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Mosquito control program helps keep pests in check

Steven Chao and Duncan Lu were looking for mosquito larvae outside the dyke in west Richmond as part of the city
Steven Chao and Duncan Lu were looking for mosquito larvae outside the dyke in west Richmond as part of the city's mosquito control program, applying a biological pesiticide to destroy larvae.
— image credit: Martin van den Hemel

Depending on who you ask, this has either been a terrible mosquito season, or a fairly typical one.

On Monday, vector control officers from the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority were outside the dyke at Sturgeon Bank, testing the water for mosquito larvae.

Steven Chao dipped for a sample of the stagnant water from the recent wet spell, and found about a dozen wriggling mosquito larvae.

Those numbers can reach many times that during a bad season. Anywhere from zero to four larvae per dip of water is low, while 20 to 30 suggests an out-of-control problem.

To control those numbers, the city applies a biological pesticide known as Vectobac, which is harmless to fish, amphibians and other wildlife.

Based on the number of complaints received this year, it's been a fairly normal year, according to Gary Tam, environmental health officer.

Mosquitoes need stagnant water sources to breed, and that can be found in discarded tires, plant pots or even clogged rain gutters.

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