Mosquitoes run rampant in Myrtle Beach

Heavy rains in late September and warmer than normal temperatures have caused a spike in mosquitoes, which has kept Horry and Georgetown county employees busy responding to complaints.

And with a warm, dry winter predicted by weather officials, the problem could persist until the first freeze, which on average occurs in mid-November along the Grand Strand.

Meanwhile, crews are spraying problem areas and responding to residents' calls about excessive mosquito problems.

"We've been getting lots of complaints," said Lisa Bourcier, Horry County's spokeswoman. "Of course, with the warm weather and all the rain, the count is up."

Horry County officials have been working six days a week and using two to three airplanes nightly for aerial treatment of the entire county, according to Boucier.

Trucks driving through neighborhoods spraying also are dispatched nightly, according to Terrill Mincey with the Horry County Stormwater Division.

Similar problems are being reported in Georgetown County as well.

"We've been spraying morning and evenings and increased our aerial applications as well.

"We worked all weekend," said Ray Funnye, public service director for Georgetown County.

"We know the situation is unusually bad for this time of year. We are using all our available resources. We're doing all we can right now."

In his experience during the past 10 years, Funnye said he doesn't recall mosquito problems that have been this bad at this time of the year.

"We'll continue our efforts until this thing subsides and Mother Nature takes care of it," Funnye said.

"The first frost is a good indicator, but until then we will do everything we can to make our citizens comfortable."

The average time for the first freeze is Nov.13 to 17 for the Myrtle Beach area, said Josh Weiss, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Wilmington, N.C.

"It can vary highly for the first frost so we don't track that. But we do track the first freeze," Weiss said.