FILE - In this Jan. 18, 2016 photo, a female Aedes aegypti mosquito acquires a blood meal on the arm of a researcher at the Biomedical Sciences Institute in the Sao Paulo’s University in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (AP Photo/Andre Penner, File)

B.C.’s ‘mosquito guy’ says dry spring could mean fewer pesky biters

Dirk Lewis works at a ‘mosquito management’ firm in Rossland

A dry April could mean fewer mosquitoes this summer, one B.C. expert says.

Last year, the pests were out in full force after more than a month of flooding was followed by extreme heat.

Dirk Lewis, known as the “mosquito guy” at Morrow BioScience, a “mosquito management” firm in Rossland, told Black Press Media it all depends on water levels this month.

“It’s looking like they might come earlier, but there may also be lower flood waters than last year,” Lewis said.

Female mosquitoes look to lay their eggs in soil that’s protected from risks but prone to flooding, like near rivers and creeks.

They average about 1,000 eggs in a lifetime. The eggs can’t hatch until they get wet, so each tiny egg can remain dormant for as long as 10 years, waiting for perfect conditions.

READ MORE: Birds from Kimberley test positive for West Nile virus

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With floodwaters reaching historic levels last year, it was the perfect storm for plenty of pesky biters to hatch.

This season, the first batch of mosquitoes out now are fresh from the winter melt, Lewis said.

“As it is warming up, they’re coming out looking for a blood meal, so they can lay their eggs,” he explained. “The main ones that really bother people during barbecues later in the summer season will all be coming off of the floodwaters.”

So minimal flooding means fewer eggs. That, combined with hot weather, will accelerate their demise.

“It looks like it will be a better year than last year.”


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

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