Saratoga Beach mosquitoes difficult to control

The Comox Valley Regional District won’t be starting a mosquito abatement program in the Saratoga Beach area.

But RD staff will continue to monitor nuisance mosquito complaints and assess the need for future investigations on a case-by-case basis.

And they’ll install some ‘bat boxes’ near one of the more problematic mosquito breeding areas.

The RD had approved spending $6,000 late in 2015 for a study into the Saratoga Beach mosquito problem.

That’s been finished now by consultants Current Environmental. After extensive study and larvae sampling efforts this past summer, the firm concluded that only one sampling location was above the nuisance mosquito threshold.

“Even though elevated levels of mosquito larvae appeared at only one sample location, the abundance of wetlands, ponds, and salt marshes in the area is a contributing factor to the high number of adult mosquitoes in the area,” wrote Vince Van Tongeren, RD policy and sustainability analyst, in his report to the committee.

“Research on A. dorsalis mosquitoes has shown that flight distance for adults can be up to two km from where they hatch, and even further when travelling downwind. It is therefore also possible that mosquitoes that hatched at the Black Creek estuary could travel throughout the entire Saratoga Miracle Beach area and contribute to mosquito complaints in this area.”

This isn’t the first time the regional district has headed into battle with mosquitoes.

In late summer 2014, the RD partnered with the Town of Comox to investigate mosquito complaints in the Kye Bay-Point Holmes area.

Area B director Rod Nichol noted that “we piggybacked with Comox and kind of annihilated them. Whatever we did down there we did a good job … I think we kind of nuked them didn’t we?”

Van Tongeren explained that the problem there was brackish pond water on the beach. There was no other life in this pond.

“Because of that they were able to get permissions rather quickly to regrade the beach. That ended up dealing with the mosquitoes,” he said.

The Saratoga Beach area is different in that the abundance of wetlands, ponds, and salt marshes in the area is a contributing factor to the high number of adult mosquitoes in the area.

“The study results indicate that options for mosquito control are limited due to the widespread sources of mosquito breeding habitat,” Van Tongeren reported.

The best option is to encourage predator control, including the installation of bat boxes and swallow nesting boxes in this area.

Further to this, the CVRD parks department is planning to install three or four bat boxes as part of its development of Driftwood Marine Park, Van Tongeren wrote.

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