Who are you calling a pest?


Evanston’s Human Services Committee Monday postponed action on a proposed sustainable pest control resolution after aldermen raised questions about which animals might be considered pests.

Alderman Judy Fiske, 1st Ward, questioned the definition of "pest" in the resolution as including any animal "that is, or has the potential to be, injurious to other living organisms or property."

She recalled an incident in which she spotted workmen next door to her home chasing an opossum with shovels trying to kill it.

The workman, she said, considered the opossum to be vermin, like a rat.

"But an opossum is an animal you’d want to have in your yard," Fiske said. "It eats slugs and other insects" that people might otherwise use insecticides to control.

"I can’t see any animals, with the exception of rats, that should be considered injurious to other living organisms," Fiske added.

Alderman Jane Grover, 7th Ward, said the resolution needs better definitions of which creatures might be a pest, and which ones the city needs to take action to address.

The proposal was developed by the city’s Environmental Board as a plan to guide city employees in handling pest control issues.

Board member Susan Kaplan of 2230 Pioneer Road said it was based on similar policies and ordinances around the country and that the board had reviewed over 100 such documents in preparing the proposed Evanston resolution.

The main objective of the proposal is to mandate that city workers use use the least environmentally dangerous yet effective methods of pest control.

A revised version of the proposal is expected to be on the committee’s agenda for its next meeting, April 5.

Opossum photo above from Wikipedia.

Editors’ Picks