City puts money towards mosquito control efforts
Despite a high level of expected mosquitoes in the Thompson-Nicola Regional District this spring and summer, the TNRD isn’t anticipating a swarm of the pests in the Nicola Valley.
Extra effort at suppressing the mosquito population has focused on floodwaters around the North and South Thompson Rivers.
But the City of Merritt is dedicating approximately $63,000 to local mitigation efforts — nearly $25,000 was covered last year from grants and a similar sum is expected this year. The City spent $79,000 for mosquito control last year.
“This definitely goes to the health of our community at large,” said Matt Noble, chief administrative officer for the City. “Mosquito-born diseases can be particularly harmful to seniors, as well as to extremely young people, but basically anybody can be harmed.”
The City hired DG Regan and Associates to kill the larvae.
Darrell Finnigan, Merritt’s public works superintendent, said the workers are expected to start mitigating soon.
“It’s a pellet and you drop it into the water and it kills the larvae,” he said. “They will be going around and they’ll be dropping it into every storm manhole, every larger puddle of water and they kill the larvae before they actually become mosquitoes.”
A high winter snowpack that is now melting has caused flood pools where mosquitoes can rapidly populate. These pools are most problematic around the Thompson River, which means Merritt is relatively safe from a vast spread.
Mike Garrett, communications co-ordinator for the TNRD, said the Nicola Valley hasn’t traditionally been as much of a problem as other parts of the district.
“It’s more-so where you have flooding and [large] rivers,” he said. “Efforts have more often been targeted at those areas. It doesn’t mean there won’t be problems with mosquitoes [in the Nicola Valley], but we have to put our efforts to where the problem is more severe.”
Some provincial government funding was put towards control efforts throughout the TNRD to help mitigate the threat of the West Nile Virus, a potentially fatal virus carried by mosquitoes. But because the spread decreased in B.C., unlike in other provinces, West Nile mitigation efforts weren’t needed in the Nicola Valley and earmarked funding was dropped, a TNRD spokesman stated.
“That’s a big part of why the TNRD won’t be spraying down in your neck of the woods,” Garrett said. “This doesn’t mean there won’t be nuisance mosquitoes.”
The TNRD controls the mosquitoes by killing them in the larval stage with larvicide, which is non-toxic to other organisms.
The larvicide is applied by hand from backpack applicators and by dropping it from a helicopter.
Crews are scheduled to work up to seven days per week in mitigation efforts.
The TNRD encourages residents to empty water-holding containers on their property, in an effort to prevent mosquito spread.
Pool owners should drain the water on top of pool covers, as this can contain thousands of egg larvae.
The Nuisance Mosquito Control Program is operating in Wells Gray Country, Lower North Thompson, Rivers and The Peaks, Copper Desert Country, Sun Peaks, Kamloops, Barriere Clearwater, Chase and Logan Lake — this represents the traditional TNRD mosquito control area.