Those who spend time outdoors may have found themselves itching and scratching lately — but mosquito numbers are lower locally than in recent years.
Mosquitoes have been hatching and biting and Thompson Nicola Regional District environmental service co-ordinator Martin Dickson said treatment of development sites throughout the region is underway.
Dickson said the TNRD’s contractor wrapped up treatment of snow melt areas — mosquitoes lay eggs that sit in the soil awaiting water and heat — about a week and a half ago.
The crew started treatment with larvicide one week earlier this year, at the end of March. Dickson said mosquitoes were particularly bad in the past two years and work started earlier to get a better handle on the situation. This year, he said, there have been fewer development sites as a result of a “lot less water this year.”
“In the last two years, we had so much water,” Dickson said. “Precipitation, snow melt water. We had mosquitoes early on.”
Dickson said itching and scratching at this time is not likely the result of many mosquitoes but instead one particularly aggressive breed, the ochlerotatus dorsalis.
“It doesn’t take a lot of them to make someone think that there is a full-on outbreak,” Dickson said. “They’re just really aggressive and you feel their bites, a little painful. That’s largely what the problem is.”
Warm weather last week activated any remaining snow melt sites and field technicians are “on it,” Dickson said. The contractor started this morning treating sites in the Darfield, Chuchua and Blackpool zones. With the North Thompson expected to pique this week, aerial treatment from Darfield to Kamloops will target those activated sites as the flood water rises.
“It’ll peak, that’ll activate the sites, the water will drop a bit, then you will get these pools and you can kill these mosquitoes in large numbers,” Dickson said.
Last year, a record amount of larvicide was applied at nearly 17,000 kilograms to about 4,200 hectares of land in the regional district, including Kamloops.
The company’s previous record of 16,190 kilograms was in 2012. Dickson said he hopes the flood water treatment will wrap up over the next couple of weeks.
To report a mosquito development site, contact the 24-hour mosquito advisory line by phone at 250-372-5700 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
As for itchy residents, Dickson recommended keeping pool covers clean and eaves troughs clean, grass short, wear light-coloured clothing and utilize repellant with deet.
“That’s a proven winner,” he said.