Edmonton’s mosquito population could double without the use of an air traffic control program – Edmonton

The city’s pest control coordinator said it’s possible Edmonton’s mosquito population could double without the use of the aerial control program.

At a council meeting on Monday, the council voted 7-4 to scrap the aerial mosquito control program, which uses a helicopter to drop pesticides into temporary, stagnant bodies of water in areas. control around Edmonton. The goal is to kill the larvae before they hatch, thereby reducing populations of pesky adult bites.

Instead, the city will focus on education and other biological interventions to help control the mosquito population.

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Edmonton City Council eliminates aerial mosquito control program

At a news conference Friday afternoon, the city’s pest control coordinator, Mike Jekins, said about 50% of the effectiveness of the city’s overall mosquito control comes from the aerial program. , which means there could be about double the number of mosquitoes buzzing around this summer than usual.

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“Certainly in the areas that were covered by the aerial program, we’re going to see the development of larvae and mosquitoes emerging from those,” Jenkins explained.

“The mosquitoes that will emerge from these (areas), some of them should migrate to the city. So we expect to see more of these mosquitoes entering the city than if we had the air program.

“We don’t really know for sure because we didn’t do that until we only had the ditch and the ground and not the aerial.”

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Edmonton City Council eliminates aerial mosquito control program

Edmonton City Council eliminates aerial mosquito control program

Jenkins said about 85 to 90 percent of the larvicides used in the city’s overall mosquito control program come from air controls. He noted that the pesticide used by the city is federally approved and is the most environmentally effective and environmentally safe product available in the world.

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Without the aerial program, the city stressed that it would still use federally approved pesticides to target mosquito larvae through soil and ditch control. This method targets mosquito larvae developing in temporary bodies that form from melting snow and precipitation in ditches and low areas near roads, shared paths, sidewalks, power lines and other utility corridors.

City officials said it’s still too early to determine what mosquito season might hold for Edmonton, as it largely depends on how much precipitation the city receives. However, Jenkins noted that the city isn’t in bad shape right now.

“That could absolutely change, but at this point it doesn’t look like we have as much mosquito development as we could have with the amount of snow we had,” Jenkins said.

Switching to a more natural approach

Funding of $500,000 that was previously dedicated to the aerial program will instead be reinvested in biological control.

“By placing more emphasis on a natural approach to mosquito control, we will help increase biodiversity in our city while ensuring Edmontonians can still enjoy parks, open spaces and outdoor activities. said Philip Herritt, Director of Infrastructure Operations.

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The city said it will work to develop habitats that allow animals that eat mosquitoes – like bats and dragonflies – to thrive. This includes a pilot program that will see 50 bat houses installed across the city.

There are also plans to develop and naturalize stormwater facilities where dragonflies tend to thrive.

Jenkins admits that some of the natural interventions could take years to have a significant impact.

“There will almost certainly be a delay. All natural control methods – bat boxes, things along those lines – could take a while. It may take several years for some of them to reach the level that we hope to take them to,” he explained.

“There is no guarantee that bats will even move through bat boxes.”

Jenkins noted several things people can do on their own properties to try to keep pesky biters at bay. Residents should remove standing water from their backyards and gutters, cover rail barrels with covers or screens to prevent mosquitoes from laying eggs, and fill birdbaths and ponds so that they do not stagnate.

“Standing water is a common place where mosquito larvae can grow,” he explained.

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People are also encouraged to cover up with long pants and sleeves, use insect repellent, and use an oscillating fan on the patio to keep mosquitoes away.

“Air displacement deters mosquitoes more than most products available,” Jenkins said.

The city said it will continue to monitor mosquito populations and intensify checks on the ground and in ditches if necessary. A public education campaign is also planned in hopes of teaching residents environmentally friendly ways to ward off ankle biters, without resorting to harmful chemicals.

“We’re probably expecting more mosquitoes in the near term,” Jenkins said. “Hopefully in the long term the numbers can be reduced significantly.”

Mayor Amarjeet Sohi, Pihêsiwin County. Tim Cartmell, Sipiwiyniwak County. Sarah Hamilton and tastawiyiniwak Coun. Karen Principe were the four council members who voted in favor of keeping the aerial mosquito program.

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