Bad mosquito season ahead for Waterloo region, expert says

Waterloo region is in for a bad mosquito season, according to the University of Waterloo’s Marcel Pinheiro.

Late snow in April, cool start to summer provide excellent mosquito breeding ground

Waterloo region will see a particularly bad mosquito season this year, according to a University of Waterloo expert. (James Gathany/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/Associated Press)

Waterloo region is in for a bad mosquito season, according to the University of Waterloo's Marcel Pinheiro.

Pinheiro, who works in the university's biology department, said the late dump of snow in April left behind water-logged soil and standing water – perfect conditions for mosquito breeding.

"With that extra kind of mild tail of the spring into the warmer weather, that's really perfect time for the mosquitoes to be laying eggs," said Pinheiro. "Lots of breeding ground, you're probably going to end up with lots of mosquitoes flying around as temperatures start to rise."

Potential danger for pets

He said the region typically sees an increase toward the end of May and early June, and "it's just going to continue on from there."

"As we have more mosquitoes, there's the chance that we could potentially have those species of mosquitoes that are going to be carrying diseases like West Nile," he said. "What you really want to do is make sure that you're applying mosquito spray, mosquito repellant with DEET."

Pinheiro said pets, in particular dogs, are also at risk when it comes to diseases spread by mosquitoes.

Heartworm, a parasitic infection that's transferred by mosquitoes, is one to guard against in pet dogs.

Larviciding process underway

The Region of Waterloo has already begun larviciding in catch basins, sewage lagoons as well as ditches.

That work will continue until October.

Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health has also started the larviciding process – and is encouraging people who live in the area to empty and remove standing water in places like flower pots, bird baths, wheelbarrows and more.

They're advising people to avoid mosquito bites and potential exposure to West Nile by wearing light coloured clothing, including pants and long-sleeved shirts, avoiding the outdoors at dawn and dusk and using repellent with DEET.

with files from Maeve Doyle