Calgarians trying to enjoy the last month of summer after a record wet July have been complaining about what appears to be an increase in mosquitoes.
But is it just their imagination?
“No, there actually are, relative to what we saw earlier this year,” University of Calgary entomologist John Swann told Global News Monday. “It’s just for the past year-and-a-half—so all of last year and up until just after Stampede—we’ve had it on easy street for mosquitoes.
“We’re nowhere near the normal levels.”
Swann estimates the mosquitoes are at about 25 per cent of the “normal level” for this time of year, but will be starting to build up soon.
He said the unusually wet, cooler summer weather Calgary has seen has had an impact on populations.
“You need warmer temperatures also for those summer mosquitoes to cycle through faster and get more generations,” he said. “So really yes, we’re starting to catch up in terms of moisture and mosquitoes, but temperatures are still slowing it down.”
Swann acknowledges he’s had friends who’ve abandoned camping trips because they felt they were being “eaten alive” but said there’s no need for Calgarians to worry about Zika virus, for example.
He estimates the mosquito population will start to subside by early September, explaining they’ll build up until a frost kills the adults.
Swann advises people to wear light-coloured, long-sleeved shirts, and pants to protect against the bugs. Avoid wearing sandals and remember to put sunscreen on first, let it dry, then apply bug repellent.
With files from David Boushy