Integrated Pest Management

NYC Parks manages more than 29,000 acres of parkland—and we aim to keep our parks safe and resilient from pests, in the most humane manner possible. Learn more about our pest management procedures, and what it means for your safety.

Our Responsibility

As a city agency, we take our responsibility to the public very seriously. Pesticide use is regulated by federal, state and local laws. To keep our parks and facilities safe, we use Integrated Pest Management methodologies: the least toxic cultural, mechanical, biological and chemical control of invasive mammals, insects, plants and other nuisance species that impact public and environmental health, safety and wellbeing.

For every pest problem we encounter, we weigh the following factors when deciding which course of action to take.

  • The health implications and ecological consequences of the pest against the treatment options
  • The availability of resources, including equipment, supplies and staffing, to assess and treat the damage
  • The likelihood of a successful outcome over the long term with the chosen treatment

We also apply all permitted pesticides in compliance with regulations by the Federal Environmental Protection Agency, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, and New York City Council legislation.

Keeping New Yorkers Safe

We make every effort to prevent public exposure to pesticides. Our certified staff members make the ultimate decision in the field regarding public, environmental and staff safety.

Public Safety

Our staff members take precautions to keep the public safe. We do not apply pesticides in playgrounds or dog runs, or when the public is in the immediate vicinity. Additionally:

  • We post notification signs in advance of pesticide applications to alert the public to upcoming activities.
  • We provide a copy of the pesticide label or the NYC Parks Herbicide Information Card, if requested.
  • If there are any changes in conditions at the site, the applicator will determine if the situation is resolved and application can resume, or if the application must stop altogether and be rescheduled for another date.

Staff Safety

All pesticide applications under our jurisdiction are conducted by trained and licensed professionals. Only licensed commercial applicators and technicians and trained and supervised apprentices are permitted to apply pesticides on NYC public property, and they must follow all federal, state, and local laws regarding pesticide operations to the strictest interpretation of the law. These staff members report to “pesticide managers,” who are familiar with regulations and protocols, and help keep our technicians safe.

Pet and Wildlife Safety

When there are concerns about pet or wildlife safety, staff must suspend pesticide operations until the matter is resolved. In addition:

  • Staff may apply herbicides in areas adjacent to dog runs when dogs and owners are not present, but not inside dog runs. We do not apply herbicides when dogs or owners are present.
  • Pollinators (insects, including bees and butterflies, and some birds) are less active in the morning, therefore we try not to apply pesticides early in the day in areas where pollinators are present.
  • From April 30 through September 30, raptor nesting season, we do not bait for rodents in raptor hunting or nesting areas. Mechanical traps baited with food are permitted during this time.

Learn More

If you’re interested in more resources about integrated pest management, you can review the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s frequently asked questions about pest management, or review the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s Pesticides Used by City Agencies page to learn more about our compliance with NYC’s administrative code.

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