Definition of a pest:
“any injurious, noxious or troublesome insect, fungus, bacterial organism, virus, weed, rodent or other plant or animal pest, and includes any injurious, noxious or troublesome organic function of a plant or animal.” (Federal Pest Control Products Act.)
The City of Leduc has a 2017 Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Plan. IPM is an effective and environmentally sensitive decision-making model which outlines the steps to prevent and manage pest problems. Management options include:
- Chemical: use of substances to target pests. Examples include spraying pesticides.
- Mechanical: physical interventions. Examples include manually removing pests and the installation of fencing, barriers, or traps to suppress pest populations.
- Cultural: making the environment less attractive to pests. Examples include maintaining a healthy and vigorous turf/lawn, choosing pest resistant plants, and adjusting plant spacing to crowd out invasive species.
- Biological: introducing other organisms to suppress pest populations. Examples include releasing ladybugs to control aphid populations.
- Behavioral: using natural and/or artificial signals to disrupt communication and interfere with fundamental behaviors such as feeding and mating. Examples include pheromones, sounds and vibrations.
IPM uses a variety of short-term and long-term strategies to manage pest problems. Strategies used to deal with pest problems are based on the following considerations:
Human health and safety
Least disruptive of natural controls
Minimize negative impacts to non-target organisms
Least damaging to the general environment
Best preserve the natural or management ecosystem
Most likely produce long-term reductions in pest control requirements
Operationally feasible and effective
Cost-effective in the short and long term
The city approaches pest management in the following ways:
- Pesticides are used only as required and the city does not blanket spray. Whenever possible, non-chemical treatment options are used.
- Only about 4% of the land area in Leduc is sprayed with pesticides.
- Spraying is localized to areas like sports fields and railroad lines.
- Sports fields and city facilities are treated for dandelions using species-specific and targeted spray techniques.
- The city sprays for noxious weeds as per the guidelines of the Alberta Weed Act. Spot spraying is done for these weeds which include tansy and thistle.
- The city does not operate a mosquito control program because of the potential environmental, health and economic impacts of a mass spraying program. However, there is active monitoring of mosquito population levels and types.
- All pesticides and pest control procedures comply with the health and safety standards set out by Health Canada and the Pest Control Products Act.
Responsible Pesticide Use
Pesticide use in Canada is heavily regulated. The Pest Control Products Act and Regulations requires all pest control products used in Canada be registered to ensure the safety of these products. Registration involves gaining approval through a consultative process with experts in organizations such as Environment Canada and Health Canada. The Food and Drug Act sets limits on the allowable maximum residue levels of agricultural pesticides in food. Finally, the Canadian Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act, the Fisheries Act and the Migratory Birds Convention Act regulate and guide pesticide use to ensure the protection of the environment. Additionally, Alberta Environment and Parks regulates pesticide sales, handling and applications within the province.
- All pesticide applicators in the City of Leduc have passed a certification exam to obtain an Alberta Pesticide Applicator Certificate.
- All pesticides used by the city, including those used by private contractors, must have material safety data sheets submitted.
- All pesticides transported within the city must have transportation of dangerous good (TDG) documentation.
- Only staff with a current pesticides applicators certificate can purchase pesticides.
- All storage facilities holding pesticides have met Alberta storage regulations.
Pesticides can include:
- Herbicides (target undesirable plants/weeds)
- Insecticides (target insects)
- Larvicides (target the larval life stage of an insect)
- Rodenticides (target rodents)
- Fungicides (target fungi)
- Algicides (target algae in pools and natural bodies of water)
- Bactericides (target bacteria)