City testing garlic-based treatment to repel pests

Grass Creek Park is one of two places the City of Kingston is testing the use of a garlic-based pest repellent.
Photo from Google Maps.

If you happened to be in Grass Creek Park on Thursday, Jun. 21, 2018, you may have found it smelled more like an Italian trattoria than a waterside park.

That’s because the City of Kingston is currently doing a trial on the use of ‘Mosquito-Less,’ an all-natural, garlic-based product that is used as a pest deterrent. The product is diluted with water and sprayed on an area to ward of pests, such as mosquitoes and ticks. Having heard about its successful use by other municipalities, the City set about to start researching the product, explained Troy Stubinski, a Public Works manager for the City of Kingston. Once they’d ensured the product is, indeed, all-natural, and that there are no negative side effects to its use (apart from the brief smell of garlic during its application), City Staff got to work deciding where it would be best to trial. Having received a complaint about ticks at Grass Creek Park, City crews got to work yesterday to begin the trial. RE: City using garlic-based pest repellant spray

“I think it’s a really good trial. It’s a 100 per cent natural product. There is a smell of garlic when it’s applied, but the product dries in less than a half hour, and once it’s dried, the smell is gone,” Stubinski said, noting that the product is made in Canada and approved for use in Canada.

“This trial will allow us to see how effective it can be, and then hopefully we can prove its success and then expand it into some of our waterfront parks and some of the other places that we have received concerns about ticks, because ticks are ever present right now.”

But it’s not just the pest-repelling qualities the product will be tested for. While pests like ticks are repelled by the smell of the product, the product can also be used to keep waterfowl – particularly geese – away from specific areas.

To see how effective the product can be for this use, the City will be applying it to an area alongside Centennial Drive, just north of Costco, Stubinski said. There, a group of geese have been a growing concern, he explained.

“The geese that are kind of living near or around the storm pond there, and they’re back and forth across the road, and it becomes a bit of a safety hazard for motorists, for bicyclists, for runners and walkers,” Stubinski said, noting that, with geese, it is the taste of the garlic product that drives them away.

“Geese have a very, very good memory, and when they don’t like something they’ll pack up and move on. So we’re not going to get rid of them, but we’re hoping that they won’t then try to cross the road or walk onto the sidewalk, if we spray that path.”

The product needs to be reapplied every four to six weeks, depending on the weather, and only time will tell how effective it will be – both in repelling pests, and keeping geese off of roadways. But with a product that is safe, natural, and has a proven track record in other municipalities, the City hopes to see successful results.

“For the cost, and for what we’ve heard, it’s really worth the trail to see how effective we can be, and I really hope that we can expand it into some of our other locations,” Stubinski said, noting that City Staff will be monitoring both areas as the summer continues, asking the public what they’ve experienced at Grass Creek Park, and checking in on the geese on Centennial Drive.

“We’ll just work through that process this summer and see how people feel about it.”

For more information on the trial or the product, including the full Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS), visit the City’s information site here.

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