Swarms of mosquitoes emerging early in the season

By Tanya Cronin
May 11, 2016 - 4:11pm Updated: May 11, 2016 - 6:56pm

KAMLOOPS — Warm weather and an early snow melt has created the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes. 

The nuisance bugs are showing up much earlier than normal in the Southern Interior, forcing mosquito control experts to act quickly. 
As long as there's standing water, there will be mosquitoes, and there are measures homeowners can take to stave off species that transmit serious disease.

With a quick blast, the birth of millions and millions of pesky mosquitoes comes to a halt.

"We knock back any larvae developing and prevent them from emerging and attacking humans," says Cheryl Phippen, Owner of BWP Consulting Inc.

Swarms of mosquitoes are popping up, and trained control techs like Cheryl Phippen are taking action. Aerial and ground treatments are being done up and down the North and South Thompson, crews sparying a natural bacteria to stop the spread of the bug.

"We blow out onto the pond and the mosquito larvae consume the bacteria, the protein from it, and it kills the mosquito larvae, and the best thing is it kills no other organisms, not even other insects are affected."

Warm weather and a lot of standing water has created a prime breeding ground for mosquitoes, and it's all happening a month earlier than usual.

"We started our snow melt treatments which we typically start the 2nd or even the 3rd week of April, we were starting at the end of March and going as fast as we could because the larvae were developing so fast."

It's a tedious task, but an important one. With mosquitoes comes concern for West Nile Virus, carried and transmitted by certain species of mosquitoes. A species that is already emerging.

"Typically we don't see the first of them until the end of May, and we were seeing them at the end of April, there's the potential for the population of that species to get high later in the season, if that happens, we could see cases of west nile."

But that could be difficult to track. The Ministry of Health has deemed West Nile endemic in BC, and has stopped routine testing of birds and mosquitoes. 80% of people who contract the disease show no symptoms, but of the 20% who do, it can be serious.

"A severe flu that would develop in the summer time instead of flu season, and then 1% can develop a severe form of meningitis which can lead to death or long term disability but very rare."
One scoop and mosquito control crews can see how many larvae are in one spot. Although it's impossible to completely eliminate mosquitoes, it is possible to make your property unfriendly to the little bloodsuckers.  

"People should look around swimming pool covers, anything that has standing water, tarps, make sure evestroughs are cleaned out because there's a of mosquito larvae in people's yards right now," says Phippen.

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