It’s a growing scourge for one community on the east side of Vancouver Island: mosquitoes. Over the last five years the invasive species has taken over, and residents now say the mosquitoes are so out of control many aren’t even able to go outside.
Chelsea Brotherston is among those impacted. The Miracle Beach student has been spending a lot more time indoors than she wants to this summer.
“It’s crazy. You have to carry bottles of mosquito repellant in your backpacks and you’re swatting constantly so you can’t enjoy being outside anymore,” said Brotherston.
A walk across the schoolyard brings out the mosquitoes. Locals say this variety of the insect seems to nest and live in the grass making their spread hard to combat.
“Everyone is being affected around here to the point I’m debating selling,” said Wendy Blackburn, Chelsea’s mother.
The mosquito infestation has expanded from two square blocks five years ago to two square miles this year north of Comox.
The wetter than normal summer is believed to be a factor too.
The Chair of the Saratoga/Miracle Beach Residents Association says they and other area property owners need some good information and an action plan to combat the problem.
“One side of the debate says do whatever it takes to suppress the mosquito problem. The other side of the debate says hold on here if that’s not done in an environmentally sensitive way it could pose a health hazard to human beings or other aspects of the ecosystem,” says Curtis Scoville.
The Area Director with the Comox Valley Regional District says a 2016 study resulted in some extra bat homes for predators but more needs to be done.
Edwin Grieve said solutions though may be tough to find.
“It’s going to be difficult because I think we’re going to see a lot more re-balancing of the natural order because of climate change so [I’m not sure] whether or not we can get ahead of it.”
And currently, the regional district has no pest control budget. It would require going to referendum to get one.
Chelsea Brotherston just hopes a solution can be found soon because she doesn’t want to spend any more time indoors than she has too.