The type of mosquito that can carry the West Nile Virus has arrived in Regina.
“The Culex tarsalis mosquito that we have right now is just arriving a little bit earlier than it would on average,” explained Russell Eirich, the city’s manager of forestry, pest control and horticulture. “It doesn’t mean that there’s a whole lot more of them.”
He said Culex tarsalis mosquitoes have turned up in the Hillsdale area of the city, along with the Riverbend area in the southeast, south of Victoria Avenue and between University Park Drive and Prince of Wales Drive. Normally these types of mosquitoes would arrive between June 15 and 20, but thanks to a warmer than average spring they’re in the city slightly ahead of average.
Speaking of average, that’s what traps are showing count-wise for overall numbers. Traps are showing roughly 16 mosquitoes per trap. Eirich put the historical average at 15 per trap. Numbers so far in 2017 are considerably lower than they were last year in 2016.
“We’re half of where we were last year and that is still indicative that we’re in a really dry cycle right now,” he said.
Even with rain in the forecast, Eirich indicated it can be difficult to predict what that could potentially do to the population of the pest. It depends how much moisture the ground absorbs and whether water pools. He said they have between seven and 10 days to treat standing bodies of water for mosquitoes once a significant rainfall hits.
Eirich reminds homeowners to make sure they empty the water from things like paint cans and bird baths on their properties. He also encourages covering rain barrels so mosquitoes don’t have a place to lay their eggs.
He also revealed the city has now completed its tent caterpillar spray program. Fewer than 14,000 trees were treated this season, which Eirich said is more than they anticipated they’d get done. The cost of the program was $41,000.