Being outdoors this summer can be great for exercising, cooking out, sunbathing, or doing some much-needed gardening. Whatever activity you decide, understand that mosquitoes and other disease-carrying insects are outside with you.
DHEC works in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to monitor mosquito populations for diseases that can be spread to humans. Local governments also play a key role in protecting citizens through spraying and cleanup efforts. Click here to find a listing of local mosquito control programs.
Rain and flooding of the sort South Carolina has endured recently can saturate areas and leave standing water, which has the potential to become breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
Mosquitoes can carry viruses such as West Nile. That is why it is important that we all do our part to reduce mosquito populations and protect our families from exposure to these pesky, and potentially harmful, insects.
Reduce mosquito breeding habitats.
It only takes as few as five days for water in containers as small as a bottle cap to become active breeding sites for mosquitoes.
Routinely empty any containers on your property that are holding water:
Remove debris from gutters.
Trim back thick shrubbery and overgrown grass on your property.
Fix leaky outdoor faucets.
Protect you and your family from mosquitoes and possible exposure to mosquito-borne illnesses.
Repair damaged or broken doors and screens.
Wear light-colored clothes with long sleeves and long pants.
Close garage doors at night.
If you must be outside when mosquitoes are active, applying a mosquito repellent can help protect you from bites.
Although mosquito season isn’t in full swing, many of us have already seen — and others of us have felt (Ouch!) — evidence of the pesky insects in our surroundings.
But there’s still time to take actions that will limit the mosquito population and the possible spread of mosquito-borne diseases in our communities this season, and it begins by cleaning up around your own home and yard.
One of the most effective things you can do is get rid of and prevent standing water. Here are some suggestions:
Get rid of places where adult mosquitoes can find cool, dark and damp areas to rest by mowing the lawn, trimming shrubbery and cutting down weeds and vines, such as ivy, in the yard and next to the house.
Clear out weeds, leaves, dirt and other debris from pipes, especially those under a driveway. Make sure water does not stand inside or near the ends of the pipe.
Clean out rain gutters and downspouts regularly.
Empty and turn over containers that hold water such as cans, jars, drums, bottles, flower pots, buckets, children’s toys, wheel barrows, old appliances, plastic sheeting or tarps used to cover objects like grills or swimming pools, etc.
Drain or fill any low places, such as potholes, on your property where water collects and stands for more than five to seven days.
Make sure that all permanent water containers such as wells, septic tanks, cisterns, water tanks and cesspools are tightly covered and insect-proof.
Repair leaky pipes and outdoor faucets.
Cover trash containers/garbage cans to keep rainwater from accumulating.
Keep boats and canoes drained and covered/overturned. Make sure tarps or other covers do not hold water.
Drain or get rid of old tires by recycling them.
Pack tree holes and hollow stumps with sand or cement.
That’s just the beginning. There are a number of other steps you can take to defend yourselves against mosquitoes. To learn about treating standing water that can’t be drained and preventing mosquito bites, visit scdhec.gov/mosquitoes/eliminatebreedingareas.