Spraying pesticides on your lawn won't prevent ticks: N.S. chief medical officer

Nova Scotia's chief medical officer is cautioning against spraying lawns with pesticides to protect against ticks, saying there's little evidence to suggest they're effective for controlling the blood-sucking pests.

Dr. Robert Strang says that in Nova Scotia, products like permethrin and deltamethrin can be legally applied to private lawns, but he says there's little point to spraying there since ticks tend to live in long grass, brush and shrubs.

Sean Rollo, a spokesman for pest control company Orkin Canada, says he agrees that the pesticides are not meant for lawns, saying the chemicals are only used if other methods of keeping ticks off of properties doesn't work.

But he takes issue with the assertion that there's no evidence that pesticides aren't effective for managing ticks, saying Health Canada wouldn't have approved the chemicals if they had no effect.

Blacklegged ticks, also known as deer ticks, are a type of parasite well-known for transmitting Lyme disease.

According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, Lyme disease rates are on the rise, with the majority of cases reported in Nova Scotia and Ontario.