City battling blood-suckers

Despite a slightly later start this year, City of Red Deer crews have made it tough for mosquitoes to spoil outdoor fun.

Despite a slightly later start this year, City of Red Deer crews have made it tough for mosquitoes to spoil outdoor fun.

Ken Lehman, parks ecological and planning specialist, said a handful of parks employees are targeting larvae in the Red Deer area to curb populations.

Their offensive began in mid April and ended on May 5. Last year, treatments started and finished about a week earlier.

A late spring and a cold streak midway through postponed the mosquito control program, Lehman said.

“This year wasn’t delayed a whole lot,” he said. “We have had start times in mid-April with treatments before.”

Red Deer is experiencing an average year for larvae, he said.

Some ponds and wetlands have more than normal amounts, but some areas had dried up so no larvae was found.

The city team heads out with special arsenal called Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis, or BTI. They wade into areas to place the bacteria into the water. The granular product floats.

Lehman said this product is environmentally friendly since it is target-specific.

Part of the attack plan is knowing where the blood-suckers like to breed.

“We’ve got it mapped out where we’ve found larvae before,” Lehman said.

Monitoring is done through the spring and summer. Treatment is done when needed and as weather dictates.

Red Deer is home to about 30 species of mosquitoes.

Only a handful of those prey on humans.

ltester@bprda.wpengine.com