Tonight and tomorrow night (depending on the weather), City of Brandon malathion trucks will roll out for the third time this year, spraying an ultrafine mist of the pesticide through the vast majority of the city to kill off as many adult nuisance mosquitoes as they can.
This week’s new trap counts have told Brandonites what we already knew: that despite two go-rounds of spraying already, mosquito numbers continue to climb, and they remained high enough to trigger the third round.
At Monday evening’s regular city council meeting, Rod Sage, the city’s operations manager, told councillors that a full application of spraying the city came at a cost of about $18,000 — more than half of that for employee overtime.
Certainly, if it worked it would be money well spent. Last year, it certainly seemed to have a magical effect. Despite more buffer zones than this year, a single spray of the city knocked bloodsucking mosquito numbers well down — it was possible to enjoy a backyard or a park again.
Of course, mosquito numbers recover as new ones hatch, but this year even that magical couple of days of relief has been missing in action. City bureaucrats say that a 50 per cent kill rate is considered acceptable. We’re not sure the rest of us agree, and anyway the mosquitoes seem have barely seemed to noticed the poisonous malathion.
At any rate, maybe there are better ways to spend $18,000?
So we checked a few flyers; That much money would be enough to buy:
• about 2,700 cans of Off! Deep Woods aerosol spray,
• about 3,600 mosquito coil 10-packs (a coil in every yard!),
• about 2,900 Coleman 10-hour citronella candles,
• about 3,200 bamboo Tiki-style torches,
• about 4,300 litres of citronella oil to refill those torches
Or, if prevention isn’t to your taste in medicine, about 2,250 aerosol spray cans of Raid Double Action Mosquito and Fly Killer.
Either one sounds like enough to go around, if we all shared. And with orders that large, the city might even be able to negotiate a discount.
They might want to look into it. Because unless the malathion works its magic this week, local stores might end up selling about that amount of the chemicals and gadgets as you and I plunder retail shelves.