With rain-soaked spring in the Thompson-Okanagan comes lots and lots of mosquitoes | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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With rain-soaked spring in the Thompson-Okanagan comes lots and lots of mosquitoes

A wet spring has created ideal conditions for a nasty mosquito season in the Thompson-Okanagan.
Image Credit: Wikicommons
June 18, 2020 - 7:30 AM

The wet, cool spring in Kamloops and the Okanagan this year has provided a prime set of conditions for an active mosquito season in your neighbourhood,

If you’re not already feeling the itching effects of this year’s spring weather, it’s probably just a matter of time.

Curtis Fediuk of Duka Environmental Services is a consultant for the mosquito programs of the Central Okanagan Regional District and a portion of the Thompson Nicola Regional District.

He says there are things property owners can do to help alleviate some of the excess bite a burgeoning mosquito population will bring this year.

“The weather has been kind of crummy, and that hasn’t helped control mosquito populations this year,” he says. “A hot July would be helpful.... Adding water to mosquito habitat through rain or otherwise is the worst thing. The biggest natural killer of adult mosquitoes is drying out, so when we have hot, dry weather, that’s about the best thing you can get to control adult mosquitoes."

Fediuk says when things get warm, mosquitoes tend to become more active, but they die more quickly because they dry out.

"In moist conditions like we’ve been having, they can hide in the bush for weeks. It really helps their longevity because they feed on plant juices,” he says, adding there is potential for them to be more annoying than usual this year.

For property owners, Fediuk says this is the perfect year for those buckets of water and that tarped boat in the back yard to make mosquitoes.

“These are things you wouldn’t normally think about, but rain gutters can hold a couple of hundred mosquitoes and all you’d need is for 5 or 10 of those biting you on the deck to feel like the end of the world,” he says.

A body of water the size of a traditional backyard inground swimming pool at 16 x 32 feet could provide habitat for 10,000 mosquitoes. A bucket of water could have between 100 and 200 mosquitoes in it.

“These are things to look at,” he says.

Other things residents can also do to further eliminate mosquitoes from their domains include use of mosquito coils and citronella candles.

“Mosquito coils work quite well. Citronella candles will repel them, and some people grow marigolds, which apparently help,” Fediuk says. “There’s also something called a mosquito magnet. It’s a self contained mosquito attractant and killer that works quite well. It will catch thousands, but you’ll want to put it in the back corner of your property, because it is an attractant. You don’t want it near the house."

READ MORE: See this website for past stories on mosquito season in the Thompson - Okanagan.

Mosquito programs operated by the Thompson Nicola, Central Okanagan and Okanagan Similkameen regional districts all report starting a little later this year, as well as dealing with larger and higher numbers of water bodies and pools.

The regional district programs are expected to run into the first week of August.

The Regional District of North Okanagan does not have a mosquito program.

Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen Public Works Program Coordinator Zoe Kirk says the regional district has been helicopter spraying four times this year as it looks after more than 420 sites in the regional district.

“The cool spring has meant standing water is staying on the ground longer.  As soon as the heat hits, we’ll see a decline in the Aedes mosquito and the Culex, species, which is smaller and less human-oriented, will emerge,” she says.

A cup of water can contain as many as 100 mosquitoes. Three of four regional districts in the Thompson - Okanagan have been working thier mosquito programs since March. Vecto-bac is a bacteria used to treat mosquito larvae.
A cup of water can contain as many as 100 mosquitoes. Three of four regional districts in the Thompson - Okanagan have been working thier mosquito programs since March. Vecto-bac is a bacteria used to treat mosquito larvae.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Steve Arstad or call 250-488-3065 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to tips@infonews.ca and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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