It's not your imagination: Metro Vancouver seeing biggest spike in mosquitoes in nearly a decade
VANCOUVER -- Get out the repellent and check window screens for holes, Metro Vancouver and especially the Fraser Valley haven’t seen mosquito-making conditions this nasty since 2011.
“This is far from normal,” said Shaun Calver, mosquito controller at Morrow Bioscience. “It’s definitely not been a very good year for mosquitoes.”
His team has been hired by Metro Vancouver to rid the Fraser Valley of nuisance skeeters, and blames the spike on the weather and the rising Fraser River.
Mosquitoes lay eggs along the shore and when rising water moves over dry land, new mozzies are hatched.
Most years the Fraser will rise once and then recede. If the high water comes back a second time like it does some seasons, and covers more dry land, even more flyers will be created.
This year the river has risen and receded three times, mostly due to a huge snowpack.
“I don’t think we’ve ever seen this,” said Calver. “This is our third peak in the Fraser River and each peak has been higher than the next.”
And every time it peaks, more of those log-legged bugs that the mere thought of makes some people itch, are created.
There are some 50 mosquito species in British Columbia, and this type will leave an unslighly itchy mark if bitten, but it’s unlikely it will make someone sick.
“Mosquitoes can carry West Nile virus but it is extremely rare in B.C.,” wrote Vincent Chou of The B.C. Centre for Disease Control.
“COVID-19 is spread by droplets from when a person with the virus coughs, sneezes or spits; it is not spread by insects," he added.
Mosquitoes have also been reported where they are seldom seen, like downtown Vancouver and Burnaby.
“This spring has been marked by nicely spaced precipitation. This is perfect for mosquito populations to thrive because they didn’t experience a drying period,” wrote provincial apiculturist Paul van Westendorp.
The team from Morrow Bioscience spreads a larvicide to control the population, but that is only 80 to 90 per cent effective.
“It’s non-toxic and target specific. So it is as environmentally friendly as it can get,” said Calver
He warned: “It’s going to be several more weeks of not particularly pleasant mosquito conditions out there.”