Quebec town takes new approach to eradicating ragweed
Published Wednesday, August 26, 2015 8:00AM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, August 26, 2015 4:59PM EDT
The last few weeks of August don’t just mean bidding goodbye to summer; for many allergy sufferers, it also means the agony of ragweed season.
But the town of Hudson, Que., is turning to a new idea to give its residents some relief: setting a bounty on the nasty weed.
Hudson has begun paying residents to pull out ragweed, offering five cents a pound for the weed, or 10 cents a kilo.
Julie Schroeder, the town’s director of parks and recreation, has even upped the ante with a grand prize.
“Whoever brings in the most, I am personally putting up $100 of my own money to sweeten the deal,” she says.
Some residents are taking on the challenge with gusto. Seven-year-old Kyle Secours has become known as Hudson’s own “Ragweed Terminator.” He’s managed to slice and dice nearly three times his own weight in less than two days.
That’s 139 pounds (63 kg) for a kid who weighs only 51 lbs (23 kg) himself.
Kyle started pulling out the weed in his own backyard and then going after it in his neighbourhood. He quickly developed an eagle eye for the nasty weed when out for strolls.
“I say, 'Stop, Mom! There's ragweed!'” he said.
Secours' mother Denise, who has suffered from ragweed allergies for years, says she often sneezes up to 100 times a day.
Secours says that helping his mom is the main reason he's declared a personal vendetta against ragweed, but he admits the cash incentive doesn't hurt. He's hoping to nab that $100 prize.
Approximately 25 per cent of people in Canada suffer from seasonal allergies. At this time of year in Ontario, Quebec, and Manitoba, ragweed is the main culprit.
The weed's yellow flowerhead blooms between August and October, sending out about a billion grains of pollen per plant. That pollen can then travel long distances in the wind, irritating the mucous membranes of those with a sensitivity to the plant.
Allergist Dr. Phil Gold, the director of the RI-MUHC Clinical Research Centre, says the number of Canadians complaining of seasonal allergies seems to be growing, although he suspects that has to do with more awareness that there are medications that can help.
He says the best thing to do is to keep gardens tidy, so the weed never gets a chance to bloom and ruin the last vestiges of summer.
With a report from CTV Montreal's Annie Demelt