If there is one good thing to come out of the rainiest, coldest spring in recent memory — it’s the fact that mosquitoes are late to arrive.
“We’ve had a very, very cold spring and that has delayed eggs hatching, said Michael Jackson, Culex Environmental president, who is in charge of mosquito control for Metro Vancouver.
That could change if the water recedes and the temperatures rise for a sustained amount of time,” he said.“We could see mosquitoes become bothersome in late July.”
Culex Environmental has more than 5,000 locations throughout Metro Vancouver, where it monitors and works to prevent mosquitoes from reproducing.
In Langley, Brae island is a hot spot for larvae, so Culex was there last week applying larvicide treatments.
Granular bacterial larvicide is dropped into the water from a hovering helicopter. The larvicide does not harm other insects, amphibians, reptiles, fish, birds or mammals, said Jackson.
“Arial granulation is not spraying. I just want that to be clear. We drop the granules and they work really well to kill the larvae.”
Culex controls the mosquito population using environmentally-friendly products.
“We’ve reduced 90 per cent of pesticide use in the last 15 years, and mosquitoes are still dying, proving that our methods are working. We are being good to the environment and it’s paying off.”
While Culex’s efforts over the past decade in Metro Vancouver has curbed the swarms of biting mozzies, they can’t take all the credit, he added.
“In the past two summers, we had dry, hot springs, so we had very little standing water which is where mosquitoes are born.”
There are 50 species of mosquitoes, some of them carrying deadly diseases. Among some of the diseases that mosquitoes spread is malaria, Zika virus, West Nile, dengue fever and others.
Last year, Culex found a species of mosquito in Maple Ridge that can carry diseases like dengue fever.
“Luckily, the mosquito was not carrying any diseases, but it has the potential to, so we stay on top of things like that,” said Jackson.
“We are precautionary, because it is much better to be proactive than reactive,” he said. There was one case of West Nile in Cranbrook last summer.
Males don’t bite. If you live near water, you will likely have the ankle biter type mosquito. Mosquitos hide out in grass and trees during the day to stay cool. They are attracted to light, heat, some perfumes and carbon dioxide. Wearing long sleeves in the evening is a good idea. Repellents work, said Jackson.
WHY ARE SOME HUMANS MORE ATTRACTIVE TO MOZZIES?
Some people produce more carbon dioxide than others — making them more attractive to the female mosquitoes. If you are an active person, that seems to also make you more tasty, likely because you give off heat.