The GTA could be in for big mosquito invasion this summer
The wet weather this spring has provided perfect breeding conditions for the pests
There's one more reason to complain about all of the rain we've had this spring.
It's created the perfect conditions for mosquitoes to breed, according to David Phillips, senior climatologist at Environment Canada.
"The conditions are absolutely right, I don't think you could have ordered the weather better." Phillips said.
It's rained so much that we've seen flooding in many areas. It's also rained so frequently, that even in areas where it hasn't flooded, standing water hasn't had a chance to dry up. Phillips says that provides a perfect place for mosquitoes to lay their eggs.
"Any time you have water that is just standing there collecting just naturally, or in human vessels such as tarp, or wheelbarrows , or splash pools, or eavestroughs, boy, it doesn't take a lot of water and mosquitoes are going to be breeding in it."
Certainly from a nuisance factor, I would think it's probably going to be a difficult year.-David Phillips, Senior Climatologist, Environment Canada
Phillips not only expects more mosquitoes in the GTA than we've seen in a long time, he also thinks they could be even hungrier for blood.
The cooler temperatures we've had are to blame for that, he says.
"We've certainly had temperatures that have been on the cool side and so mosquitoes are generally more active, faster biting when conditions are kind of lukewarm," Phillips said, "Certainly from a nuisance factor I would think it's probably going to be a difficult year."
And when mosquitoes are biting, there's also one other concern.
"It's a serious issue because mosquitoes do carry diseases and that would be an issue that people do have to look out for." Phillips said.
Later this month Toronto Public Health will begin monitoring adult mosquitoes in the city to assess the risk for West Nile Virus, a mosquito-borne infection that can cause symptoms like fever, headache and rash. In rare cases, symptoms can be much more severe.
Toronto Public Health recommends taking the following precautions to protect against mosquito bites:
- Wear light-coloured, long-sleeved shirts and pants when outdoors.
- Apply insect repellent containing DEET or icaridin and follow the manufacturer's instructions.
- Take extra care during peak mosquito biting time (dusk and dawn) by using mosquito repellent and wearing protective clothing.
- Remove standing water from your property, where mosquitoes can breed.
- Ensure your home has tight-fitting screens on windows and doors.
Phillips says another good preventative measure is eliminating any potential breeding grounds near your home. He says look for standing water and find a way to get rid of it.
"Empty those vessels so that there's fewer areas that mosquitoes can breed in."