The City of Campbell River supports Nature Works! - the pesticide education and awareness program developed by the Comox Valley Regional District (CVRD) and adopted by the Strathcona Regional District (SRD). Participation in the program has been recommended by the City's Environmental Advisory Commission to reduce non-essential pesticide use. Using natural pesticide alternatives will improve Campbell River’s environment, health and help you achieve a pesticide-free lawn and garden.

Link to Pesticide Awareness

Link to City Weed Control frequently asked questions

Provincial Regulations

While the City does not have a bylaw that restricts the cosmetic use of pesticides, residents should be aware that as of 1 July 2016, amendments to the Provincial Integrated Pest Management Regulation came into effect. These changes regulate the sale and use of pesticides in landscaped areas on private land. For many pesticide applications (includes herbicides) residents are now required to have a licence or certificate. Find out more by following this link.

Pesticide Alternatives

Pesticides come in many forms including insecticides, herbicides, and fungicides. How we choose to manage pests in our yards is important for our families, our community and our environment.

Even low-levels of pesticide exposure can pose a potential risk to the health and well being of our families, especially children.

Many people are seeking to reduce exposure to contaminants in our food, air and water. The City is encouraging residents and local businesses to move away from non-essential pesticide use.

Health and Safety Risks – Depending on the product and type of exposure, risks include minor skin or eye irritation, poisoning and death. Some pesticides may produce noxious and explosive gases, if combined with other materials or applied using the wrong type of container.

Environmental Risks – Pesticides can pollute soil and groundwater. These chemicals persist for long periods of time and can impact natural processes, wildlife and fisheries. If they are unintentionally washed into storm water collection systems, water in creeks, streams or other water bodies may become polluted.

Risks to Non-target Species – Some pesticides can cause accidental injury or death to aquatic organisms, birds, mammals and beneficial insects such as bees and butterflies. Microorganisms in your lawn and garden can also be harmed, reducing their ability to enrich the soil and provide nutrients for plants.

What is a Pest?

Backyards are home to many seen and unseen creatures, some of which are beneficial by eliminating undesirable insects or pests. Some plants and bugs in your yard and garden are highly desirable helpers. Having clover in your lawn, for instance, helps make nitrogen in the air available in the soil for other plants to use.

Most bugs in your yard aren’t all bad either – far from it. They pollinate plants, decompose waste material and prey on many of those pesky insects that you don’t like. Common yard and garden pests include ants, aphids, moths, cutworms, earwigs, slugs and tent caterpillars. Most insects, parasites and small animals are not pests, but were actually doing all the work in your yard long before you got there. These beneficial creatures include spiders, honeybees, ladybugs and frogs. Resist your initial “get-rid-of-it” response when you see things in your yard. Find out more about the helpful roles they play in your yard and garden.

Avoiding Pesticide Use

Avoiding pest infestations through preventative maintenance is the most effective approach. Yards with good growing conditions such as healthy soil and plants well matched to the site are the first line of defense. Instead of large lawns, many homeowners opt instead for native grasses, rock gardens, and other attractive low-maintenance alternatives. If preventative maintenance is not enough, follow these six steps to starting an environmentally sensitive pest management program.

  • Use native and disease resistant plant varieties
  • Add nutrients such as compost to the soil
  • Companion plants planted side-by-side will protect other plants from weeds and pests such as marigolds to repel insects
  • Use aromatic plants such as chives, dill and mint to attract pollinators and ward off pests
  • Avoid overhead sprinkling in the evening, a major cause of mildew on plants
  • Remove insects by brushing them off, putting out traps (for slugs), crushing by hand or using a forceful spray of water
  • Eliminate weeds by spreading mulches between plants or aggressively hand weeding

Natural Controls: A soap solution can be used to wash leaves and eliminate pests and diseases. A natural fungicide can be made from one tablespoon each of baking soda and horticultural oil diluted in four liters of water and sprayed on leaves.

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