Toronto-based mosquito expert gives tips on staying unbitten during Edmonton’s summer

After a good bout of rain, the City of Edmonton had experts announce that mosquitoes may make a comeback in the summer which has, overwhelmingly, been warm and dry, Postmedia reported.

Jim Lovisek, Toronto-based “animal wrangler” and an expert in these blood-sucking bugs has a few tips for keeping the skeeters at bay.
First, he recommends applying a spray containing N,N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide (DEET), while following the instructions on the bottle and considering the environment and its possible concentration of mosquitoes.
“You have to use an effective repellent,” he said, adding that something like a marsh land would obviously have more of the insects flying around than a suburban back yard.
“There are different products with different concentrations of DEET.”
Next, and this one is bad news for the physically active or out-doorsy, the more carbon dioxide a person exhales the more the mosquitoes will be drawn to them.
“The more active you are, the more you attract mosquitoes. The carbon dioxide is one thing the mosquitoes can just lock on to,” he said.
“When I’m taking a hike, I tend to watch my breathing and believe it or not, it actually attracts less mosquitoes.”
Covering the body in clothing also acts as an important guard, but the colour can also have an effect. Dark colours tend to draw more mosquitoes in than lighter ones.
Different odours like deodorants, perfumes and cologne can draw the insects in as well.
Finally, eliminating pools of stagnant water around the house reduces the spawning pools of the pests and, thus, helps in keeping homes relatively free.
“They’re looking for sites to lay their eggs, and it can just be a tiny little pot of water,” he said.
“Make sure there’s no standing water around the house and make sure there are no openings or cracks they can get into.”
According to Lovisek, there’s no environmental danger in acting on these recommendations.
“Definitely mosquitoes are very important in a natural ecosystem, but these are just for reducing the number of mosquitoes attacking your family around your house or cottage,” he said.
“It’s a very small area. You’re not really affecting the wild population at all.”
Mosquitos are eaten by birds and other animals and also act as pollinators, but, Mike Jenkins, a biological sciences technician with the City of Edmonton’s mosquito control program said in the Postmedia story, there is “very little that absolutely depends on mosquitoes.”
-With files from Ainslie Cruickshank
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