WEATHER ALERT

Interlake town revels in mosquito buzz

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It’s a designation few communities would embrace, but folks in Komarno don’t mind being known as the mosquito capital of the world.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 21/07/2022 (195 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

It’s a designation few communities would embrace, but folks in Komarno don’t mind being known as the mosquito capital of the world.

The very name of the Interlake community means “mosquito-infested” in Ukrainian. Townsfolk joke that local skeeters are the size of hummingbirds.

Located roughly 75 kilometres north of Winnipeg, in the Rural Municipality of Rockwood, the town is home to a giant mosquito statue.

BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES The 4.6 meter statue of a mosquito, built in 1984, in Komarno, Man.

On Friday, locals will celebrate their claim to fame by participating in a promotional video as part of a marketing campaign by a company that makes repellent.

“The community is wonderful, and there’s lots of great people out there, so everybody is just looking forward to getting together and celebrating,” said Laine Wilson, recreational facilitator for the RM of Rockwood.

Planning began in May after Zeno Group, the communications agency handling the OFF! brand, pitched the idea to Wilson and Rockwood reeve Wes Taplin.

“It’s really neat for companies to recognize communities. There are a lot of people that put a lot of work into their community, and they have a lot of pride… Komarno is a really small, (but a) mighty, powerful and great gem in Manitoba,” Wilson said.

“It’s something that we never would’ve thought of,” Taplin said with a laugh. ” I just think it’s great… they want to put a positive spin on having mosquitoes.”

The marketing campaign is a fun way to bring attention to the small community, he said.

Staff from OFF! will swarm Komarno to host a barbecue next to the statue.

Staff will film the event and interview locals about the history of Komarno. The company will use the footage to create online promotional materials, a representative said.

Entomologist Taz Stuart, who used to be known as the City of Winnipeg’s “bug man,” will be on hand. Stuart became a familiar face as he discussed the city’s battle with skeeters every summer.

“People say that (I’m a celebrity) and I just laugh every time I hear it. (Winnipeg is) the only city in the country that I think knows what an entomologist is,” he said.

Stuart will answer mosquito-related questions and demonstrate the proper use of repellent products during the event. He will also discuss the finer points of protection against mosquitoes, including wearing lightly coloured and loose-fitting clothing, staying inside during dusk and dawn and clearing yards of standing water.

“Don’t let the mosquitoes ruin your summer,” he said.

He said that advice is especially important in rural areas that don’t have larvicide programs.

Manitoba Health reported Thursday that mosquitoes carrying the West Nile virus had been detected in Headingley.

Stuart pointed out that’s not unusual at this point in summer.

tyler.searle@freepress.mb.ca

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Updated on Thursday, July 21, 2022 7:03 PM CDT: Fixes typo.

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