WEST ASHLEY, SC (WCSC) - Friday, Charleston County’s mosquito control went door-to-door in West Ashley to inform residents of how to prevent mosquitoes from breeding.
A new mosquito virus known as the Chikungunya virus has been found in 20 states but hasn’t made it to South Carolina. The county is trying to keep it that way.
"That's the focus of what we're doing now is to try to get folks to check around your house, your backyard, make sure you don't have containers, a bird bath, a dog dish, a boat, whatever it is that holds water and is going to be breeding these types of mosquitoes that carry it," Ed Harne, a taxonomist for Charleston County said.
He said the virus may actually already be in South Carolina but not reported.
"Some people do get really sick with Chikungunya,” Harne said. “West Nile virus, you'll encounter some of the same things. Sometimes people have West Nile virus and don't even realize it because they don't have symptoms."
Harne said March through the summer is the worst time for mosquitoes because of rain, but so far, it's been a down year.
"This has been an unusually dry year, even for us, but we have had some spot showers throughout the counties that will get our ground crews out, our aerial folks out and doing what they need to do,” Harne said.
There are plenty of rumors about what works and doesn’t work to keep mosquitoes away.
“People always ask me, ‘What are good repellents,” Hearne said. “Some things I have to chuckle at, but other things such as dryer sheets as a repellent, actually they do work, and I always tell people, ‘Hey, if it works for you, you can continue to use it’.”
Harne said perfumes or scented lotions can attract mosquitoes, and being outside during feeding times like dawn, dusk and early evening are bad, too. He said lemon oil eucalyptus can keep them away, but repellents with deet work best. Harne advised to use a screen on open windows and always clean out standing water after a week.
There are a couple of common mistakes people make. Harne said to not put Clorox in your bird bath because it could be harmful. He’s seen one other terrible mistake, too.
"People will put motor oil in a ditch,” Harne said. “Please don't do that. Please don't put any motor oil or diesel fuel in a ditch. It may kill a few mosquitoes, but it's going to really pollute the environment and it's not totally effective."