August 14, 2014 6:35 pm
Updated: August 15, 2014 1:29 am

Edmonton’s mosquito numbers soar


Watch above: As you’ve probably noticed, mosquitoes are back in the city in a big way. As Shallima Mararaj explains, the numbers are historic.

EDMONTON – For most of the summer, it looked like mosquitoes were giving Edmontonians a break, but the reprieve has come to an end.

Not only are the little bloodsuckers back in full force, the numbers are the worst they’ve been in decades.

Story continues below

The City of Edmonton says the current mosquito numbers are close to – if not equal to – the 2001 peak when there were 3,500 mosquitoes per trap.

That was the highest peak in 20 years, and the city could meet or surpass that mark once the final numbers come in for this year.

The population rose over the last week mainly due to the amount of rainfall several weeks ago, as well as the current humidity.

“There were some big storm events that refilled a lot of those habitats and caused hatching of larvae in the tablelands around the City of Edmonton,” explained Mike Jenkins, with City of Edmonton Pest Management.

“It’s been really, really humid, which helps those mosquitoes out.”

“They’re able to be out and biting, even during periods when, typically, we don’t get a lot of mosquito activity. So, people are noticing that they are biting during the day, they’re biting in windy conditions, all those sorts of things, where usually the mosquitoes are out in hiding.”

City crews have been out treating areas to reduce the mosquito count, but officials say the challenge is that there are always going to be some coming in through the corridors along the River Valley.

Jenkins says city crews have been spraying, but the mosquito traps are still at capacity.

“[Crews] were able to reduce that population, but it still was 100 per cent, as our program never is,” said Jenkins.

However, bursts like these are often short-lived.

“In each of those cases [in 2001 and 2004], the population has dropped dramatically shortly afterwards,” explained Jenkins. “In both of those cases, it went from 3,000 to 200 – or from about 2,000 to only 80 per trap in those previous years – just two weeks later.”

If the humidity tapers off and the city experiences some cool, dry weather, the insects may be gone in one week to 10 days.

© 2014 Shaw Media

Report an error


Want to discuss? Please read our Commenting Policy first.