Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Spraying Pesticides on Your Lawn Won't Prevent Ticks: N.S. Chief Medical Officer

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Spraying Pesticides on Your Lawn Won't Prevent Ticks: N.S. Chief Medical Officer

Article excerpt

Spraying lawns won't prevent ticks: N.S. Public Health

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HALIFAX - As the number of reported Lyme disease cases in Canada continues to rise, Nova Scotia's chief medical officer of health is cautioning against spraying lawns with pesticides to protect against disease-carrying ticks.

"There's no evidence that spraying the environment is effective in controlling ticks," Dr. Robert Strang said Thursday.

"You probably could, but you'd have to have massive amounts of pesticide, applied repeatedly over great big areas, and that's not legal in Nova Scotia and would carry environmental risks."

Strang said that in Nova Scotia, products like permethrin and deltamethin -- both regulated by Health Canada's Pest Management Regulatory Agency -- can be applied to lawns. But he said there's little point in spraying lawns because ticks tend to live in long grass, brush and shrubs.

In Halifax, these chemicals can't be used on property owned by the municipality, according to a city bylaw.

Strang said the best way to prevent tick bites is by wearing long pants, enclosed shoes and long-sleeved shirts, applying tick repellents, and doing thorough tick checks when coming inside.

"We know that pesticides can carry potential human health and environmental risks," he said. "We should only use pesticides if it's necessary and appropriate."

It's a stance that pest control company Orkin Canada agrees with, according to spokesperson Sean Rollo.

Rollo said the company uses pesticide spraying as a last resort.

"A lot of the control comes with making sure that shrubs and bushes are trimmed back, that grass is cut where it should be, that if there is a forest area backing onto the property, that perhaps there's some sort of barrier between it," he said.

Forested or rural properties where deer are more prevalent may require the use of pesticides, but Rollo said his company only uses chemicals after a thorough site inspection, adding that only licensed professionals are allowed to use permethrin and deltamethin. …

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