Calgarians can thank the cold winter for fewer mosquitoes this spring

Some good news could come from the long, cold winter Calgary just endured.

Because of the copious amounts of snow and cold that blanketed the city for the past few months, the number of mosquitoes buzzing around this spring could be a lot lower than usual.

Entomologist John Swann, manager of the invertebrate collection at the University of Calgary, told the Calgary Homestretch Friday he did a check earlier this week, and actually had trouble finding any larvae.

“There’s one place in the city I always go to, if you’re going to find mosquitoes you’ll find them there, and I was there on Wednesday and there was nothing flying,” he said.

“I checked the ponds to see how things were developing and I could only find one that had mosquito larvae. It’s been so cold, winter has been so long, we’re probably about a month behind where we should be.”

Swann said as recently as two weeks ago, there was still ice on ponds and lakes in Kananaskis Country, which also helps keep the pesky population down.

“They won’t develop if there’s ice because they need to come up and get oxygen at the surface of the water,” he said. “If it’s still frozen, you aren’t going to have any larva developing. Then if it gets really warm, they start to peter out … and you end up with virtually none in the spring.”

Summer could be a different story, though.

An aedes impiger mosquito, one of the species found in southern Alberta. (Dave Dormer/CBC)

“In a lot of cases … the species are different,” he said. “In many cases, the summer ones can have multiple generations if we have a nice, wet summer.”

There are nearly two dozen different species of mosquito found in Alberta, and they arrive in waves.

“You have basically pulses of different species,” he said. “So you’ll have your spring mosquitoes, you’ll have your summer mosquitoes, and really, it’s a few of the species in the summer that are more of a concern to me because they are the species that can transmit West Nile. The spring ones, to me, are a real annoyance, but it isn’t a case of disease transmission, per se.”

Swann suggests wearing light coloured clothing with pants and long sleeves and using mosquito repellent with DEET (as directed) to avoid being bitten.

And if you apply sunscreen, Swann said to wait five to 10 minutes before applying mosquito repellent.

“Otherwise the sunscreen can pull in the DEET, so you’ll have less on you,” he said.

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Sherwood Park

Sherwood Park is a large hamlet in Alberta, Canada within Strathcona County that is recognized as an urban service area.[7] It is located adjacent to the City of Edmonton’s eastern boundary,[8] generally south of Highway 16 (Yellowhead Trail), west of Highway 21 and north of Highway 630 (Wye Road).[9] Other portions of Sherwood Park extend beyond Yellowhead Trail and Wye Road, while Anthony Henday Drive (Highway 216) separates Refinery Row to the west from the balance of the hamlet to the east.[9]

Sherwood Park was established in 1955 on farmland of the Smeltzer family, east of Edmonton. With a population of 70,618 in 2016,[6] Sherwood Park has enough people to be Alberta’s seventh largest city, but technically retains the status of a hamlet. The Government of Alberta recognizes the Sherwood Park Urban Service Area as equivalent to a city.


Sherwood Park, originally named Campbelltown, was founded by John Hook Campbell and John Mitchell in 1953 when the Municipal District of Strathcona No. 83 approved their proposed development of a bedroom community east of Edmonton. The first homes within the community were marketed to the public in 1955. Canada Post intervened on the name of Campbelltown due to the existence of several other communities in Canada within the same name, so the community’s name was changed to Sherwood Park in 1956.

The Sherwood Park Urban Service Area is located in the Edmonton Capital Region along the western edge of central Strathcona County adjacent to the City of Edmonton.[8] The majority of the community is bound by Highway 16 (Yellowhead Highway) to the north, Highway 21 to the east, Highway 630 (Wye Road) to the south, and Anthony Henday Drive (Highway 216) to the west. The Refinery Row portion of Sherwood Park is located across Anthony Henday Drive to the west, between Sherwood Park Freeway and Highway 16. Numerous developments fronting the south side of Wye Road, including Wye Gardens, Wye Crossing, Salisbury Village and the Estates of Sherwood Park, are also within the community. Lands north of Highway 16 and south of Township Road 534/Oldman Creek between Range Road 232 (Sherwood Drive) to the west and Highway 21 to the east are also within the Sherwood Park urban service area.

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