May 16, 2011, 9:46 a.m.
9 May, 2011
Winnipeg plans to spend an additional $1 million as it takes a more environmentally friendly stance in its fight against mosquitoes. (Associated Press)
Manitoba plans to boost its war chest to fight mosquitoes by an additional $1 million this year as it takes a more environmentally friendly stance in the battle against the bugs.
The city said Friday that the additional funds would be used to decrease its reliance on chemicals, while increasing the use of biological products for larviciding.
Under the plan, announced at a press conference Friday afternoon, 60 per cent of all larviciding will now be done with biological agents, up from 35 per cent last season. Larviciding targets mosquito larvae in the aquatic stage before they emerge as adults.
Also, the initial notification period for fogging using Malathion has been cut to 24 hours from 48 hours.
The city has been surveying standing water sites in and around Winnipeg since April and "at this time, low larval populations are being reported," it said in a release, noting that ground and aerial-based larviciding activities are occurring daily.
However, there is concern that the huge pools of standing water from the recent flooding is expected to be around for a long time, creating ideal breeding conditions for the pesky bugs.
"Mosquitoes will breed in standing water, especially in the spring like this in a lot of different areas," Terry Galloway, an entomologist at the University of Manitoba, said earlier in the day. "The longer that water stands in a location, the more likely those mosquitoes will survive."
Typically, mosquitoes seek out stagnant water as the days become warmer in order to breed. The huge pools left from the rains in recent weeks could serve as a problem.
"These low lying areas all will produce mosquitoes," Galloway said. "It's just a question of how many actually survive before all that water disappears and they are able to complete their development and emerge as adults."
But Galloway said the cooler temperatures of late could help keep the populations down.
Environment Canada is calling for periods of rain over the next few days for the Winnipeg area with temperatures ranging from a low of 8 degrees to a high of 18 degrees. Sun is not expected until at least Wednesday.
Last year, Winnipeg voted to subject its mosquito-control policy to a comprehensive review after residents complained about the worst mosquito season in years. The city's policy of allowing buffer zones for fogging mosquitoes also came under attack.