Warmer winter means the bugs are back earlier

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It’s been a much warmer winter than normal. While many people in the Lowcountry are enjoying the spring-like temperatures, it means the insects are coming back earlier. All it takes is a bottle cap full of water for a mosquito to start breeding in your backyard. Charleston County says its the gnats and no-see-ums that are bad right now and that means mosquitoes are right around the corner.

Caroline Huggins, who lives in the Charleston area, says, “The gnats, especially at this point, are terrible out here at the dog park. People are constantly swatting their faces and leaving early because of the bugs.”

People say this is not common for this time of year.

Andrea Maurer lives in Charleston County and says, “With the warmer temperatures comes the early pollen and bugs, but it’s the price you pay I guess.”

Huggins says, “I don’t think the eggs, or the larvae, or whatever it was the usually gets killed off in the freezes, that didn’t happen this year. And I think that’s what’s making it worse.”

So Charleston County government is using this week to make sure people know how to best prevent mosquito breeding on their property. The biggest key is dumping standing water, which could accumulate in toys, pet dishes, and potted plants.

Maurer says, “I definitely could be better about it . We do have some planters, we have an irrigation system that waters and then sometimes the water sits in the bottom of the tray and I should probably be better about emptying those more regularly.”

Because in the Lowcountry it’s hard to escape the water, so through Thursday Charleston County is going to neighborhoods in Mt. Pleasant, West Ashley, James Island and North Charleston to give some tips.

Huggins says, “I live on the marsh, so there’s not a whole lot I can do. I can keep the standing water out of my yard and change my birdbaths often, but I can’t really do much about the marsh.”

Cleaning gutters, fixing leaky faucets, and adding fish to ponds can also help to minimize the mosquito impact in your yard. Charleston, Berkeley, and Dorchester Counties are currently in a monitoring phase and have not started spraying for mosquitoes. If you live in Charleston County and are a bee keeper, organic farmer, or have chemical sensitivities and want to be notified about when spraying will take place, call 843-202-7880.

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