Let’s face it, there’s nothing good about mosquitoes. Their bites are painful, they itch, and make everyone uncomfortable. Their persistence can completely ruin a backyard barbecue, a night on the patio, or a hike through the forest. They’re fast and wily – here one moment, there another, and the high-pitched whine they make means one for sure is closing in for attack … the one you can hear.
Every spring, the City of Calgary works to reduce the mosquito population by applying a pest-specific product that targets mosquito larvae by air. They spray large areas of standing water that have tested for high numbers of mosquito larvae. The products they use have no effect on any other animals or the environment, and are registered and regulated. The early treatment program helps stop the first “swarm,” but given the right conditions, existing mosquitoes will make more larvae, which will eventually hatch.
The late, cold spring has helped stave off the mosquitoes for a little while, but the amount of rain we’ve had in Calgary has changed the story. In late May, nearly an entire month’s worth of rain fell in just two days, flooding parts of the city including Confederation Park and Fish Creek Park. On the thirteenth of this month, half on June’s monthly rainfall – 48.7 millimetres – came down hard in just one hour. This terrible storm was especially devastating for the city’s northeast, which also saw huge, tennis-ball-sized hail pummel their homes and vehicles, causing unprecedented damage. For the record, June usually sees about 94 millimeters of rainfall in total.
Standing pools and ponds have been refilled, plus many more have been created. Calgary is the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes right now, in fact, many people are reporting having to swat away the biters more than usual already. But according to the CBC, this is may actually lean more towards “average,” as the last three years have posted lower than average numbers of mosquitoes. Which means that we could be in for a rude surprise.
It all depends on the weather, of course. Currently, cooler than normal temperatures have been our saving grace. Mosquitoes prefer from between 22 and 27 C during the day, and roughly 20 C at night, which we’re nowhere near to right now. But, this weekend is supposed to warm up quite a bit, providing the right kind of opportunity for the pests to rise again.
Keep Your Yard and Home Clear of Mosquitoes
During times like these, we begin mowing our clients’ yards and commercial properties a little lower. This gives mosquitoes fewer places to hide on hot days. Underbrush and debris under shrubs should also be removed for the same reason.
Other tips to keep mosquitoes away include:
- After all the rain we’ve had, yards don’t need watering right now. Allow things to dry out thoroughly before watering again.
- Go around and ensure there is no standing water anywhere in your yard. Mosquitoes don’t need a lot of water to breed – even just a dog dish with a half an inch of water will do.
- Check your gutters to ensure they are draining properly, and also ensure downspouts aren’t causing water to pool anywhere.
- Check your screens for holes and flaws to keep mosquitoes out of the inside of your home.
If mosquitoes become unbearable on your property, only a certified expert may apply pesticide to your yard. Due to their adverse affects on the environment, plus lots of misuse, these types of products are not available commercially. Generally, mosquito pesticide is applied by fogging. But, even if you treat your property, your neighbor hasn’t, and remember. Mosquitoes can fly.
Protect Yourself From Bites
Mosquitoes carry West Nile disease, which is one reason to be careful to protect yourself from bites. In 2018, there were 50 cases of West Nile virus in Alberta, up dramatically just seven the year before. The type of mosquito that carries West Nile disease tends to show up later in the summer, which is when to be the most careful.
To help protect yourself from mosquitoes:
- Wear long sleeves and long pants in lighter colours
- Use a DEET-based repellant of between 20% and 30%
- Apply oil-base repellants (such as citronella) every 30 minutes
- Purchase a bug zapper
- Buy some tiki torches
- Invest in a bird bath. This may seem counter-intuitive, but birds eat bugs, plus are just fun to watch. Just remember to change the water daily!
Mirage Landscaping Serves Southeast Calgary
Mirage Landscaping’s landscape construction services include sod and tree installation, irrigation servicing, patio and retaining wall construction, as well and landscape maintenance. We specialize in serving the southeast area of Calgary, including the communities of:
- Auburn Bay, Chaparral, Chaparral Valley, Copperfield, Cranston, Douglasdale, Heritage Pointe, Lake Bonavista, Mahogany, McKenzie Lake, Mackenzie Towne, Maple Ridge, New Brighton, Odgen/Lynwood/Millican, Parkland, Riverbend, Sundance, Walden, and Willow Park.