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Ken Nawolsky, new superintendent of the city’s insect control branch, said mosquitoes are not a problem now but he refused to predict what’s ahead.

WAYNE GLOWACKI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Enlarge Image

Ken Nawolsky, new superintendent of the city’s insect control branch, said mosquitoes are not a problem now but he refused to predict what’s ahead. Photo Store

The unusually cool weather is helping to rein in Winnipeg’s mosquitoes, but city officials won't say whether the pesky bloodsuckers will ruin what’s left of our spring or the coming summer.

Ken Nawolsky, new superintendent of the city’s insect control branch, said mosquitoes are not a problem now but he refused to predict what’s ahead.

Nawolsky said his department will only focus on forecasting seven to 14 days ahead, and right now everything seems good.

"I’m not predicting gloom or doom," Nawolsky said during a news briefing at the insect control branch facilities in East Elmwood. "We work with Mother Nature."

Nawolsky was appointed to head the insect control branch in early February, replacing the popular Taz Stuart, who left the city in the fall under mysterious circumstances. City officials and Stuart have repeatedly refused to discuss the departure.

Nawolsky’s appointment caught some by surprise because he is the first non-entomologist to head up the department. City officials defended Nawolsky’s appointment, saying his university studies and related research and prior work experience at the department justified his promotion from the corporate finance department.

Nawolsky had spent 10 years in the insect control branch in a variety of positions and has a Bachelor’s degree in Science, with some study in entomology. He also spent six years at the University of Manitoba as a senior research technician and lecturer.

Standing in front of the four helicopters the city employs for aerial larviciding, Nawolsky acknowledged that the city has had 50 per cent more precipitation than normal and that  ditches are currently full of water.

But he refused to speculate as to whether those conditions will lead to a miserable mosquito summer.

"We’ll do the best we can," Nawolsky said.

Nawolsky said the insect control branch will carry out its integrated pest management program based on an environmental strategy, employing larviciding, residual treatments and fogging, when necessary.

aldo.santin@freepress.mb.ca

History

Updated on Thursday, May 8, 2014 at 3:19 PM CDT: Corrects purpose of helicopters. A previous version of this story said they were used for fogging; they are used for larviciding.

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