‘Ottawa’ Kanata North Taxpayers Winning War on Mosquitos
Kanata North’s war on mosquitos seems to be paying off.
That’s good news for residents shelling out more money for the unique anti-mosquito program as another year of bug-attacking treatments is just around the corner.
To carry out the assault on mosquitos in Kanata North, the city has hired the company GDG Environnement to lead the aerial attack with a helicopter and a ground offensive on specific sites. GDG will be gearing up for its 2017 campaign as the snow melts.
Research during the first year of mosquito-busting in the western ward has shown the annoying bugs weren’t as nasty for most of the spring and summer in 2016.
University of Ottawa researchers monitoring the anti-mosquito program noted “mosquito populations were noticeably reduced” between May and July and half of August. It was probably because of the larvicide treatment combined with reduced precipitation, the researchers wrote in their report released early this year.
There were 30 sampling locations and half were control sites, with the others being the sites treated with the biological larvicide, which doesn’t pose risk to human health.
The research team used bleach-sterilized spades to scoop up “leaf litter” and put the debris in Ziploc bags for research. Other sediment was scooped up and frozen for DNA analysis.
Researchers have also been curious about the larvicide’s greater impact on the wetlands and have been paying close attention to any effects on chironomids. The small flies are meals for dragonflies, birds and bats.
The research team set up traps at the ponds to analyze the insect activity.
It turns out there was no detectable impact on non-nuisance bugs when researchers compared the sites treated with the larvicide and those that weren’t.
More mosquitos started appearing in some areas around mid-August when there was more precipitation, the researchers observed. The contractor will add those areas to the 2017 treatment program.
When chatting with people using the paths in the South March Highlands, researchers heard there was a significant decrease in mosquitos between May and July, when there was little precipitation. People complained about the mosquitos in August and September.
Council approved the $1.4-million mosquito control program for Kanata North on the understanding that residents in that ward would have to pay for it through a special levy on their property taxes.
The four-year program runs through 2019 and means each household in Kanata North pays $19 more annually in the first year and about $15 in the fourth year.
While the results are promising so far, the city’s planner monitoring the program tempers the excitement, since 2016 was a drought year and any environmental impact from the treatment could be delayed. It will take multiple years of research to understand the full effect of the mosquito treatments.
The anti-mosquito program will be one of the issues discussed Thursday during a town hall hosted by Kanata North Coun. Marianne Wilkinson.
Wilkinson said the contractors will outline the 2017 anti-mosquito campaign. The program will begin once the snow melts by checking wet areas for mosquito larvae and applying the larvicide.
The response so far from residents has been “overwhelmingly positive,” Wilkinson said.