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Columbia Shuswap Regional District in talks to restart mosquito control program

With the pests out in force this year, the CSRD says it’s talking with the Little Shuswap Lake Band and B.C. Parks about restarting the program. Submitted

After a soggy spring and a rainy start to summer, the Columbia Shuswap Regional District is mulling the idea of restarting its mosquito control program.

Wet conditions are a boon for mosquitoes, with standing water and clogged gutters being ideal places for them to lay eggs.

With the pests out in force this year, the regional district says it’s now talking with the Little Shuswap Lake Band and B.C. Parks as to how to best manage mosquitoes in the Scotch Creek area.

Read more: Believe the buzz: Mosquitoes are out in force in the Okanagan this season

However, those looking for immediate relief will have to wait. The CSRD says the program won’t be restarted until 2023.

“The CSRD suspended the program earlier this year after the chief and council of the Little Shuswap Lake Band expressed discomfort with potential environmental impacts resulting from the mosquito larvicide treatment,” said the regional district.

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“As stewards of the land, the LSLB are concerned about possible environmental risks.”

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The CSRD said without including the areas of significant mosquito breeding habitat on the LSLB lands and the Shuswap Lake Provincial Park and campground, the mosquito control program would not be effective, so a decision was made to suspend it.

In explaining its mosquito control program, the CSRD says a product named Aquabac is used.

Several websites describe it as a biological larvicide that targets mosquitoes in their larval growth stage before they hatch. The CSRD added that it’s also a federally regulated product.

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According to the CSRD, the Little Shuswap Lake Band is in the process of commissioning an independent study on Aquabac. Global News has contacted the LSLB seeking confirmation.

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“We understand the mosquitoes pose a problem for residents and visitors to the area who are looking to be outside and enjoy all the recreational opportunities,” said Ben Van Nostrand, team leader of environmental health services with the CSRD.

“It is a difficult situation. However, we respect that all the partners in the program want to have their concerns addressed. We are doing what we can to try and resolve the situation for 2023.”

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