The Town of Kindersley takes an integrated pest management approach to mosquito control and utilizes organic and biological products to deal with nuisance mosquitos and prevent threats to public health.
Standing Water Treatment
Due to high levels of mosquitoes in 2011, Public Works increased its radius of treating standing water from 1 km to 5km around Kindersley. This has continued every year since. All standing water is surveyed and treated every 7 days by employees specifically trained to complete this application.
When larvae are found in any standing water (ditch, slough, railway tracks, tree holes, gutters, sewage lagoons, culverts etc.) a biological control agent known as Vectobac is applied. This bacterium acts as a stomach poison to the mosquito larvae and is lethal once consumed but does not kill flying mosquitos that have already hatched. This product does not cause harm to fish, birds, mammals or other species of invertebrates, which prey on mosquitoes. The amount of Vectobac used is determined by the amount of larvae discovered when the water is tested.
By using a product such as Vectobac, mosquito populations can be kept at low levels without harming mosquito predators.
Widespread spraying with adulticides known as “rescue spraying” is only used as a last resort as per legislative guidelines. When spraying occurs public notice of the area(s) will be posted on the Town of Kindersley website.
To help combat the adult mosquito population, the Parks Department uses a biodegradable, non-poisonous product consisting primarily of garlic juice. This product works up to four works before a new application is required. Mosquitos are repelled by the odour of garlic almost immediately after spraying and the product smothers larvae in standing water. It is not harmful to beneficials like butterflies and bees and repels other pests such as ticks.
Malathion is an outdoor insecticide that can be applied topically and has shown to be effective in eradicating mosquitos and ticks. As per provincial regulations, licensed applicators are required and public notice is to be given prior to treatment of any public area. The Town currently employs individuals who are licensed as Mosquito and Biting Fly Pesticide Applicators, and this authorizes them to apply malathion.
Though often applied aerially, the Town of Kindersley's application of malathion is done via quad-mounted sprayer so concern of airborne contact is greatly reduced. Residents near public green spaces may wish to close their windows during the evening and early morning hours and to remain indoors while spraying is taking place.
Mosquito Control at Home
The mosquito that bit you last night may have hatched right in your own backyard. Here are a few ways that you can control mosquitos on your property:
- Keep your lawn cut low. Mosquitos like to hide in tall grass or other vegetation.
- Eliminate unnecessary places where rainwater collects and stands. Check and empty items such as flower pots, children’s wading pools, birdbaths and fountains, clogged gutters and drains, cans and bottles, old car tires, fish ponds, rain barrels, tree holes and any other items in your yard that may hold water.
- Fill holes and depressions where you find standing water.
- Swimming pools need to be maintained with chlorine and circulation or else treated to prevent mosquito breeding.
- Purchase a larvaecide product from your local hardware or building stores to treat standing water or consider spraying shrubs and flower beds with a pyrethium based insecticide.
Mosquito Quick Facts
- There are 41 species of mosquitoes in Saskatchewan.
- Some mosquito eggs can survive without water for over 13 years.
- Mosquito life cycles range between 14 and 40 days depending on species, wind humidity and temperature.
- Mosquitoes are attracted to dark colored clothing.
- Fogging or spraying adult mosquitoes (adulticiding) requires toxic chemicals and can lead to resistant mosquitoes and be relatively ineffective.
- A single glass of water can breed up to 10,000 mosquitoes.
- Mosquito control areas where Vectobac TM is used have up to 100 times less adult mosquitoes than areas where control is not used.
- The Town of Kindersley spends approximately $25,000 on product every year to combat these pesky insects.