Could be a bad year for West Nile virus
I get itchy just thinking about all the mosquitoes in my yard lately, which I blame on heavy rain this spring.
And unless we have an extended drought soon, it could be theworst year yet for West Nile virus, which is spread by mosquitoes and can be deadly in cases where people who are sick or have weakened immune systems are infected.
A story in today’s Star says the city has begun treating catch basins for mosquito larvae and monitoring parks and wooded areas for them, which will continue throughout the summer.
Last year was the worst in a decade for West Nile, with 70 confirmed and 21 probable cases, about a third of which required hospital treatment.
Around my house, in a heavily treed area along the Scarborough Bluffs, it’s apparent that mosquitoes are flourishing, more so than in other years. If I putter around outside towards dark, they attack voraciously and drive me inside.
Up at our little cabin, east of Peterborough, the mosquitoes were so bad on Victoria Day weekend that just opening and closing the doors let in so many that I spent a lot of time with a rolled up newspaper in hand, on a kill mission.
Environment Canada is predicting that this summer will be cooler than 2012, with more rain. If the
forecast holds up, it’ll extend the mosquito season further into summer than it usually lasts.
In other words, conditions will be ideal for West Nile, especially considering it was much worse than
usual last season.
I went looking for standing water around my place, where they breed, and didn’t find any, until I looked up. My eavestroughs were filled with standing water, due to leaf matter and twigs collecting around the wire bulbs at the entry points to the downspouts.
If you’re looking for a way to cut down on mosquitoes, that’s a good place to start.