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Regional district says public can help ‘fight the bite’

Residents across three Okanagan regional districts will hear a lot about mosquitoes this summer.

They’re being asked to help ‘fight the bite’ and reduce mosquito breeding habitat.

The Central Okanagan, Okanagan-Similkameen and North Okanagan regional districts have combined their efforts on a summer long media campaign.

Television and radio commercials and online ad links will provide information for residents on what they can do to protect against mosquitoes and West Nile Virus.

Bruce Smith, spokesman for the Regional District of Central Okanagan, said the ministry of health has allocated $269,000 to help control the mosquito population.

“We have been receiving grants for the past five years now to help reduce the potential health risk of the West Nile Virus,” Smith said.

He said 300-plus identifed mosquito breeding sites will be treated and monitored by a mosquito control contractor, BWP Consulting Inc., along with the more than 11,000 roadside catch basins between Peachland and Lake Country.

“The majority of those are in Kelowna,” Smith added. “But mosquitoes don’t know the boundaries between the regional districts and local governments.”

Smith said the public can adopt many lifestyle initiatives to help nullify the mosquito impact this summer.

That starts with removal of any standing water on their property in which mosquito larvae can breed. Mosquito larvae can also develop in birdbaths, wading pools or pet bowls, so water should be changed at least two times a week.

Cheryl Phippen, with BWP Consulting, said:   “This spring has been exceptionally wet and many of the larval development habitats are larger than usual and have high densities of mosquito larvae.

“People should expect higher than normal numbers of nuisance and potential West Nile virus mosquitoes throughout the summer. Individuals should be protecting themselves by wearing mosquito repellent containing DEET and light coloured clothing with long sleeves and long pants, especially at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are at their worst.”

 

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