Mosquitoes in Chilliwack ‘shouldn’t be as bad’ as some years

Abundance of adult nuisance mosquitoes — meaning the ones that bite — is correlated strongly to Fraser River water levels

Mosquitoes 'shouldn't be as bad' as some years

It’s freshet time in the Fraser Valley, which also means the start of mosquito season.

But two months of extra dry weather in Chilliwack means less water seepage up into Fraser River side channels and tributaries where nuisance mosquitoes tend to hatch.

“So we think it’s shaping up pretty well this season,” said Dirk Lewis of Morrow BioScience. “The dry weather has kind of helped us out.”

The end of snowmelt freshet at Mission also signals the end of the pre-season larvicide treatments with BTi which were underway by Morrow BioScience crews.

“But unless there’s another peak in water levels, or extra rain, that’s it,” Lewis added.

The resulting abundance of adult nuisance mosquitoes, meaning the ones that bite, is correlated strongly to Fraser water levels, said Lewis.

So the higher the water goes, the more terrain and larvae get covered. The larvae then get hydrated and hatch.

Flood water mosquitoes are the nasty ones because they tend to be buzzing around in bigger numbers, he said, and are more aggressive than some other types.

But because there is not a lot of snow melt water rushing down from the upper Fraser River watersheds for freshet right now, it likely means it will turn out to be quite manageable.

“It shouldn’t be as bad as some years.”

The years 2007 and 2012 were particularly challenging.

But river levels in 2015 are not going to reach the peak levels of previous years, but rather are expected to be relatively normal.

No promises, of course, but that’s the forecast.

It’s still recommended to avoid be out at dawn and dusk to avoid mosquito bites, to wear light clothing and to empty containers of standing water.

Just like in 2014, the focus was controlling mosquitoes emerging from the shores and inundated areas of the numerous islands within the Fraser River. Crews used the boat they purchased last year to reach the hard-to-access spots.

FVRD hosts a mosquito hotline (1-888-733-2333) and email address (mosquitoes@fvrd.bc.ca) for residents should they need more details or would like to report high mosquito abundances.  Morrow BioScience can be followed on Twitter (@morrowmosquito) and Facebook (Facebook.com/morrowmosquito) for updates.

jfeinberg@theprogress.com

twitter.com/chwkjourno

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