Mosquitoes are hatching and on the hunt.
Ken Lehman, parks planning and ecological specialist with the City of Red Deer, said the mosquito population was on the low side until the temperature started rising.
“We’ve certainly seen some hatching, some emerging adults in the last couple of days since the weekend because of this heat wave,” Lehman said.
“It’s alarming people because we haven’t had real numbers up to this point.”
Lehman said hatching was delayed because of the cooler spring.
“If we get the wet-hot, wet-hot thing going on, we could have a pretty good mosquito population through the remainder of the summer.”
Typically, the mosquito population doesn’t drop off until later in the summer, he said.
Weather is the determining factor. Hot and dry will kill off larvae. So far, wet pockets have stayed wet, he said.
“With the heat being what it is, if there’s any sort of a puddle with an egg mass, it’s progressing really quickly.”
The city was already targeting larvae in areas like ditches with bacillus thuringiensis israelensis (Bti), a registered microbial pesticide that leaves other aquatic organisms and wildlife unaffected.
“We treat the bad spots we know of. We don’t treat everything.”
Commonly used by municipalities to control mosquito populations, the nontoxic, microbial product is applied to the surface of the water.
“It more or less rips a hole in their gut. It takes them out.
“Where we’ve treated, it’s been a great impact. We’ve been able to stay on top of it for the most part up to this point because there hasn’t been the conditions.”
When conditions are right, untreated areas still produce mosquitoes.
They also migrate from surrounding areas.
City staff monitor both larvae and rainfall to determine when treatment is required.
Mosquito light traps in different areas of the city are also checked each Friday during the season to count mosquitoes and species.
Traps release carbon dioxide and mosquitoes are drawn to the traps.
“Typically we know what we’re going to see, more or less. But it will help us pick up any non-typical activity or allow us to quantify what we predict.”