Notice: Giant Hogweed
Giant hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum) is a non-indigenous and invasive plant. Its sap is very toxic and has been known to cause severe dermatitis in certain individuals. The presence of giant hogweed was recently reported within the Greater Montreal Area. Therefore, the Town of Mount Royal cautions residents to look out for this noxious species.
Residents are warned not to touch or handle giant hogweed. If giant hogweed is observed on a private propriety it is advised that the owner seek assistance from a certified pest management specialist. Do not attempt to cut or mow this plant.
Several other species of plants- such as cow parsnip, wild carrot and common yarrow- can occasionally be mistaken for giant hogweed; however this plant possesses characteristics that make it unique in our environment. It is important to recognize its distinguishing features in order to take the proper precautions. For more information on identifying and managing giant hogweed please consult the following resource:
All giant hogweed sightings with in the Town of Mount Royal may be reported to the Town’s pesticide inspector (Green Line) at 514-734-4222.
As we become more aware of potential threats to our health and well-being, we must re-evaluate the chemical products we use every day. Toxic products like synthetic pesticides are detrimental to the environment. Remember, while these products are designed to kill the species they target, they can also harm non-targeted species. When toxins are involved, helpful insects, wildlife, pets and even humans may be at risk.
To avoid contamination and limit the use of toxic chemicals, Town of Mount Royal has adopted a by-law that prohibits the application and use of synthetic pesticides in the Town.
In cooperation with the city of Montreal, Mount Royal has adopted that city’s By-law Concerning Pesticide Use (No. 04-041). Under the by-law, no pesticides may be used or applied outside buildings.
Consult By-law No. 04-041 [PDF 104kB].
In the by-law and provincial regulations, a pesticide is defined as:
“any substance, matter or micro-organism intended to directly or indirectly control, destroy, mitigate, attract or repel an organism that is injurious to or noxious or troublesome for humans, animal life, vegetation, crops or other goods, or intended for use as a plant growth regulator, except a drug product or a vaccine, as defined in the Pesticides Act.” (RSQ, c. P-9.3)
Any person who violates this by-law or allows a violation to take place is guilty of an offence and is subject to a fine. Fines range from:
Although synthetic pesticides are prohibited, many organic and environment-friendly alternatives exist.
Some problems can be prevented simply by changing the way you garden or by physically removing the pest. For example, pulling weeds manually is an effective and safe alternative to using a chemical weed-killer.
When all else fails, there are a limited number of products that you may use, but they must be authorized by the Town. If you’re unsure about the type of problem you’re dealing with or which products to use, call Mount Royal’s Green Line. Our green services are available to all Town residents.
The following products are not only permitted, they also have a low environmental impact. What’s more, the ingredients recommended by the Town can be conveniently purchased from your local hardware store or garden centre. Take advantage of this information and try these products at home!
First, try to determine how many ants you may be dealing with and where they may be located. A few ants around your patio or the occasional ant inside your home are normal occurrences and pose no threat. More often than not, ants enter your home in the spring and summer in search of food and soon leave. To control this minor inconvenience, try placing small ant traps (5% Borax) around entry points to your home.
If you are finding many ants in your home, around exterior storage areas or in your lawn, garden or driveway, there may be a nest nearby. Don’t keep rotting wood, compost bins and refuse near your house because these objects can serve as a breeding ground for hungry ants! Also, store all food products in tightly sealed containers.
To exterminate the colony, try using bait with borax, a mineral that is toxic to ants when ingested. You can purchase premixed solutions or make your own. Add 2 to 3 grams of borax to 80 to 150 ml of water, then mix in a sweet substance such as honey, syrup or molasses to serve as bait. Place the mixture in small aluminum plates and leave them near areas where ants are found. If children or pets have access to the areas, put the mixture in a sealed container with small holes so only ants can reach the product.
To kill ants on contact, use silicon dioxide, which is sold as diatomaceous earth. Diatomaceous earth can also be used against cockroaches, earwigs, fleas, silverfish and centipedes/millipedes.
You can use copper barriers to prevent snails and slugs from entering your plant beds. Garden centers also sell a soap-based mixture that repels snails and slugs.
Baits with ferric phosphate are also highly effective. Ferric phosphate is toxic to snails and slugs but doesn’t harm animals or humans.
Common liquid dish detergent is a multipurpose insect killer. The fatty acids in detergents target small insects such as spider mites, thrips and aphids. A homemade mixture of 30 to 60 ml of detergent to 4 liters of water sprayed on affected areas will kill these insects on contact. Garden centres also sell premixed commercial insecticidal soaps.
Mineral oil (sold as horticultural oil) also controls pests such as mealy bugs and mites.
The problem may be poor-quality soil that’s more hospitable to weeds than to grasses. The Town can provide you with earth-friendly advice for improving your lawn’s health. Call our Green Line!
Safe and smart alternatives to synthetic herbicides also exist. To control occasional weeds, you can treat your lawn with solutions made from acetic acid (highly concentrated vinegar), sodium chloride (a highly concentrated saline solution) or fatty acids. These solutions are available premixed and ready to use at garden centres. They are intended to be sprayed directly on the weeds, not on your grass. Corn gluten meal is a natural weed suppressant that prevents undesirable seeds from germinating. That said, the best way to eradicate weeds is to remove them manually (by hand or using tools) and to keep your lawn healthy!
You can prevent an infestation by placing barrier tape around the trunks of your fruit, forest and shade trees.
Btk (Bacillus thuringiensis subspecies kurstaki) is a biological insecticide that affects caterpillars. Moments after ingesting Btk, caterpillars stop feeding on plants and slowly die off. Btk is non-toxic for humans and animals.
White grubs are the larvae of scarab beetles; the most common species in our area are the Japanese beetle and the European chafer. They have a yearlong life cycle that begins between late June and late July, when adult beetles lay their eggs in turf grass. Once the eggs hatch, the grubs feed on the grass’s roots, causing damage to your lawn. During the winter months, the grubs descend deep into the soil and wait until spring, when they resurface to feed on shallow roots. The larvae enter their pupa stage in May and emerge as adults in June.
Getting rid of white grubs is a long process. As always, the best strategy is prevention. To deter beetles from settling in your lawn and laying eggs, avoid lighting your yard at night during the summer and keep the mowing height for your lawn at 3 inches. Also, as beetles are attracted to humid soil, do not overwater your lawn during this period. Try incorporating white clover into your lawn. White clover is toxic to white grubs and stays green even during droughts. Having a healthy lawn with deep roots is also important because it will be more resistant to white grubs. Good gardening practices such as aerating your soil, adding compost, fertilizing, reseeding and mowing high are all part of an effective prevention strategy.
To eradicate white grubs in your lawn, try nematodes! A biological method for controlling white grubs, nematodes are microscopic parasites that descend into the soil and feed on the grubs. It is crucial that they be applied between mid-August and mid-September, when the grubs are closest to the surface and at their most vulnerable. When applying nematodes, follow the directions closely for maximum effectiveness.
Summer is sand wasp season. Between July and August, these insects are observed in and around sandy areas. The sand wasp, sometimes referred to as “digger wasp”, may seem worrisome for parents because it is often found in sandboxes. However sand wasps are generally non-aggressive and a sting from these useful insects is highly unlikely.
Two species of sand wasp (Bicyrtes quadrifasciatus and Bembix americana) have been reported throughout the Greater Montreal area. Unlike the common yellow jackets (Vespidae family) known for their nasty temper and sting, sand wasps come from a different family (Crabonidae) and follow a completely different set of behaviours. As their name suggests, sand wasps are found uniquely in pure sand and very sandy soil whereas common wasps build nests within the earth and on trees or structures.
Although sand wasps often flock to their favourite area, they are solitary insects. Female sand wasps lay their eggs directly in sand tunnels. Contrary to yellow jackets, sand wasps do not form colonies and they do not assertively defend their nests. According to the Montreal Insectarium, solitary wasps are not aggressive. Sand wasps will avoid humans even if they come agitated. Nevertheless, it is possible that a sand wasp could sting a potential enemy in the event that they feel directly threatened or trapped. Both the City of Montreal and the Town of Kirkland maintain that an incident involving sand wasps has never been reported. The Town of Mount Royal is currently looking into environmentally-friendly methods to reduce the sand wasp population in children’s’ play areas.
In the meantime, the Town maintains an ecological green space management program. Therefore, sand wasps should be tolerated because they feed on undesirable insects and they pollinate flowers.
If you observe sand wasps stay calm and avoid disturbing their nesting site. For more information on sand wasps please feel free to contact the Green Line.