Prince Rupert Golf Club superintendent, Ryan O’Halloran says it’s hard to manage people using bug spray on the greens because golfers don’t know that it kills the grass. (Photo: Norman Galimski/The Northern View)

Prince Rupert Golf Club superintendent, Ryan O’Halloran says it’s hard to manage people using bug spray on the greens because golfers don’t know that it kills the grass. (Photo: Norman Galimski/The Northern View)

Bug spray yellows Prince Rupert golf greens

DEET responsible for more than just dead flies

Prince Golf Course is seeing a browning of its green with golfers using DEET-based bug sprays while on the course, Ryan O’Halloran, golf club superintendent, said on Aug. 25.

When the golf club superintendent saw two perfect green footprints surrounded by an outline of dead yellow grass he wasn’t surprised.

The yellow scars can commonly be found on the first greens of the golf course, but the most recent footprints were found out at the tenth hole.

For some golfers bug spray is a must-have out on the greens at the Prince Rupert Golf Club. However, its not just mosquitos that are dying, but the grass too.

“People just don’t know that DEET is poisonous to grass,” O’Halloran said.

The ingredient DEET is used in many insect repellents for its effectiveness against biting bugs and has proved to be a menace for golf courses. O’Halloran’s has worked with eight different golf properties over 20 years and said it’s the same problem at every golf course across Canada.

“DEET is poisonous to grass [and] every single superintendent has the same issue,” he said.

O’Halloran doesn’t blame any specific group of golfers for using insect spray. He acknowledges the bugs are particularly nasty out on the golf course. He said in the end it just comes down to golfer’s awareness of the repellent’s effects, admitting that there isn’t too much that he is able to do about the problem.

“We just try to educate our members that if you’re going to apply it, please do it on the cart paths or concrete,” O’Halloran said.

There are DEET-free bug sprays available, but the problem is that they don’t work against the bugs, O’Halloran said.


Norman Galimski | Journalist
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