Ottawa Public Health (OPH) has received reports of 13 human cases of West Nile virus (WNV) illness in Ottawa residents as of September 18. The previous highest number of WNV cases in Ottawa was 8 in 2012. With temperatures well above average for this time of year, mosquitoes carrying WNV continue to bite humans. OPH is advising residents to protect themselves against mosquito bites. Mosquitoes most likely to transmit WNV (Culex pipiens, the northern house mosquito) are found in urban areas in and around homes. Testing has shown mosquitoes carrying WNV in all the urban areas of Ottawa. These mosquitoes will pose a risk on warm days until there have been several hard frosts.
(ABOVE: Carp River, April 8, 2017. The Arcadia neighbourhood is in the background.)
(Guest post from Daniel J. Kucherhan with the Arcadia Community Association.)
Residents of Arcadia have been watching the Carp River closely over the past few weeks, as record rainfall has caused water levels to submerse pathways, bridges, and trees that were delivered as part of the Carp River Restoration Plan (CRRP).Continue reading →
Ottawa Public Health (OPH) has received lab confirmation of the first human case of the West Nile Virus (WNV) in Ottawa for the 2017 WNV season. OPH reminds all Ottawa residents to protect themselves from mosquito bites and to remove standing water where WNV-carrying mosquitoes can breed. Continue reading →
Ottawa Public Health (OPH) is reminding residents to continue to protect themselves from mosquito bites when going outdoors. Mosquito trapping and testing—components of OPH’s West Nile virus (WNV) program—have confirmed the presence of WNV in Ottawa mosquitoes again this year. These first positive test results for WNV in mosquitoes in Ottawa for 2017 have come relatively early in the WNV season and indicate that 2017 may have higher than usual WNV activity. In addition to protecting themselves against mosquito bites, all Ottawa residents need to help reduce mosquito populations around their homes by getting rid of all outdoor objects that can hold water in which mosquitoes can lay their eggs. Continue reading →
To control nuisance mosquito growth in Kanata North and the surrounding areas, larvicide will be applied throughout the summer, beginning with ground applications on April 21, and ending September 15. Continue reading →
Jonathan Seguin sent along some photos and warning about wild parsnip along the trails south of Abbott Street and east of Shea. Colloquially known as the “Abbott Street Dog Park”, it’s a very popular area for dogwalkers, even though it’s on private property.
The yellow weed is all over the place in our area, especially near ditches, pathways and fields. The plant’s sap can cause skin and eye irritation, and make the skin prone to burning and blistering when exposed to the sun. (It’s not as big a risk for dogs, although sap could be transferred from their fur to human skin.)
Seguin knows all about the dangers of wild parsnip: he works for one of the companies the City has contracted to do the spraying. “I’ve had the rash multiple times so I’m just looking out for the Stittsville locals so they can avoid it. It is not fun and gets quite bad unless you know how to handle it,” he says.
The City of Ottawa is spending close to $200,000 to combat the weed this year, including mowing, herbicides and a public awareness campaign. If you see wild parsnip on public property, you can report it to the City by calling 3-1-1.
The Abbott Street land is private property, so the city won’t touch it. (And technically, dog walkers are trespassing.) Wear shoes, long pants and long sleeves, stay out of the weeds, and if you do come in contact, wash the contaminated area as soon as possible. See a doctor if you notice any skin irritation. More about wild parsnip here…
“They’ve told me that they can finally enjoy their backyards, eat outside and encounter no mosquitoes rising out of the grass when they’re cutting it,” she wrote in a recent email to residents.
Every household had a levy of about $20 added to their tax bill this year to pay to spray larvicide in wetland areas to prevent mosquito larvae from hatching.
I live in the north east part of Stittsville and I’ve noticed fewer mosquitos buzzing around my porch and backyard this year.
Meanwhile, the City of Ottawa, university of Ottawa and G.D.G Canada are collaborating on an ecological impact study to better understand the effects of the larvicide treatment on insects closely related to mosquitos. You can read about that research here…
Thanks to Kim Bonin for snapping this pic of Jessica Phelan while she passed through Stittsville along the Trans Canada Trail on Saturday. She’s on a 9,000km trek across Canada called Jess Bikes Canada, raising money for Gillian’s Place, a shelter for abused women. You can read more about her trip here.
KANATA CENTRAL BIA IN THE WORKS
Businesses in Kanata Centrum and the surrounding area are looking at forming a Business Improvement Area (BIA). The group would be known as the Kanata Central BIA and include shops and businesses in Kanata Centrum, Signature Centre and Kanata Commons, along with Canadian Tire and the Marriott hotel. They have a Facebook page set up here and an email address, email@example.com.
To control nuisance mosquito growth in Kanata North and the surrounding areas, larvicide will be applied throughout the summer, beginning with ground applications April 21, and ending September 15.
Kanata North Nuisance Mosquito Control Program deals with treating mosquito larvae in wetlands so they won’t hatch. No part of the program involves targeting adult mosquitoes.
Contractors, hired by the City of Ottawa, will do daily ground applications of a liquid larvicide in selected areas throughout the program. The application of granular larvicides through the air, by helicopter, is expected to take place sometime in the next two weeks.
The program will use Bti, (Bacillus Thuringiensis Israelensis) and Bs (Bacillus Sphaericus), which are naturally-occurring bacteria, that is dropped directly into the water where the larvae are found. Feeding larvae draw it in with the water, which stops them from becoming adult mosquitoes.
The Health Canada Regulatory Agency states that Bti and Bs have no effect on humans, birds, fish, animals or other insects, but destroys the stomachs of mosquito larvae that hatch in water.
Quality control includes weekly monitoring at five sites. There will also be post-treatment larva surveillance and extra applications of larvicide if needed.
UPDATE (FEB 24): Councillors approved the “mosquito levy” today at City Council.
Our neighbours in Kanata North have voted in favour of a mosquito control program that will add about $20 to their yearly tax bills.
Here’s a note from Councillor Marianne Wilkinson:
On January 25, 2016 Canada Post was provided envelopes containing information, a ballot and return envelope to deliver to homeowners in Kanata North. Each Envelope had BALLOT ENCLOSED FOR MOSQUITO PROGRAM IN KANATA NORTH printed diagonally across the envelope in heavy type. Residents were to return their ballot, one per household, by February 16, 2016. Continue reading →
IMPORTANT NOTICE RE: NUISANCE MOSQUITO CONTROL PROGRAM And Change in Meeting Dates (For Residents of Kanata North Only)
NEXT WEEK A MAILING WILL BE PROVIDED TO CANADA POST FOR DELIVERY TO ALL HOMES IN KANATA NORTH (except for high rise buildings). This mailing should be received early in February. Several meetings will be held to discuss the contents of that mailing and to provide information on the voting procedure for this program. The meeting dates have been changed from earlier dates and additional meetings will be held if needed.
Note: If you do not receive the mailing in your mailbox by February 3rd (the envelope is marked “BALLOT ENCLOSED FOR MOSQUITO PROGRAM IN KANATA NORTH”), please contact my office. Completed ballots must be returned by February 16th at 4 pm, so if you are mailing, do so by February 9th.
While we don’t generally think about mosquitoes in winter, when spring comes, they will be back! The Carp River Restoration Project, now under construction, includes four new wetland areas, adding potential mosquito breeding grounds. Traps were used last summer to measure mosquito populations. Large numbers were found all across the Ward. Parks, including soccer field areas, had particularly large numbers. Hence, work is required throughout the Ward to reduce numbers of mosquitoes and to retain property values.
The program is explained in the mailing and you can link to it on my website (click here). Similar programs have been underway in other communities for over 30 years. I strongly recommend that you attend one of the meetings to find out more. GDG Environment – the company that won the procurement, subject to a community vote, presently does a similar program in our area specifically for mosquitoes that carry the West Nile Virus (we have about 40 different types of mosquitoes in this area). At the meetings GDG will provide details on programs they have implemented in other cities, including Gatineau.
BRADLEY-CRAIG FARM UPDATE I was part of a small group of residents from Stittsville and beyond who met with Councillor Qadri this week about the Bradley-Craig Farm.
We’ve also started a working group called “Friends of the Bradley-Craig Farm”, including representatives from Heritage Ottawa, the Stittsville Village Association, and the Federation of Community Associations and the Ottawa Farmers’ Market.
The group is developing ideas for how the farm can be repurposed for business or community use, as well as pushing for the City to enforce the property standards bylaw in relation to heritage properties. (The owner is required to maintain the exterior and the structure of the barn and house under the bylaw.)
You may have read in the news this week about residents who live near Kizell Pond in Kanata who want the city to do something to reduce the number of mosquitoes in their area.
CBC Ottawa reported that over 300 people signed a petition asking the city to take action. “When you open your screen door or get out of your car, it’s just instantly, you get a [swarm] of mosquitoes just attacking you,” said Lianne Zhou, who started the petition.
Councillor Marianne Wilkinson revealed a few plans of her own in in an email update to residents:
Although mosquitoes are an increasing nuisance in the communities surrounding the Kizell Wetlands, this provincially protected wetland cannot be stripped clean of producer species (such as mosquitoes), which sustain the food chain. Chemical spraying would require provincial licensing and agreement by all the affiliated landowner(s), including the wetlands in question which are designated as provincially significant. According to GDG (a company that is hired by the City to treat catch basins and storm water ponds for mosquitoes carrying the West Nile Virus, an immediate solution is not possible for a treatment option – it would be at least a year away.
However there are some things that can be done now. I have obtained 20 bat boxes that will soon be installed along the edge of the wetlands so that the bats (that are already in the area) will eat mosquitoes closer to people’s homes. We may also be able to increase the number of dragonflies, although they eat many types of insects so it isn’t a total solution. Individual homeowners can take action as well by ensuring no standing water (check your rain barrels, eavestrough, wading pools etc to ensure they are dry or have a screen at the surface to stop mosquitoes from laying larvae. Commercial products such as the Mosquito Magnet, concentrated garlic spray, fogging materials are available at local hardware stores.
I contacted a senior entomologist in Winnipeg (mosquito capital of the world!) and I am getting some information on another effective way for homeowners to get rid of most of the mosquitoes. I will pass on that information once received.
I have met with City staff and they have agreed to move forward to build the Kizell Wetlands pathway but construction will not happen until at least next year. The first step – activating the project – is now underway. The other pathway, between Kanata Estates and Richardson Ridge, which will connect to the Kizell Wetlands pathway, is to be built by the developers of the Richardson Ridge community.