Heavy rainfall now could mean early mosquitoes next year, experts say

WATCH ABOVE: Heavy rainfall affecting harvest, mosquitoes in southern Sask.

This week’s wet weather could give everyone’s least favourite pest a new lease on life, but you might not notice until the spring.

“The rain will definitely affect the mosquitoes,” said Regina forestry, pest control and horticulture senior program manager Russell Eirich.

“But whether they are actively biting — that’s a sort of yes, sort of no kind of answer.”

Global News
This week's rainfall totals already exceed monthly averages for several Saskatchewan communities.
This week's rainfall totals already exceed monthly averages for several Saskatchewan communities. Global News

READ MORE: Saskatchewan weather outlook: rain continues across the province

Southern Saskatchewan has been getting drenched this past week. Communities throughout the region have recorded weekly rainfall totals that exceed monthly averages.

The Queen City has received 32 milimetres of rain this week, and 36.6 mm in total this September. That’s 114 per cent of the average total for September in Regina.

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Swift Current meanwhile, has been wetter than all. So far this week, the city has recorded 40 mm of rain, making for 74.7 mm in total this September — or 232 per cent of the monthly average.

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Despite being later in the year, the added moisture can still be a boon for mosquito breeding, though they won’t be as active as those born earlier in the summer.

“It really depends on the species of mosquito. Primarily, though, the mosquitoes you’re going to see will enter a period of dormancy so they can overwinter as adults, which means they won’t actively bite you,” said Eirich.

These mosquitoes will spend the winter under fallen leaves and bushes in a phase called diapause.

“They’re actually going to semi-dehydrate so they can survive the winter months. They’re actually gonna be the early mosquitoes you might see around the middle the April right after a big snowstorm,” Eirich said.  “What that means is we just have to run our crews a little bit longer to try to get on top of it.”

Eirich said this is typically the city’s final week of active mosquito control, but with the wet conditions they plan to continue operations for another week or two.

“We’ll see if we can get a bit of a head start on next year.”

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It’s not all doom and gloom, though. Eirich says the timing of the moisture should bring some benefits as well.

“This is actually perfect weather for our trees, in terms of flushing out for next year and all that we’re building up capacity with the weather that way.”

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