Mosquito fight kicks off in Winnipeg

The Middlesex London Health Unit (MLHU) is warning residents to be mindful of bug bites after mosquitos in Sifton Bog tested positive for West Nile Virus. AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File

Winnipeg has started its annual battle against mosquitoes.

The city’s buzzkilling efforts kicked off this week with an “aggressive, environmentally friendly” larviciding program looking to eradicate the bloodsuckers before they hatch.

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“With the above normal rainfall received late last fall, there is a large amount of standing water compared to normal,” said Ken Nawolsky, head of the city’s insect control branch, in a release.

“A significant spring larviciding program [is] anticipated as the mosquitoes have begun to hatch in the water.”

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Crews using 100 per cent biological larvicide will carry out the initial attack on the ground and from the air using four helicopters, says the city, and more than 28,000 hectares of water will be continuously monitored and treated on an ongoing basis.

Monitoring for adult nuisance mosquitoes will start May 1 with the first trap counts expected to be posted on the city’s website May 4.

Fogging will happen only if specific requirements, including the Provincial Pesticide Use Permit, are met, and the program will be carried out using DeltaGard, a spray considered more environmentally friendly than malathion.

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The city says areas with the highest nuisance mosquito populations will be prioritized, should fogging be required, and a 24-hour notice will be issued prior to the start of a nuisance fogging program.

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Anyone looking to set up a buffer zone around their home can register online through 311, by emailing, faxing 311, or writing to the Insect Control Branch at 3 Grey Street.

In-person registration for buffer zones has been cancelled due to COVID-19.

The city is asking Winnipeggers to help in the fight against mosquitoes by dumping out any standing water, draining eavestroughing or unused containers, covering rainwater collection containers, filling in any low-lying areas, and treating property with biological larvicide.

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