City of Winnipeg begins annual battle against mosquitoes

Winnipeg may be free (for now) from winter’s icy grip, but there’s another frustrating natural phenomenon on the horizon: the city’s annual mosquito population.

The city announced Wednesday that it has launched this year’s larviciding program — the attempt to curtail the larval population of bloodsuckers before they emerge as adults.

“Below-average winter precipitation and a slow spring melt has resulted in favourable conditions to start the mosquito control season,” said David Wade, Winnipeg’s superintendent of insect control.

“The mosquito larviciding program has started, targeting the spring mosquitoes that have begun to hatch in standing water in ditches and low-lying areas.”

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The city’s larviciding program, which will be carried out by insect control staff, will include ground equipment, four helicopters, and regular monitoring and treating of more than 28,000 hectares of water area. Traps will be monitored beginning Thursday, with the first trap count posted on Monday.

Winnipeg won’t use pesticides on the adult mosquito population until the situation meets a number of requirements under the city’s own policies, provincial pesticide use guidelines and adulticiding factor analysis.

As in past years, those who don’t want their properties to be subject to pesticides can register as anti-pesticide registrants and request a 90-metre buffer zone, which the city says will be respected — although there’s a 72-hour turnaround time.

The city is encouraging residents to do their part in the fight against the pests by getting rid of standing water on their properties.

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Mosquito watch in Winnipeg

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