LETHBRIDGE- The rain may be gone, but it’s left behind another pesky situation: mosquitoes.
“I expect it to be the worst ever during my time here,” says Ron Esau, a mosquito technician with the City of Lethbridge. His department has been working hard to keep the mosquito population under control.
“There’s some spots where you can’t even tell from the roadway that there might be water. There is just long grass and once you walk out there you see that maybe there is an area the size of a football field with water.”
All that standing water is now the perfect breeding grounds for the blood sucking insects.
“This time of year, since it’s so hot as well and the days are so long, the mosquito can go from larvae to adults really fast,” Esau explained.
This year, crews are dealing with a double whammy of breeding grounds with standing water and flooded rivers.
In Alberta, there are 44 different species of mosquitoes and they all act differently.
”What we have right now is a flood water mosquito, those are the mosquitoes that lay eggs in the ground and then wait for flooding to happen. Those eggs are viable for many years.”
Currently most of the breeding areas are outside city limits, but Esau adds that doesn’t mean that’s where the pesky biters will stay.
“The mosquitoes will be attracted to the city because of light and carbon dioxide. They are hatched out of the city and then fly into the city and look for a blood meal there.”
The culex tarsalis mosquito is also a problem, as it carries the West Nile virus.They flourish during hot weather.
Crews have been busy treating water for all types of mosquitoes.
“There was so much water with larvae that it wasn’t as easy and we expect. There will be a lot of mosquitoes but we did our best to control them but the numbers will still be high,” adds Esau.
Residents can follow a few simple steps to protect their property from becoming infested by mosquitoes.
“Tip over those pots, barrels and containers collecting water and try not to over water because it doesn’t take much for a mosquito to lay eggs.”
Typically 10 days after rainfall is when the mosquitoes will start to bite.