'No-see-ums' swarm greater Charleston over weekend; experts prepare for bug season

Published: Mar. 16, 2015 at 9:35 PM EDT|Updated: Mar. 16, 2015 at 10:32 PM EDT
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WEST ASHLEY, SC (WCSC) - You don't see them, but you can feel them: the "no-see-ums" are out in full force. The bugs are leading the way into what is expected to be a very long season.

You may have noticed the bugs while out enjoying the sunshine over the weekend..

"We were fishing out in the creek and every moment felt like we had to put tons of bug spray on my arms and wipe them off," West Ashley resident Mark Johnson said.

"No-see-ums" is the common nickname for biting midges, tiny insects that resemble mosquitoes but are much smaller; in some cases, the midges are so small, they can fit through screens.

"It's usually a late spring, early summer problem. That's why they're out now and on everybody's mind. They've certainly been terrible the last couple of weeks," Johnson said.

But treating these particular pesky insects is something county managers are unable to do.

"Gnats are more of a general problem. They're in the daytime, they're not a public health issue, and it's just too difficult and too expensive to eradicate," Charleston County Mosquito Control Manager Frank Carson said.

So it all comes down to self preventative measures. Bug spray is a number one friend during the spring and summer.

"It's the biggest thing we do, and pray for a breeze," Chris Schoolfield, of West Ashley, said.

Some people even say rubbing Bounce fabric softener sheets on the inside of hats and carrying them around in pockets have helped to deal with the no-see-ums.

Crews have been doing site work around the area, making note of places that have mosquito eggs. Managers say spraying will begin sometime in the next couple of days, but they say it all comes down to you making a phone call about the findings in your areas.

Experts say there are also a number of issues around your home that can help offset the amount of bugs. Preventative measures include pulling out that bug spray when outdoors, and getting your home prepared for those possible extra visitors.

This means getting rid of that free standing water you may have around your home, making sure your gutters are a clean, and raking up those leaves in your yard.

"Get rid of standing water. Whether it be on their property or on the ground, or whether it's flower containers or flower pots," Carson said.

There are also several pest management agencies who will help get your home ready for the long season ahead.

"If you have any toys, make sure their flipped over as well. Any kind of dog bowls that your not using, get rid of those," Anchor Pest Management's Karl Kuesteer said.

Those in the pest control industry say it's best to get price estimates for your home from several companies before scheduling that large task.

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