A real buzzkill: Mosquito larviciding to begin Monday

The City of Winnipeg will begin its first phase of mosquito prevention Monday.

“Typically, at the end of April we begin our larviciding program for the control of mosquitoes. We were lucky that this spring…we’re left with normal conditions for standing water which is really treatable by our crews,” said Ken Nawolsky, Winnipeg insect control superintendent on Friday.

Once a female mosquito has her first blood meal she will lay her eggs in water, he said.  This year’s first mosquito larvae were spotted 10 days ago.

Mosquito prevention is most effective when it’s done early in the season, added entomologist Taz Stuart.

“Getting the larvae while they’re in the water is the best time to do mosquito control,” he said.

The current cool weather and low risk of heavy rain are favourable conditions which can keep mosquito populations down, said Nawolsky, adding larvae hatch much slower in colder weather.

The last two spring and summer seasons in Winnipeg have been relatively free of nuisance mosquitoes. The city has eliminated most of the mosquito population early on through larviciding, he said.

This has saved the city nearly $6 million since 2016.

However, it’s still too early to predict how bad mosquitoes will be this year, said both Nawolsky and Stuart. It depends on the weather.

“Mosquitoes are very dependent on temperature and water. If it’s hot, wet you’re going to have lots of nuisance mosquitoes. No water, no mosquitoes,” Stuart said.

Mosquito Prevention

Homeowners can also do their part in mosquito prevention, said Nawolsky.

“If you have containers and other materials that collect water in your backyard, please topple them over or least drain them so that you’re not going to have a habitat for mosquitoes to lay any eggs,” he said.

Light colors, long sleeves, long pants, and wearing bug repellent can help protect you from pesky bites, said Stuart.

A summer mosquito update is expected in mid-May.

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