Got an itch to know what's abuzz about mosquitoes this summer? The city has calamine in the form of a new mosquito-info web page, launched today.
Along with publishing the number of mosquitoes caught in city traps, the page provides comprehensive information on the guidelines uner which the city could fog for controlling the pesky insects.
The web page is online at http://www.brandon.ca/departments/community-services/mosquito-abatement-program and came out of a review of last year's mosquito season, which featured a contentious public debate over fogging.
"(We) found that one of the areas we needed to enhance was how we communicated our mosquito control efforts to the public," said Perry Roque, the city's director of community services. "With the creation of this website, we are now able to provide residents with ‘as-it-happens’ updates relating to the emergence of nuisance mosquitoes and also inform them about our response to the situation in a much more effective way."
Along with weekly trap count data, the page answers frequently asked questions and offers a way for residents to sign up for automatic e-mail alerts ahead of any scheduled fogging activity.
This year, the city has added two extra field staff to better control mosquito larvae, and has established both clear trigger points for fogging and a more comprehensive process for annual buffer zone registrations.
"This year, we are accepting advance applications from residents who wish to have a 90-metre buffer zone applied to their property in the event of a mosquito fogging," Roque said.
To register for a buffer zone, people will have to visit the mosquito information webpage and print off an application form, then fill it out and return it to the city. The forms include their name, address, telephone number and proof of occupancy and the city is encouraging people to fill them out now to make sure their home is skipped if mosquito fogging takes place.
The buffer zones are a provincial condition of the city's pesticide permit. Properties already on the city’s annual pesticide notification registry do not need to re-apply for a mosquito-specific buffer zone.
The city also notes that citizens can help out on their own properties by dumping out standing water, including in eavestroughs, covering rain barrels and filling in low-lying areas. They can also treat problem areas in their yards with biological larvicide.