Swarms of mosquitoes have at least one camper reconsidering their stay at Shuswap Lake Provincial Park.
The Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD) announced in March that it wouldn’t be doing mosquito control in the Scotch Creek area this spring. This decision was in response to a letter from the Little Shuswap Lake Band (LSLB), which stated the band’s new chief and council was opposed to any further larvacidal spraying within the Scotch Creek Indian Reserve. The letter explained council was of the position that research is lacking with regard to the environmental risks associated with the method of mosquito-control used by the CSRD.
In response, the CSRD said the program, which involves the use of the larvacide Bti (Bacillus thuringiensis subspecies israelensis), would not be effective if the areas of nuisance mosquito breeding habitat on band lands and at Shuswap Lake Provincial Park were removed.
With summer camping season in full swing, people attempting to enjoy some vacation time at the park and in Scotch Creek have been sharing their mosquito experiences on Facebook, advising others that the mosquitoes have been terrible and to pack tons of bug spray. One poster advised against coming to Scotch Creek “unless you want to stay inside a building or cover yourself in the strongest Deet bug repellent because the mosquitoes are not repelled by anything safe for children or families.”
In a July 14 email, one camper at the park told the Observer, “Today my kids were not safe at the beach because of the cloud of mosquitoes, literally swarms of mosquitoes biting my kids.” Though they’d planned to stay at the park for five days, they would likely be leaving after one.
Later on July 14, the CSRD issued a media release responding to the mosquito issues at the park and Scotch Creek.
“As mosquitoes continue to create problems for people in Scotch Creek this summer, the Columbia Shuswap Regional District, the Little Shuswap Lake Band and BC Parks are working together to possibly restart the mosquito control program in 2023,” reads the release.
The CSRD described its Bti product, Aquabac, as a “soil-borne bacterial product that specifically targets mosquitoes in their larval growth stage before they hatch,” adding the product is regulated by the federal government.
With its support, the CSRD said the LSLB is in the process of commissioning an independent study into any impacts Aquabac could have on the ecosystem.
“We understand the mosquitoes pose a problem for residents and visitors to the area who are looking to be outside and enjoy all the recreational opportunities. It is a difficult situation,” said Ben Van Nostrand, the CSRD’s team leader of Environmental Services. “However, we respect that all the partners in the program want to have their concerns addressed. We are doing what we can to try and resolve the situation for 2023.”
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