Cindy Boehm, wearing hip waders, enters a swamp at the north end of Osoyoos Lake to spray mosquito larvae. She is one of two mosquito control employees of the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen’s mosquito control program. The spray is not toxic to other wildlife or humans. (Richard McGuire photo)

Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen begins mosquito control program

The Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen has begun its Nuisance Mosquito Control Program for this year,

The program has been in place since 1974, operating from spring to late August each year,

It is driven by resident requests and operates on private lands only.

Owners of regular, ongoing sites are contacted by mail each year to ensure treatment is allowed to take place during the right conditions.

The mosquito control crew then samples standing water for the presence of mosquito larvae. If treatment is needed, a naturally occurring granular bacterial larvicide is applied to the water.

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The regional district says the treatment kills mosquito and biting black fly larvae, but does not kill adult mosquitoes. It does not harm other insects or animals either.

If the site is too large to treat manually, a helicopter is used to apply the larvicide.

While the program is available to deal with mosquito larvae, the regional district urges its residents to take additional measures to reduce mosquito populations.

These include fixing screens, cleaning and unclogging eavestroughs and gutters and removing water from depressions on roofs.

Water in outdoor pet dishes and bird baths should be refreshed daily, and standing water should be removed from items such as pails, boats, hot tub and pool covers, plant pots, rain barrels and tarps.

Anything that can hold water for 72 hours or more can provide an excellent habitat for developing mosquitoes, the regional district says.

For information on nuisance mosquitos, annual reports and more, please visit rdos.bc.ca/departments/public-works/pest-control/.

The mosquito control program covers Electoral Areas A, B, C, D, F, G, H and I, as well as the City of Penticton, District of Summerland, Village of Keremeos, Town of Oliver and Town of Osoyoos.

To register with the program, please call the RDOS Mosquito Control Program: 1-877-610-3737 x 4142 or 250-490-4142.

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