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Mosquito numbers could be set to spike in Regina

They're usually buzzing everywhere by this time of year: mosquitoes. As Regina residents prepare for the long weekend and their barbeques, the question is: will there be some unwelcome winged warriors at your Canada Day party? Jules Knox is on the front lines and tells us what we can expect.

Mosquito numbers have been low so far this year, but that could be about to change.

“Right now we trap an average of four mosquitoes per trap. Compared to our historical average of 25 mosquitoes per trap, we’re really doing well. We’re below average,” Russell Eirich, Regina’s pest control manager, said.

“But the wet weather is coming. It is starting to keep those ponds full, and we will start to see mosquito larvae emerge likely sometime this week, over the weekend,” he said.

“We’re getting that rain, heat, rain, heat, and that’s what actually drives the mosquito push,” he said.

The city has covered an area the size of 460 football fields with larvicide so far.

“In the last two weeks we’ve put out approximately 1,400 kilograms of product. Now if you compare that to the previous two weeks prior to that, that’s ten times the amount,” he said.

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“We are out there. We’re trying everything that we can before the mosquitoes come out as adults,” Eirich said.

To keep your yard mosquito-free, Eirich recommends using a larvicide, mosquito lamps or even garlic oil.

“It’s meant to make your yard a little bit more smelly to repel the mosquitoes in your yard,” he said.

West Nile virus can cause inflammation of the brain and even death. Eirich said it’s always a concern.

“2003 was our highest, but 2003 had very similar weather patterns to what we’re seeing this year. 2005, again same thing. It seems to be that when you get that rain, heat, hot, dry cycle that really drives it,” Eirich said.

Culex tarsalis is the mosquito that commonly causes West Nile virus in Saskatchewan, Eirich said.

“This is their type of season,” he said. “We can’t emphasize that message enough: protect yourself from mosquitoes.”

Eirich said it’s also a good idea to avoid outdoor activities half an hour before and after sunset, and to use bug repellant.

He also recommends keeping winter tires in the garage or shed, or bagging them if they’re left outside, so there’s no standing water in them.

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