Residents should expect to see Richland County employees spraying for mosquitoes in the coming months, as Vector Control staff begin their annual campaign to control the pests.
Workers will conduct surveillance on mosquito populations, treat larval breeding sites, and spray for adult mosquitoes in densely populated areas of the County (outside Columbia city limits).
The spraying is part of Richland County’s integrated pest management program, which also uses surveillance, public education, and mechanical and biological controls to help alleviate nuisance and disease caused by mosquitoes, said Olin Towery, Vector Control manager.
According to Towery, the County uses pesticides only when needed and in combination with other approaches for more effective control.
Trucks will usually spray between midnight and dawn; however, spraying could happen earlier as conditions warrant. When a spray truck is nearby, residents should remain indoors to allow the driver to thoroughly cover the area.
To help reduce mosquitoes, residents should inspect their property for potential breeding sites and take the following preventive measures:
- Empty, overturn or remove water-holding containers such as tires, cans, bottles, buckets and flower pots.
- Use EPA-registered insect repellents that contain DEET, picaridin, IR3535 or oil of lemon eucalyptus according to label instructions.
- Clear drainage ditches of debris and weeds.
- Pack tree holes with sand.
- Clean clogged roof gutters.
- Keep boats overturned, drained or covered (covers should not collect water).
- Stock ornamental ponds (water gardens) with top-feeding minnows.
- Maintain swimming pools properly.
- Change the water in pet dishes, birdbaths and containers used to root plants at least weekly.
- Ensure rain barrels have screens to prevent mosquitoes from accessing the collected water, and use the water as soon as possible.
Learn more about preventive measures for combatting mosquitoes on the County’s YouTube page.
Richland County is required to give the public annual notice of its intent to spray for mosquitoes. The County applies pesticides according to conditions and not a set schedule, so there is no specific start date.
County residents who have questions or problems with mosquitoes can reach Vector Control via the Ombudsman’s office: 803-929-6000. All beekeepers and people allergic to the products resmethrin, prallethrin, sumithrin or permethrin are encouraged to notify the County.
Vector Control only controls for mosquitoes in areas of Richland County outside the Columbia city limits. The City of Columbia and Lexington County have their own mosquito control services.
Residents inside the Columbia city limits should call 803-545-4229. Lexington County residents who live inside the town limits of Batesburg-Leesville should call the Town Hall at 803-532-4601. All other Lexington County residents should call 803-785-8440.