Back in the day when I worked for one of the larger Lawn companies, they pulled me off my truck in the summer when things got slow and stuck me on a phone to call customers. I was informed to tell the home owner their lawn had grubs and to up-sell them- at that time, a Merit grub application.
Well, every lawn has grubs, but it is a matter of tolerance- 4 per square foot is no big deal. You'd need about 10 per square to notice damage and be advised to take action.
Yet, because I was trusted and I was using fear as a selling tool, I made the company about 10 Gs a week. People freaked out at the thought of losing their lawn and curb appeal to an insect.
I thought they would never put me back on a truck, I was making the company so much money.
It was because of this and a few other factors, I decided to leave and start my own business five years ago where this tactic wasn't a tool to make money. However, you can see how fear can certainly motivate/ control people into immediate panic and loosening the purse strings.
Where am I going with this?
It always seems to come back to the bylaw, sadly.
Every year it feels I have to work harder to get lawns under control from weeds and insects given the tools I have left to use and I've seen more than I care to, with damage of one kind, or another the past few seasons.
It's like fighting a war with bows and arrows when your enemy has WMDs to bomb you into oblivion.
Recently a private members bill was tabled at Queen's Park to amend the pesticide bylaw. Bill 88, as it is known would put pesticides like 2-4-D back in the hands of the licenced professional only- something I have been advocating for a while now.
But the bill was defeated in the second reading, by the Liberals and NDP...and you saw how well they played together this week with the whole budget debacle.
Why, you ask?...your guess is as good as mine...a sudden push from anti-pesticide organizations...more pressing issues to deal with...fear maybe?
Honestly, there is a lot of misinformation out there...it creates fear. It's the same fear that led to the bylaw in the first place at the hands of those like Gideon Forman who call themselves doctors, but aren't.
It's the same fear that still leads to calls every few weeks, of people lambasting us for posting our notice signs and spraying a class 11 pesticide...they are ignorant of the facts.
The fact, class 11 pesticides, like Fiesta and Finalsan are all we are allowed to use. They are considered safe for the public...and for most weeds apparently.
The fact, by law, I must flag a lawn every time I use this product either by broadcast, or spot application.
The fact, golf courses and farmers are exempt, so guess what...you're still living next to and ingesting pesticides.
Yes, even your precious organically grown veggies are treated at some point. I know, I worked in the fruit and vegetable industry for 17 years prior to doing lawns and heard the dirty little whispers. But as long as your fear was quelled, you didn't mind paying more for a substandard edible product, did you?
The fact, the Canadian Cancer Society's web page states, there is no conclusive evidence of 2-4-D, the most studied chemical in the world, causing cancer. Yet, I heard this week, diesel fumes have been listed as a probable carcinogenic, so ramp up the fear machine and pass out the gas masks.
If you want to be fearful of something involving this situation, then ponder this:
The bylaw has driven pesticides into a Black Market mentality. Joe home owner is still using product- correctly? I don't know, but using it none-the-less, either brought back from the States, or from a personal stock pile in garages next to you.
The soft, green, pesticide-free grass McGuinty promised for your children to roll around on, is loaded with thistles and poison ivy to name a few.
Allergies? I don't know how my son works for me out in the field taking care of lawns? He's constantly sneezing and passing off a portion of his pay cheque to buy pills for relief.
Then there's the Lawn Care industry, that has suffered job loss, lost productivity and bankruptcy...ouch!
Yup, it appears fear works and works very well...it always has throughout history.
Hopefully there will be another election and we can push to make this an issue again. Let the public decide once and for all instead of a nanny government swayed by political gain over science.
Perhaps fear of losing the vote might change a few minds?