Winnipeg mosquito population should be low this summer, city says
Adult mosquito monitoring efforts begin May 1. City to continue using malathion in fogging program
Manitoba is warming and drying and that means it's only a matter of time before mosquito season is upon us. But by the city's estimates, it looks like Winnipeg may be in store for a mild summer as far as the blood suckers are concerned.
Ken Nawolsky, superintendent with the city's Insect Control Branch, said the first mosquitoes of the year hatched last weekend. The good news is the biters that come out in the next few weeks will be a little slow.
"The spring species aren't as aggressive and abundant as the summer, and the summer species typically hatch around when there is a significant rain, about mid-May to the long weekend, when the temperatures start increasing rapidly," said Nawolsky.
Adult mosquito monitoring efforts will start May 1, with first trap count tallies being posted to the city's Insect Control website May 4. Four new traps have been added to newer neighbourhoods in hopes of developing a more complete picture of the city's mosquito population.
Malathion supplies dwindling
The city will continue its adult mosquito nuisance fogging program, despite news last month from a World Health Organization (WHO) agency that said malathion is "probably" cancer-causing.
But with roughly 4,800 litres of the chemical left, Winnipeg's malathion supply is also running low. Nawolsky said the city is trying to find a new insecticide and get regulatory approval for its use by 2016.
"We are working feverishly with the Pest Management Regulatory Agency and other suppliers to see if we can expedite a process to bring up new products here," said Nawolsky.
Before any fogging happens this year, the city first hopes to silence the buzzers using larvicide. To do this, as in previous years, the city will use four larviciding helicopters to douse standing water ponds throughout the city with a biological agent that kills mosquitoes before they can take to the wing. A team of close to 180 workers will help in the effort, covering 31,000 hectares of water across the city.
The cankerworm and forest tent caterpillar populations are also being monitored currently. Cankerworm populations are expected to be low, but the tent caterpillar population could be in the moderate to high range, the city said.
Winnipeggers can apply for the city's 90-metre buffer zones by emailing the city at email@example.com, by faxing 311, or in person at 1539 Waverley Street.