Pest Control Held to New Standards by Council

New legislation seeks to use less toxic pesticides to battle bugs at county parks.

An Anne Arundel County councilman wants parks employees to take a closer look at how they manage pests at public parks.

The new legislation, championed by Councilman Chris Trumbauer (D-6th District), enacts an integrated pest management plan for the county's Recreation and Parks Department.

“I originally set out to ban herbicides and pesticides altogether,” Trumbauer said. “This approach is more iterative.”

The new approach will prioritize types of pesticides used at county parks based on their toxicity to ensure that the least toxic alternative is used whenever possible, he said. Another requirement of the legislation is additional signage for the public when these pesticides are used.

Trumbauer said the idea struck him while he was visiting a county park with his children and discovered a sign nearby with a “no children” warning, because the parks department was spraying for hornets.

“That’ll really get your attention—especially if you’re with your children on a playground,” he said. “It also brings up the larger implication to me of applying toxic substances on areas where there is a high public use.”

The legislation was based on how the county school system handles pests. It’s a less strict approach than the one Washington DC’s Council recently approved, which prohibits pesticides from use at schools, day care centers, government buildings and within 25 feet of waterways.

Alan Friedman, representative for the county executive, said the administration supports the bill, but noted that it would come with an increased cost to the county, and would have to wait until the next budget year to be implemented.

"There is some additional cost that will have to be budgeted for," Friedman said. "But we believe this is a very positive approach to a very serious problem."

Trumbauer said he did not expect this change in pest management to slow down the treatment of pests. In case of an infestation or emergency situation, pesticides can be rapidly deployed to control the situation, he said.

“There will always have to be some sort of process to allow for treatment of emergency situations,” Trumbauer said.

The legislation sailed through with a unanimous vote from the seven members of the County Council. It is set to go into effect starting July 1, 2013. To review the full legislation, see the County Council's website, or the PDF attached to this article.

Matt August 22, 2012 at 05:34 PM
Now that west nile virus is in the news, I am more concerned with the mosquito problem in the area. If memory serves me correctly, we never had a problem any where near this bad until building regulations required sediment, or run off ponds (I call them mosquito farms) which are now common in the area. We are constantly reminded by local government to check flower pots, rain gutters, bird baths and anything else that could hold water. Is the government doing anything to control the breeding of mosquitoes in these ponds?
Ronald August 22, 2012 at 06:08 PM
Hopefully the council will be able to do something about this. I think tht the spraying is a knee-jerk over-the-top reaction to this problem. I've lived in Piney Orchard for 12+ years and have noticed how the butterfly and wild-bird population have steadily declined. Having spent thousands on my small backyard (actually it was my wife that spent the money) and in getting it certified as a Natural Wildlife Habitat it concerns us greatly that there are fewer and fewer bluebirds nesting here and almost no butterflies anymore. Our HOA has compounded the problem by planting pretty foreign trees that do not, and never whill, attract nesting birds and allowing pesticides to be sprayed like perfoume in a whore house. Take care of your neighborhoods and homes and don't allow standing water and you won't have the problems. Let's stop killing off nature before it kills us. Thank you to the council for this small measure of thoughtfulness. Now address the ponds as Matt asks because he is right on target.
Kristen Wilson November 20, 2012 at 03:41 PM
Good article, spraying for pests is the best especially when you have a garden. I am looking for a <a href="http://www.realtypest.com">las vegas pest control</a> company to come out and help spray my mom's house, she loves to garden. Thanks for posting.
Juliet Woods February 01, 2013 at 02:19 AM
Ugh. I hate bugs. Thank goodness for pest control! There's so many bugs in Boca Raton, I don't know what I'd do without it. http://www.barrybugs.com


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