Manitoba

Malathion supply depleted in Winnipeg with no other approved insecticide in place

The future of fogging in Winnipeg is murky. The City of Winnipeg is just about out of malathion and doesn't have any other alternative mosquito control products currently in place.

City down to its last 100 litres of malathion and counting on DeltaGard to be approved by next spring

The City of Winnipeg is down to its last 100 litres of malathion, which is only enough to fog two or three areas in the city. (CBC)

The future of fogging in Winnipeg is cloudy. 

The City of Winnipeg is just about out of malathion and doesn't have any other alternative mosquito control products currently in place. 

The city announced on Thursday that it completed its fogging program, with only 100 litres of the insecticide left to spare. 

Winnipeg is divided into 51 insect management areas and 100 litres of malathion would only be enough to cover two or three areas, said Ken Nawolsky, the city's superintendent of insect control.

"We're pretty confident that the mosquito numbers will be kept at bay because of the recent fogging program and with no significant precipitation forecast for the next seven days," Nawolsky said. 

Ken Nawolsky, the city's superintendent of insect control. (CBC)
In the event of a West Nile virus breakout in the next few weeks, the province would likely contract the city to spray with the province's supply of malathion, Nawolsky said. 

However, the province's supply of malathion is no good, he said.

"We do know from the test results that we received back a few weeks ago that it's not in compliance with the World Health Organization standards for isomalathion," he said. "If I had the province's inventory, I couldn't spray. That's the immediate concern."

However, a spokesperson for the province said it's "highly unlikely that the [West Nile virus] risk level would increase to the point that a health order for adult mosquito control would be recommended."

The city did not renew its malathion supply in 2015 and was running on its last reserve this year. 

Nawolsky said it would be difficult for the city to buy more malathion if needed because the manufacturer doesn't even make it every year.

The city is planning to switch to a more environmentally-friendly product called DeltaGard, which is not yet approved in Canada. 

Nawolsky said the active ingredient in DeltaGard, called deltamethrin, is already used in other products in Canada and that could make it easier for Health Canada to approve DeltaGard.

"Hopefully we could get it registered next year but we just kind of have to wait," he said. "We're hopeful it will be but in the case it's not, council will have to be consulted and they will ultimately have to make a decision on the city's next options."

A spokesperson for Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living said the province would review all options if DeltaGard isn't approved in early 2017.

"This could include malathion, if new stock becomes available, or any other product that may be registered for use by the PMRA [Pest Management Regulatory Agency]," she said.

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