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This article was published 31/7/2020 (540 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
The mosquitoes buzzing around Winnipeg certainly got noticed this month.
The city received at least 204 complaints about the blood-sucking critters in July, according to data released Friday. That’s dramatically higher than the seven mosquito complaints it received throughout July 2019.
The data indicate Winnipeggers are well aware when the mosquito population rises. The criteria to fog the entire city to kill the pests was met last week, and fogging took place from July 24 to 27, while no such mosquito control occurred in 2019.
Coun. Kevin Klein said his office received almost 60 complaints about the pests in recent weeks.
"(They said) they couldn’t go into their backyard without losing a pint of blood," said Klein.
Just before the fogging operation was announced, Klein publicly pushed for the treatment to take place. He also suggested on social media that council consider a motion to ensure it happened.
"I think it’s a service that taxpayers expect," Klein said Friday.
Under current policy, fogging operations are governed by set city and provincial criteria, and are not ordered by council. In order to fog, the "adulticiding factor analysis (AFA)" must be high, the citywide average trap count must have a minimum of 25 female mosquitoes for two consecutive nights and one or more city quadrants must report at least 100 female adult mosquitoes.
Ken Nawolsky, the city’s superintendent of insect control, said spikes in mosquito complaints do tend to match a surge in the actual bug population, as appears to be the case this year.
While complaints alone don’t satisfy the fogging criteria, Nawolsky said city crews will investigate when residents of one area complain there are more mosquitoes than city trap counts would indicate.
"If there’s some (unexplained) clusters… we’ll often go out to those areas and try and do a little investigative work to see if there is something else there that’s causing (it)," he said.
On Friday, the citywide average mosquito trap count was 14.
Nawolsky said the mosquito count should remain lower for the weeks to come, as long as weather conditions are normal.
"If it currently holds up with (this) weather pattern and just normal amounts of rainfall, we should have fewer mosquitoes for the remainder of the summer," he said.
Nawolsky said residents must frequently dump, drain and cover any standing water in their yards to ensure the mosquito population remains low.
Born and raised in Winnipeg, Joyanne loves to tell the stories of this city, especially when politics is involved. Joyanne became the city hall reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press in early 2020.