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New mosquito boss shuns predictions

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New insect control boss Ken Nawolsky will only give seven- to 14-day forecasts.

WAYNE GLOWACKI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Enlarge Image

New insect control boss Ken Nawolsky will only give seven- to 14-day forecasts. Photo Store

The cool weather is helping to rein in Winnipeg's mosquitoes but city officials are not predicting whether the pesky critters will ruin the summer.

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

Nawolsky said his department will focus on forecasting seven to 14 days ahead.

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

Standing in front of the four helicopters the city employs for larviciding, Nawolsky acknowledged there has been plenty of precipitation this year and ditches are full of water.

But Nawolsky refused to speculate 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.

Nawolsky was appointed to head the insect control branch in early February, replacing Taz Stuart, who left the city in the fall under mysterious circumstances.

City officials and Stuart have refused to discuss his departure.

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

Nawolsky 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.

aldo.santin@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 9, 2014 B3

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