When the rain ends, the mosquitoes will return with a vengeance
City spraying temporary breeding grounds in hopes of swatting back the onslaught
After the rain, there will be blood.
After weeks of cold, wet weather, Edmontonians are being told to prepare for an onslaught of hungry, freshly hatched mosquitoes.
In other words — get ready to itch, says Mike Jenkins, pest co-ordinator for the City of Edmonton.
"Our mosquitoes are driven by rainfall," Jenkins said in an interview Friday with CBC Radio's Edmonton AM. "Warm and humid are the ideal conditions.
"The primary purpose of the mosquito is to make more mosquitoes ... and to them, we just look like an easy protein source."
'Seeking blood meals'
It's normal for populations of the bugs to spike at the end of July, said Jenkins, adding that standing water from this month's heavy rain is an ideal breeding ground.
The forecast is expected to make a turn for the better on Sunday, with sunshine and temperatures in the mid-20s. About one week after that, the pests will be spawning in droves, Jenkins said.
City crews are fighting to curb the impending population boom and kill the mosquitoes before they take wing, spraying temporary breeding grounds and treating trouble spots from the air by dropping dry, granular larvicide from city-contracted helicopters.
There have been three "campaigns" with the chopper so far this summer, Jenkins said.
"Hopefully that will reduce the number of adults that are then coming into the city and seeking blood meals," he said. "But we can't get them all."
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There may be a silver lining to be found in the dreary summer weather, Jenkins said.
The cooler temperatures have meant there have been fewer bugs to torment Edmontonians so far this season.
"It gave us a longer opportunity to get after them, reduce their population and reduce their activity when they did emerge," Jenkins said. "They didn't migrate as far.
"That's been relatively good news even though the cold weather has not been necessarily good."
Soon, however, it will be time to start swatting.
With files from Emily Rendell-Watson