Is Mosquito-geddon on the way in the Okanagan?

Mosquito larvae can be seen in a mug of water taken in a single dip from a pool of water on an Oliver driveway, Wednesday, May 17, 2017.

PENTICTON - High water throughout the Okanagan is threatening to create massive numbers of mosquitoes this year.

Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen’s Mosquito Control Program manager Zoe Kirk is warning residents to be prepared for what is shaping up to be a "mosquito season from hell."

The whole Okanagan Valley can expect a banner year for mosquitoes, although the South Okanagan will get them first.

Kirk says crews have been working unceasingly since April battling wet conditions that are hampering efforts to access traditional mosquito breeding territory. On top of that, high water levels everywhere are resulting in new areas that need treatment.

“What really makes this a scary scenario is the fact that mosquito eggs can survive in the soil without water for up to 10 years. We’re afraid with this year’s high water, eggs laid in marginal areas will now hatch,” she says. "It's the perfect storm.”

With warmer weather in the forecast, expect the mosquito life cycle to increase and come down from the present 10 to 14 day cycle, meaning fresh hatches more often, Kirk says.

The Regional District is trying to get ahead of the problem by deploying maximum resources earlier in the season than would normally be the case. A helicopter will be put in operation Friday, May 19, something normally done after freshet, but Kirk says the idea is to treat as large an area as they can.

“We’re battling a nuisance mosquito right now. It doesn’t carry the West Nile virus, but it can carry heart worm, which affects dogs.”

Kirk says they have ordered extra larvicide in case there are shortages later in the season.

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