June 20, 2014 - 10:42 AM
THOMPSON-OKANAGAN — No, you are not imagining things, the mosquitoes are actually worse this year, thanks to high water, cooler temperatures and wet weather.
If you’ve ventured outside at all over the last month you have swatted at mosquitoes or came away with a bunch of itchy welts. Or maybe you donned your DEET and the nasty little buggers didn’t bother you at all.
“They’re just not dying,” mosquito control expert Cheryl Phippen says. “There’s been no sun to kill them. This year has been just perfect for mosquitoes.”
Phippen says the end of May through the July long weekend is the prime time for the little suckers and without the hot spells typical of this time of year to start killing them off, many mosquitoes are able to live twice as long.
“A mosquito can live 10 days in warm weather, but it can live up to three weeks in cooler weather,” Phippens says, adding some hope by noting, “It will all collapse at once.”
Phippen, with BWP Consulting, has been in the business of larviciding mosquitoes for 16 years and says while last year was the easiest year she’s ever had, this year has been a different story. Athough it has been better than she originally expected.
“We had crazy high water, nothing but cool temperatures and rain… I was predicting full armageddon,” she jokes. “Waters are receding. Now it’s basically personal precautions (to keep mosquitoes away.)”
She advises wearing DEET products when heading outdoors, especially earlier in the morning and in the evening, wear long sleeves and lighter colours.
Most importantly, get rid of standing water. Standing water is where mosquitoes which carry West Nile Virus prefer to breed.
For those who do not like the idea of DEET, Phippen warns to use other products with scepticism.
“Nothing else works. (DEET) is safe and effective. It’s the only thing I recommend,” she says. “Natural mosquito repellants are not proven, and they do not work. I caution people that natural doesn’t mean it’s safe.”
Garlic barrier sprays, Listerine, citronella, Bounce dryer sheets and coconut oil top her list of ‘protectant myths’ this year though she could list many more she has heard over the years.
“Health Canada is very clear on what you should and shouldn’t be doing,” she says. “In addition to DEET there’s OFF Botanicals, which works but for less time.”
The good news is the mosquito season is almost over. Areas with higher water, wet ground or dense bush often see mosquitoes for a bit longer.
Did you know?
- Larvicide programs can kill 99.1 per cent of mosquito larvae, but still leaves millions of mosquitoes to survive.
- Mosquitoes lay eggs in soil as the water recedes and eggs can live up to 30 years. High waters during extreme floods can reach those eggs that have been stockpiled for years.
- The mosquitoes found in the B.C. Interior following flood waters are typically short lived, they bite once and die.
- The species that carries West Nile Virus is less aggressive, and breeds in standing water.
- West Nile Virus carrying species have been found as far north as Vernon.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014