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'A lot more mosquitoes hatching': Winnipeg trap counts on the rise after rainy few days

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Winnipeg's mosquito trap counts are on the rise thanks to days of wet, soggy weather.

David Wade, the city's superintendent of insect controls, says the city-wide trap count average was 25 on Monday, putting the adulticiding factor analysis (AFA) at medium. The AFA is given based on a number of factors, including soil moisture and forecasted rainfall.

Still, Winnipeg has not reached numbers to trigger fogging, he says.

"Definitely there's a few traps in the city that are over 100 but overall, we're not seeing the numbers yet."

Three criteria must be met in order for city crews to start fogging, Wade says; the adulticiding factor analysis (AFA) has to be high; the city has to have two consecutive days of an average trap count of 25 or more; and one-quarter of the city must average a trap count of at least 100.

Still, city crews are working seven days a week to find standing water and treat it with larvicide.

"Our primary mosquito that we're seeing right now needs those rainfall events in order for their eggs to hatch and so, this year compared to last year, obviously, we're seeing a lot more mosquitos hatching, and that's why we're seeing higher numbers," Wade said.

If you want to keep mosquitos at bay on your property, Wade says to eliminate standing water, treat ponds or rain barrels regularly to prevent eggs from hatching, and regularly change out the water in bird baths.

'I haven't quit swiping'

It was hardy eating for mosquitoes this weekend, and their meal of choice – Winnipeggers.

“I haven't quit swiping yet since we got out of the car,” said Mike Rennick, as he swatted a mosquito on his arm while walking in Kildonan Park Monday.

“Just the past week, we’ve noticed a big difference,” Lorraine Rennick said, walking beside him.

Entomologist Taz Stuart said rainy weather has led to a jump in mosquito counts in Winnipeg.

“Standing water then helps create more mosquitoes out there, and people aren't used to it,” he said. “We've had five, six years of great non-mosquito years.”

According to city data – the average mosquito trap count spiked last week from around six mosquitoes as of last Monday to 25 this Monday. Though parts of the city like North Kildonan are seeing well over 100 mosquitoes per trap.

“I've actually been doing some jobs around and yeah, some backyards are in the thousands,” Stuart said.

The spike led to a busy weekend at the Pollock’s Hardware Co-op on Main Street, which was hosting an outdoor summer market. Mosquitoes were unwelcome guests.

“We were selling out the OFF sprays as well as the mosquito coils to try to shy them away from the area, and most of the customers were quite appreciative that we had it,” Logan Szunyog told CTV News.

He said with more rain on the way, Pollock’s is stocking up for a busy summer, and exploring more natural options for mosquito repellent for customers.

When it comes to battling the buzzing blood-suckers, some Winnipeggers are planning to get creative.

“I did hear if you use vanilla extract, that sometimes helps – and then burning coffee grounds, I heard was another way to do it,” said Jeff Coote, who said an outing to Birds Hill Park over the weekend was cut short due to the swarms.

“Bug spray doesn't seem to even work on them. There's kind of super mosquitoes here in Winnipeg.”

Stuart still suggests sticking with the official commercial bug spray options, but he said the best way to get rid of mosquitoes is by cutting them off at the source – standing water.

“A standard cup size of water – a couple 100 easily can come out of that cup of water as long as there's a food source for the larva.”

He suggests draining, dumping or covering any standing water in your yard, even plugged eavestroughs can be a breeding ground. 

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