Southern Ontario likely to see an onslaught of mosquitoes this summer: expert

April showers brought May flowers and will likely bring plenty of mosquitos as well.
April showers brought May flowers and will likely bring plenty of mosquitos as well. Files

Residents of southern Ontario will need to stock up on bug juice as one expert predicts that we are about to get hit by a wave of hungry mosquitoes.

“I think it’s going to be a bad year,” University of Waterloo’s Marcel Pinheiro said. “I don’t think we are looking at northern Ontario-level covered in mosquitos, but I think that people should be ready for bugs.”

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In April, the Waterloo region was hit by the nasty ice storm which led to a record amount of precipitation, according to the Frank Seglenieks of the University of Waterloo Weather Station. A month later, the region was hit by record heat levels. The combination of the two is the perfect recipe for mosquitos, Pinheiro said.

“Around here we have mosquitoes that will over winter stay in old barns and houses,” he explained. “They won’t die off but they will sort of rest — almost sort of hibernate — over the winter and then come out in the spring once things warm up a bit, to try and lay their eggs.”

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He said that all of the flooding would have left the mosquitos, who lay their eggs in still water, plenty of places to breed.

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“So just because of that, we’ve got a lot of young mosquitos, and then we’ve already had some pretty warm weather,” Pinheiro explained. “With those hot days we’ve got, they’re going to develop to an adult stage pretty quickly. And once they start biting, they can get to the point where they can start laying eggs.”

While southern Ontario is expected to have a rough go in the spring/early summer with regards to mosquitos, the end of the summer will depend on how wet things get in July and August.

That will be the period people should be most concerned about West Nile Virus.

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“That tends to be more of an issue for humans later in the summer. It tends to need a few days of really warm weather for the disease to build up in the mosquito to the point that they can transmit the disease to humans.”

Pinheiro says people should enjoy the great outdoors for Southern Ontario, but just take the proper precautions.

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“Use a mosquito repellent with deet or wear some long sleeves, long pants, which isn’t always the thing to do in our southern Ontario summers, but it’s going to be really useful to keep that bug spray on and be safe.”