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Skeeter season is here

High water could mean heavy itching in the Kamloops area
mosquito

With multiple and late peaks of the rivers, this year may prove to be a particularly bad mosquito season.

The latest helicopter campaign, which sprayed larvicide in flooded pools along riverbanks, took place in late June, conducted by BWP Consulting.

Cheryl Phippen, who owns the company contracted by the Thompson-Nicola Regional District to reduce mosquito populations, said her work is normally completed much earlier.

“The big difference for us this year is that it’s July and we’re still going hard,” she said. “Even when we have these multiple peaks, it usually means a mid-May or early June wrap-up.”

Mosquito treatments are undertaken across the TNRD, but largely upon the riverbanks of the North Thompson and South Thompson rivers.

Martin Dickson administers the process each year. He is the environmental services co-ordinator with the TNRD. Dickson explained where the treatments are done.

“You’ll get seepage from the river and it’ll basically form standing water in the lower lying fields. But also, the edges of rivers that aren’t contiguous with the flow of the river, just so we aren’t impacting any fish-bearing waters,” he said.

That standing water wets mosquito eggs, which hatch into larvae and later develop into adults, which then start feeding.

“It’s so much easier to reduce mosquitoes when they’re in such a concentrated state, versus when they’re adults and fly off,” Dickson said.

Phippen anticipates a flood of adult mosquito activity within the next week to 10 days.

“We’ve really had very little adult activity so far, but that doesn’t mean we’re not going to have a lot of mosquitoes,” she said.

Should this year’s mild weather continue with lower temperatures, Phippen said those adults may live until the fall, but hot weather at the right time could also wipe out the bulk of the bugs.

“Some typical summer heat would mean that even if some adults do emerge, they would die quickly. That could potentially be a good thing,” she said.

If they do emerge, Phippen recommends using a mosquito repellent containing DEET, rather than the “voodoo ones out there that don’t work,” she said.

“They make a ton of money on something that does nothing,” she said, noting repellents containing DEET are safe to use if instructions are properly followed.

The TNRD has a 24-hour mosquito advisory line at 250-372-5700 and by email at bwp@shaw.ca.