Garlic has solved Leduc's mosquito woes

Garlic is great for warding off vampires, but it's also a powerful way to repel another kind of bloodsucker.

Here's a pest control idea that really stinks

The city of Leduc has been repelling pests with the powerful onion since the summer of 2014. (James Gathany/CDC/Associated Press)

Garlic is great for warding off vampires, but it's also a powerful way to repel another kind of bloodsucker.

The City of Leduc sprays the pungent elixir in parks and playgrounds and says it does wonders to keep mosquitoes at bay.

What started as a $500 pilot program in 2014 has since become a regular summertime regimen.

"What we're trying to do is just mitigate the pesky mosquito and try to be environmentally friendly at the same time," said Todd Wilson, Leduc's manager of parks and open spaces.

A stinky solution 

Made up of 99.3 per cent garlic juice, the spray is an organic product that isn't harmful to humans, animals or other insects. It's relatively cheap, and also works to repel ticks, fleas and gnats and keep grasshoppers out of yards.

Garlic is the only weapon the city uses to control mosquitoes, and Wilson said it works.

"With the few rainfalls we've had this year, we are seeing mosquitoes in various locations across the city, and in the locations that we have actually been spraying ... we're seeing great results, " Wilson said during a Thursday interview on CBC Radio's Edmonton AM. 

"We're really happy with the product." 

Functional fumes 

Though the stench scares off pests, Wilson said it can make for an aromatic few hours for humans who visit the parks.

"You will notice it," he said. "It is quite strong. Especially right at the point of mixing. But usually within an hour you wouldn't even notice that we'd been on the site."

Despite the smell, no one is complaining.

"The users of the park, whether it soccer, baseball, are very happy with what they're seeing in the way of mosquitoes," Wilson said. "I actually haven't had any calls on mosquitoes being a pest."

Members of city's mosquito squad have been dousing extra diligently in preparation for the Alberta Summer Games.

"Especially with the Alberta Summer Games here in a week we wanted to make sure the sites that we have were well coated in garlic spray," Wilson said. "And hopefully when the athletes get here they don't find that they're getting attacked too often."


Wallis Snowdon is a journalist with CBC Edmonton focused on bringing stories to the website and the airwaves. Originally from New Brunswick, Wallis has reported in communities across Canada, from Halifax to Fort McMurray. She previously worked as a digital and current affairs producer with CBC Radio in Edmonton. Share your stories with Wallis at wallis.snowdon@cbc.ca.