Watch above: Continued warm, dry weather presents perfect populating ground for mosquitoes
SASKATOON – A spring filled with rain and now hot, dry weather means mosquito numbers in Saskatoon continue to climb.
Mosquito numbers are up and depending on where you live in the city, you could be seeing more than usual.
Each night, averages of 177 mosquitoes were trapped last week. Around 570 in the Buena Vista area every night compared to only 21 in College Park.
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“In an area like College Park where you have a lower tree cover, there’s fewer, mature American elms in that neighbourhood, you’re not going to have as high mosquito counts,” said Jeff Boone, the city’s pest management supervisor.
While mosquito numbers are higher than the three year average, Boone says they are not abnormal.
“It varies a little bit year to year but when you get heavy precipitation for the months of May and June and then a sudden increase temperature you get a sudden increase in nuisance mosquitoes,” said Boone.
The amount of Culex tarsalis mosquitoes that have been caught in the region has been very low so far; however, the risk of contracting the West Nile virus from this species is still there.
“Normally, human cases are not something that we learn about until much later on, so it is very important to take precautions,” said Boone.
Deputy medical health officer Dr. Johnmark Opondo with the Saskatoon Health Region says while 80 per cent of those infected by the virus will not experience any symptoms, the public is urged to look for the more severe symptoms.
“When you should go and see your doctor is when you have persistent headache, persistent neck pains, symptoms that are like meningitis because that’s how severe it can be,” said Opondo.
“Particularly those that have underlying medical conditions such as cancer or anything else your body might be dealing with, West Nile just makes it worse.”
Watch below: Dr. Johnmark Opondo discusses West Nile virus on the Morning News
Health officials advise the public to cover up especially at dusk and dawn, keep lawns short and remove any standing water.
“Put on DEET as much as it’s going to be nice, warm weather for the next week or so,” said Opondo.
According to city officials, the number of Culex tarsalis mosquitoes in the region will continue to build through into early August, with the risk of contracting West Nile virus peaking the first weekend of August.