Mosquito populations are a concern during the summer months, especially after periods of heavy rainfall. Each hatch of mosquitoes will generally last for approximately three weeks. The numbers will start to drop off after that period unless a heavy rainfall occurs. If conditions are dry, the number of mosquitoes will stay reasonably low.
What about mosquito control?
Mosquito control programs may be beneficial to reduce the number of nuisance mosquitoes in localized areas but have a limited effect over large areas. Strathcona County does not currently have a mosquito control program. There are too many areas with mosquito habitat where control is not feasible. Another drawback to spraying is that a large number of the mosquito's natural predators are destroyed in the process, which may ultimately result in higher numbers of mosquitoes.
What can I do to minimize mosquito bites?
- use a mosquito repellent that contains DEET (follow the manufactuerer's instructions for use)
- avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are most active (most mosquitoes are active at dusk and after dark)
- drain containers such as rain barrels and old tires that can serve as a potential breeding site
- keep ornamental ponds, pools and dugouts free of vegetation around the edges. Fish that eat mosquito larvae can be added to bodies of water
- cut tall grass, weeds and underbrush to remove areas of shade and high humidity mosquitoes need for shelter
What control products can homeowners use?
If you do decide to use a control product, choose one that is specific to mosquitoes. It is not beneficial or desirable to kill all the insects in the area. Without natural predators, mosquito populations may increase. The larval stage is the best time to control mosquitoes. A larvacide specific to mosquito larva is available at most hardware and garden stores. It can be sold under various names, Larvicide, Aquabac or Bti. The product can be used in any habitat which supports mosquito larvae. Common appropriate mosquito habitats include, but not limited to: woodland pools, dugouts, tree holes, temporary pools, artificial containers, and floodplains. Be sure to follow the instructions on the label to get the best results, and use the product safely.
There are over 30 different species of mosquitoes in the Sherwood Park area. All of these species share a similar life cycle including the egg, four larval stages, a pupa and the adult.
The most common nuisance mosquito in our area is Aedes vexans. These mosquitoes survive the winter as eggs that are laid in low areas like ditches. These eggs hatch in summer when they are flooded with water. The eggs can remain dormant for years if conditions are dry.
West Nile virus
The main disease-carrying mosquito in our area is Culex tarsalis. This species survives the winter in sheltered areas as fertilized adult females. These mosquitoes lay floating rafts of eggs directly on the water's surface. The eggs hatch soon after being laid. Culex tarsalis prefers water that is sheltered from the wind and high in organic material, such as found in sewage lagoons. They breed in a wide variety of natural habitats as well as in artificial containers like tractor tires and neglected rain barrels.
Do lakes and wetlands add to the mosquito population?
Natural wetlands and stormwater management facilities (the lakes and wetlands in Sherwood Park) do not produce the large amounts of mosquitoes that people might think. These water bodies contain large numbers of predators that eat mosquitoes-for example, dragonflies, birds, amphibians and fish. Mosquitoes do not live in open water where wind can produce waves. They need still, stagnant water.
Transportation and Agriculture Services at 780-417-7100
Last updated: Friday, May 10, 2013
Page ID: 3488