The weather will decide how pesky mosquitos will be in Kamloops, Okanagan | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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The weather will decide how pesky mosquitos will be in Kamloops, Okanagan

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Pesky mosquitos are beginning to appear in Kamloops and the Okanagan, but so far mosquito populations are expected to be average this season.

Curtis Fediuk is the president at Duka Environment Services in Langley, a company that manages mosquito populations in the Central Okanagan.

“We monitor snow pack and precipitation levels, and use historical data to predict whether a year will be better or worse for mosquito populations. We can never know for sure, it’s up to the weather,” he said.

While there are several species of mosquito in the province, the peskiest kind rely on spring flooding of lakes and rivers to live. Eggs are laid on the soil and can sit for up to 20 years on dry dirt until water arrives and they hatch.

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“These are the nuisance mosquitos, the ones that can hatch in the 1,000s in a square foot of water,” Fediuk said. “This year started off drier than most years and there wasn’t much snow pack. The rivers and lakes haven’t flooded so we don’t have a lot of that habitat this year.”

A dry spring isn’t going to affect other species that lays eggs in permanent ponds multiple times over the course of a summer.

“These types are not as numerous but they bite more than once,” Fediuk said. “Permanent ponds are the biggest challenge with or without precipitation. If it gets warmer and dries the population shrinks, but if it rains it grows.”

There are hundreds of permanent water sites in the Central Okanagan that Fediuk’s crews monitor for mosquito larva.

“We’re just starting to see mosquitos coming out,” he said. “We’re watching the weather, and we go around and visit all the developed mosquito sites on public property, in ditches and storm water collection ponds.”

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An all natural larvicide is used to eradicate the larva that comes in a granular form.

“It’s granular, like the size of Nerds candy that is put on the water surface,” he said. “It doesn’t drift, only affects mosquitos and biting flies. It’s a safe product, we don’t spray like we used to, that doesn’t happen anymore.”

Heat and dry weather is predicted for July, which Fediuk said is the best natural killer of mosquitos.

There are several things homeowners can do to keep down mosquito populations, starting by removing all standing water including very small amounts that have collected in containers.

“Mosquitos are not great fliers, you don’t see them on windy days, so putting out fans on the patio will keep you cool and the mosquitos away. Misters help, just put a fan in front of a mister. Mosquitos don’t like wind or mist.”

He said mosquito coils work well and citronella candles can help to repel the pesky biters.

Mosquito magnets are traps that burn a little flame and gives off carbon dioxide that attracts the mosquitos which are blown by a fan into a collection bag.

“Those work very well and you can get them at Canadian Tire but they cost a couple hundred dollars,” Fediuk said.

For people who are concerned about removing food from birds and bats, Fediuk said there are so many mosquitos it would take 13,000 birds to eat the mosquitos off one hectare of land.

Go here for more tips on how to fend off pesky mosquitos.

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