With lake levels coming up higher than last year, Sicamous residents could be in for a repeat of last year’s mosquito situation.
High water was a key factor behind last year’s mosquito outbreak – considered by many as one of the worst the district has seen in years.
This year Shuswap and Mara Lakes have already risen above last year’s high mark, and will continue to rise for another week.
“Last year we had a high water situation; this year it’s a state of emergency,” says Cheryl Phippen of BWP Consulting, the company been contracted to oversee the district’s mosquito control program. “They’re not even in the same league. This is so much worse.”
Phippen says the water has overflowed berms, is seeping up into fields and in areas that haven’t been reached for years.
“As water comes up it wets the eggs, and the water has just gotten so huge now we’ve been continuously treating the edges… for five to eight days,” says Phippen. “We’ve been treating all of them as it creeps up. Now the water is so massive, we’re really having a hard time finding larvae. So what do you treat? You know they have to be there, but where? It’s a lake.”
Along with her ground crews, Phippen said Thursday, June 21, that two helicopters have already been over Sicamous for aerial applications of larvicide, and she was expecting a third aerial application that day. But one of the problems Phippen has is not knowing where the high water has is bringing out new hatches of mosquitoes.
“There’s lot of locals stopping our staff and saying, ‘There’s water here; did you know about the water here?’ Which is helpful right now. Because, the sites that we have mapped, they’re blown out and flowing and now there’s this water that’s never been mapped… and it’s warm water, and if it’s a field, it’s shallow, and those mosquitoes are developing super fast,” says Phippen. “If anyone is finding this seepage water in their fields, give us a call immediately, don’t wait. Don’t call after the adults are out; that’s too long. We need to know the water is there and we need to know in the next few days to get the larvae treated.”
Residents needing to get in contact with BWP can reach them toll-free at 1-879-679-8473.
Phippen will be meeting with Mayor Darrell Trouton Friday to discuss the situation. As of Thursday, however, Trouton said he would be surprised if the district sees a repeat of last year. He said the contractor is hitting areas that weren’t hit before and, as the water continues to rise, the plan is to keep on hitting them.
“It’s not like they’re waiting like they were before,” says Trouton of the larvae. “They’ve already been treated.”
Phippen will be meeting with Trouton Friday to discuss the situation.
In the meantime, Phippen says her crew will continue to keep working at it but, with the high water, it’s difficult to say for sure which way things will go.
“We’ve done everything we can, we’re not really finding larvae,” says Phippen. “Which could be a good thing or it could be that it’s just too big to find them. So we’ll find out in the next couple of weeks.”