Plan hatched to recon Fraser River mosquito hideaway

Heavily forested Matsqui Island prime breeding ground for pests

Densely vegetated and uninhabited – by humans, at least – Matsqui Island is believed to be one of the largest breeding grounds for mosquitoes in the Fraser Valley Regional District.

Now, the company tasked with keeping the valley’s mosquito population in check is looking for permission and funding to map the island and target its plentiful pests.

Every year, the Fraser River freshet inundates much of the island, turning it into a paradise for breeding mosquitoes. But the area’s dense foliage and lack of safe access has previously made the 360-hectare island – which is part of the Matsqui First Nation – mostly impenetrable by workers for Morrow BioScience, the private company with the FVRD’s mosquito control contract.

Now Morrow has proposed a program to map the island with “high-accuracy GPS” in order to find the areas susceptible to flooding – and thus likely to be prime mosquito breeding locations. That information would then enable crews to conduct ground and aerial anti-larval treatments. The tree canopy on the island is so thick that without the mapping, mosquito control crews don’t know where standing water is located.

Reducing mosquito levels on the island would have a significant positive impact on many residents in Mission, along with those in northern Abbotsford, FVRD staff say in a report. A map suggests mosquitoes bred on the island end up in much of Mission south of Best Avenue, along with a large chunk of Matsqui Village and rural northern Abbotsford stretching nearly to Downes Road.

Morrow says the program would cost $11,000.