The head of the company that’s about to spray a Bedford park for ticks fears Health Canada may nix the proposal.
The pesticide Dragnet is not approved for use in this country against blacklegged ticks, which can carry Lyme disease. But that’s the same substance Halifax Regional Municipality plans to pay a pest control firm $15,000 to spray in Admirals Cove Park next month.
“It’s a strange situation. There’s no ifs, ands or buts about it,” said Don McCarthy, president of Braemar Pest Control Services.
The labels on Dragnet say it can be used in Canada against brown dog ticks and a whole host of other insects, he said.
“It doesn’t mention the 15 other kinds of ticks that there are,” McCarthy said.
Every use of an insecticide wouldn’t likely fit on a label, he said.
“The label would be the size of an encyclopedia.”
He has asked Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency for permission to use Dragnet in Bedford.
“We’re still waiting on that decision. I’m not 100 per cent sure which way they’re going to go.”
If the regulator refuses to grant permission, he plans to ask for an “emergency” approval because this is a human health issue.
Four people who live near the park have contracted Lyme disease. The serious inflammatory condition produces flu-like symptoms and joint pain.
“If they do come back and say, ‘No, we don’t want you doing this,’ then we’ll have to look at other alternative,” McCarthy said, noting a garlic-based spay is a possible option.
Dragnet is registered for outdoor tick control in the United States, he said.
“On the 49th parallel, things don’t just change. If they’ve got the testing done by the (Environmental Protection Agency in the U.S.), why wouldn’t Canada accept them?”
A Kentville employee with the Pest Management Regulatory Agency referred questions about the problem to Ottawa.
More than 24 hours after fielding a reporter’s query about Dragnet, Health Canada was unable to provide someone to discuss the situation in an interview.
“The proposed use of Dragnet is not currently on the product label,” department spokeswoman Ashley Lemire said late Wednesday in an email.
“However, Health Canada can grant an emergency registration for use of a pesticide to control pest infestations that can cause significant economic, environmental or health problems. Health Canada will be providing the municipality with information on how to submit an emergency registration application for this proposed use.”
Dragnet is “clearly effective in the United States” for use against blacklegged ticks, which are also known as deer ticks, said Richard MacLellan, manager of Halifax Regional Municipality’s sustainable environment management office.
“There is no product in Canada that’s approved for deer ticks,” MacLellan said. “That’s why we’re looking for anything.”
The problem is there’s a “very small market for it in Canada because the problem with the ticks is relatively new and there’s probably only a couple of thousand dollars worth of product sales in Canada for a year.”
Testing to get approval to use a pesticide on the ticks in Canada could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, he said.
“So it just doesn’t make sense for a registrant to bring a new product in specifically for deer ticks,” MacLellan said.
The pesticide contains permethrin, a chemical used in flea treatments for dogs and even in the uniforms of Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan.
MacLellan is hoping regulators allow the municipality to spray Dragnet to kill blacklegged ticks.
“It’s approved for a bazillion things up here, and it’s used in Canada on a bazillion things up here. Common sense and logic would tell you that it’s an appropriate use.”
Pesticide not approved in Canada for use on park ticks – Nova Scotia News – TheChronicleHerald.ca.
HRM approves use of pesticide spray to combat blacklegged ticks in Bedford
BY YVETTE D’ENTREMONT
Halifax News Net
Officials are advising Admirals Cove Park users the popular green space is being sprayed with Dragnet pesticide early next month.
Halifax regional council voted last week to approve a Braemar Pest Control contract to spray high risk areas the first week of July and again in the fall. It’s hoped the pesticide application will help control the number of blacklegged ticks in that particular area of Bedford.
At least four people living in a residential neighbourhood bordering the park have confirmed cases of Lyme disease. The treatable, but serious illness is carried by the blacklegged tick species.
Although not everyone is pleased with the decision to spray the Dragnet pesticide in the park, Bedford Coun. Tim Outhit said it’s necessary given the risk to human health.
“It should not be viewed as Tim Outhit is pro-spraying or pro-pesticide, because I am not. But after four years of waiting, handing out pamphlets and putting up signs, it’s time for more action,” he said. “This isn’t about ticks, it’s about Lyme disease. For four people on one street to get it, that’s not a coincidence. Their backyards back onto Admirals Cove Park.”
Municipal officials are hoping continued awareness, education measures and the spray program will help decrease human exposure to blacklegged ticks. But HRM is also hoping the provincial and federal governments move forward with a study on deer bait stations so they can be in place by the fall.
“We have not received permission from the province or the feds to do that just yet, but that’s the goal and that would be my preference,” Outhit said.
In a public service announcement released last week, the municipality outlined its plans for the spraying. The initial application takes place during the first week of July, weather permitting. The second application is slated for the fall. Temporary signage will alert visitors when the spraying takes place, and access to Admirals Cove Park will be restricted at that time.
“It is important to note that this measure will not eradicate the ticks from the area,” the announcement stated. “Because they become attached to wildlife such as deer, raccoons, dogs, mice, birds and others, they will travel.”
Outhit said residents who’ve approached him since the spraying was announced are in favour of the pesticide application by a three to one margin.