by Dave Preston
Peachland will not participate in a regional program to reduce the number of mosquitoes in the Central Okanagan due in part to the overwhelming success of the town’s bats in curbing the population of the flying pests.
The regional district has had a nuisance mosquito control program for some time and in 2005 it was expanded using funds from the provincial Ministry of Health to control the threat of West Nile Virus spread.
The ministry has now ended the funding, after health officials claimed West Nile Virus is no longer much of a threat in the Southern Interior. However, the regional district wants to continue its nuisance program, or an expanded program, and has asked Peachland to participate.
It would cost Peachland up to $7,700 per year to participate in the regional district’s program, according to a town staff report.
District staff reminded council Tuesday that the Primary School bat population is estimated at about 2,000 individuals and that each bat can eat up to three quarters its own weight in flying insects every night.
“…thus explaining why Peachland is virtually mosquito free,” noted staff.
“There may be enough bats to deal with the situation,” added Doug Allin, director of operations.
Council voted not to participate in the regional district’s program, in favor of allowing the bats to continue their work.