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Rainy Month Keeps Mosquito Control Busy

A rainy July has made for a greater-than-normal mosquito population in parts of the area this summer, according to Fred Koehle, the operations manager for Richmond County Mosquito Control.

Mosquito control received 360 complaints by July 15 from homeowners plagued by the blood-thirsty insects. That number surpasses complaints from the same time last year by 46 requests for yard inspection and treatment.

The mosquito population seems to have doubled, he said, in more rural and southern areas of the county, such as Hephzibah and Blythe.

“This year, we’ve had enough rain to have all those eggs start hatching,” Koehle said.

The phone starts ringing off the hook seven days after significant rainfall, he said.

Joe Conlon, the technical adviser for the National Mosquito Control Association, said a bad season is related to significant rainfall.

Rain inundates eggs laid just below the water line of standing pools; he said — the eggs hatch within seven to 10 days after a rainfall.

Augusta Regional Airport has measured rainfall slightly above normal, according to the National Weather Service. Through Monday, 3.32 inches fell at the airport, with 3.09 inches July 14. Daniel Field airport has measured 6.41 inches.

Keith Anderson, the owner of Mosquito Squad, said phone calls have tripled since last year, which he attributes to a bad mosquito season and the expansion of his business.

“(Mosquitoes) are continuing to multiply well,” Anderson said. “Rain and hot, dry weather further expand that problem.”

In Columbia County, complaints have not been significant, but Andrea Frazier, an environmental health specialist for the county health department, expects a normal upswing in August.

Robbie Hunt, a supervisor for yard waste and mosquito control for the city of Aiken, said recent rainfall could make next week busier. The summer has been normal so far for mosquito populations, Hunt said.