Swarms of aggressive mosquitoes may soon die off

Relief could be on the way from the swarms of mosquitoes that have descended on Red Deer and area like a winged plague.

Stephanie Gillis sprays Kinnon Bouchie

Stephanie Gillis sprays Kinnon Bouchie

Relief could be on the way from the swarms of mosquitoes that have descended on Red Deer and area like a winged plague.

The single-minded, seemingly wind-resistant squadrons of blood-thirsty pests tormenting local residents for the last couple of weeks are nearing the end of their life cycle.

“The mosquitoes we’re seeing are very aggressive,” agrees Ken Lehman, the city’s parks planning and ecological specialist, on Thursday.

“They are very active during the day. Fortunately, they are short-lived.

“We’ve had a lot of activity in the last little while.

“But with the hatch that is out there, it should drop off for us.”

If — and this is a big if — the weather co-operates and there isn’t too much rain followed by a warm spell in the next while to promote another round of hatching, there should be some relief.

“I can’t guarantee anything. But I would suspect over the next couple of weeks we’re going to see a drop in mosquito populations.”

Lehman, who is on the front lines of the annual mosquito war, said it has been a bigger-than-usual onslaught so far.

Put that down to the big snowmelt that left lots of temporary wet areas tailor-made for mosquito larvae.

“There was a good hatch over the last couple of weeks that is a result of all the standing water we had from the snow.”

Strong southeasterly winds may also have contributed to the numbers by blowing in mosquitoes from surrounding areas outside of zones the city targets in its annual spring mosquito control campaign, which is aimed at getting the critters at the larva stage.

That program was successful, with good kill rates. However, there were just so many wet areas this year that the city couldn’t hit them all, Lehman said.

Whether another round of torment is coming depends largely on the vagaries of weather.

“If we don’t get the moisture, if we have a dry, warm summer, we might not see many mosquitoes at all.”

While the city’s large-scale spring campaign is over, staff haven’t hung up their equipment for dispensing BTi (bacillus thuringiensis israelensis), a larvae-destroying bacteria that is non-toxic to other beneficial aquatic organisms.

Lehman said if rain-formed pools return, staff will go back and treat the larvae identified as among the peskiest species. The skeeter situation is monitored all summer and more treatment ordered when necessary.

In the meantime, cover up, grab the bug spray and cross your fingers.

pcowley@bprda.wpengine.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

House sales remain hot in central Alberta with first-quarter sales nearly double last year’s numbers. Photo by PAUL COWLEY/Advocate staff
Central Alberta real estate market hot in 2021

Residential sales nearly double 2020 in first quarter

Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer gave an update on Olymel's COVID-19 situation on Wednesday. (File photo by Advocate staff).
Veer addresses rising COVID-19 cases in Red Deer

Red Deer has added nearly 200 cases of active COVID-19 cases in past week

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw and Premier Jason Kenney say the province would look at adding additional COVID-19 measures in the coming weeks if the virus continues to spread. (Photo by Government of Alberta)
Walk-in COVID-19 vaccination clinic to open in Red Deer

Alberta adds 1,345 new cases of the virus

Innisfail RCMP are investigating a single-vehicle crash that happened west of Bowden on March 21, 2021. (File photo by Advocate staff)
RCMP investigate culturally insensitive graffiti at Sylvan Lake school

Sylvan Lake RCMP is investigating a vandalism incident. On April 17 around… Continue reading

A vial of the Medicago vaccine sits on a surface. CARe Clinic, located in Red Deer, has been selected to participate in the third phase of vaccine study. (Photo courtesy www.medicago.com)
Red Deer clinical research centre participating in plant-based COVID-19 vaccine trial

A Red Deer research centre has been selected to participate in the… Continue reading

FILE - In this Feb. 18, 2021 file photo State representatives gather at the Capitol, in Phoenix. Two years after Arizona lawmakers repealed a law barring any instruction on HIV or AIDS that that "promotes a homosexual lifestyle," they are close to enacting a broad remake of the state's sex education laws with a particular focus on LGBTQ issues. (AP Photo/Matt York,File)
Arizona governor vetoes strict sex education legislation

Arizona governor vetoes strict sex education legislation

People cheer after a guilty verdict was announced at the trial of former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin for the 2020 death of George Floyd, Tuesday, April 20, 2021, in Minneapolis, Minn. Former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin has been convicted of murder and manslaughter in the death of Floyd. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
Tears and relief sweep intersection where George Floyd died

Tears and relief sweep intersection where George Floyd died

This photo provided by the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office shows Ruben Flores, 80, who was arrested in connection to the murder of college student Kristin Smart at his Arroyo Grande home on Tuesday, April 12, 2021. San Luis Obispo County Sheriff Ian Parkinson said the arrest warrants for Ruben Flores and his son Paul Flores were issued after a search of the elder Flores' home last month using ground-penetrating radar and cadaver dogs. He said evidence was found linked to the killing of Smart but they had not yet located her body. (San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office via AP)
Document: Kristin Smart once buried in suspect’s backyard

Document: Kristin Smart once buried in suspect’s backyard

In this image from video, defense attorney Eric Nelson, left, and defendant, former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin listen to Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill read instructions to the jury before closing arguments, Monday, April 19, 2021, in the trial of Chauvin at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis. Chauvin is charged in the May 25, 2020 death of George Floyd. (Court TV via AP, Pool)
Chauvin guilty of murder and manslaughter in Floyd’s death

Chauvin guilty of murder and manslaughter in Floyd’s death

This undated image provided by Matthew Pottage shows drought-tolerant succulents in a window box in London. (Matthew Pottage via AP)
Going beyond the traditional window-box garden

Going beyond the traditional window-box garden

Members of the Canadian Armed Forces march during the Calgary Stampede parade in Calgary, Friday, July 8, 2016. Female service members and veterans are blasting the way Canada's military police investigate allegations of sexual assault and harassment in the ranks.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Female service members blast military police over sexual misconduct investigations

Female service members blast military police over sexual misconduct investigations

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is joined virtually by Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland as they talk online to a group of front-line pharmacists from across the country to discuss the ongoing vaccination efforts in the fight against COVID‑19, from the Prime Ministers office on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, April 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Freeland says Liberals open to provincial child care demands, draws line around fees

Freeland says Liberals open to provincial child care demands, draws line around fees

Pharmacist Barbara Violo arranges empty vials of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine that she has provided to customers at the Junction Chemist, an independent pharmacy in Toronto, Monday, April 19, 2021. Younger Canadians in several provinces are now able to get the AstraZeneca vaccine. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Trudeau, Freeland seeking AstraZeneca shots as they become age-eligible with others

Trudeau, Freeland seeking AstraZeneca shots as they become age-eligible with others

Most Read