Perfect mosquito storm brewing in Okanagan

With high temperatures and increased water levels, mosquito rates are on the rise.

Mosquito season has arrived in the Okanagan.

With flooding and increased water levels, mosquito hatching rates have spiked.

“It’s the second year where we’ve had this perfect storm with conditions that help to breed mosquitoes,” said Bruce Smith, Communications and Intergovernmental Affairs Officer for the Central Okanagan region.

His team has been working tirelessly since early April to combat the issue and make it somewhat manageable. He says his team has used more treatment in terms of volume than in the years before — they have been in existence for about 30 years.

When mosquito larvae is detected, it is controlled using a bio-rational, bacterial larvicide called VectoBac 200G. Water surfaces of lakes and rivers are treated regularly. Roadside catch basins — also known for being large breeding grounds for mosquitoes — are also monitored. Smith suggests the public drain standing water twice a week to prevent mosquito hatchings on personal property.

“It will only take a few millimetres of water for mosquito larva to survive and hatch into biting mosquitoes,” Smith wrote in a press release Thursday.

Though his group mainly works out of Kelowna, he said the issue stretches much farther than their own jurisdiction.

“It’s definitely across the entire Okanagan region that there’s this same problem,” he said. “That’s because we’ve had high water levels in the lakes and overflowings in the creeks — that and the warm temperatures tend to bring out the mosquito hatchings.”

He says their intention isn’t to eliminate mosquitoes altogether.

“The goal is to limit mosquitoes to a tolerable nuisance level for people,” Smith added.

But despite control efforts, rising mosquito rates will likely persist. So grab some mosquito repellent because it’s expected to get worse with peaks in mid-June and July.

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