City of Edmonton crews begin mosquito control this week

Dry conditions in Edmonton means the mosquito activity this spring is expected to be low. But as Laura Krause reports, it also means a heightened wildfire risk.

As the weather gets warmer, Edmontonians might be itching to get outside. But with the dry conditions, it could mean less swatting as the city expects fewer mosquitoes this Spring.

Edmonton isn’t seeing a lot of mosquito activity yet — still, crews begin mosquito control efforts this week — targeting ditches and other areas with standing water to kill the eggs.

“It’s non-toxic to pretty much all of the other organisms,” said Mike Jenkins, a senior scientist with the City of Edmonton.

“We’re treating that with larvicide, which is intended to kill off the mosquito larvae, but it’s non-toxic to pretty much all of the other organisms.”

Drought-like conditions in Edmonton and the surrounding area mean fewer mosquitos buzzing our BBQ. It also means heightened wildfire danger.

“With the heat and dryness across the country, we can expect that the wildfire season will start sooner and end later, and potentially be more explosive,” explained Harjit Sajjan, Minister of Emergency Preparedness of Canada.

So far Edmontonians talking with CityNews are more concerned about wildfires and the smoke that clogs city air than mosquitos.

“Mosquitos are the least of my worries when it comes to not even being able to go outside to enjoy the nice weather because of the smoke and the inhalation of it. Yeah, I can deal with mosquitos,” said one Edmontonians.

Another saying, “It [wildfire smoke] was bad, I can’t go outside because I have asthma, so I stayed at home most of the time.”

Spring may be mostly free of mosquitos — but Summer could be a different situation if the Summer rains come.

“What happens later in the season depends entirely on the precipitation. Our Alberta mosquitos are very well adapted to drought conditions, and their eggs can actually lay dormant in the vegetation for up to a decade, so once we get rainfall into the spring and summer, those eggs can be activated and we can get mosquitos again in about a week after a rainfall event,” said Jenkins.

“We’re not seeing a lot of habitat out there, and even where we are finding water, we are not seeing a lot of mosquito activity in those ponds yet, so we are monitoring that and will be treating as we find them.”

To help keep mosquito populations under control, the City is asking Edmontonians to check their yards for stagnant water to prevent mosquitoes from laying eggs.

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