The following are guidelines for working in areas where indigenous pests are present.

  1. Special safety consideration must be given when working on locations where various indigenous pests may be present. The types of pests may vary from region to region, however basic safeguards should be taken to prevent serious injury or illness to cast and crew.
  2. Indigenous pests include but are not limited to: ants, ticks, stinging flying insects (bees, wasps, hornets), biting insects (mosquitoes, flies), chiggers, arachnids (various spiders), native snakes, exotic marine life, rodents.
  3. Consideration should be given to cast and crew and also to the indigenous pests in the area being filmed. The Production Company is responsible for ensuring the safety of wildlife that is removed from the area and animals that remain on the location/set. The Production Company may not harm and should take precautionary measures to protect nests, dens, caves, caverns, etc.
  4. Only qualified and trained personnel with the appropriate equipment should remove indigenous pests, wildlife or habitat from the filming area. Upon completion of filming, any animals removed should be safely returned.
  5. Contact should be made with the appropriate Federal, Provincial or Municipal wildlife authorities to confirm the type and status of animals in the area and the effect that such wildlife would have on humans and animals if contact is made.
  6. When working in an area where there is the potential of encountering indigenous pests, appropriate clothing should be worn (i.e. long pants, shirts, in light colours). Avoid wearing heavy perfumes or aftershave. Apply repellents directly to clothing.
  7. If a pesticide is being used to control indigenous pests, follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Check the product label and/or Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) before applying the product or entering the area. Allow time for dissipation prior to using a treated area. The MSDS must be available to all cast and crew upon request (as per Reg. 860). Personal protective equipment (PPE) should be properly used (as per 25(1)(d) of OHSA).
  8. It is recommended that cast and crew notify the set medical/safety personnel of any known allergies prior to or upon arrival at the location. If bitten or stung by an indigenous pest, contact the set medic immediately or contact 911, if life threatening. Persons with known allergies to insect bites should carry Epi-pens and have medic alerts.
  9. Animal actors brought to a location can be affected by indigenous pests; this could range from distraction to the transmittal of diseases. Notification of the potential existence of indigenous pests in the area being filmed should be provided to the Trainer/Wrangler/Supplier of animal actors.
  10. Special precautions are required to protect against West Nile Virus and other animal diseases that may be transmitted to humans. These include zoonotic diseases or zoonoses, such as Hanta virus (deer mice), Lyme disease (ticks), rabies and racoon round worm (also known as Baylisascaris procyonis). The websites listed at the end of this guideline provide assistance in developing safety precautions to deal with these diseases.

For more information on indigenous pests or specific guidelines on animal safety in film and television production, please consult an organization such as the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) or the American Humane Association (AHA). Please also refer to Guideline #40 Animal Handling, and Guideline #42 Exotic Animals , for additional recommendations.

Websites dealing with Precautions for Diseases of Animals Transmitted to Humans