Diana Jeter decided enough was enough and started scheduling monthly mosquito sprayings at her Pawleys Island home beginning in March.
She became tired of trimming plants in her flower garden and seeing six or seven mosquitoes landing on the bottom of her legs.
That was the deciding factor about beginning the monthly control, said Jeter, who lives along the Grand Strand for part of the year.
Since the monthly spraying began, Jeter said mosquitoes havent been an issue at her home, which is located on the inlet.
While Jeter counts herself fortunate, others along the Grand Strand might find themselves inundated with the pesky insects after several days of heavy rain have created plenty of breeding sites for mosquitoes.
And theyre also causing problems all across the country. The Centers for Disease Control are dealing with the highest number of West Nile virus cases reported since the disease was first detected in the U.S. in 1999.
Through Aug. 21, 47 states have reported West Nile virus infections in people, birds and mosquitoes, according to the CDC. There have been 1,118 cases of the disease in humans, which has resulted in 41 deaths.
Three West Nile cases have been reported in South Carolina, including one last week in Charleston.
Mike Bentley, general manager for Home Team Pest Defense in Myrtle Beach and a medical and veterinary entomologist from the University of Florida, said there is not one person who is more susceptible to contracting the West Nile virus than another.
However, one person might be more attractive to a biting insect than another, based on different combinations of bodily chemicals.
Our skin gives off over 200 different chemicals and compounds, said Bentley. He added that someone with higher cholesterol or blood sugar levels could have a higher chance of being bitten by an insect such as a mosquito. Its too difficult to nail down just what combination of bodily chemicals makes a person more attractive, though.
A person cant change their body makeup, but they can work to safeguard their property from becoming mosquito breeding grounds.
Bentley said all it takes is a bottle cap full of water to create a breeding site. Homeowners should remove anything from their yards that can catch water when rains fall.
A mistake homeowners often make is setting up mosquito magnet traps right next to the patio when theyre out sitting, Bentley added. Those magnets should be placed at least 25 to 30 feet away from decks and other seating areas.
Staying inside during the peak mosquito biting times of dusk and dawn is another way residents can reduce their chances of being bit, Bentley said. If someone is outside, wear long pants and long shirts.
Another defensive strategy against mosquito breeding that people might not think of is cleaning out pine straw and leaves that build up in gutters, said Tom Garigen, director of Horry County Stormwater Management. The combination of standing water and the organic matter can create a prime breeding ground.
I found it in my own house, Garigen said.
As for local mosquito complaints, theyre on par with where they were last summer. Garigen said there were 30 mosquito calls in Horry County for July, compared to 32 in July 2011. As of Aug. 23, there have been 105 complaints, as opposed to 109 for the same time period last year.
Its very similar, even with the rains that were getting now, Garigen said. He added theyre seeing a lot more mosquito breeding because of all the recent rain. The flip side is people arent outdoors, and its limiting their chances of getting bit.
Were monitoring complaints and sending people out to investigate those complaints, Garigen said.
Contact BRAD DICKERSON at 626-0301.