The RDOS has put their mosquito control team into action for spring

Fighting against mosquitoes

Casey Richardson

The Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen (RDOS) has kicked off their mosquito control program, trying to get an early start against standing water sites that are the key breeding ground for the pesky insects.

Zoe Kirk, the public works project coordinator, said the team seems to be starting earlier and earlier every year to really try to get an edge on the larvae.

“Our crews are out now going back to those places that have given us permission to treat,” Kirk explained. A recent collection of a standing water site out in Dale Meadows in Summerland showed already hundreds of larvae, which can easily breed and grow into tens of thousands.

The RDOS distributes a larvicide which focuses on attacking just the mosquito species they are trying to deplete.

“What we’ve learned over time is that if we can get out early and have the crews go to our bellwether sites, then we can really get ahead of that hatch.”

Whether it will be a bad year for mosquitoes will depend on how the spring weather plays out.

“Mother nature always holds the cards for mosquito control. It depends upon snowpack and as we know, we’re at least 123 per cent this year,” Kirk explained.

“If it's a cool long spring, that snow can melt off and it’s truly not going to affect a lot of flooding, but if it happens to warm right up, which is very often the case in the Okanagan, we can then see a real rush of water come down.”

This ends up creating larger spots of standing water throughout the community, something residents should also remember to look for, including spots in the backyard that would be a warm welcome for the mosquitoes.

“The community can play a very large role in controlling the mosquitoes in their neighbourhoods. It’s looking at your yard from a mosquito larvae standpoint.”

These points could be old tires that collect water on the inside, keeping ponds clear of debris, draining old water out of bird baths and fixing water leaks in irrigation.

“If a mosquito has bred and she has eggs, she can lay in that muddy wet and then as soon as that water comes up and saturates the eggs, they’ll hatch,” Kirk explained.

Clear out your rain gutters, fill in depressions from landscapes and irrigate to avoid extra pockets of standing water.

“We know that it only takes a small amount, under an inch of water, that covers up a mosquito egg that is going to allow that to hatch,” Kirk said.

“The mosquito control program kicks in when that area on your property is too large for you to handle.”

For more information on the mosquito pest control program, visit the RDOS’s information page here.

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