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Santee Cooper's Secret Agent

June 22, 2016   By Aaron Grant, Summer Intern in Environmental Stewardship

I will never forget the day I discovered my father’s true profession.

Growing up as a child who loved the game of baseball, my father and I would often play catch in the front yard. Sometimes he would be the catcher as I practiced pitching and sometimes he would roll me ground balls and throw me pop flies.

One day during the middle of one of our workouts, he randomly stopped what he was doing and looked down at one of his legs. He then gently yet promptly raised his glove hand just before slamming it hard against his leg. “Got ‘em!” he yelled as he pealed the now flattened mosquito carcass from his 1995 Rawlings Paul O’Neill Edition glove.

“Ahh, Aedes Albopictus,” he said, examining the pest inches away from his eyes. He then looked at me and said, “This here is one of the most common mosquitos in the area and they primarily bite people around the ankle and calf area.”

The information was interesting and would stick with me for years to come, but what I witnessed shortly after playing catch on that hot summer day would be embedded in my head for a lifetime.

I had just finished washing up for supper when I looked outside of a window and noticed white smoke forming outside where we had just played catch. The smoke was so thick and so dense it looked like my house had risen hundreds of feet and wound up lost in the midst of a cumulonimbus cloud.

I rushed outside just as the sound of a motor abruptly stopped. The milk-white smoke began to settle and a silhouette appeared from a distance.  The silhouette slowly revealed itself to be my father who was holding a flame-throwing, ghost busting, life-threatening, alien-slaying,  gun-like object with a flame still lit at the end. “Adios Aedes Albopictus,” he said in an accomplished tone. My eyes, the size of half dollars, stared at him and my heart filled with a rare mixture of amazement and utter terror as the epiphany set in. My father was a trained mosquito assassin!

I recently had the opportunity to shadow my father, John Grant, and the Vector Management crew (a.k.a. the mosquito assassins) at Santee Cooper. They make sure that mosquito populations around the Santee Cooper lakes are kept in check. To report a mosquito problem in Santee Cooper’s management area, click here. If you’d like to learn more about how you can help control mosquitos, visit S. C. DHEC’s website.