Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Santee Cooper’s Vector Management program is beginning its seasonal mosquito treatments for residential areas in Berkeley, Calhoun, Clarendon and Orangeburg counties.
Santee Cooper leaseholders and residents of areas around lakes Marion and Moultrie can request mosquito services by visiting www.santeecooper.com/mosquitocontrol. The site includes updates for scheduled mosquito treatments, information about Santee Cooper's vector management operations and an online form that helps Santee Cooper target mosquito breeding sites and problem areas.
Santee Cooper typically sprays around 60,000 acres annually by truck for adult mosquito control and about 300 acres for larval control in communities surrounding the Santee Cooper Lakes. The chemicals used in spraying processes are EPA-approved permethrin and resmethrin, which are delivered by truck, and etofenprox, which is delivered aerially. Employees who spray are licensed with the South Carolina Department of Pesticide Regulation.
About 50 species of mosquito inhabit the area surrounding lakes Marion and Moultrie. Depending on rainfall, the prime season for mosquitoes begins as early as March and typically ends in November. Adult mosquitoes are most active 30 minutes before and after sunrise and 30 minutes before and after sunset.
“We use three main tactics to control mosquitoes,” said Vector Management Supervisor John Grant. “Larvacide is when we treat mosquitoes in their aquatic state, and adulticide is when we spray by truck or aerially. Eliminating their breeding sites is the most effective tactic. Mosquitoes often use sources of standing water as breeding grounds, and residents can decrease mosquito activity significantly by emptying potential breeding areas like birdbaths or pet water bowls.”
Mosquito control is one of the oldest programs at Santee Cooper and helped alleviate the threat of malaria around the Santee Cooper Lakes. Today that mission continues with efforts to control disease-bearing mosquitoes that spread West Nile virus, eastern equine encephalitis and other vector-borne illnesses.