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This article was published 5/4/2016 (1592 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Crews have enough malathion to fog the city two times over this summer but by next year, they’re hoping to switch to a less toxic alternative, Winnipeg’s skeeter boss said Tuesday.
At the city’s first seasonal update on insect control, superintendent Ken Nawolsky told reporters, "To help manage mosquitoes, the city has an inventory of 4,500 litres of malathion which is enough to treat the city two-and-a-half times."
"The City of Winnipeg is also working to bring a new adult mosquito product to Canada called DeltaGard, and plans to start using it for mosquito fogging, if and once it is approved for use in Canada," he said.
That could be as early as 2017, pending approval from the federal Pest Management Regulatory Agency.
Meanwhile, the city will launch its biologic larviciding program in three weeks, he said. The program targets mosquitoes in their egg stage.
The city tested DeltaGard, a chemical insecticide, in two trials last August and was satisfied with its 98 per cent effectiveness rate in the dual trials.
Those results were forwarded to Ottawa to move the regulatory process along.
Bayer, the same company that makes Aspirin, developed DeltaGard as a less toxic alternative to kill mosquitoes. It was approved for use in the United States last year.
Malathion contains known toxins and buffer zones have been Winnipeg’s standard response for property owners to opt out of the fogging program, after street protests that have blocked fogging trucks in the past.
At the same time, tent caterpillars are at the peak of their 10- to 15-year cycle; the last major infestation was in 2002-2003.
Holding up a branch riddled with the bands of larvae that hatch into tent caterpillars, Nawolsky said spraying to control them will begin once leaves start to bud on trees.
May and June are the months forest tent caterpillars do the worse damage; they’ll start feeding in early May, punching small holes known as "shot hole" damage in leaves.
The city will issue a 24-hour notice before crews roll out with tree sprayers. Tent caterpillars are usually found on the foliage of American elm, Manitoba maple, Green ash and poplar.
The insecticide to control them is a biological product known as Btk, an organic product. Once the caterpillars ingest it, they’ll stop feeding and die in about two to three days.
The bad news is tent caterpillars will probably have deleafed a lot of trees before they die, Nawolsky said.
The bugs can also be a road hazard, when they cross roads by the millions to get to the other side and feed on leafy trees.
"I’ve seen them so bad they create, like, an oil slick on highways. It looks like black tar and they can be a driving hazard. You can lose control on the highway," Nawolsky said.
Property owners are responsible for killing tent caterpillars on trees in their yards. Nawolasky said homeowners can spray their trees with Btk, which is available at most home and garden centres.
The one note of good news in a peak tent caterpillar season is cankerworms will not be a problem. The two insect species, both of which feed on tree leaves, operate under a natural mechanism of synchronicity. When one species is plentiful, the other gives way in the competition for food.
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