People may notice more annoyance from mosquitoes given recent flooding along the Nicola and Coldwater rivers due to a rapid rise in the water level of Nicola Lake.

“Although we did extensive treatments, given the nature off the flooding, there’s always some little pockets we’re not going to be able to get treated,” said Curtis Fediuk, a registered biologist with D. G. Regan and Associates — the environmental services firm contracted by the City of Merritt to spray for mosquitoes.

He said the company conducted two aerial treatment applications recently, which focused on flooded areas along the rivers.

“Now that the river levels have dropped we’re still monitoring the sites [and] we’re looking to see if any of these isolated ponds will become reactive with mosquitoes and if the do we’ll do subsequent treatments,” Fediuk said.

He said ground treatments around town have been ongoing, and advises people use repellants and avoid cool, moist areas at dusk and dawn as those are areas where mosquitoes are found.

Fediuk also said people should take a look around their property for any containers that hold water, which should be emptied.

“It’s amazing just how many mosquitoes can come out of a bucket of water around the corner of the house,” Fediuk said.

He said the company’s new program spraying for mosquitoes out in the local areas M and N of the Thompson-Nicola Regional District is going well.

“There’s definitely a steep learning curve, but we’ve had really good support with the private property owners and the local First Nations,” Fediuk said.

He said there is a lot of land along the Nicola River in these areas that can experience flooding and the company has conducted aerial treatments at Douglas Cattle Ranch and in the Quilchena area.

He said people have pointed out ponds and other areas on their property to company staff.

“It’s helped us to find sites that we didn’t know existed,” he said.

The mosquito control program of D. G. Regan and Associates involves applying an all-natural larvicide called VectoBac, which is made of bacteria and corn-cob granules, over mosquito habitat particularly along the rivers.

VectoBac is produced in large vats like yogurt and cooked to a temperature around 47 degrees Celsius, which causes the bacteria to die, he said.

When it dies, the bacteria produces enzymes that are toxic to mosquitoes. When ingested, these dead bacteria spores react with the pH level in a mosquito’s stomach, burning a hole through the mosquito’s stomach and killing it.

It’s this specified targeting that makes the product safe, as it doesn’t affect other animals such as humans, birds or pets, Fediuk said.