Swift Current hoping to squash mosquito population

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City of Swift Current

The City of Swift Current played host to thousands of visitors during the centennial weekend, but it’s now playing host to some much more unwanted guests.

Mosquitos are blanketing the city after heavy rain created pools of standing water, which turned the Southwest into a breeding ground for the tiny insects.

So far the city is doing everything they can to keep the pests under control, travelling up to five kilometers outside the city to try and fight the nuisance.

“We’ve basically just targeted all the stagnant bodies of water,” Swift Current Parks Manager Andy Toth said.  “We’re pretty fortunate with our staff to have somebody, which I call a technician, that’s been doing it for a number of years and knows exactly where those stagnant bodies of water are.”

Toth said they’re putting an environmentally friendly product called Vectobac into stagnant water patches in the area.  The product dissolves into the water, killing the mosquito larvae shortly after they hatch.

“Timing is everything,” Toth says.  “We have to hit them at the right stages when you apply this.”

The issue was raised in Swift Current City Council on Monday after residents began questioning their representatives about the issue.  Toth said he’s sympathetic to their concerns, but said things could be much worse.

“If it’s any consolation, if you think it’s bad, we’ve always said it could be 50 times worse if we weren’t doing what we are doing,” Toth told councilors.

Mosquitos can travel several kilometres by themselves on a calm day, so those windy days the city is suffering from are only increasing their range.  Toth said he thinks the wind has increased the population in the area, but adds that the worst is in the past. 

“The bulk of the rain is gone and maybe we can look into a dryer July and August,” Toth said.  “I think we should be fine from there.”

The City said the program is working well, but there are things residents can do to get rid of the insects a little quicker.  Eavestroughs, bird baths and rain barrels are breeding grounds for mosuitos, and residents should be prepared to empty or clean them from time to time.

“If they just empty those regularly they should be fine,” he said.

Toth also mentioned that the rise in the population hasn’t affected the Culex Tarsalis mosquitos, which are known to carry the West Nile virus.  That particular type of mosquito is rarely been seen in the Southwest, and things haven’t changed over the summer.

Organizations: Swift Current City Council, City of Swift Current

Geographic location: Swift Current, Southwest Saskatchewan

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  • Paul
    July 08, 2014 - 18:50

    The city could spray like other places do. "It could be worse" is an excuse.