About 30 homes had already signed up for buffer zones as of Tuesday, but that number is likely to soar after the city announced its mosquito fogging crews are hitting the streets beginning tonight.
"That phone is constantly ringing," city manager Scott Hildebrand said. Last year, residents in about 150 homes told the city to keep the malathion away, he said.
Updated mosquito counts were done Sunday, Monday and again on Tuesday — with thousands of the buzzing biters caught in some city traps.
Normally, city workers catch and count mosquitoes on just Sunday and Monday, but some of the Sunday counts were affected by Saturday evening’s vicious storm.
Mosquito numbers have exploded compared to last week, with thousands of them caught in several of the traps.
That pushed the citywide average above 1,000 — with one trap at the city’s parks office catching nearly 3,300 mosquitoes in one day. Either of those counts alone would be enough to trigger fogging with malathion.
Tonight, starting around 10 p.m., city trucks will fog all areas north of Victoria Avenue all the way up to the airport. That’s expected to take until 6 a.m.
Although fogging is also weather-related, the forecast suggests conditions are ideal. Fogging can’t be done if it’s raining, if the winds are blowing more than 16 km/h or if the temperature dips below 13 C.
Areas south of Victoria will be fogged Thursday night, up to two miles south of Patricia Avenue. Trucks will run from 66th Street to 49th Street East.
There is still time for people to register buffer zones if they would like to avoid being exposed to malathion.
The city requires written or in-person applications with a proof of address prior to 7 p.m. on the night of fogging. Applications can be made online at brandon.ca/mosquito. Buffer zones have to be renewed every year.
Due to the massive amount of standing water from overland flooding, Hildebrand said he expects the city to fog more this year.
"You would think so," he said. "That’s the main reason the mosquitos are here ... everyone knows how much water we have around."
After next week’s second crest on the Assiniboine River, pools of water are expected to linger for weeks, creating healthy hatching homes for more mosquitoes.
People can also reduce their exposure to malathion by closing their windows and doors, staying away from fogging trucks, turning off fans or air conditioners, and by washing or bringing indoors any toys, fruits or vegetables that may be exposed.
Depending on weather and trap counts, the city may also fog for mosquitoes a second time next week.
» Twitter: @grjbruce