Skeeters out a week early

Mosquito monitoring and treatment has started earlier than usual since Red Deer was spared its typical spring snowstorm.

Mosquito monitoring and treatment has started earlier than usual since Red Deer was spared its typical spring snowstorm.

Trevor Poth, parks superintendent with the city, said with less snow, city workers were out about a week early.

“We had crews out about two weeks ago at the start of April to do monitoring. Treatment started just about a week ago now. We’re not in our full-fledged campaign yet, but they’re treating as they go,” Poth said on Wednesday.

He said right now there are fewer mosquitoes than usual because the city hasn’t yet had a big rain storm this season. Those that are flying around tend to be large, slow moving and easy to catch.

“Those are just the mosquitoes that have overwintered as opposed to new hatches.”

They survive the winter in warm places like moist piles of grass.

Birds and bats are ready to snack on the mosquitoes that have emerged, he said.

“Dragonflies are still a few weeks away. But certainly the bird species are out there and they are enjoying the early season feast.”

Poth said Mother Nature will dictate how many mosquitoes will pester Red Deerians in the weeks to come.

“If we get lots of rain and consistent rain, we’ll have a lot more mosquitoes. Mosquito eggs can last for years and years in dry areas so it’s all about the amount of moisture we end up getting.”

The city uses a microbial pesticide called bacillus thuringiensis israelensis (Bti) on ponds where mosquito larvae will hatch. It is used to treat the aquatic larval stage of the mosquito life cycle before it emerges as an adult.

Bti is non-chemical product that only kills mosquitoes. It does not affect fishing waters, other aquatic organisms or birds.

The city mosquito program typically runs from April to August.

Poth said water is only treated after monitoring and where a lot of mosquito larvae are found. Right now, the focus is on melt from the remnants of snow loads through the city.

He said anyone who does find water with a large number of larvae should call the Parks Department at 403-342-8234 to make sure it’s being monitored by city crews.

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