February 21, 2019

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To spray or not to spray?

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 23/6/2010 (3164 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Responding to what he says has been an overwhelming number of complaints from his ward residents, Brandon city councillor Murray Blight has asked for a review of the city's mosquito control policy.

For the better part of three decades, the city's unofficial policy has been not to undertake chemical fogging to control the nuisance mosquito population.

Instead, the focus is placed on larviciding with an environmentally friendly chemical in areas of standing water to kill the pests before they hatch.

But this year's late-spring downpours and subsequent hot and humid weather led to an extremely quick hatch of the pesky bloodsuckers last week, leaving Brandonites to feel the bite.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 23/6/2010 (3164 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

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Responding to what he says has been an overwhelming number of complaints from his ward residents, Brandon city councillor Murray Blight has asked for a review of the city's mosquito control policy.

For the better part of three decades, the city's unofficial policy has been not to undertake chemical fogging to control the nuisance mosquito population.

Instead, the focus is placed on larviciding with an environmentally friendly chemical in areas of standing water to kill the pests before they hatch.

But this year's late-spring downpours and subsequent hot and humid weather led to an extremely quick hatch of the pesky bloodsuckers last week, leaving Brandonites to feel the bite.

It's enough of a problem that Blight (Victoria) believes the city's long-standing policy might need some massaging.

"We need to look at the policy and see whether there are conditions ... where we look at the fog control," he said.

"People are saying, 'Why should we be subjected to (going out) to utilize our backyards and decks and be eaten by mosquitoes?' "A policy is a guideline ... policy can be corrected and have changes made accordingly."

Mayor Dave Burgess is certainly receptive to the idea of ordering nuisance mosquito fogging in cases of extreme infestation.

"I've never experienced more feedback on an issue than we have this week with the mosquito problem ... and I'm right there with them," Burgess said.

"I really do like us avoiding spraying at all costs, but if it's extreme problems — which we are experiencing now — that raises the question of 'is this perfect?' It can never perfect what choice we have for the control of mosquitoes, one way or the other. But this example, I believe it's extreme and I would support spraying."

If any amount of nuisance mosquito fogging were to take place in the future, it would have to respect the community buffer zones that have been established through the city's pesticide management program, he added.

And while Coun. Jim McCrae (Meadows) agrees a policy review is a good idea, he's hopeful such a review will look at both the good and the bad sides of fogging with chemicals such as malathion.

"It is a pesky problem," McCrae said. "But I think I would like to (know) a little bit more about the effectiveness of this fogging. I'm not ready to just jump out there and say let's just spray without worry and care for the consequences."

The city's director of parks and recreation, Rick Bailey, says the city's mosquito abatement program was last reviewed internally in 1999 and its no-fogging policy was reaffirmed at that time.

He'll be recommending to council to stay that course into the future.

"That being said, if council wants to bring it forward and overturn that decision and have us spray ... ultimately, they make the final decision," Bailey said. "But from our side of it, we've weighed all the factors, and we say let's just stay the course."

The issue could be addressed at council's next regular meeting on July 19.

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