Mosquitoes are out and about, as many Portagers are well-aware by now. The abundance of rain in days past has brought conditions that are quite favourable for the pests.
Parks and cemetery department foreman Kyle Troop checks in on mosquito traps throughout the city, and explains we're not quite there yet for fogging, but it's quickly approaching.
He outlines how the traps they work.
"These guys run off of a photovoltaic sensor," says Troop. "So, when the sun goes down, then the light turns on, which attracts the mosquitoes, and there's actually a little fan in there that sucks them down into a funnel trap. Then they get trapped in a jar. Then when we count them in the morning, we take the jar off really quickly, put a lid on it, and then we take it to a freezer. And that's how we get them to stay still enough to count them."
Troop says they started just a few days ago due to the hatch beginning at that point.
"For an example, up on this one (near Scanlan Avenue in the northwest part of town) on June the 8th, there were only five, but then there were 26 when I counted them just before lunch today. We have four different stations across the city where we have these traps set up and that determines when we spray."
He explains Portage's policy requires about 51 trapped mosquitoes in a 24-hour period before they will begin spraying.
"We also gauge by complaints as well," adds Troop. "It wouldn't surprise me within the next couple weeks here, that we'll have to spray. It depends on what the weather does. It takes perfect conditions for breeding and you can have population explosions fairly quickly. We're getting to that point, absolutely. We're prepared. We have chemical and all that."
Troop notes it's only female mosquitoes that bite, requiring them to separate the males from the females.
"You can tell them apart because the males have fuzzy antennas and the females have quite plain antennas, and they're often larger than the males," continues Troop. "There seems to be more males than females in the last two counts. But the female population is starting to get up there. They're the nuisance ones. We also work in conjunction with the province as well. The City of Winnipeg has the contract. They have their own traps around town and they do dips for larviciding because the province larvicides. Then Winnipeg actually takes their biological samples back and then they test for the Culex variety of mosquitoes that carry the West Nile Virus."
He says the local department doesn't have the lab facility to do that part of the testing.
"The City of Winnipeg's in town here a few times a week, checking for those, as well," adds Troop. "We only have the technology to count for nuisance mosquitoes. They can actually tell what breed they are once they look at them under a microscope."
Troop says The Use of DeltaGard 20EW is the spray they use to control mosquitoes.