If you haven’t felt too bothered by a buzzing in your ear or an itchy spot on your arm, you’re not alone. The number of mosquitoes in Grande Prairie is much less than seen in several years.
Low snow pack levels and little rain this spring means there’s no standing water for them to mature in. However, Integrated Pest Management Technician Amy Needham says that could change quickly.
“We didn’t get many in the spring because we didn’t have much spring runoff, but if it starts raining today and it rains for a month solid, we’ll get a huge flush of mosquitoes because we’ll get water pooling everywhere. It’ll reach a bunch of eggs that were laid in years past; they’ll hatch; they’ll grow; they’ll develop and they’ll turn into adult mosquitoes.”
Mosquitoes breed in ditches, semi-permanent sloughs or even shallow temporary pools. Mosquitoes also lay their eggs and leave them, so if they don’t get reached by enough water, they can wait years to hatch.
While some areas of the city are dryer than she’s seen in five or six years, Needham has also spotted some pools from recent moisture that will likely lead to a small surge of mosquitoes in three weeks. Needham says the population can also depends on moisture levels in the summer.
“You might get a spring where you have nine feet of snow that’s melting and you get this massive flush of mosquitoes but then they’re done by the end of June and then you don’t get any rain to speak of in July and August. Well, you’re not going to get any more mosquitoes hatching.”
The City regularly does mosquito control operations using biological and chemical products from March to August targeting them in the larval stage. According to the City, a single female mosquito could potentially create a million more by the end of the summer.