a request for service.” Report your problem to Beaufort County Mosquito Control, 843-255-5800.
“We encourage people to complain,” Hunt said. “That’s because you are part of our surveillance.”
▪ Get the app. Plug in “Beaufort County Mosquito Control” at your app store and get the free “Fight the Bite!” app. This makes it easy to request service or inspection and to report dead birds.
▪ Clean your yard. A long list of what to do to eliminate mosquito breeding from around the house is on the app or the county website.
▪ Time your day. The worst time to be out is an hour before and after sunrise and for a few hours in early evening. Be sure to tell your dogs.