Even though the skies above head are empty with air traffic during the COVID-19 pandemic, unfortunately this does not mean the flight schedule of the infamous “Cattail mosquito” won’t be picked up on the radar. Late June extending into Early July signals the 2-4 week stretch that Cattail mosquitoes will be using this open airspace to create a disturbance, while on the other hand many regions won’t experience their presence.
Like many common pests and other insects, mosquito populations continually fluctuate year over year and month over month. Weather conditions, climate, environmental conditions, habitat, insect life cycles, and many other factors all have an influence. Predicting one year to the next is virtually impossible and in many cases we are at the mercy of Mother Nature. Historical data helps us pinpoint the “timeline”, but the whereabouts of the Cattail mosquito and the intensity level is best left to guessing which makes dealing with this mosquito so frustrating.
Although the lifespan of the cattail mosquito is very short (approximately 2 to 4 weeks), their nuisance is felt in the isolated areas where they exist. Cattail mosquito activity is very specific, only occurring between the hours of 9pm-11pm. The major challenge with the Cattail mosquito is they are notoriously known for being aggressive biters, extremely strong fliers; so much so that they fly in from distances over 10km away.
Despite our best efforts, barrier treatments are ineffective at controlling cattail mosquitoes unlike all the other mosquito species we experience in Canada. What makes them so difficult to control is simply because they are not physically present when we make our applications. Thus, we cannot achieve the immediate knockdown effect like we get with other mosquito species. It’s not a question of whether the control product is ineffective, it’s the fact that the mosquito is not present when the spraying takes place. If they were, it would control them the same way other mosquito species are eliminated. Secondly, because they fly in from long distances, they are very strong fliers which allow them to fly above, around, and most importantly without touching or landing on the treated plant materials to rest. The benefit of the 21 day residual spray barrier that is left on the plant material between application treatments is not effective against the Cattail mosquito because they avoid contacting and landing on the treated surfaces like the other mosquito species do.
Without knowing if the cattail mosquito will be present, we closely monitor local organizations conducting mosquito surveillance, municipal abatement programs, in addition to our own regional trapping efforts that help us identify mosquito species, population counts and areas of specific concern to gain confirmation on the specific whereabouts of the Cattail mosquito.
For more information about Coquillettidia perturbans click here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coquillettidia_perturbans?utm_campaign=mosquito.buzz&utm_source=hs_email&utm_medium=email&_hsenc=p2ANqtz--nPIx4USf9RI8TyeVHW12GX6khAajCV6j-PQjVcadZ2JUPz4U2JHSDWLimXKtr1vmBr9b6