Did you know that vampires and ticks have something in common? They both hate the smell of garlic! Since 2018, the City of Kingston has been applying a 100 per cent natural garlic-based spray to the city’s public parks and dog parks to combat tick and mosquito populations. This spray is not harmful to humans and pets, but it can keep your family safe from tiny, terrorizing ticks. It’s applied every six weeks during the spring, summer, and fall and repels ticks and mosquitoes that can carry Lyme disease or West Nile Virus.
How effective can garlic really be?
Garlic is a natural defence because “ticks have a sense of smell that is 10,000 times more sensitive than ours and, lucky for us, they don’t like garlic,” says Troy Stubinski, the operations manager of the Public Works Department for the City of Kingston. Further, Stubinski says that “the product has not been proven to be 100 per cent effective, but certainly is very effective. Our residents have been very happy, especially in regards to the use of the spray in our dog parks. Residents are finding that dogs are no longer bringing ticks home with them.”
But garlic smells! Will my dog and I reek of garlic?
No need to worry about garlic’s pungent odour because the product only smells immediately after application. In good conditions, the product dries in 30 minutes and does not smell thereafter. The City of Kingston prioritized education of the initiative, making residents aware of the product’s safety and short period of which someone may detect a smell.
Will this program be extended?
The city must consider where the spray will best protect the public from the risks of ticks and which settings are most cost effective to maintain. The city is partnering with local universities, who are conducting drag testing studies to determine the number of ticks. For private businesses and organizations who are interested in partnering with the City of Kingston to reduce ticks on their property, the city is “open to anyone who has an interest and is willing,” says Stubinski.
Can I use this at home?
Yes, individuals are able to purchase a garlic-based spray or contact a pest control company. Stubinski recommends that residents “make a decision based on cost and the number of ticks located on the property.” While individuals may wish to explore this option, there is a cost and reapplication factor to consider.