Podcast teaser: Bugged in the winter by mosquitos

By Denis Grignon

It’s an ideal title for a kid’s book – especially if those kids live in a climate similar to ours in Kawartha Lakes: There’s a Mosquito in My Bathroom and it’s Winter.

So, if you’ve gotten out of the shower on a minus-20, blizzard-like and blustery morning, only to see a mosquito – (or two, or three) – sluggishly buzzing about your window, you’re not alone, says Katrina Van Osch-Saxon, a professor of urban forestry and coordinator of the arboriculture program at Fleming College’s Frost campus.

“Most people have experienced mosquitoes in the depths of winter,” says Van Osch-Saxon, who lives near Coboconk and admits she’s “killing them in the shower all the time.”

Seems the secret recipe for awakening one of the world’s most annoying sounds is steam and moisture — and that one family member who, you know, is predisposed to emptying the hot water tank.

“Half of their developmental cycle is in the water,” says Van Osch-Saxon, of the insect that is the bane of barbecues and ball games.

An over-wintering insect, she says, may be in cold-weather sleep mode close to that bathroom window.

“They produce their own kind of anti-freeze in their system which allows them to kind of hibernate,” she says. Until the humidity kicks them back into life, that is.

The lower development threshold for insects, she explains, is typically 0 to 10 degrees Celsius.

“And when it rises above that threshold for whatever species, they start to become active.”

“That’s the trigger.”

To hear the full interview about how some proboscis-equipped #$@&%! bugs survive our winters, listen to Episode 2 of the Advocate Podcast — Stories from Kawartha Lakes, sponsored by Wards Lawyers. It drops February 29 on iTunes, Spotify and on lindsayadvocate.ca

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