• Steve Holliday

Tick Season and Permethrin in Canada

Updated: Nov 18, 2020

As the Tick Season begins all over North America, people race to find the latest and best methods of removal.I always say the best method is to avoid them from biting you in the first place.

Last year while backpacking in Pennsylvania, which is one of worse places for ticks, I had the opportunity to use a product called Permethrin from Sawyer. You sprayed all your clothing, tent, and other gear and let it dry. This would prevent the little buggers from climbing on your clothes and anything you sprayed with it. What a great product, and it lasted for many washes.

There are other companies that also have this same formula. Ben's is a brand I've used with Deet. The problem comes when you try and find this stuff in Canada. This is where my research really took a weird and unusual turn. In attempt to try and find this in Canada, my research brought me to the Travel Canada site, which is run by the Government. In the webpage titled Insect Bite prevention, they list 5 steps you can take, and the fifth item states

" Apply a permethrin insecticide to clothing and other travel gear for greater protection * Although permethrin is not available in Canada, travel health clinics can advise you how to purchase permethrin and pre-treated gear before or during your trip. * Permethrin-treated clothing is effective through several washes. * If treating clothing items yourself, follow product instructions carefully. * Do not use permethrin directly on skin. "

Funny that they would recommend a product that they themselves state is effective, but not available in Canada. So I started to look into shipping Permethrin to Canada, maybe I could purchase this in US and have it shipped to me. I found a site which gives some information on importing Pesticides into Canada.

" Starting April 18, 2018, you can no longer bring unregistered pesticides into Canada if they are not equivalent to those already registered in Canada for personal use in or around your home (i.e., Domestic Class products). An equivalent pesticide is one that has the same active ingredient in the same concentration. "

So now I started looking to see if I could find an equivalent pesticide, but I had my doubts as they already indicated Permethrin couldn't be purchased in Canada, but still I continued. I came across the Health Canada Website, and the Database of registered Pesticides in Canada. You can search this Database, so I did, I put in Permethrin, and a huge list came up. I was shocked, how can these Pesticides with Permethrin in them be registered in Canada. I don't get it, but there they are. So these registered items are for Agriculture and Farming. These are what Farmers put on our food and livestock.

I'm not good at translating one amount to another, but here's what I have found. Sawyer is 0.5% Permethrin and one of the products I found is called Pounce West and it contains 384g/L of Permethrin. If anyone knows how to translate this I'd appreciate it. Reading the label from this product it says as an example Apples, 90-175ml/1000L over 260 Hectares, which would mean to me this is way more powerful than what Sawyer's product is. It strikes me really odd that we put Permethrin on our food, at such a larger concentration but we can't even purchase a really low dosage for our clothes. This was also listed on the Travel Canada website which depending on how you read it, might actually allow you to bring Permethrin across with you as you travel across the boarder

" In addition, you will no longer be allowed to purchase unregistered pesticides online and have them shipped to Canada. The purchaser of the product must bring it into Canada in person. In addition, the updated regulations state that the pesticide must: * not be an organism or a device * not exceed 500 mL or 500 g in quantity * be in original packaging with original label that must be in at least one official language * be authorized for use as a pesticide in another country and bear the assigned authorization number * All pesticide products that are registered for use in Canada have a Pest Control Product (PCP) registration number on the label. It is important to read the label on a pesticide carefully, as it also contains specific information on using the product safely. * Canadians can use the Health Canada online pesticide label database to access all registered pesticides in Canada."

I'm still not sure if you can bring this into Canada, and its a shame, especially when its already here in Canada. If anyone has gone through the process recently on bringing in Permethrin into Canada, I'd love to hear your experience.

UPDATE: I have recently found a few Tack shops in Canada that sell products that contain the right amount of Permethrin. Although for Horses. is one, and is another company. Look for Golden Horseshoe Power Shield.


Government of Canada - Insect bite prevention

Pest Control Canada - Pesticides Information

Health Canada - Pesticide Label Search

Pounce West - FMC

#Permethrin #Tick #Deet #Sawyer #Bens #Pesticides

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