The flooding followed by extreme heat in B.C. has spurred an uptick in mosquitoes dispersing from their hatching grounds and heading straight for open skin.
Dirk Lewis, known as the “mosquito guy” at Morrow BioScience in Rossland, told Black Press Media that this year seems to be particularly favourable for the tiny midge-like flies after flooding hit cities including Grand Forks, Chilliwack and Kelowna.
“We are hearing from residents in many areas of the province, wondering what they can do about the mosquito annoyance,” Lewis said.
Female mosquitoes look to lay their eggs in soil that is protected from risks but prone to flooding, like near rivers and creeks. They average about 1,000 eggs in a lifetime. As eggs cannot hatch until they get wet, each tiny egg can remain dormant for as long as 10 years, waiting for perfect conditions.
Cue the floodwaters reaching near-historic levels in parts of the Lower Mainland and the Interior last month.
“Most areas close to the Fraser River from Langley through Chilliwack are experiencing elevated adult mosquito populations right now, with some areas worse than others,” Lewis said.
There is good news: The recent heat wave will determine how long the pesky biters stick around.
“Hot and dry weather will accelerate their demise,” Lewis said, predicting there will be fewer of them by Canada Day.
In the meantime, he suggested people remove and replace the standing water around their homes including stale bird baths, as well as getting rid of water sources in clogged gutters or inside the rim of old tires.
“Sometimes finding these sources of water requires a bit of detective work,” he said.
The best advice he has is to wear long and loose fitting clothing in light colours; have good, screened windows; and repellent that’s undergone standardized testing and carries a PCP number on the bottle.
“If you are noticing significantly more mosquitoes than normal, then it is worth calling your local government to see if you have a mosquito control program in your area,” he said. “Field technicians are usually keen to discover new places that mosquitoes may be coming from.”