Not a ‘chinch’ to solve

Char­lot­te­town’s deputy mayor says some res­i­dents get­ting bad ad­vice on a pest

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - THE ISLAND - dave.ste­wart@the­ Twit­­wart BY DAVE STE­WART

Char­lot­te­town Deputy Mayor Mike Duffy says some res­i­dents are get­ting bad ad­vice on one par­tic­u­lar pest — the chinch bug.

Chinch bugs are a com­mon type of in­sect in east­ern Canada, feed­ing on the sap of grass plants.

Duffy said City Hall has been get­ting some calls from res­i­dents who have been told by var­i­ous lawn care com­pa­nies that they have an in­fes­ta­tion.

Of course, un­der the new pes­ti­cide by­law City Hall must first send an ex­pert out to as­sess the lawn first. That ex­pert de­ter­mines if there is an in­fes­ta­tion and, if there is, con­tacts the res­i­dent and an ap­proved ap­pli­ca­tor.

And, in case res­i­dents didn’t know it, City Hall charges $50 to have a lawn as­sessed.

Duffy said res­i­dents shouldn’t be so quick to con­tact City Hall.

“That is a move of last re­sort,’’ Duffy said. “We have other thing in place, ap­proved prod­ucts you can try (first).’’

The deputy mayor said chinch bugs love a dry lawn so ex­perts say to wa­ter it, wa­ter it some more and when the res­i­dent thinks he or she has wa­tered it enough, wa­ter it again.

Keep in mind the city’s wa­ter con­ser­va­tion rules and only wa­ter the lawn be­fore 10 a.m. and after 7 p.m.

“It’s dry­ness that causes these things to gen­er­ate. We’re say­ing there are meth­ods of preven­tion and then, if you hap­pen to still get it there are meth­ods of treat­ment.’’

The city’s en­vi­ron­ment and sus­tain­abil­ity of­fice says there are two prod­ucts on store shelves that can be ef­fec­tive on chinch bugs — Di­atoma­ceous Earth and in­ces­ti­ci­dal soaps.

Lawn care com­pa­nies can take it one step fur­ther and use Pyrethrins, which is on the list of ap­proved prod­ucts in P.E.I. but must be ap­plied by ex­perts.

“And if that still fails and you’re not get­ting any­where with those ap­proved meth­ods or prod­ucts then you say to your li­censed ap­pli­ca­tor I would like to use some­thing more toxic on this par­tic­u­lar area. What should I do?’’ Duffy said, re­fer­ring to when City Hall should be brought into the mat­ter.

As for the $50 sur­charge, Duffy ex­plains it costs money to run this ser­vice and that the city isn’t out to make money.

It also serves as a dis­in­cen­tive so that City Hall isn’t be­sieged with calls from peo­ple think­ing they have an in­fes­ta­tion and ask­ing for an as­sess­ment.

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