Stubbornly high mosquito counts are sending city malathion trucks out for a third round of fogging.
The north half of the city will be fogged tonight, with the south half fogged tomorrow night. Victoria Avenue is the dividing line.
"This year we have had three times more rainfall than we did last year. This has produced more standing water throughout the city of Brandon," said Rod Sage, general manager of operations.
"With the amount of rainfall ... and with the warmer temperatures, we are going to continue to see more emergences of nuisance adult mosquitoes."
Fogging with malathion is highly weather dependent, and requires temperatures to be above 13 C, winds no more than 16 km/h and zero rain.
Residents have until 7 p.m. on the night of fogging to apply for a 90-metre buffer zone around their property. They can do so in person or online, but have to provide a proof of residency.
On Tuesday, the city had received a total of 117 buffer zone applications — that’s up about nine from last week, but down from 2013 and 2010.
Due to privacy issues, the city no longer posts buffer zones on a map as they did a few years ago.
In order to find out if you are in a buffer zone, residents can call the city’s community services office at 204-729-2148. Upon presenting their address, the resident will receive a "yes" or "no" answer. Due to privacy issues, the city will not release the addresses of the buffer zones.
Last week, city hall was inundated with calls from residents wanting to know if they are in a buffer zone. Sage said approximately 380 calls were made last week.
"It consumes that person’s time for the entire day, and then doesn’t perhaps allow them to return the phone calls or get to other business that we normally would," Sage said.
There are no plans to go back to the buffer zone map, as the city’s legal counsel has advised against it, he said.
Buffer zones were a hot topic at this week’s city council meeting, with many councillors expressing concern on behalf of residents.
The city does not have the ability to remove buffer zones, reduce the size or demand a medical certificate for buffer zones. The provision of a 90-metre buffer zone is regulated by the Province of Manitoba and is a condition of the City of Brandon’s annual pesticide use permit.
According to the city, fogging trucks travel between six to 32 km/h while spraying malathion, but may turn off the flow and drive faster through buffer zones.
Despite the persistently high numbers of mosquitoes, the province has tested the malathion and found it effective. They expect each round of fogging to kill between 50 to 60 per cent of adult mosquitoes.
The latest trap numbers show a citywide average count of 1,688 mosquitoes caught on Sunday, with 1,158 mosquitoes caught on Monday. The worst area was the cemetery, where 3,160 mosquitoes were caught on Sunday.
One complete round of fogging, which includes two city-wide sprays, costs $18,000 — $8,000 for the product and $10,000 for staffing.
The city only budgeted for one full fog, so this week’s fogging is an unbudgeted expense.