Three retailers say they are pulling from their store shelves a product intended to kill wasps after a report that the sticky device ended up trapping and killing seven birds.
Loblaw, Sheridan Nurseries and Home Hardware Stores said they will stopping selling TrapStik, a product sold by a U.S.-based company called Rescue! Pest Control Products, immediately.
Loblaw public relations said in an email that the retailer first learned about concerns with the product after a news report on Monday said that it is killing birds. The product was sold through its Real Canadian Superstores, of which Loblaw is the parent.
“While we are aware that other Canadian retailers carry this item, we have made the proactive decision to remove the product from our shelves,” the statement reads.
“We are working on issuing this notification to our stores and will be able to accept any returns with a receipt for a full refund.”
Kayla-Jane Barrie, digital marketing specialist at Sheridan Nurseries, a garden supply company, said in an email that the retailer will also stop selling the product as of Tuesday.
“Due to the hazards associated with the product, we will be removing the TrapStik from all of our locations today,” Barrie said Tuesday. “Our managers and purchaser are working on a solution for those who have bought the product.”
The product is sold across Ontario at various retailers including Home Depot.
Jessica Kuepfer, public relations manager for Home Hardware Stores, said the home improvement chain did not receive any customer complaints about the wasp traps, but it is removing the product from its stores, because it poses a risk to birds. The chain will also stop selling the TrapStik fly trap.
“We are always paying attention to what customers are saying about products that we may carry in our stores,” she said.
“When we saw the reports come in yesterday that there was maybe some unsafe situations for birds with this product, we immediately started investigating with our vendor.”
Canadian Tire said it doesn’t carry the product.
7 dead chickadees
On Monday, Jessie Wall, from Waterloo, Ont., she and her family were heartbroken after the product she bought at Loblaw’s Real Canadian Superstore caught seven chickadees over a span of five days, and all of the small birds died.
Wall said she decided to give the product a try to get rid of wasps that have been plaguing her neighbourhood. She said it was her son who discovered the dead birds and alerted her husband.
“They told me they were screaming and pecking at each other and pecking at him and they were really, really adhered to that trap, their wings, everything,” she said. “They were on all sides, just completely splayed out, it was quite horrific.
“They tried to pull them off, wiggle them off, but there was just no way.”
Wall said she followed the instructions on the box and placed the trap on an eavestrough, which is what the company recommends.
“I didn’t really think it was strong enough to hold a bird, let a lone a group of birds,” she said. “This is heartbreaking for us.”
Wall said she wants other people to learn from her mistake.
“I’d like to see it taken off the shelves but that’s not my decision. That is a corporate decision for the retailer … I just want people to be aware.”
On the Home Depot website, some customers have rated the product highly for doing its job and killing wasps, while several other customers said the TrapStik caught birds.
“I [looked] out and there were two birds stuck to this trap,” read one review. “I had to go pull these poor little birds carefully off of this sticky glue it was [awful].”
Another review read, “killed more chickadees than wasps.”
‘It will catch whatever lands on it’
The company’s automated phone line lists instructions on using the product.
“With any sticky trap there is the rare but possible risk of an unintended catch, such as a bird,” it says. “To avoid this, we recommend you not hang this trap in a tree or other natural setting.”
Wall disagrees that the incident is rare. She said if she were to hang it again, more birds would get caught.
In an instructional video for the product, Neil Michaelson, an entomologist affiliated with TrapStik does hang the product in a tree but only because a wasp’s nest is located there.