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Longer winter shortens mosquito season in Lethbridge

Click to play video: 'Longer winter shortens mosquito season in Lethbridge' Longer winter shortens mosquito season in Lethbridge
WATCH ABOVE: The warm weather in Lethbridge lately certainly has a lot of positives but there's one thing many agree is not so great: mosquitoes. Still, there is even some good news on that front. As Malika Karim explains, 2018 might not see as much bloodsucking as previous years – May 25, 2018

Carrying around a can of bug spray is a sign of spring, but this year’s longer winter may have saved Lethbridge residents a bit.

“We don’t have such a long mosquito season, because of the late spring,” said City of Lethbridge mosquito technician, Ron Esau. “That will help us a lot because the mosquitoes just haven’t been going.”

READ MORE: Mosquito numbers ‘a little bit up’ in Edmonton; here’s how to reduce bites

Snow accumulation this winter should have created a lot of standing water for mosquito eggs to hatch in, but that hasn’t happened, as most of the water has evaporated.

“With the dryness that we have right now, that sort of makes for a shorter season,” remarked Esau. “The mosquitoes do not have as much time to escalate in numbers as they normally would with a long mosquito season.”

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But don’t get your hopes up just yet.

“We’re coming into the rainy season. We usually think until about the middle of July, that’s kind of the main mosquito season,” said Esau.

READ MORE: Alberta health officials want your ticks to help monitor for Lyme disease

To help reduce the number of mosquitoes, the City of Lethbridge uses a granular-based bacteria to help kill off the larvae before they fully mature. The natural bacteria doesn’t harm any other species, unlike pesticides used to combat fully-grown mosquitoes.

“We just go around, looking in the ditches, we focus on our parks, on city land, we go outside the city just a little bit because mosquitoes will migrate,” said Esau. “So we throw in VectoBac when we find larvae in the water.”

Residents can help reduce the number of larvae around their homes by covering rain barrels so no mosquitoes can hatch in the standing water, and by draining or pumping out lower-land areas on farms into deep ponds, so no shallow-water areas become breeding grounds.

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