With a higher than average snowpack that is rapidly melting due to the recent heatwave, conditions are favourable for a increase in mosquitoes this summer, according to a report from the Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD).
Areas with flooding and high river levels in spring can create a perfect storm for mosquitoes, with many noticing the mosquitoes have been out in full force at the start of this summer.
Floodwater mosquito eggs are laid in damp areas that often experience flooding.
Within Golden and Electoral Area A, mosquito sites are mainly located along the flooding corridors of the Columbia River and the Kicking Horse River.
According to data from the CSRD, the 2021 Columbia River levels peaked at approximately 0.337 metres higher than in 2020 and are at the highest peak of the last decade. All mosquito development sites were wet in 2021, indicating a possibility for high mosquitoes hatch rate.
In Golden, treatments for mosquito control began in late April according to the CSRD, with ground treatments from April 21 to May 10 and again from May 21 to July 5. There were also five days of aerial treatments on May 4, June 11, June 24, June 30 and most recently July 7.
As of July 9, about 88 hectares of ground were treated with a bacterial larvacide from Morrow BioScience LTD.
Larvacide targets the larval stage of mosquitoes for a targeted and highly effective approach, according to Morrow BioScience LTD., with minimal impact on other forms of wildlife in the area.
Post-treatment monitoring of both ground and aerial treatments revealed high efficacy.
While river levels may remain high and development sites wet into August, the CSRD anticipates most floodwater mosquitoes have either hatched or been treated, and that above normal temperatures and a dryer summer may mean mosquito development sites have become dryer sooner than normal this season.
Despite treatments, mosquitos will continue to be a nuisance throughout the summer, even if their numbers are reduced.
So aside from locking your doors all summer, what can you do to reduce the impact of the annoying bloodsuckers?
There are some pretty good repellents out there, with the best-known ones containing DEET.
According to Interior Health, DEET is the most effective and widely used insect repellent.
Products with more DEET, however, will not be more effective but will last longer.
The health authority also says DEET is safe to use and no evidence it poses a risk when applied properly. It’s recommended to use products with 30 per cent or less DEET, with further guidelines for children under the age of 12 on the Interior Health website. For those who are still DEET-wary, there are other products that contain soybean oil or picaridin which are also considered as effective mosquito repellants.