Fort Mill Times

Duke teams zap mosquitoes

The 89th year of Duke Energy’s reservoir mosquito control program is under way.

Conducted annually since 1923, this public health program begun by company founder James B. Duke provides mosquito control along the shoreline of five of the company’s largest urbanized reservoirs, including lakes James, Norman, Wylie, Wateree and Keowee.

Two-man boat crews on the lakes seek out specific mosquito breeding habitat in these reservoirs along 1,700 miles of Duke Energy reservoir shoreline. They apply control chemicals to mosquito larvae when larvae are found in standing water that creates breeding habitat along shorelines. The program operates annually May through the end of October.

Reservoir shoreline homeowners are encouraged to inspect their property and empty or discard unwanted containers that may hold water for long periods. Standing water can produce a brood of hungry mosquitoes within six to eight days during the summer.

Use these tips to reduce mosquito habitat at your home:

• Empty any clogged rain gutters, flower pot saucers, yard/deck furniture, toys or other items holding water.

• Fill tree holes with builders’ sand.

• Clean bird baths regularly.

• Empty beached boats with clogged drains or sagging boat covers.

• Encourage neighbors also to inspect and drain standing water on their property.

Hungry mosquitoes can fly hundreds of yards for a tasty meal. North and South Carolina have more than 60 mosquito species, many of which have adapted to live near homes and can transmit diseases to people and domestic animals. Homeowners not living near these Duke Energy reservoirs should contact their local county health department for assistance with mosquito concerns, such as blocked and flooded roadside ditches, abandoned swimming pools, debris piles and low-lying areas that may collect and allow water to stand. When working or playing outdoors, use mosquito repellent containing no more than 20 percent DEET.