PEI

Bugs taking advantage of Stratford pesticide ban

Inefficiencies with the pesticide ban are allowing chinch bugs to damage more lawns in Stratford this summer than in the past, says the owner of a pest control company.

Bylaw too cumbersome to save some lawns, says owner of pest control company

Rob Gallant of Atlantic Graduate Pest Management inspects a lawn that was damaged by chinch bugs. (Sarah MacMillan/CBC)

Inefficiencies with the pesticide ban are allowing chinch bugs to damage more lawns in Stratford this summer than in the past, says the owner of a pest control company.

Since Jan. 1, commercial applicators haven't been allowed to spray cosmetic pesticides at homes in Stratford. The exception is special permits for cases of bug infestations.

But Gallant said the application process is too cumbersome.

A few brown patches on a lawn can spread to the entire yard by the time a pesticide permit is complete, says Rob Gallant. (CBC)

"There has been a couple of properties that, because of the process, they have completely lost their property," he said. "They have zero front lawn left."

To apply for a permit, there's a $50 fee, he has to get the homeowner's signature, submit it to the town, and wait for an inspection.

By that time, he said, it can be too late to save the lawn.

Two adult male chinch bugs. (OMAFRA)

"When I first went to [one] property to identify it, there were a couple of small little dead patches, and now the lawn is completely destroyed."

Stratford Mayor David Dunphy says the town has received 21 permit applications, and has sent a worker out within 24 hours each time.

"It could be a situation where the applicator may have started his process, and by the time he gets to us it's taken him about five days to a week, whatever," he said. "But certainly when it gets to the town hall for the actual application, we are processing them on a, you know as quickly as possible."

Charlottetown recently passed its own pesticide bylaw that will come into effect next year.

With files from Sarah MacMillan

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