Science - January 14, 2016

Mosquito plague due to nature development in Peel

Albert Sikkema

The residents of the village of Griendtsveen in the Peel had said it before but now Alterra confirms their claims. They are plagued by mosquitoes and this is partly because of nature development near the village. The province could combat the mosquito plague by reducing the number of temporary ponds around the village, recommends the institute.

<De Mariapeel near Griendtsveen, Photo: Wil Rutter>

Griendtsveen, on the border between the provinces of Brabant and Limburg, is wedged between the Mariapeel, the Grauwveen and the Deurnse Peel. In that area farmland has been converted into nature reserve. The water was no longer retained so as to recreate moorland. In recent years the villagers have been complaining about mosquitoes. They blame the nature management measures.

Alterra did a study in the area and observed that the residents were indeed plagued in the summer months by swamp mosquitoes from breeding places around the village. Researcher Piet Verdonschot mentions especially the large seasonal ponds around the village where these mosquitoes breed.

To reduce the numbers of mosquitoes, there should be fewer ponds in a zone of approximately 2 kilometres around the village. Further research is needed on the precise locations of the breeding places so that a cleanup by the municipality and province can be well-targeted. The researcher thinks the mosquito plague can be dealt with without reversing the nature development and the raised ground water levels in the surrounding areas.

The villagers complained that they could not sit outdoors in the summer and wanted to take Horst aan de Maas municipality to court about it. This municipality and the province of Liburg commissioned the study by Alterra.