How Dusts Kill Pests

Dusts are a useful tool in the tool kit of the do it yourself pest controller. In this article, we discuss insect biology and how dusts have used that insect biology to our advantage. Dusts have been used for ages in pest control, before there was anything called “pest control”. Animals often ‘dust’ themselves to help minimize parasites. We certainly didn’t invent ‘dusts’ during our lifetime, but hopefully we can begin to utilize them better in our home pest control regimen.

So exactly, how do dusts kill insects?
Well, there are a few ways that dusts can kill insects. Desiccants dusts are used as “drying agents” to the insects. One type of dust acts as tiny sand paper, and rubs the waxy coating from the insects as they walk over the dusts. Some dusts act as a sponge, and absorb the ultra thin lipid layer from the insect. Neither of these actions bodes well for the insect. Some dusts also include chemicals specially formulated to kill insects within the dusts themselves. The desiccant action of the dust makes the insect more readily susceptible to the compound in the dusting agent.
Dusts are readily available over the counter to the do it yourself pest controller. Online pest control suppliers can even ship them quickly to your door. But there are numerous types of dusts on the market, and you should investigate which one is right for your situation.
Diatomaceous earth is finely ground fossils that have little known toxicity to us or our environment. It can be used indoors or out and is dreaded by a long list of pests. DE will kill most anything that crawls through it. If you do use it outdoors, remember that it has to be reapplied after a rain, or heavy watering.
Dusts can be applied using pressurized cans or hand dusters. Dusts are often applied to base boards, cracks, crevices, under sinks, cabinets, and the folds and edges of furniture. Depending if you are using a insecticide dust or not, you need to pay attention to the labeling and where it may be used. If it contains an insecticide, you may not want to use it in any area that pets are children have access too. Also, although furniture may be treated, it will have to be vacuumed within a certain time frame after application. So be sure to check the rating on whichever product you chose to go with.
Dusts will not immediately kill the pests, but work more gradually over time. If you need to kill pests right away, use the dusts in conjunction with a spray insecticide that will kill the visible pests, and apply the dust to continue to reach pests that you did not have access to. Dusts that do not get wet can retain their potency for months or years when applied into wall or cabinet voids. This factor alone makes investigating dusts for the do it yourself pest controller well worth the effort.

Monica Bird (933 Posts)

Monica’s compassion for her customer's struggles with pest control issues and passion for pest control stems from over 10 years in the industry. With a master’s degree in entomology, she uses her knowledge and experience in chemistry, insects and pests to educate her customers.


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