West Nile Virus and Max Lake mosquitoes

Update 20 Jun 2011: The heavy run-off means that 2011 will be a terrible spring for floodwater (Aedes) mosquitoes.  These mosquitoes lay their eggs in the dirt and the eggs hatch (possibly years later) when the eggs are submerged.  Although they are aggressive biters and very annoying, the spring floodwater mosquitos are not considered vectors for West Nile virus.  Later, in the summer, we see the Culex mosquitoes, which are potential West Nile vectors.  Culex lay their eggs in standing water, not dirt, hence the importance of managing sources of standing water (e.g., bird baths) later in the summer.



Update 05 Oct 2010: Interior Health did issue a health order to treat Max Lake with Vectobac in mid August.  This was in response to the discovery of a crow infected with West Nile in Kelowna.



Update 20 June 2010: It seems to be a very bad spring for mosquitoes, at least in my corner of Westwood Properties. As in previous years, the big concern for many residents in Husula and Westwood is the Max Lake wetland area. I requested earlier in the year that we keep in constant contact with Interior Health Authority (IHA) on this matter and IHA is well aware of the situation.  As you recall, the RDOS is prohibited from undertaking mosquito control at Max Lake unless we have an order to do so from the Medical Health Officer (MHO) (The policy under which the MHO operates can be found on the IHA site, if you are interested). IHA will only order larvicide treatment of Max Lake if the MHO believes that the West Nile Virus is present as a potential hazard. So far, this is not the case.  The good news is that it is extremely unlikely that the mosquitoes that are feasting on you when you are in your back yard or garden are the species known to carry West Nile virus. See the RDOS West Nile page for more information.


As you may have heard, BC has its first cases of West Nile Virus.  Earlier this summer, we had a serious problem with mosquitoes in the Max Lake conservation area (see the posting and many comments from the spring of 2009 here). The bottom line is that The Land Conservancy (TLC), as one of the holders of the conservation covenant, does not permit us to apply VectoBac larvicide in the Max Lake area.

I have asked RDOS to follow up with TLC in light of this new development.  Recall that the conservation covenant on Max Lake prohibits the application of pesticide unless doing so can "prevent, abate or mitigate any damage or loss to any real or personal property; or prevent potential injury or death to any individual." I will report back on the outcome of this new request.

The good news is that the RDOS has been trapping mosquitoes at Max Lake all summer and have so far not captured any of the West Nile carrying type (Culex ).  Still, we will do what we can to reduce the risk of disease-carrying mosquitoes.




I live on Sunglo and like last year, the mosquitos are bad for about 2 hours in the early evening. This goes away as the summer gets hotter so only seems to be a problem for a few weeks. I would much rather put up with a few mosquitos and not spray if the conservation people feel it would be detrimental to Max Lake. In my childhood, mosquitos were sprayed all summer with DDT. I think we've learrned that there are conseqences to the use of pesticides killing other animals as well. Malathion kills all insects, so the dragonflies, birds and frogs (and other critters) at Max Lake would all be affected. Let's put up with the mosquitos for a few weeks. The mosquitos are only going to be a problem when we have rainy springs. Then we'll still have the birds, frogs and bees around.

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