It was a bit of a hard sell, but HRM council voted Tuesday night to spend $15,000 spraying Admirals Cove Park in Bedford for ticks.

“This isn’t about ticks, it’s about Lyme disease, and on one street in Bedford I’ve got four humans with Lyme disease and these four families all back onto Admirals Cove Park,” Bedford Coun. Tim Outhit said in an interview yesterday.

Some councillors were reluctant to spray pesticides — both HRM and the province have pesticide bans, but this is a human health issue, not a cosmetic one, Outhit said.

“I’m not a fan of pesticides either, but there’s no natural enemy to these guys,” Outhit said.
“I had to choose a pesticide for human health in this case.”

The pesticide is called Dragnet and it will kill black-legged ticks that carry the bacteria that causes Lyme disease. These ticks love to hang out on deer.

Three weeks ago, council wrote a letter to both the provincial and federal health ministers asking them to approve a “tickicide,” which could be used in deer-baiting stations. At these stations, deer would stick their heads in the device and be slathered with a pesticide.

“It’s almost like putting a flea collar on your dog or cat,” Outhit explained.

“That has been dragging on while we still have these ticks in the park. Another solution that was brought forward from staff was to do some strategic spraying.”

Workers from Braemar Pest Control will walk through the park and spray Dragnet from tanks on their back. Outhit said other insects will die, but humans and their pets won’t be affected. They will spray one treatment now and another in the fall.

Municipal staff have also put up signs in the park and sent pamphlets asking neighbours to keep their lawns short and wear long sleeves when walking through the park.

Tips to ward off ticks

While currently only appearing in Admirals Cove Park, these ticks could spread. Here are some tips for homeowners from Health Protection and Promotion:

• Remove leaf litter, tall grass and brush around your home.
• Keep lawns mowed short.
• Put playground equipment in sunny, dry places away from wooded areas.
• Put wood chips or gravel between your lawn and wooded areas.
• Keep the ground under bird feeders clean.
• Keep your woodpile dry, off the ground and away from your house.