The soggy start to summer has been a boon for one Okanagan pest.
Curtis Fediuk, who is contracted for mosquito control throughout the Central Okanagan, said the creatures are having a banner year with conditions amounting to a greater concentration of mosquitoes and mosquito eggs
“There are definitely more mosquitoes and it’s not unique to Kelowna,” Fediuk said. “They are abundant everywhere … it’s been that kind of spring and summer.”
The first problem was the slow snow melt, then flooding of stream and river banks where eggs await and then extra water simply accumulating in hidden-away places for longer, so new eggs could be laid.
“All that extends mosquito breeding window,” he said.
And, he said, in Kelowna, there are roughly 300 sites with standing water and permanent ponds.
“You think it’s dry and deserty there, but there’s a lot of swamps that are permanent,” he said.
The good news, however, is that the upcoming heat is going to get their populations better under control.
“Hot weather kills more mosquitoes than any bird, bat or dragonfly would,” he said. “Those are good predators, but mosquitoes can’t regulate their water and their best killer is desiccation.”
That said, mosquito management is not left to Mother Nature alone.
His crews head out to those 300 sites where mosquito populations tend to build and then go in and use a larvicide to wipe them out before they even spread their wings.
“It looks like Grapenut cereal,” he said, adding that it’s all-natural. Once thrown into the water, the larvicide floats along until mosquitoes eat them and die.
Sprays that were once popular for their effectiveness are not welcome anymore.
“They don’t discern against species,” he said.
“The products we use now are safe for the environment. Other species are not affected by the product.”
To protect oneself from the mosquitoes that remain, Fediuk recommended bug spray with DEET and wearing light clothing.
There are also recommended Thermacells, and a range of preventative options to avoid attracting mosquitoes to the home.
Trim lawns, pull out weeds and eliminate any pools in the backyard, including tires, saucers of water in potted plants or at the bottom of bird feeders.