Weather can have a lot to do with how the bug season will play out over the summer…
Ontario so far has been experiencing a wet spring with multiple regions in the province receiving substantial amounts of rain these past few weeks. What that means according to experts is that there will be A LOT more mosquitoes present, and residents are being advised to take the precautions necessary to protect themselves against the bloodsucking insects.
According to GDG Environment, a Quebec-based company that tracks bug activity for the Weather Network, this summer both cottagers and urbanites should be prepared for greater numbers of flying pests.
Ontario and Quebec will see an increase in mosquitoes, thanks partially to the long winter that extended the snowmelt by 15 days compared to the previous year. This delay created pools of standing water well into spring, which are the ideal breeding habitats for mosquitoes.
Meanwhile blackflies benefitted from the trifecta of heavy precipitation, muggy days, and cool nights.
In Atlantic Canada, mosquito and blackfly populations will be similar to Ontario and Quebec. Western Canada seems likely to suffer too, since it’s mountainous ranges are the perfect home for blackflies, which relish the area’s flowing streams.
It’s up to Mother Nature to relieve cottagers across the country from mosquito-filled nights around the bon fire say weather experts and basically what allows the population to die-off is a nice and long heat wave.
Southwestern Ontario in particular is highly prone to a mosquito boom. February brought record-breaking flooding conditions to the area. The warm temperatures that followed this year’s extended winter also caused a greater amount of snow pack in the north to melt, which caused overflow in many rivers and banks. These events have set up the perfect breeding ground for mosquitos.
The good news? While mosquitoes are notorious for being top transmitters of viruses such as West Nile and Zika, health analysts say the mosquitoes we will be seeing in Ontario this year aren’t ones we really need to worry too much about when it comes to disease.
Canada is home to over 80 species of mosquitoes, with only a few species biting humans. Mosquitoes are abundant, beginning in mid to late May and lasting longer than black flies (usually into July depending upon the weather). Mosquitoes start their life as eggs that can sit dormant for many years before hatching under ideal conditions. Eggs are usually placed in calm water, such as beaver ponds, with larvae living just below the water’s surface. Adults emerge from the water in late May to late summer, depending upon the species, with females searching out blood meals for development of their eggs. Mosquitoes are attracted to heat and carbon dioxide from exhaling and also through visual cues. Females land on hosts and use needle-like mouth parts to pierce the skin and suck in a blood meal. Females require several blood meals to acquire enough protein to produce a batch of eggs. Mosquitoes are abundant at certain times of the year and most abundant in cooler, shady parts of the forest, as well as in the evening and into the first couple of hours of darkness. These biting insects become less abundant through the night, although they do not disappear entirely. Covering up with clothing, such as a bug jacket, and applying insect repellent, as directed, offers good protection from the bite of mosquitoes.
Canada is home to 161 species of black flies that have different life cycles, with the majority flying as adults during the spring. In Algonquin Park, 42 species of black flies have been recorded, with just 4 species biting humans. Most species of black flies fly as adults from mid-May (depends on the weather in any given year) until late June, primarily during the day. The majority of black fly species in Algonquin Park feed upon birds and do not bite humans. Black flies develop in moving water and then emerge to fly as adults, with only the females requiring a blood meal to develop eggs. Females bite thin skin areas and will often land and crawl for some distance before biting. Black flies cut and rupture the skin and then soak up the blood. Irritation from the black fly’s saliva can also cause swelling and itching in some people. Black flies seem to be most abundant on hot, humid spring days but are typically common throughout this mid-May to late June flight period. Covering up with clothing, such as a bug jacket, and applying insect repellent, as directed, offers some deterrent to the biting of black flies.
BOTTOM LINE: Stock up on that bug repellent…you’re gonna need it!
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