Mosquito control in Whitehorse may start as early as April 20

Mosquito season is a couple of weeks ahead of schedule, says the president of D.G. Regan and Associates, the company that does mosquito control in Whitehorse.
Mosquito season is ahead of schedule, says the company that does mosquito control in Whitehorse. (CBC)

Spring is in the air in Whitehorse and soon, so could the mosquitos.

The City of Whitehorse says mosquito control programs could start as early as April 20. 

Matthew Sider with the City of Whitehorse says the mosquito control program costs the city about $68,000 annually, which includes 12 hours of helicopter time and about 2,700 kilograms of VectoBac.

This year is a couple of weeks ahead of schedule in terms of mosquito development, says Curtis Fediuk, president of D.G. Regan and Associates. His company has been doing mosquito control in the Yukon for decades.

Fediuk says his crews have already found some mosquito larvae starting to hatch.

Mosquitos pose no serious health threats to Yukoners but Fediuk says keeping their numbers down reduces their nuisance and makes economic sense.

"If you operate a campground and nobody stays in your campground, you're out of business," he says.

Amanda Stehelin operates the Robert Service Campground on the Yukon River in Whitehorse and says she's barely had a mosquito problem in 20 years. 

"I've had bug spray for sale in the campground office for years and years and I hardly ever sell any," she says.

That wouldn't surprise Fediuk, who says its annual control programs play a big role in keeping mosquito numbers down. 

He says suppression programs only work if they're sustained, because mosquito eggs can remain viable in the soil for 25 years. 

"The [mosquito] population gets suppressed over time," he said. "So then what happens though if someone stops the program or they change it dramatically, all of a sudden the populations can rebound very quickly."

Fediuk says property owners can reduce mosquito breeding by getting rid of shallow, standing water, by doing things such as filling in tire ruts.

He says the product used by Regan and Associates, a biological larvicide called VectoBac, is safe for humans and animals.

His crews will soon be treating standing water in the city by hand and larger areas, including McIntyre Creek and the marsh behind Copper Ridge, by helicopter.


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