People might be too busy dodging cankerworms and their webbing to notice there’s been something missing from a typical Winnipeg summer — mosquitoes.
For the first time in almost four decades, the mosquito traps are registering close to nil.
“They’ve been hovering between zero and one for the last two months. It’s phenomenal to get something like this for low mosquito counts,” said Ken Nawolsky, the city’s superintendent of insect control.
“We’re very much in uncharted territory in terms of having trap counts that low. We were looking at our records a couple of days ago and it’s back to the 1970s, so we’re counting our blessings.
“For the first part of this season, we were focusing on the tree caterpillars that infested Winnipeg, so that kind of replaced the mosquitoes, we were so busy with that. Now that we’re into strictly mosquito control, it’s kind of nice to have a bit of a breather,” he said.
“But we know weather can change very quickly on us so we’re enjoying it as it is.”
The city doesn’t fog neighbourhoods with pesticides to combat mosquitoes until the overall trap count is above 25 for two consecutive days and at least one quadrant of the city has an average trap count above 100.
But the city starts attacking the mosquito population long before that, going after insect larvae while they’re still just wiggling in the aquatic stage. They do that by spraying larvicide in standing water sites in and around Winnipeg and up to 10 kilometres outside the city limits.
“We’re actively treating that. If we didn’t, we would definitely notice the trap counts going to at least 25 or more,” Nawolsky said.
In many years, it can be a battle, as a rainy spring and early summer can result in a lot of water-filled ditches and other low-lying areas.
But this year, the larviciding program has kept up with standing water as most rainfalls have been moderate, Nawolsky said, adding the ground has also been absorbing much of the…