Saskatchewan

Sharp increase in mosquito counts reported by City of Regina

The City of Regina's Buzz on Bugs report is showing a steep increase in the number of mosquitoes in and around Regina compared to this time last year.

City's 'Buzz on Bugs' report shows mosquito numbers higher than historical average

Regina was seeing a slow start to the presence of mosquitoes since April, but that all changed as a result of rainy days since June 19. (Canadian Press)

The City of Regina is reporting a sharp increase in the number of mosquitoes captured in traps. 

In the last week, traps set around Regina collected a total of 3,274 mosquitoes. In 2018, over the same week, the city only collected 376 mosquitoes.

"The amount of mosquitoes was four times our average so clearly we had a lot of work to do out there," said Russell Eirich, Regina's manager of forestry, pest control and horticulture.

He explained that during the most recent count of 12 traps, the city recorded 273 mosquitoes per trap, compared to the average of 73 mosquitoes.

Through the first week of July, mosquito numbers increased sharply over the historical average according to the City of Regina's Buzz on Bugs report. (Submitted by City of Regina)

Eirich noted while the city is working to combat the flying blood suckers, residents in Regina have a part to play as well, noting they should be draining any standing water from their property. 

"Be very vigilant," he said. "Every little bit of vigilance helps." 

Regina was initially seeing a slow start to the presence of mosquitoes in the city, but that all changed as a result of rain events that have occurred since June 19. On July 8, Eirich told reporters that mosquitoes have arrived in the Queen City in a big way.

Prior to July 7, Regina was seeing numbers well below average, with about five mosquitoes per trap compared to the historical average of 39 per trap, and during counts last weekend, 106 of the blood-sucking bugs were recorded in one night — up from the usual average of 70, usually collected over the course of four days.

The city's southwest region saw the biggest jump over last year when a total of 32 mosquitoes were reported for the first week of July in 2018. In 2019 1,326 mosquitoes were reported inside traps there.

Russell Eirich is the City of Regina's manager of forestry, pest control and horticulture. He said Regina has recorded a sharp spike in the number of mosquitoes recorded in the city, saying it's much higher than average. (CBC News)

Rural zones are also factored in to the city's Buzz on Bugs report. Over the last week, 1,028 mosquitoes were captured in traps outside of Regina. Last year, in the same week, 289 mosquitoes were trapped.

Eirich explained while numbers are much higher than in the past, officials have recorded a very small amount of mosquitoes capable of carrying illness like West Nile virus. 

"That's actually the good news story of it all," he said. "We only caught, in total, 12 Culex tarsalis between all 12 traps, so that's like one mosquito."

The arrival of wet weather has also caused a spike in mosquitoes in Saskatoon.

On Monday, Saskatoon's entomologist Jeff Boone said between July 7 and July 13, 26.42 mosquitoes were counted, compared to the average of 24.59. 

"Certain mosquito species that respond very well to spring rain events, those numbers are kind of spiking up in the last week or so," said Boone. "But prior to that, we had such dry conditions in the spring, we had very, very low mosquito numbers."

Residents can take several steps to protect themselves from becoming a victim of the blood-sucking bugs. They're encouraged to wear light, loose-fitting clothing and to avoid the outdoors during peak mosquito times, which is about 30 minutes before and after sunset.

With files from Bryan Eneas