Mosquitoes invade the lowcountry

BEAUFORT CO., SC (WTOC) - Stagnant water...mosquitoes love it and they are here. They are definitely here. With over 56 varieties of mosquitoes in Beaufort county alone, officials at the Mosquito Control Department say they are ready for battle. On Tuesday, they were out in helicopters spraying mosquito larvae in Bluffton for the third time in just two weeks. Vacationers and residents alike have already become victims of the pint-sized pests.

"Yeah, last night they were bad, really bad (laughs)," said Trevor Hanson-Voss, tourist from Minnesota.

"They attacked me like I was a piece of meat," said Madelyn Clark, Hilton Head Island.

"I've been mauled by the mosquitoes. It's been a buffet line since I've been here," said Alex Clark, visiting from St Louis.

"They're absolutely miserable, we hate them (laughs). So yeah, they've been pretty bad," said Megan Farrell, Hilton Head Island

"When I was attacked by mosquitoes, I was attacked in my neck and I was swatting them like crazy," said Alexander Clark, visiting from St. Louis.

"The no see ums are out in great numbers. If you're trying to read a book, they're very annoying," said Marion Davis, visiting from Michigan.

Those little buggers are also dangerous. Mosquitoes carry diseases like West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis. Greg Hunt of Beaufort County's Mosquito Control said there are ways to protect yourself, though you may not like it. They say wear long sleeves, pants and socks, use repellant, wear light colored clothing, empty standing water in the yard and avoid peak biting times like dusk.

Pest control companies have been busy. Most didn't even have time to talk Tuesday, but WTOC did catch up with one Orkin man while he was on the job.

"The bees were pollinating in January, so we've been out. It is not just mosquitoes, but bees and wasps," says Ryan Koziana, Orkin Pest Control.

Hunt says repellant is a great defense against mosquitoes, chiggers, ticks, and the no see ums, who actually have scissor-like mouths, which is why it hurts so bad when they attack. In Chatham County, officials expect a much less threatening season for West Nile Virus, but last year, they found West Nile Virus in 214 groups of mosquitoes and were on spraying missions for 84 straight days.

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