Receding floodwaters create wonderful habitat for mosquitoes
Published Thursday, May 18, 2017 9:28PM EDT
People living near flooded rivers and lakes could soon have a new annoyance to contend with: mosquitoes.
Some entomologists say the widespread flooding seen in Quebec could lead to a population explosion of the pesky pests.
Paul Maloney is expecting more mosquitoes around rivers and lakes.
"Where you'll get mosquitoes is in the traditional sites but because there's higher levels of water you'll have more eggs that will hatch out and so consequently we're in a situation where we're likely to get many more times mosquitoes than usual," said Maloney.
Biology professor and entomologist Jean-Philippe Lessard is concerned with the creation of new pools of stagnant water.
"With the flood all of a sudden we're creating little ponds and if the ground is saturated with water, this is exactly the kind of habitat that mosquitoes need to emerge," said Lessard.
The Concordia University professor said there is no way to know for sure if the mosquito population will blossom.
"One criteria here that we need to take into consideration is how hot it will be this spring and how hot it was last summer and last fall when these eggs were laid because the hotter it was potentially the more eggs that were laid," said Lessard.
Experts from Montreal's public health department also expect that areas near flooded rivers and bodies of water will have more mosquitoes this season.
Annoying as that may be for people near the water, there is no significant health risk to humans from mosquitoes in Quebec.
Although Lessard may be one of the few to enjoy the population boom.
"I love this question because I'm an entomologist and I try to convince people that insects are great, and my kids believe me but other people not always. I mean mosquitos are food for other insects, they feed things like dragonflies, which we study in my lab actually, and then these dragonflies go on and affect the eco-system as a whole," said Lessard.
How to reduce mosquito breeding grounds
Mosquitoes prefer to breed in stagnant or standing water, so empty everything that can hold water, and then cover it.
Alternatively, drill holes in items so that any water that does accumulate will drain out on its own.
Check tarps, rain covers, or similar items to make sure that water runs off.
Replace water in bird baths every few days.
Check the grading around a house to make sure that water doesn't accumulate in areas following rain. Ensure the gutters drain as well.
Examine ornamental ponds, rain barrels, and the like for mosquito larvae.
If ditches are not draining, they can contain stagnant water.
The most effective repellents contain DEET, with a maximum percentage of 30 for adults, and 10 percent for children.
Tests show that devices that emit ultrasound don't work on mosquitoes, and only three to five percent of the insects killed by electrocution devices are mosquitoes.