Help the Central Okanagan ‘Fight the Bite’ | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Help the Central Okanagan ‘Fight the Bite’

June 07, 2013 - 12:11 PM

Since early April, the Regional District of Central Okanagan has been busy with its mosquito monitoring and control program.

With spring rains there’s plenty of standing water and with warmer temperatures on the horizon, those are the perfect conditions for hatching mosquito larva.

Communications Officer Bruce Smith says, “Our program monitoring and treatment crews have been busy checking out the more than 280 known breeding locations and if mosquito larvae are found, they treat the surface water habitat to minimize mosquito larval development.   Residents in the participating areas of the program (City of Kelowna, District of Lake Country, Central Okanagan East and West Electoral Areas and a small section of West Kelowna Estates in the District of West Kelowna) can report mosquito concerns on public land by calling 1-866-679-8473.”

BWP Consulting Inc. is contracted to conduct all larval mosquito control only within these participating areas of the Regional District.  BWP’s Cheryl Phippen says, “As a result of this spring’s weather conditions, we’re seeing high densities of mosquito larvae.  Residents should expect higher than normal numbers of nuisance mosquitoes throughout the summer.”  She adds, “People should protect themselves by wearing mosquito repellant containing DEET and light coloured clothing with long sleeves and long pants, especially at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are at their worst.”

Smith says, “Property owners throughout the Central Okanagan can help and support the work of our program by minimizing mosquito breeding habitat around their property.   Remove standing water sources and any unused items that collect water such as old tires.  Cover rain barrels and at least twice a week drain standing water from items like pool covers, saucers under plant pots or garbage cans.  Mosquito larvae can also develop in birdbaths, wading pools or pet bowls, so water should be changed at least two times a week.  Remove water that gathers in unused swimming pools and on swimming pool covers and aerate water in ponds or add fish that will eat mosquito larvae.”

The Regional District Mosquito Control program attempts to minimize the impact of mosquito larvae including the specific species that are capable of transmitting West Nile Virus as well as those that are known to be significant human nuisance.  This monitoring and treatment is being done in 285 known surface water habitats as well as more than 15,300 roadside catch basins in the participating areas.

There are excellent resources available to help you and your family during the mosquito season.  Visit the Mosquito Control page on the Regional District website for information about the program.

* Additional sites added for this year with monitoring of locations on Westbank First Nation reserves
** Fewer sites monitored/treated since reduction in service area for West Kelowna and no service to Peachland or Westbank First Nation reserves.

The mandate of the program is to provide effective and efficient mosquito control through the reduction and management of mosquito larvae in an environmentally friendly manner in order to contribute positively to the quality of life and minimize the risk of West Nile Virus to residents in the Central Okanagan.

Program Questions and Answers

When does it run?
From April through September each year known breeding locations on public land in participating areas throughout the Regional District (Lake Country, Kelowna, Central Okanagan East and West Electoral Areas, West Kelowna Estates in West Kelowna) are inspected for signs of mosquito larvae.   There needs to be standing water for at least seven days for mosquitoes to thrive.  If larvae are found, environmentally friendly pellets containing Bti are “seeded” into the water, which kills the larvae within 48 hours.  The area is visited at least once every week to ensure there are no new hatches.

What is the pellet used in the larvicide program?
The larvicide acronym is Bti for Bacillus thuringiensis var israelensis, a bacterial extract that the larvae stage of the mosquito has to ingest.  The proteins in the ingested bacterium rupture the gut of the mosquito larvae.  Bti is short-lived and is non-toxic.  As a precaution, it may not be applied in water that is permanently connected to a fish-bearing stream.

How many sites are monitored?
There are over 285 known mosquito larvae breeding locations on public lands in the participating areas.  Also approximately 15,300 roadside catch basins are monitored and treated as needed in participating jurisdictions of Kelowna, Lake Country and the Central Okanagan East and West Electoral Areas.

Who licenses the program? 
The Regional District of Central Okanagan has a Pest Management Plan and Confirmation Number from the Provincial Government which permits the RDCO to conduct the larvicide application program.  The RDCO keeps a record of the location, number of applications needed and the volume of Bti used.

Will the Regional District check possible mosquito breeding sites on private property?
No, RDCO staff is not allowed to go onto private property to check for mosquitoes.  Residents can report concerns with mosquitoes on public land by calling 1-866-679-8473.

Why is this type of nuisance control program used?
This program is sensitive to the need to protect our environment and has proven effective in controlling the nuisance mosquito population throughout the Central Okanagan while also reducing the potential risk of the West Nile Virus.

News from © iNFOnews, 2013

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