The move to a more natural approach to mosquito control in Edmonton not only divided council but also people in the streets Tuesday, with some worried about more bug bites this summer.

“I don’t like mosquitoes, I’m sure they don’t like mosquitoes, why would they do that?” Asked Josh Paterson, who was hanging out in Hawrelak Park Tuesday.

“I would rather have less mosquitoes,” agreed a park goer named Charlotte.

On Monday, the city council voted 9-4 to ground the helicopter that drops pesticides into stagnant bodies of water in areas around the city.

It was Michael Janz’ idea. He argues the aerial spraying program was ineffective and there are better ways to control mosquitoes, like using bat boxes and increasing the dragonfly population.

The $507,000 that would normally go toward the helicopter program will instead be spent on an education campaign and biological pest control measures.

“It’s about getting the best bang for our buck. We need to work on other biological solutions, we need to deal with the root causes, ”Janz said, defending his motion from him.

Edmontonians will probably get bitten more this summer, an expert in Winnipeg predicted.

“If it’s a normal year you will probably see an increase in nuisance mosquitoes. If it’s a hot year you might even see an increase in vector mosquitoes (which transit disease),” entomologist Taz Stuart told CTV News Edmonton.

The owner of one mosquito control company said the bright side of this decision, for him, is that more people are likely to hire private companies to spray their yards.

“Anything the city isn’t doing, obviously that helps our business, so I was happy. As a father with young kids, and wanting to spend time outside, I was like, ‘Oh no,’” said Bernie Mullin with Mosquito Authority Edmonton.

Mayor Amarjeet Sohi and councilors Tim Cartmell, Sarah Hamilton, and Karen Principe voted against the new strategy.

“We heard from an expert within City Administration yesterday that what is being touted as a better alternative, will not be effective,” Hamilton wrote on her website.

“The dragonflies and bats cannot keep up with the numbers of mosquitoes and both methods have already been trialled by the city.”

With files from CTV News Edmonton’s Joe Scarpelli and Adam Lachacz

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