It’s not just humans out for a walk along Kanaka Creek in Maple Ridge that are being bothered by this year’s larger-than-normal crop of mosquitoes.
“I’ve noticed the bears scratching a lot more for sure,” joked Ross Davies of the Kanaka Education and Environmental Partnership Society (KEEPS).
He says the blood sucking pests pests have been keeping visitors away over the last few weeks.
While the larger animals have been bothered, some of the smaller ones have been enjoying the influx of grub.
“It’s definitely going to provide a big food source for birds and bats,” Davies said.
“Certain fish species like stickleback love mosquito larvae too, so it’s a big nutrient boost for sure.”
Morrow BioScience is running the nuisance mosquito program for Metro Vancouver again this year.
“It’s not been a particularly good year for mosquitoes,” said Shaun Calver, Morrow’s operations manager.
In fact, a combination of a rather damp July and multiple high-water events on the Fraser River have resulted in what he called a “perfect storm” for mosquitoes.
Each rainfall, and especially the high water levels, created conditions for more mosquito eggs to hatch, and more larvae to become blood-sucking adults.
However, the end is near.
“It is tapering off,” Calver said.
The mosquitoes live several weeks in their adult form, depending on the temperature.
“The hotter the weather, the quicker they die off,” he said.
Morrow BioScience applies bacterial larvicide to water bodies to try to cut down on the numbers of the biting insects, as well as monitoring larva levels and conducting public education on mosquito prevention.
The company is finished with its larvae control efforts for the year, barring another unlikely rise in river levels, Calver said.
Local municipalities and Metro Vancouver have long advocated for people to help control mosquitoes by removing unnecessary standing water on their properties, particularly items like old tires, blocked gutters, bird baths, or buckets that can hold stagnant rainwater.
Mosquitoes are most active between dusk and dawn, and are attracted to dark and intense colours. To avoid them, try to wear light coloured clothing, wear long-sleeved shirts and pants, and tightly-woven materials. Mesh “bug jackets” or “bug hats” may be needed during extreme conditions.
Morrow also recommends using an insect repellent containing DEET.
with files from Ronan O’Doherty