Mosquitoes back with a vengeance in Calgary
CALGARY -- Spring 2021 in Calgary was drier than normal and that meant a lot fewer mosquitoes. Now, the biting pests are out in force in many communities.
Prince's Island Park is one of those areas under attack, making it difficult for volunteers helping transform it into this year's Folkfest.
Jason Cox, an electrician, says he was quickly covered in mosquitoes, slapping his limbs to get rid of them.
"I was doing the Macarena – one leg, two leg, arm, arm and then I had to jump back to the other leg and just retreat," he said.
The City of Calgary Parks integrated pest management team monitors the 20 species of mosquitoes here. Technician Alex Pepperdine says there are actually fewer mosquitoes this year than others.
However, in early July, Calgary was hit with a number of thunder storms and the rain filled low spots, where many species lay their eggs.
Mosquitoes now seen in the city are a result of those storms.
"Once the egg hatches and they have four larval stages and it just basically depends on temperature and species on how fast they'll move from one stage to the other," said Pepperdine.
"So some of our more abundant species like aedes vexans, those guys if we have really warm temperatures in mid the summer, they can move from an egg to an adult less than a week."
The influx of mosquitoes caught Joan Miles off-guard. She and her husband Eugene are volunteers at Folkfest.
"They were brutal and they were completely overwhelming and I got eaten alive I know for sure," she said. "I hadn't come prepared because I had not seen a mosquito at all this year so when we got down here it was like, 'Where did these things come from?'"
Pepperdine says there will likely be more of the biting pests in the days to come as a result of the rainfall earlier in the month.
"There's some mosquitoes that actually have a really big range and I would say on average most of the species we have here probably have a five to 10 kilometre range that they'll go from their initial habitat to fly to find a person," said Pepperdine.
She says you can use bug spray or wear long clothing to cover exposed skin for protection.
"You can try to avoid being out in those high activity periods," said Pepperdine. "That might be early in the morning or later in the evening when it's a bit cooler, that's when you'll see more."
The city will continue to monitor small bodies of sitting water for mosquito larvae and it responds to 311 complaints to identify hot spots. Technicians also use traps to capture and count mosquitoes to track the population.
"We will be counting our traps this week and the numbers might be a bit higher," said Pepperdine. "But, overall, we have been seeing lower numbers then we would usually see in a typical year."