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Staying protected against bugs this summer


Milder climate could lead to longer mosquito season, but not necessarily more mosquitoes
Milder climate could lead to longer mosquito season, but not necessarily more mosquitoes

Staff writers

August 2, 2012 — Despite being one of the warmest winters on record, the bug count remains low across much of the country. Residents are still urged to protect themselves when outdoors.

No correlation can be made so far with climate changes and any increasing risks of disease
No correlation can be made so far with climate changes and any increasing risks of disease

According to Richard Vadeboncoeur, a biologist at GDG Environment, a milder climate can lead to an early arrival of spring and snowmelt mosquitoes. The actual number of bugs however, will probably be the same.

"Summer mosquitoes will also be present later in the fall, so overall there will be a longer 'mosquito season,' but not necessarily more mosquitoes."

Vadeboncoeur adds that the yearly abundance of mosquitoes is mostly driven by the abundance and quality of their aquatic habitats.

"And that's driven in turn by the landscape, land use and snow/rainfall patterns."

GDG intervenes in aquatic habitats, when mosquitoes and black flies are at their larval stages.

"Year to year, the intensification of field operations is driven more by the expansion of these habitats in a wet year (large ponds, rivers in high flow) than by the levels of larval populations. On a longer term, (several years), the improving conditions of our larger rivers is now favorable for the re-colonization by the black fly larvae that are very pollution sensitive. Therefore, many residents living nearby rivers are witnessing serious nuisance increases and are asking for biological solutions," explains Vadeboncoeur.

Read and follow the label if you choose to use a bug repellent
Read and follow the label if you choose to use a bug repellent

Despite the low to moderate bug activity across much of the country this summer, public health officials have reported a high number of mosquitoes carrying the West Nile virus.

GDG says that no correlation can be made so far with climate changes and any increasing risks of disease transmission.

"It's still in the bird population and we still have to take precautions to stay protected," says Angela Robinet with GDG. "Citronella candles work in that they throw off the guidance of the mosquitoes."

Robinet adds that covering up exposed skin and wearing insect repellent when outdoors is useful as well.

"I use 30 percent DEET and for small children I recommend using citronella or eucalyptus oil keeping in mind that it has a two metre radius, and it wears off quite quickly so you have to re-apply...The best place to apply any kind of repellent would be to your clothing."

GDG always recommends that you check with your public health unit and if you choose to use any kind of repellent, that you read and follow the label carefully.

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