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Good Night, Sleep Tight… And You Probably Know The Rest


Travelling to another city or country can be a grand adventure.  However, bringing home bed bugs is a sure way to end your vacation on a sour note.  With a few preventive measures you can ensure your time away results in bringing home only pleasant memories.

Back in the 2000’s, I was employed as the office manager for a pest control company in a small British Columbia town.  That decade saw a huge resurgence in bed bug infestations, due in large part to increases in domestic and international travel, and the decline of prophylactic pesticide application in public places. I received many a panicked call at the office from anxious folks concerned about biting creepy-crawlies in their beds.

During that time, my husband and I took our 3 children – ages 6, 10 and 12 – on a 10-day excursion through southern Alberta.  The kids were fascinated by Drumheller dinosaurs and the West Edmonton Mall, but they always remembered my line of work.  Thorough bed bug inspections in every new hotel room became routine.

No luggage even came into the room until inspection had been done.  If that’s not possible for you, pile your luggage in the bathtub until you feel safe to unpack.  The porcelain of the tub will be too smooth for bed bugs to climb, and – thankfully – bed bugs are wingless and cannot fly.

The most obvious spot to inspect should also be your first – the bed.  Even though bed bugs can survive months without feeding, the only thing they do eat is human blood; and with rare exception they only feed at night. Bed bugs will only travel 5 to 20 feet from their harborage, so if they’re present they will likely be close to their food source.  

Move aside the blankets and sheets so the mattress is exposed.  Inspect all seams and folds, and check the head, foot and sides of the mattress carefully. You are looking for any dark or black spots, which are bed bug droppings (the remnants of digested blood).  Other signs of bed bug presence are reddish streaks (blood from crushed bugs) or bed bug casings, which are the shells shed by the bugs as they reach a new growth stage.  The bugs themselves are brown or reddish-brown and resemble flattish apple seeds with six legs.

Next, check any upholstered furniture, especially sofas and sofa beds.  Pay careful attention to any cracks in the wood frames of any furnishings for any droppings, casings, or bugs.  Bed bugs prefer wood and fabric habitats over plastic or metal.  Inspect the carpeting and check over the carpet edges thoroughly.

If the bed, carpet and furniture show no signs of infestation, it’s highly likely that your room is bug free.  Go ahead and unpack.  Should you find anything of concern, you may want to speak to the hotel staff about a different room.  Be warned, however; bed bugs travel easily between rooms and through walls.  Where one room is infested, there’s a very good chance that others in the same building are as well.  And bed bugs thrive in the same environmental conditions that humans do: warm temperatures and medium to high relative humidity. ‘Forewarned is forearmed’ may sound like an overused cliché, but nothing could be truer when it comes to bed bugs.   Be aware, be observant, and make your holiday a happy one!

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Protecting the Harvest

Protecting the Havrvest


Fall is upon us once again.  For millennia, this season of harvest means it’s time to store the summer’s abundance for a long dark winter ahead.  People have used granaries for over eleven thousand years; archaeological excavations in the Jordan Valley near the Dead Sea have revealed storage structures at least that old.  In today’s world, grain storage can vary between a few pounds and several thousand tonnes, depending on the facility.  Large or small, grain storage can pose problems that are minimized by careful planning and preparation.

Structural hygiene is an important first step in good grain management.  Buildings, structures and grain bins should be well-maintained and inspected regularly for signs of pest intrusion and excess moisture problems. Eliminating weeds and shrubbery from the outside of granaries will reduce pest harborages. Sealing any cracks and crevices in and around grain bins is crucial to prevent intruders. 

One of the biggest threats to successful grain storage is excess moisture, according to the University of Kentucky – College of Agriculture.  Wet or damp grain will rot, and spoilage can spread quickly throughout a bin. The Grains Research and Development Corporation of Australia recommends treating stored grains with diatomaceous earth (DE) as a protective measure. 

Using DE has the dual advantage of controlling both moisture and insects.   The microscopic porous structure of DE is sponge-like, absorbing moisture from grains. This absorbent property is also effective as an insecticide.  The mode of action is mechanical, not chemical; DE kills the insects by desiccation, after abrading their waxy exoskeletons.

The use of diatomaceous earth can reduce or eliminate the need for strong chemical fumigants.  These insecticidal gases are very useful for grain protection.  However, they are toxic, must be applied by trained professionals, and can only be used after an infestation has occurred. DE treatments can help prevent insects, and in turn the need for fumigation.  In cases like this, an ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure!

Interestingly, our long tradition of grain storage has had a profound side effect for human-animal relationships.  It is widely theorized that wild cats first became accustomed to humans via rodent-hunting around grain bins. Both species soon realized the advantages of cooperation: cats provide the pest control and in return are rewarded with shelter, protection and affection.  The human-feline love affair has continued since.

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That TICK-lish Feeling

ticks can cause lime disease and rocky mountain fever

Enjoying the great outdoors is popular with millions of North Americans. Our vast continent is blessed with an abundance of wilderness and there are lots of different ways to experience it. One downside to outdoor activity is picking up unwanted hangers-on…like little arachnid hitchhikers!

We are speaking, of course, about ticks. Although the tick family has many different subspecies, they all have several characteristics in common. Being arachnids like spiders, ticks have eight legs instead of six. They do not jump or fly. All ticks rely on blood for food. Most often this is mammalian blood, but ticks are also known to parasitize birds, reptiles and some amphibians. If a tick cannot find a wild host, it will move on its the next best opportunity, which is often a human or pet. Once a tick attaches itself to a host, it will consume from 200 to 600 times its own body weight in blood, growing many times its size in the process. Some ticks secrete a cement-like substance to help them attach to their host for a longer feed.

Not only unpleasant, ticks can also carry diseases, most of them bacterial. Lyme disease has gained a great deal of media attention, but other illnesses such as Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever can also result from tick bites. However, these diseases are not transmitted immediately, so early removal of the tick can be key in preventing illness.

Preventative steps can be taken to minimize the chance of tick bites. Around the home, keep lawns clipped short and garbage secure. Reduce or eliminate clutter and objects where rodents may nest and discourage wildlife on your property as much as possible. Where there is wildlife, there will be ticks! Diatomaceous earth can be sprinkled in a light layer around the entire perimeter of the home to prevent any ticks (and other crawling insects) from entering. Diatomaceous earth is a physical insecticide that kills invertebrates like arachnids by desiccation.

When out of doors, wear light colored, long sleeved shirts and pants; not only does this make the dark ticks more visible, it will help prevent bites. Check people and animals thoroughly and frequently when outside and after coming home; especially around faces, feet and wherever the skin folds. For dogs and cats with very thick or long coats, you can use a hair dryer on its lowest setting to part the fur for inspection. You can also dust a light sprinkling of food-grade diatomaceous earth on and around the pet’s bedding and resting areas. Because of the physical mode of action, this is safe for people and animals but lethal to the ticks.

To find out more information and a multitude of uses for diatomaceous earth, be sure to check out our website at

And get yourself outside!

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Using Diatomaceous Earth in Your Home

Using diatomaceous earth in your home for pest control has many benefits.

Using diatomaceous earth in your home can be an safe and effective way to control pests. Diatomaceous earth insecticides like Last Crawl do not contain any chemical additives and are therefore not harmful to animals or humans. In addition, due to the fact that diatomaceous earth works as a physical insecticide, insects cannot develop an immunity to it like they do with chemical insecticides. This makes DE insecticides like Last Crawl highly effective against chemically resistant insect populations.


How Much Diatomaceous Earth to Use in Your Home

When using Last Crawl Diatomaceous Earth Insecticide indoors, apply the product at a rate of 70 g of product per 10 m2. Last Crawl can also be mixed with an attractant, such as a cereal or nut powder, icing sugar, powdered soup mixes, or powdered yeast, to attract and encourage insects to ingest it, resulting in a lacerated digestive tract and further dehydration. If Last Crawl is applied with an attractant, the application rate above can be reduced to 60 g of product per 10 m2.

Where to Apply Diatomaceous Earth in Your Home

When applying DE, clear away any debris and clutter and lightly dust all surfaces behind appliances, cabinets, along baseboards, along edges and underneath carpets and rugs, bed frames, with careful attention given to cracks, crevices and other places where insects may hide or crawl.

How to Apply Diatomaceous Earth in Your Home

A fine dust of Last Crawl can be applied using a hand dusters or other suitable means. Check out – How to Apply Diatomaceous Earth – for other creative application ideas.

For best results, the treated area should be left undisturbed for two to three days to eliminate existing and reoccurring infestations. For storage areas it is recommended that Last Crawl be re-applied each time the storage area is emptied.

Diatomaceous earth insecticides like Last Crawl will remain effective for as long as the product is present.

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How to Spread Diatomaceous Earth

Using Diatomaceous Earth

The question of how to spread diatomaceous earth in your yard and garden for pest control can be a tricky! But we’re here to help – here are some suggested application instructions and rates.

When using diatomaceous earth as a pesticide, it is important to read the label before applying. Be sure that the product’s label includes a pest control number in order to verify that it has been registered with the appropriate governing body as a pesticide and that it will be effective for your intended purpose.

Where to Spread DE

Registered diatomaceous earth insecticide products, such as Last Crawl, can be spread in your yard and garden to help kill crawling insects such as ants, spiders and fleas.

For best results, clear away all debris and spread a light coat of Last Crawl wherever pests are found or may hide, including ant trails, door frames, entrance ways, foundations, patios, window frames, window sills, shrubs, flower beds, garbage cans, recycling bins, etc. Apply the diatomaceous earth at a rate of 70 g per 10 m2, paying careful attention to cracks, crevices, and other areas where the insects may hide or crawl. If possible, dust the insects directly.

Last Crawl diatomaceous earth insecticides can be mixed with an attractant in order to attract and encourage insects to ingest it. This will result in a lacerated digestive tract, causing further dehydration. To add an attractant, mix in cereal or nut powder, icing sugar, powdered soup mix, powdered yeast, or any other dry, powdered, food grade attractants with the diatomaceous earth. The attractant can be mixed in at a rate of 25% to 50% in volume. If the DE is applied with an attractant added, the application rate can be reduced to 60 g per 10 m2.

Last Crawl can also be applied as a wet powder. For wet powder application, mix 6 tablespoons of Last Crawl per 1 quart of water (or 90 grams of Last Crawl per 1 L of water). Mix well before applying and continue mixing during application, as some settling may occur. Use a bottle with spray settings and apply the mixture to the point of wetness around foundations, shrubs, flower beds, gardens, etc. One quart of mixture will treat 108 sq. ft. (or 1 L of mixture will treat 10 m2).

How to Spread Diatomaceous Earth

Most DE insecticides come packaged for easy application. For example, Last Crawl is available in a jug with shaker lid so the product can be easily spread or, for harder to reach places, a puffer bottle is also available. A fine dusting can also be applied using a hand or powder duster, bulbous duster, flour sifter or other suitable equipment. For small areas, salt and pepper shakers work well as an application tool. An old tube sock or nylon pantyhose can also be filled with Last Crawl and used to sprinkle and spread the diatomaceous earth around your yard and garden.

Just be sure to apply the diatomaceous earth lightly and uniformly – remember, a little goes a long way! For best results, use the DE in areas where the dust will not be affected by heavy rains or high winds. Leave the treated area undisturbed for two to three days to eliminate existing and reoccurring infestations.

Please note: When applying diatomaceous earth, avoid inhaling the dust and use adequate ventilation. As with any type of dust, it is not good to inhale too much DE powder. Avoid application of DE when winds are gusty. It is not advisable to use power dusters, power sprayers, air blowers or dust blowers when spreading diatomaceous earth. As mentioned above, please be sure to read all application instructions on the product label before applying.

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Does Diatomaceous Earth Kill Ants?

Many people wonder – Does Diatomaceous Earth Kill Ants?

If you’re wondering does diatomaceous earth kill ants, the answer is – yes! Diatomaceous earth has been shown to be very effective at killing ants and other crawling insects. In fact, the Government of Canada suggests diatomaceous earth as an alternative to chemical pesticides when trying to kill ants. Food Chemical Codex Grade diatomaceous earth is not toxic to humans or pets and will remain effective as long as it is present and dry, as mentioned by Health Canada. (Please note: diatomaceous earth insecticides such as Last Crawl can be applied wet and left to dry. The product will be effective once dry. Therefore, as long as the product has not been washed or blown away, it can get wet and re-dry and will continue to be effective.)

Please be sure that the diatomaceous earth insecticide that you plan to use to kill ants is registered for this purpose. DE insecticides like Last Crawl are registered specifically for use against ants. As a result, they will have this stated on the label.

Check the label, when in doubt. An insecticide that has been properly registered should indicate which insects it is most useful against.

Last Crawl Insecticide Label

How does diatomaceous earth kill ants?

Ants and other crawling insects have a waxy outer layer on their bodies. The sharp microscopic particles that make up diatomaceous earth pierce through this layer and, as a result, cause the ant to die by disrupting its internal water balance. Consequently, the ant dehydrates and dies.

Ants must come in direct contact with the DE in order for it to be effective. Therefore, Last Crawl should be applied behind appliances, cabinets, along baseboards, along edges and underneath carpets, rugs and bed frames, when used indoors. Outdoors, light coat ant trails, door frames, entrance ways, foundations, patios, window frames, window sills, shrubs, flower beds, gardens etc. Similarly, for both indoors and out, it is important to pay careful attention to cracks, crevices, and other areas where insects may hide or crawl.


Last Crawl Diatomaceous Earth Insecticide can be mixed with an attractant. This will encourage ants and other insects to ingest it. Attractants can include cereal or nut powder, icing sugar, powdered soup mixes, powdered yeast, or other dry, powdered, food-grade attractants. Mix the attractant in at a rate of 25 – 50% in volume. Ingesting the DE will cause further dehydration by lacerating the digestive tract.

For a complete list of insects that diatomaceous earth is effective against check out – The Effectiveness of Diatomaceous Earth: Insect List

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Do It Yourself Pest Control

Do It Yourself Pest Control with Diatomaceous Earth

Are you looking for a do it yourself pest control solution? A way to combat pests without the use of an expensive product or service? Try diatomaceous earth!

Diatomaceous earth is commonly referred to as DE. DE is a great way to kill crawling insects in your home and garden without chemicals or other expensive solutions. Diatomaceous earth insecticides that do not contain any chemical additives, such as Last Crawl, are a safe and effective way to eliminate pests. These products are safe to use around children and animals. They can also be used both indoors and out to kill ants, bed bugs, fleas and many other crawling insects.

Most importantly, when using diatomaceous earth for pest control, check that the product is registered with your local governing body. This is important because governing bodies like PMRA (the Pest Management Regulatory Agency in Canada) ensure that the product has undergone efficacy testing and will be effective. To ensure the product you’re buying is registered, locate the Pest Control Products Act Registration Number on the label.

Example of a properly registered diatomaceous earth pest control product:

Last Crawl Insecticide - Jug and Label It is important to note that using DE to kill insects can take some time, especially when combating a large infestation.

How long will it take? Check out this article to learn more about how long it will take for diatomaceous earth to kill certain insects – How Long Does Diatomaceous Earth Take to Kill Insects?

DE is a physical insecticide. As a result, insects must come in direct contact with the powder. Please make sure to follow all label instructions when applying the product to guarantee it will work as intended. In contrast to chemical insecticides, pests are not able to develop a resistance to Last Crawl! This is because of its physical form of action.

Please note: only food chemical codex grade diatomaceous earth that has been registered for use against crawling insects should be used for pest control. Pool grade DE can be very hazardous if inhaled and should not be used for anything other than its labelled purpose.

Join our Diatomaceous Earth Community on Google+ for more how-to-tips and information about diatomaceous earth!

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How Does Diatomaceous Earth Kill Bugs?

Diatomaceous Earth Kills Bugs

How does diatomaceous earth kill bugs? With the help of its razor-sharp particles! The diatoms that make up diatomaceous earth have microscopic razor-sharp edges. Although not harmful to large, strong surfaces, these tiny razor blades are detrimental to ants, bed bugs, fleas and other crawling insects.

The sharp edges of the diatoms cut through the insect’s waxy outer layer during contact, allowing moisture to escape from the insect’s body. The absorptive capabilities of DE insecticides like Last Crawl then help to draw moisture from the insect’s body. By disrupting an insect’s delicate balance of water, it is unable to survive, resulting in death by desiccation.

An insects’ movement across the diatomaceous earth also contributes, by helping the sharp edges to lacerate the bug’s body. Essentially, when crawling insects come in contact with diatomaceous earth it is like walking across shards of broken glass.

A Physical Insecticide

As a physical insecticide, it is essential that the insect come in direct contact with the DE. This physical effect also means that ants, and other insects, cannot build up a tolerance to the insecticide, like they can with chemical-based products.

Microscopic Effects

Interestingly, while deadly to insects, diatomaceous earth feels soft to the human hand, with the effects of its sharp edges only experienced at a microscopic level.