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Winnipeg to larvicide smaller area – but you shouldn’t see more mosquitoes

Winnipeg is reducing the area it larvicides due to budget constraints.
Winnipeg is reducing the area it larvicides due to budget constraints. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Dave Chidley

The City of Winnipeg is set to larvicide a smaller area than it did last mosquito season.

With the exception of East St. Paul, Winnipeg will only larvicide eight kilometres outside city limits this year.

In years past, the boundary was 10 kilometres outside the city.

But Superintendent of Insect Control Ken Nawolsky said even with the two kilometre reduction, you shouldn’t notice more mosquitoes in Winnipeg.

“We’re hoping there won’t be a change in the mosquito population, but there’s other factors that are beyond our control,” he said.

READ MORE: City eyes drone to target mosquito breeding grounds around Winnipeg

“If you have strong prevailing winds for a number of days, that’ll push the mosquitoes in, too, so there’s some things we can’t control. But if all else is equal, then most mosquitoes should stay within that zone and that’s where we need to target those areas where the mosquitoes are emerging.”

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He said of all the municipalities impacted by the larviciding zone changes, he’s glad East St. Paul stepped up to fund the difference to keep the same level of mosquito control.

The regular 10 kilometre boundary there will remain in effect this year after the municipality contributed $56,000.

Given the rivers and other water features in East St. Paul, Nawolsky said it’s a place that really benefits from larviciding.

READ MORE: Winnipeg mosquito trap counts hit record low in 2017

But the low levels of precipitation in Winnipeg over the past few months are good news for anyone concerned about mosquitoes.

“We’re looking in good shape, but the rains can dramatically change with weather patterns and we could get into a wet pattern,” Nawolsky said. “So far, the spring is looking good. Of course, you do see standing water out there now but we’re expecting most of it to go into the ground as the ground thaws and the frost levels go down.”

He said the city plans to begin larviciding in about three weeks, if the weather cooperates. Crews will continue larviciding until mid-September.

The city decided to reduce the larviciding zone after costs increased when Winnipeg switched to a biological mosquito control program in 2015, without seeing extra funding for the service in the budget.

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