Pottageville Mosquito Control Program Information Guide
This Information Guide has been provided by Township of King Public Works Department to explain the Mosquito Control Program and to provide answers to commonly asked questions.
The Nature of Pottageville
Much of Pottageville is located within a low-lying eco-system – a wetland complex that supports a wide variety of creatures and plant life. This environment also happens to be ideal for supporting many mosquito breeding sites, several of which throughout the spring and summer.
Click here to view the Pottageville Treatment Area Map.
This is Not a West Nile Virus Program
The Pottageville Mosquito Control Program was created before West Nile Virus (WNV) became the concern that it is today. The focus of the Pottageville program is only to reduce the nuisance biting activity of the Spring Aedes mosquitos that are in abundance during the spring months. The Spring Aedes is not known to be a West Nile Vector mosquito. That is, it is a species that thrives only in spring, and is generally not known to carry West Nile Virus. There are hundreds of mosquito species, but only certain specific species, found later in the summer season, are capable of becoming infected with WNV.
For more information on West Nile Virus vector mosquitos, please contact the Regional Municipality of York’s Public Health Unit at 1-800-361-5653. Vector: The means by which an illness moves from one host to the next. For WNV, the infection is transmitted via identified mosquito species.
A Brief Overview
The Pottageville Mosquito Control Program focuses on one species of mosquito known as the Spring Aedes. As the snow melts in February through April, pools of water form in hardwood bush areas comprised of wet, leafy litter to create ideal larval habitat for the Spring Aedes mosquito. During the month of April, a naturally occurring substance is applied to the main breeding sites where mosquito larvae develop prior to becoming flying, biting adult mosquitoes. This naturally occurring substance, a non-chemical biological agent known as Bti, also known by its brand name Aquabac/Vectobac, reduces the number of mosquitoes at the larval stage; and then biodegrades in the breeding sites within 48 hours. Helicopters distribute the Bti onto the main breeding sites of the Spring Aedes mosquito in the month of April as it is this species that causes the excessive biting problem from May to mid-July.
The program originated as a private initiative undertaken by local residents in the early 90s. However in 2004, after a petition was made by a group of residents representing the village of Pottageville, the Township of King’s Council resolved to assume the program. The first year of the Township's involvement was in 2005. Many long-time Pottageville residents report that prior to the Pottageville Mosquito Control Program, outdoor life was not enjoyable. Although not entirely eliminated, with the program in place, biting activity is significantly reduced.
When is the Treatment Applied?
Utilizing the services of a licensed applicator, breeding sites are monitored in early April. When the mosquito larvae reach the optimal treatment stage, helicopters distribute the Bti. Distribution takes place over a period of one or two days in April when weather conditions permit.
Tell Me More About Bti
Bti is essentially a non-toxic substance found in nature. It is a naturally occurring biological control in the form of a bacteria that quickly kills mosquitoes at the larvae stage, that is, before the mosquitoes develop into flying biting adults. The larvae are destroyed within 24 hrs and the Bti biodegrades within 48 hours.
How is it Distributed?
The Bti is suspended in particles of corncob for application. These particles are dropped from the helicopter onto the larval habitants. The corncob particle allows the bacteria to fall through trees into the larval habitats in the wooded areas, common in Pottageville. The corncob particles also reduce the change of the Bti drifting in the wind, away from the targeted snowmelt ponds. The helicopters are used only in areas permitted by the Federal Ministry of Transportation.
Your Own Backyard
One tire, thrown away in a backyard will hold enough warm water in its rim to breed 100,000 mosquitoes during April. To ensure a truly effective program, early spring cleanup is necessary. Residents must eliminate potential breeding sites in their yards through sanitation and maintenance. Clean or remove poorly maintained pools, wading pools, old tires, rain barrels, troughs and other similar containers that collect rainwater and create perfect breeding sites for mosquitoes.
What is the Cost?
The program is administered by the Township of King at a cost of approximately $30,000.00 funded by municipal tax dollars.
Licensed Applicators & the Regulatory Authorities
To ensure that all precautions as prescribed by the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) are followed, the Township of King contracts the services of an experienced licensed applicator to carry out the monitoring and larviciding activities. The contractor must obtain its license from the MECP. In addition, licensed applicators must apply annually to the MECP for a permit to apply larvicide. As a condition of the permit, the licensed applicator is required to monitor and document the before and after results of the application and then file a report to the MECP for their review and approval. A copy of this report is also provided to the Township.
Another condition of this permit is that the applicator must send a letter via Canada Post informing the property owners prior to applying the treatment.
The Results are Weather Dependent
Do not expect 100 percent elimination of the mosquitoes as a result of the control program. The goal is to reduce the biting activity to a tolerable level. There are several species of mosquitoes found in Pottageville that subsist throughout the summer season.
Spring weather conditions also play a significant role in the efficacy of the program, which again, targets only the Spring Aedes mosquito. Remember, this is a one time application in the month of April. An excess rainfall after the application can easily facilitate a second hatch. As a result, residents will find that the level of success of this program can vary from year to year.
Finally, it’s not hundreds of thousands of mosquitoes we’re dealing with, but millions that thrive in this vibrant eco-system – the presence of which supports many important creatures such as bats and the Purple Martin.
Notice of Aerial Larvicide Application
The MECP does not require property owners' authorization for this program. The land owner's properties who fall within the mapped treatment area will only receive a letter from the Township's contractor reminding them that they will be applying the Bti product to their property.
Program Inquiries can be made to:
Township of King
Tel: (905)-833-5321 ext. 6568