Any outdoor enthusiast or patio dweller will attest to the fact that the mosquitoes seem to be overly abundant this summer.  

Is it true or are we just overly sensitive to the pesky critters?  

Kenneth Fry, Ph.D., Instructor School of Life Science & Business at Olds College says we are not imagining things. “We are actually seeing; I won’t say a hyper-abundance but certainly a high abundance of mosquitos and it’s a direct result of all the moisture we’ve had.  

Fry says it isn’t the amount of precipitation we have received as we are pretty much on par with normal amounts. However, what differs from the norm is it hasn’t been evenly distributed over the summer. “We actually had a dry spring which made people worry are we going to be in for another drought like last year?” Fry points out that instead of receiving April, May, and June showers spread across the three months we received a significant amount of rainfall in June, 130 mm which is 40 mm more than the 90 mm we usually receive in June. Fry says, “That’s really key here because the ground is dry, it’s hard, and then you get a big downpour very quickly and the water doesn’t drain away quickly. It doesn’t soak into the ground it sits there in pools that’s what creates the habitat for the mosquitoes to breed.” 

Alberta has over 40 species of mosquitoes but the ones we must worry about the most are what Fry describes as “Temporary water breeders, so roadside ditches, little pools that form in fields, like a depression in a field and things like that. So, what we call ephemeral water, is short-lived, short-term water that accumulates from heavy rains. That’s what we got in June, heavy rains, water accumulates the mosquitoes have the place to breed. Boom, you get a lot of mosquitos. 

Another factor that is adding to the argument that there are more mosquitoes this year is because we are comparing the situation to last year when it was so dry and there were very few mosquitoes.  

Fry says the good news is the warm sunny weather in the forecast means the heat will be our saviour because that will evaporate the ephemeral water and the breeding habitats for the mosquitoes will disappear.  

In the meantime, keep the bug repellant handy until the heat kicks in.