Spring mosquito season slightly behind this year in Edmonton, but picking up

Click to play video 'Mosquito season underway in Edmonton and surrounding region' Mosquito season underway in Edmonton and surrounding region
WATCH ABOVE: (May 19) If you've been outdoors lately you've likely noticed mosquitoes are back.

Edmonton’s “bug guy” says that this year, the mosquito season is slightly behind what the area normally sees, but still ahead of last year’s slow start.

“[Light traps] are definitely indicating that we are seeing an increase in mosquito activity at this time,” Mike Jenkins, pest management coordinator with the City of Edmonton, said Wednesday.

“We are seeing our typical spring species. These include a number of species that are very aggressive daytime biters.”

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Jenkins said that while he believes this year’s spring season is still behind the general average in the area, numbers have been increasing quicker than last year.

“We’re [currently] about a week or two behind where we usually see the climb in activity for these daytime active species,” he said.

“Compared with last year, last year we had a very, very low number of mosquitoes for May.”

However, the species Edmonton is seeing now doesn’t paint a very clear picture on what the summer will look like, since the mosquitoes that make up the summer wave are different and haven’t started hatching yet.

“We are not seeing yet our typical summer species Aedes vexans. Typically, that species doesn’t show up until well into June,” Jenkins said.

He said that by late July that species, which is the “typical” ankle-biting mosquito people think of that is most active at dawn and dusk, makes up 99.9 per cent of the pests.

“We haven’t seen that one show up at all yet, but once it does show up it quickly takes over.”

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The city’s pest control program primarily targets the Aedes vexans species and aims to kill its eggs and larvae, which Jenkins said haven’t been spotted by crews yet.

The mosquito species that carries West Nile, Culex tarsalis, is also seen only in the late summer when there are “high accumulating temperatures,” said Jenkins.

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DEET or all-natural insect repellent – which is better?

There are over 30 types of mosquito species that are typically seen in the Edmonton area.

The city’s pest control program uses larvicides to target standing water in fields and ditches following rainfall, mainly on private land with permissions.