Weather bugs ‘skeeters’

Weather bugs ‘skeeters’

The good thing about having a cool, wet June is the mosquitoes don’t like the weather either.

City parks crews have had an easy spring and summer so far, in terms of mosquito control. Ken Lehman, parks planning and ecological specialist for the City of Red Deer, said the consistent rain has actually helped keep our mosquito populations down.

The best way to bolster mosquito numbers is to have huge downpours, followed by high heat, said Lehman.

“You need a cycle of wet, heat, wet, heat — but we’ve just had the wet.”

And rain has fallen in moderate amounts. Lehman said we haven’t had any of the huge deluges that would leave the standing pools of water needed for mosquito breeding.

The wetness and wind that have depressed the spirits of many Central Albertans have also ruffled the surface of ponds, drowning some mosquito larvae, he added. “

There hasn’t been a ton of larvae hatching. You would need some heat for that.”

But the forecast for the rest of the week is more of the same. Although today’s temperature is expected to hit 24 C, the forecast to Friday is in the 15C to 17C range — with more rain.

It’s possible for things to heat up in future without creating a mosquito epidemic, said Lehman.

But the rain would have to let up. And, most importantly, there shouldn’t be any massive downpours that would leave water pooling in fields.

Meanwhile, cooler June temperatures have made it harder to heat Red Deer’s outdoor pool.

Monique Pages, complex co-ordinator for the Red Deer Recreation Centre, said the pool had to be closed to the public for one day prior to the June 7 to 9 Catalina Swim Club meet to get the water heated to 27C.

While the annual swim competition is dubbed Freeze or Fry, Pages admitted it’s been many years since anyone had to worry about getting sun baked.

Part of the problem, this year, is that overnight temperatures fall so low into the single digits, the pool takes longer to heat up. “Last night (the air temperature) just about froze, she added.

While there haven’t been many public swimmers in the outdoor pool yet, Pages said the die-hard lane swimmers have attended pretty consistently.

lmichelin@bprda.wpengine.com