Every day they gear up to kill, they are on the front line. They start each day by entering stagnate waters, marshes and swamps. Their mission? To destroy mosquito larvae.
They are armed (footed?) with gumboots and backpacks. They look like Ghostbusters on the hunt for spirits, but the mosquito control team isn’t capturing any paranormal entities, they are looking for the bloodsucker's larvae's hiding places, so they can disperse a biological control agent into where they live.
The agent is an environmentally-friendly larvicide pellet that is sprayed in over 300 active breeding sites within the Regional District of the Central Okanagan (RDCO).
Stavros Angelatos, with BWP Consulting, says his team works for the RDCO, they wade into still water from West Kelowna to Oyama.
“We have lots of phone call reports of stagnant water at properties and we are usually looking for big fields,” he says.
However the mosquito control program is not designed to eradicate the mosquito population, but used as a way to manage the insects.
“What we are trying to do is reduce problem areas,” says Angelatos. “Mosquitoes are a natural part of the life cycle. We don’t treat (the areas) right away, when we find larva we wait till the fourth in-star stage or the third because we like to know that the tadpoles are still able to eat and other insects are able to eating in the food chain and are able to get their protein source.”
The team gets several calls each day asking for help to control problem areas, but they do not do homes.
“Unfortunately we can’t come and attend every home that may have a small pool of stagnant water.”
“One female mosquito lays 100 eggs, so if you have a small bucket of water you could have thousands of mosquitoes being born.”
Instead of calling BWP Consulting, Angelatos suggests immediately dumping the water, circulate new water over the area and purchase Mosquito Dunks that can be placed in small pools of water to stop mosquitos from breeding.
He also recommends wearing loose light clothing when outside and using Deep Woods Off to keep the mosquitoes away.
Lucky for the Okanagan, Angelots says the pesky flying vampires aren’t considered to be a big problem this year.
“We have had a lot more overcast days this year, so the mosquitoes that typically die off a lot sooner and harbour in places (when it’s hot or raining), are out a lot more,” he explains. “But as the weather keeps getting warmer those mosquitoes are going to die off.”
So if something stings . . . in your neighbourhood, who you gonna call? BWP Consulting. But only for large areas of concern, not residential lots and houses.
The team can be found on Wednesdays at the Kelowna’s farmers' market educating the public on mosquito control.