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Season bodes to be busy for buzzing bloodsuckers

Significant numbers of mosquito larvae are currently present in the Alkali Lake area of the Cranbrook Community Forest. - Kendra Lewis, Morrow Bioscience Limited.
Significant numbers of mosquito larvae are currently present in the Alkali Lake area of the Cranbrook Community Forest.
— image credit: Kendra Lewis, Morrow Bioscience Limited.

City officials are warning of a mosquito outbreak this summer as large numbers of larvae have been spotted around Cranbrook.

"Significant numbers of mosquito larvae have been found over the past week in the Alkali Lake area of the Community Forest and in several other historical mosquito development sites around the City," the city said in a statement released Friday, May 23.

"Another large area that is a significant breeding ground for mosquitos, especially this year with the current flooding, is Elizabeth Lake and the mosquito control contractor is monitoring the site closely."

Each year, Cranbrook hires Morrow BioScience to monitor and control the city's burgeoning mosquito population.

Site monitoring by the mosquito control contractor is conducted on a continuous basis throughout the late spring and summer to determine the species, number and level of maturity of mosquito larvae present during this period.

Spots where mosquitoes are developing are treated with Aquabac, a larvicide that contains the naturally occurring bacteria Bti, which targets mosquito larvae but doesn't harm birds, mammals, beneficial insects or amphibians.

Mosquitoes go through four distinct stages of development during their life: egg, larvae, pupa and adult. Eggs are laid on the surface of standing water or on soil that is prone to flooding. When in contact with water during the spring and summer, the eggs hatch as larvae, which feed on plant material and quickly develop into pupae. The pupae then mature into adult mosquitoes, which emerge from the surface of the water. Following mating, adult females search for a blood meal to complete egg development.

But the mosquito control contractor can't access private land, so the city is asking property owners to be diligent about removing sites where mosquitoes could develop.

Residents are again reminded and strongly encouraged to stop mosquitoes before they start, by removing all sources of standing water from around your home. Some places to eliminate standing water include:

• Clogged gutters,

• Trays under flower pots,

• Outside pets' dishes,

• Children's pools and toys,

• Bird baths and feeders,

• Canoes / boats,

• Tires

If you see a potential mosquito development site, you can call the mosquito hotline at 250-421-1294.

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