Mosquito season starts early in south Okanagan

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OLIVER — Swarms of mosquitoes are already buzzing in parts of the south Okanagan. The recent warm weather and a lot of standing water means mosquito season has started early.

“When we get an early snow melt, the water comes out of the mountain much quicker and then it slowly backs up. When it backs up and lays stagnant for more than 72 hours, that’s when the mosquitoes can hatch,” said Zoe Kirk with the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen (RDOS).

Kirk said most of the complaints so far are coming from residents in Osoyoos, Oliver, Olala and Faulder.

“I phoned (the RDOS), ‘Save me!'” exclaimed Oliver resident Bonnie Shamber.

The RDOS has a Nuisance Control Program to tackle the pesky insects and has a mosquito control crew that will go to people’s properties.

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Kirk said mosquitoes are hard to control once they’re adults, so the best time to catch them is in the larval stage.

Crews spray a pesticide called BTI into larvae habitats. The BTI dissolves and turns into a toxin in the larvae’s gut, killing the bug.

Kirk said the BTI is harmless to other species.

Shamber is grateful for the program.

“It is amazing. It works very well, very quickly too,” said Shamber.

The RDOS says people can protect themselves from the thirsty mosquitoes by mending screens and reducing the sources of standing water.