Chapin, SC (WLTX) - Summer means triple digits, pools, watermelons and those very pesky mosquitoes.
Although they're often thought of as a barbecue killer, they can also be a killer of humans and pets and this year there are more of them.
"Mosquitoes are by far the most pesky and the most dangerous animal on the planet," explained Colleen Haskin, owner of Columbia's Mosquito Squad. "They kill more humans than any other living creature."
Diseases the insects carry include the West Nile Virus, Malaria, Eastern Equine Encephalitis and Dengue Fever. According to the Center for Disease Prevention and Control, in the United States last year about 700 cases of West Nile were reported and more than 100 people died from mosquito related illness.
As owner of the extermination company, it's colleen Haskin's job to know about these buzzing blood suckers. This year she and her crews have been extra busy.
"It has been a gangbuster season!" explained Haskin. "Normally we start spraying about the second week of April, we were getting calls to start spraying around the first of March."
A warm winter means more bugs.
"We never had a solid freeze so the female mosquitoes, which are the ones that bite, the female mosquitoes weren't necessarily killed off. So they were really ready to do business, meaning come bite you and me and our pets."
Fighting the bugs is nothing new for the CDC. In fact, they formed back in 1946 to fight Malaria.
"And they still spread a lot of diseases in this area. So, you know, we're here to make people able to enjoy their backyards but also keep them safe."
According to Haskin, it only takes a capful of water to breed hundreds of mosquitoes. The Mosquito Sqaud recommends tipping out standing water from places around your house and also keeping your yard and bushes trimmed back so the sun can dry things out when needed.
To contact the Mosquito Squad, click here.
It's not just humans who need to lookout for mosquitoes but pets too. With more of the blood sucking bugs it could mean more heartworm disease.
Heartworm is contracted when a mosquito bites a dog or cat and then the larvae migrate to the heart where parasitic worms can grow up to 12". Symptoms include cough, lethargy, and difficulty breathing.