Discover Estevan got in touch with the province's Ministry of Health to get some answers on mosquitoes for this coming summer.

Here's a condensed version of our conversation:

DiscoverEstevan: Do we expect to have more mosquitoes than usual in Saskatchewan this year? How is the year shaping up, particularly the southeast?

Ministry of Health: "The province will start mosquito surveillance the week of June 12th. The surveillance program primarily monitors the number of Culex tarsalis mosquitoes (carriers of West Nile virus), but the data collected also provides information on nuisance mosquitoes. The first report will be available on the Government of Saskatchewan website by June 24th."

DiscoverEstevan: Has all of the recent wet weather in the southeast contributed to the population of mosquitoes?

Ministry of Health: "Some species of mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water. Increased rainfall accumulated in puddles, and artificial containers (birdbaths, flowerpots, rain barrels) can provide suitable habitat for mosquito growth."

Standing waterStanding water, such as this area near Woodlawn Golf Club, contributes to mosquito growth, according to the province. (Photo credit: Daniel Espelien)

DiscoverEstevan: What other factors contribute to having more mosquitoes?

Ministry of Health: "Temperature also plays a key role. Mosquito biting, egg-laying activities and larval development are determined by temperatures. Warmer (>15°C) day and nighttime temperatures can increase mosquito activity and shorten development time for the larvae. Cooler weather and in particular cool nighttime temperatures can limit biting and egg-laying activity to only a few hours in the day."

DiscoverEstevan: Is the southeast worse than other parts of the province?

Ministry of Health: "Generally, mosquito numbers are higher in the southern parts of the province because there is more suitable larval habitat and higher temperatures. Southeastern Saskatchewan typically is the first to reach temperature thresholds needed to observe Culex tarsalis activity."

DiscoverEstevan: Which months will be the worst for mosquitoes?

Ministry of Health: "Typically, mosquito numbers are highest in June and July, but if conditions are favourable, high numbers of mosquito activity can be detected in late summer and early fall."

DiscoverEstevan: What are some things people can do in their everyday lives to help keep mosquitoes at bay?

Ministry of Health: "Maintaining door and window screens so they fit tightly and are free of holes and reducing mosquito habitat (standing water) around your home and yard will help keep mosquitoes away. People can take personal protective measures such as using appropriate insect repellent and wear light-coloured, loose-fitting, long-sleeved tops and long pants when outdoors."