The longer some regions in BC stay wet and warm, the more time pesky mosquitoes will be buzzing around, says one expert.
Dr. Daniel Peach is an entomologist at UBC and explains climate change has created conditions where British Columbians will have to fight off a healthy mosquito population a little more often this summer.
“Mosquitoes like moisture and water and warm weather, and so when you have both of those things they do, they did quite well,” he explains. “In some parts of the province, where we had a wet spring and early summer, we have lots of water, snowpack melting and rivers flooding, and these produce habitats and some mosquitoes love to breed in. Then when you combine that with it being warm out but still getting bouts of rain, and it’s more humid than some of the adults will live for longer.”
Once it drys up a bit, Peach expects the population to drop off.
There are about 51 detected species of mosquito in the province and about a half dozen more in BC are naturally from here but have gone undetected. This is why Peach has launched a study to understand what species are flying around the province, and possibly report some undetected species by asking the public to send in dead mosquitoes.
“We’ve got a project called ‘Ow! What just bit me?‘ and basically when a mosquito tries to bite you this summer and you smack it and you’re interested in participating, put it in an envelope with a piece of paper that includes the location .. along with ad ate and mail it to us.”
— Dan Peach (@DanPeach3) October 26, 2020
Peach admits the uptick in the mosquito population will definitely not hurt for the purposes of the study.
While these pathogens are annoying to many of us, Peach points out mosquitoes play a vital role in our environment.
“[Mosquitoes] pollinate and provide food for fish and insects and birds and other animals. So when we think about mosquito control, we should always keep that kind of mind and just try to be as targeted to get rid of the annoying species as possible.”
According to the government of Canada’s mosquito page, the West Nile virus is a health concern when bit by a mosquito in the country. However, the risk of getting this illness or severe health effects is very low.
To protect yourself from these itchy and irritable bites, you’re advised to do the following:
- Use a fly swatter
- Use an approved insect repellent with a PCP registration number on the label
- Wear loose clothes made of tightly woven materials
- Use a mosquito net when sleeping outdoors, in an unscreened structure, or to protect infants outside
- Cover up with long pants, a top with long sleeves, shoes and socks shoes and socks when outside
- Fix or replace old and torn screens in doors, windows and vents