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How to avoid getting bitten during this summer's mosquito surge

Conditions this season are perfect for mosquitoes in B.C., but there are effective ways people can protect themselves from the influx of bloodsuckers, says a Simon Fraser University professor

Every year, between the months of May and September, the Lower Mainland gets umpteen number of uninvited guests, which have most of us reaching for our calamine and concealers.

The mosquitoes, after a long season of hibernating in the winter, look for the best time to get out and hunt for their food (our blood) This year, so far, has been providing ideal conditions to the mosquitoes like none other.

Despite the scary surge in mosquitoes this season, there is a way for people to protect themselves, says entomologist Carl Lowenberger, a professor at Simon Fraser University (SFU) who is sharing his expertise and providing tips on preventing those annoying bites.

Ideal conditions

“Mosquitoes thrive on warmer and humid temperatures," Lowenberger said. "This year, with high snowmelts and rising water levels in our rivers, and higher than usual amounts of rainfall, conditions have favoured for the mosquitoes to breed."

The mosquitoes lay eggs and emerge from standing water, so it becomes imperative to control stagnation in our communities, he said.

Although the city is helping limit the spread of mosquitoes by controlling water levels, Lowenberger advises the public to watch out for standing water around homes to prevent mosquitoes from breeding.

Keeping the nuisance at bay: Tips and recommendations

To reduce the habitat for the mosquitoes to breed, Lowenberger suggests keeping an eye out for standing water in flower pots and buckets in gardens and backyards.

Inflatable swimming pools in backyards should be drained after use to help keep local mosquito populations down, he said.

Even in hot weather, Lowenberger said, longer dresses should be worn, especially during dusk and dawn  -- the most active times for mosquitoes -- to prevent bites.

Mosquito repellents are another must-have. “The mosquitoes are doing what they are supposed to," Lowenberger added. "Females bite to lay eggs, so by reducing those pesky bites, we limit their reproduction."