Mosquito Menace
July 15, 2005 1:50 AM   Subscribe

Winnipeg's mosquito population explodes "Heavy rains throughout June and early July have flooded farmlands and fields, leaving pools of water that are perfect for mosquito breeding." The Manitoba government has ordered Winnipeg to spray the controversial chemical malathion across the city. A survey reveals that the vast majority of Manitobans who have contracted West Nile virus have no idea they have been infected. Recommended repellants have contained the chemical DEET and sixty percent of Americans shy away from any insect repellent, even when the mosquito-borne West Nile Virus is a serious threat. CDC has more information and FAQ about insect repellent use and safety.
posted by webmeta (15 comments total)
West Nile == BFD. 3.2% of the population have been infected (And this is with Winnipeg being a swamp!). They are not contagious and most show no symptoms. Only 1 in 150 infected people get really sick and typically that is due to some other underlying vulnerability.

It has a scary foreign sounding name and the infection vector is something people already dislike so it is a lot of fun to scare monger with. Really it is probably about as serious as a bad cold bug.
posted by srboisvert at 2:21 AM on July 15, 2005

Before someone suggests bats as a way to reduce the mosquitos, they would not have a huge overall impact on the total population of mosquitos, mostly because bats are nocturnal.

Good *Canadian* West Nile-related websites: The Manitoba page has lots of handy, practical advice for dealing with mosquitos (all in PDF). People needn't panic.
posted by tweak at 5:02 AM on July 15, 2005

Always in time for the winnipeg folk festival. This year, I hear at least one park (the park in which the festival takes place) employed the help of dragonflies to control the mosquito population during the festival. Interesting solution, but certainly not something you could use for a large region, I guess.
posted by taursir at 5:43 AM on July 15, 2005

Happens every summer in Northern Sweden. Long pants, long sleeves, a mosquito net over your head, and if you don't mind covering your exposed skin with dangerous chemicals that are hard to wash off Wilmas Nordic Summer is the shit. It comes appropriately in a shoe polish tin and goes on with the consistency of ski wax. If you prefer something less extreme, but still pretty effective MyggA sold by Apoteket does the trick.
posted by three blind mice at 5:54 AM on July 15, 2005

That Wilmas Nordic summer stuff... I've never heard of it. You'd think one of the many swedish immigrants to this area (manitoba) would have brought it over. Is it a recent invention?
posted by sleslie at 6:20 AM on July 15, 2005

The dragonflies really did eliminate the mosquitos at the Winnipeg Folk Festival. This is the first folk fest I've been to where I never needed repellant, even at dusk when the swarms usually emerge. I suspect that the park overpopulated the dragonflies knowing they needed them for just the 4 days of the festival, and that the conditions in the park are not sustainable. I was in Winnipeg's Assiniboine Park a couple nights ago, and although there were numerous dragonfiles there, they couldn't keep up with the mosquitos.
posted by teg at 6:41 AM on July 15, 2005

Trap counts of 558! Man, they get over 50 here and people start complaining.
posted by Mitheral at 7:06 AM on July 15, 2005

First year I've missed, teg. It's a shame-- of course the one year they do something that works and I'm not there. The fogging didn't previous years, though it could have been working and the mosquitos were really that bad. :P
posted by taursir at 7:08 AM on July 15, 2005

sleslie, I couldn't find a decent link to Wilmas Nordic Summer. It's hard to find outside of Norrland. Even in Stockholm there are only a few stores that carry it (perhaps because it should probably be designated as a hazmat.)

But it is the shit. It's like DEET times 100. When I used to run Vindelälvsloppet at the end of July, it was the only stuff that was really effective, but it IS nasty. Using it is a Faustian bargain - do I get cancer, or can I survive the mosquitos? Most people risk the cancer.

The poor people who live up there. 11 months of winter and a short summer plagued by swarms of mosquitos. Literally, you step out of the car and they land all over you. Not fun. You see Moose with their thick hides going into the lakes to escape them. If this summer in Winnepeg is anything like it, the those people are really suffering.
posted by three blind mice at 8:26 AM on July 15, 2005

The trick with mosquitos is to get bit so much all at once, that your body quits reacting.

Mind, it's probably best to do that where West Nile isn't such a thread.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:55 AM on July 15, 2005

fff - is that possible? I thought I would've reached it by now... two weeks in Belize in the rainy season, and DEET was still merely a cocktail to them damn skeeters.
posted by bloomicy at 5:18 PM on July 15, 2005

Count your blessings. In southern and now central Arizona, along with West Nile, we have to contend with two versions of mosquito-borne encephalitis (St Louis and Equine), and now we are expecting Dengue Fever any year now, from the endless outbreak in Mexico.

Dengue especially is scary. The first time you get it you are typically messed up with wierd symptoms for three weeks. But the second time you get it, unpredictably, it may turn into the hemorrhagic form. Like ebola in its effects.
posted by kablam at 5:52 PM on July 15, 2005

Trap counts of 558! Man, they get over 50 here and people start complaining.
posted by Mitheral at 9:06 AM CST on July 15

Actually, according to the Winnipeg Free Press this morning, one section of the city's west end (Headingly) actually had a trap count of over 13,000.

The highest on record before this year? 500.
posted by WinnipegDragon at 7:23 PM on July 15, 2005

... the second time you get it, unpredictably, it may turn into the hemorrhagic form. Like ebola in its effects.

That could really ruin a person's day. Geez Louise.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:28 PM on July 15, 2005

These, though cancer-causing, would do the trick if you're in an enclosed space. If net counts are 13,000, I say bring on the tumors!
posted by saysthis at 12:58 AM on July 16, 2005

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