What are pesticides?

Insecticides, herbicides, fungicides and any substance designed to prevent, destroy, repel or mitigate unwanted organisms.

Download Colwood's Guidelines for Pesticide Use fact sheet.

Pesticide use is generally NOT permitted on lawns and gardens in Colwood

Pesticides cannot be confined. They move through air, land, and water, contributing to the cumulative chemical load absorbed by our natural environment. 

The City of Colwood values our community’s unique location and environment, and recognizes the need to protect its natural assets, waterways, ecological habitats, and cultural heritage.

The City invited the community to share input about pesticide use and offer feedback regarding implementation of a bylaw to limit pesticide use. Residents were encouraged to participate in a survey posted on Let’sTalkColwood.ca throughout the fall 2023. The engagement findings were not significant, with only a small number of responses. Of those, 64% supported limiting pesticide use in Colwood.

The bylaw applies to:

  • lawns, trees, shrubs, flowers and other ornamental plants;
  • single family homes, duplexes, townhouses, apartment buildings, and condominiums.

It does not apply to:

  • Managing pests that transmit human disease;
  • Pests inside buildings;
  • Agriculture (farms or forestry);
  • Commercial, institutional, or industrial properties.

Consider alternatives to pesticides

Proper lawn & garden care

  • Mow high, leave clippings, aerate, de-thatch to discourage weeds.
  • Optimize soil composition, watering and drainage. 
  • Choose pest resistant plants and use a variety of plant species.
  • Ensure spacing, pruning, thinning of plants.
  • Deadhead flowers and seeds, apply mulch or landscape fabric.

Get physical

  • Pull weeds by hand or tools.
  • Pour boiling water on cut stalks of persistent weeds like thistles.
  • Mulch between plants and spread cardboard between garden rows.
  • Hand pick insects from plants.
  • Forcefully spray insects with water.
  • Reduce hiding spots like pots, boards and other objects.
  • Remove rodent attractants.

Attract helpers

  • Ladybugs control aphids.
  • Birds and bats eat many insects.

Which pesticides can be used without a permit?

Some examples are provided below. For a full list of permitted pesticides see Schedule A of the Colwood Pesticide Use Bylaw.

  • WEEDS: Iron based weed killers, Corn gluten meal, Acetic acid products, Fatty acids
  • MOSS: Ferrous sulphate, Soaps, Zinc Strips
  • INSECTS: Pyrethrins, Resmethrin, Boric Acid, Btk, Bti, Spinosad, Horticultural oil, Lime Sulphur, Sulphur, Ferric phosphate

When pesticide use may be permitted:

A permit may be issued for the use of a pesticide not on the permitted list if:

  • the infestation threatens a sensitive ecosystem;
  • the infestation includes invasive species or noxious weeds the City is working to control;
  • financial harm is likely due to an infestation that requires replacement or restoration of vegetation, damaged or destroyed landscaping, loss of amenity, and diminished property value.

Applying for a permit

Start by calling the City of Colwood Parks team at 250-474-4133.

How is the Pesticide Bylaw enforced?

Using pesticides in contravention of this bylaw may result in a fine up to $50,000. Each day that an offence continues or exists constitutes a separate offence.

Reporting an offence

If you are concerned about the possible use of pesticides in a residential area of Colwood, contact Bylaw Services at 250-478-5999.