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PESTICIDE'S FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is a pesticide?
Pesticides are defined as products used to kill plants, insects and plant diseases. Pesticides used on lawns and gardens include herbicides (which kill plants), insecticides (which kill insects) and fungicides (which kill fungi).
Is the Toronto Pesticide Bylaw still in effect?
No. The Ontario government passed a law that prohibits the sale and use of pesticides for cosmetic purposes on lawns, gardens, parks and school yards, and includes many herbicides, fungicides and insecticides. Learn about the provincial ban at the Ontario Ministry of the Environment
How can I control insects without pesticides?
There are a number of natural gardening solutions to control insects.
These include using organic controls, planting strategies and good gardening practices.
How can I manage weeds and insects without pesticides?
You can replace pesticide use with a natural approach which improves the health of your lawn and garden. See our factsheet on natural weed control or consult a lawn care professional or other plant health care expert.
How do I safely dispose of pesticides?
It's important not to dispose of leftover pesticides in your garbage, down the drain or down storm sewers. You should always read the label for information on disposal. The City operates depots to collect and safely dispose of pesticides. For more information call the Household Hazardous Waste Hotline at 416-392-4330 or visit the City's web site.
What is Integrated Pest Management?
IPM is an approach to deal with insect and disease pests through a combination of strategies: cultural, natural, physical, biological and chemical. IPM is an effective, economical and environmentally friendly method of controlling pests (and some diseases).
What is biological pest management?
Creating biological diversity and using naturally derived materials will provide habitat for beneficial parasites, pathogens and predators, which will keep pest populations in check.
Specific biological pest control treatments include:
Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) - spray on plant foliage to infect insects. Lasts only a few days, so repeated sprays may be needed. Will control caterpillars. Bt var. tenebrionis, controls beetle larvae, and Bt var. israelensis, mosquitoes.
Parasitic nematodes - attack beetles in lawn and weevils at the base of evergreens and strawberry plants. Use plenty of water so the nematodes will soak down into the root zone where the pests are feeding.
What are some common plant diseases?
Plant diseases can be grouped as follows:
- caused by environmental factors such as pollution, soil compaction, salt and herbicide applications; lack of essential nutrients; root girdling; animal injury; or proximity to black walnut or butternut trees.
- include mildews and cankers. They reproduce by spores spread by wind, insects, water or in the soil. They are often present naturally but will infect a plant when it is in a weakened state. Moisture can encourage the growth and spread of fungus. Symptoms include a breakdown of plant cells or soft rot, grey-white, yellow, dark grey or black powdery or slimy growths and stem collapse.
- are often classified as wilts or blights. They can enter a plant through wounds, pruning cuts or leaf pores and can be spread by rain and splashing water. Symptoms include wilting; water soaked or rotting stems; dark spots or lesions on the stem, leaves and roots of a plant; and premature death of seedlings.
- can be present in any parts of the plant and are spread from plant to plant by insects such as aphids and by humans, when handling, and by propagation. They are usually classified by their symptoms which include: spots, stunting, leaf and flower distortion, yellowing, mosaic patterns and premature death.
Last updated April 2009