A 'bumper crop' of mosquitoes expected this season in Ottawa

Spring 2017 has given us more hardship than expect, with heavy rains, rigid weather.  And now it seems the only one to think flooding was a good idea are the mosquitoes, out in force before it's comfortable for humans to stand around a barbeque. If you thought this cooler weather was going to keep the mosquitoes at bay, think again.  Biologists say it's only going to make them last longer.  So be prepared for a nasty season with these blood-sucking critters.

As a photographer, Denis Deslauriers requires a steady hand, regardless of how many mosquitoes are buzzing around him.  Deslauriers is walking through the woods at Mud Lake, grabbing photos here and there.

“They get you on the hand when you're standing still and trying to get a shot,” he says.

The mosquitoes are trying to take a shot.  For Beverley Lafortune, they are not so bad at the moment.

“It’s fine today,” she laughs, as she snaps a photo of a flower in bloom.

But it won't be fine tonight.  The mosquitoes out right now are the dusk and dawn biters.  And they are bad this year, thanks to all that rain.

“This year with the amount of water we had this spring, we got a lot of eggs compared to other years, so we have a bumper crop of mosquitoes,” says Mark Ardis, a biologist with GDG Environnement, the company that is monitoring the mosquito population in Ottawa and doing nuisance control in Kanata North.  Ardis says the day time biters are just about to come out, fueled by even more rain this week.  What we need, he says, is some heat.

“Without heat wave in between generations,” Ardis says, “we get an accumulation of generations of mosquitoes, so we will be dealing with more mosquitoes on top of the ones we already have.”

The bad thing about all the rain and miserable temperatures are all the mosquitoes and black flies.  The good thing is, many of us are so covered up, they can't find any skin to snack on.

In the Byward Market, Skylar Premo has traded her shorts and sandals for mitts and a scarf as she sells at one of the market stalls.

“The weather is freezing in the market today, it's what's?  9 degrees?” she says.

“It sucks,” adds Alicia Bromfield, bundled in a spring coat, “It's unpredictable. You'd think this time of year, it would be nice and warm and we'd be on patios every single day.”

In fact, nobody is sitting on the patios today, mosquitoes or not.  It's just too cold.  And if you thought this cold weather will slow those bloodsuckers down, think again.

“The cool weather, what it does it allow them to live longer,” says biologist Mark Ardis.

GDG is getting lots of calls from homeowners asking for help with mosquitoes, wondering whether the company does private applications of their biological agent.  Ardis says they only do community nuisance control and that it will take about six weeks in order to get approval through the Ministry of the Environment for another community program. So, while it is perhaps too late for this year, he recommends communities start thinking about next year when we can expect even more mosquitoes.