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Ideal conditions for mosquitoes in Toronto due to mild winter: experts

Last Updated Apr 20, 2017 at 5:50 am EDT

Brace yourselves: One of the most reviled insects, the pesky mosquito, is coming back with a vengeance.

The season has started early and experts are predicting it’s going to be a bad one.

Chief aquatic biologist for Toronto and Region Conservation (TRCA) Jessica Fang said models indicate this summer will be worse than most and the mild winter is to blame for this early start.

She has already seen both immature and adult mosquitoes.

“They’re breeding in the snow melt puddles,” Fang said. “Mosquito season is here.”

The TRCA and public health departments across the region are most concerned about mosquito-borne illnesses, particularly the West Nile virus.

They look for species of mosquitoes that can carry that disease; of the 67 species in Ontario, only about 13 carry it. The Culex species is the “primary vector” for West Nile and the goal is to eliminate them at the larval stage.

“We’re not really concerned about nuisance mosquitoes,” Fang said.

Daniel Mackie, on the other hand, is concerned with “nuisance” mosquitoes.

He’s the director of pest control company GreenLeaf and says he’s already getting calls from customers wondering why the mosquitoes are so bad.

“It’s really wet. Mosquitoes need those wet environments to breed,” he said. “So, I think if it continues the way it is, it’s going to be a terrible year for mosquitoes.”

Mackie said it’s really important to get rid of standing water in pots, pools and kids’ toys that have been outside. His advice: dry them out as much as possible.

When it comes to ditches with poor drainage, the municipality will come and empty it or grade it properly.

“I wouldn’t want to be a hiker or a biker or a walker or a gardener,” he said.

“Things may change. Things may dry up. But if we continue this trend we’re going to be spending a lot of time indoors or swatting mosquitoes.”