A damper than usual season in the territory means there are more mosquitos than normal. (123rf.com)

Mosquitoes are out in full force, despite annual treatment program

“This year we have a double-edged sword”

If it seems there are more mosquitoes out this year, it’s because there are.

And yes, the annual mosquito control program is indeed underway throughout the territory.

“It’s a bad year for mosquitoes,” Curtis Fediuk, president of Duka Environmental Services, said in a June 18 interview.

Duka Environmental Services is contracted for both the City of Whitehorse and Yukon government’s mosquito control programs. Fediuk said the damp season the territory is seeing of late means still water and ponds have formed that wouldn’t normally be there or aren’t drying up as they typically would.

Fediuk said under the program, there are certain zones where the treatment is applied — ponds and lakes well known for the pesky bug. Those new spots or areas that would typically dry up just aren’t.

Along with direct treatment on the ground, there have also been some helicopter drops as well in May.

While those areas in the zones are treated, Fediuk explained that in years with more precipitation there are a number of other places where mosquitoes are thriving.

There also hasn’t been the hot, dry weather that typically would kill off more of the adult mosquito population.

And that means as more people get outside following a long spring spent inside for many amid COVID-19 restrictions, they are noticing more mosquitoes.

And the territory isn’t alone. Duka is based out of B.C. and Fediuk said mosquitoes are more of an issue there as well than they’ve been in the past few years.

“The whole season’s been difficult,” he said.

Pointing to both the standing water and ongoing rain, Fediuk commented: “This year we have a double-edged sword.”

While staff are continuing to sample, monitor and treat lakes and waterways within the zones every week to two weeks depending on the location, he also outlined a number of measures residents can take to deal with the bug.

There’s the usual wearing of loose fitting clothing, bug repellant and avoiding dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are likely to be out in larger numbers.

He also pointed out the type of mosquitoes most common to the north tend to favour laying their eggs in soil or in areas where dirty water has collected.

Tire ruts, open boats like canoes or a tarped wood pile are a few examples of places where mosquitoes may lay their eggs in someone’s yard.

“A canoe obviously holds a lot of water,” Fediuk said, suggesting that where possible residents should do what they can to reduce the possibility of sitting water in their yard.

Mosquito coils, citronella candles, misting wands and just putting a fan outside where you’re sitting (as mosquitoes tend to avoid wind) can all make a difference in repelling the insects.

There are also mosquito magnets, which act as a vacuum for mosquitoes.

Contact Stephanie Waddell at stephanie.waddell@yukon-news.com

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