Diatomaceous Earth: Friend of the DIY Pest Controller

Diatomaceous Earth is a naturally occurring substance composed of fossilized shells and water plants. Since it is not toxic to the environment or humans, it has numerous uses in pest control. In this article, we will discuss diatomaceous earth and its various uses for the do it yourself pest controller.
Since diatomaceous earth has very sharp edges and tiny pores, it acts as a desiccant. If you can imagine that diatomaceous earth is like tiny shards of glass and the bugs that walk over and through it end up have their waxy protective layer removed, and they in essence dry out or are cut up. Diatomaceous earth acts as a physical control of pests, not a chemical control. Therefore, Diatomaceous earth is not toxic to our environment, humans or animals, but direct inhalation of it should be avoided, as with any other tiny particle substance.
Diatomaceous earth is relatively inexpensive, making it an excellent choice for the DIY pest controller. The only down side to diatomaceous earth is that, if you are using out of doors, it is important to realize the wetting the diatomaceous earth will make it ineffective, and reapplication will be necessary.
Let’s discuss some of the popular uses for diatomaceous earth.
DI will work to keep your indoor pests under control. Indoor insects that can be targeted are ANTS, COCKROACHES, EARWIGS, SPIDERS AND OTHER CRAWLING INSECTS. Using a hand duster, lightly apply in dry areas where crawling insect pests are found or may hide, including cracks and crevices, along baseboards, around sinks, cabinets, refrigerators and stoves and in attics and basements. Direct contact with dry dust is required for effective control. DE is not a bait, you cannot place a small amount of DE in one area and expect the pests to “find” it. Place the DE in areas where there is known pest activity. If you are using vacuuming in your pest control regimen, placing some DE in the vacuum canister will kill those pests that are captured by the vacuum. This will help you to not simply relocate indoor pests to another area in your home. DE can serve as a ongoing control for BED BUGS once you have addressed the initial bed bug problem with appropriate chemical measures.
FLEAS: To control fleas infesting pet areas, thoroughly treat floor and bedding in and around pet’s sleeping quarters. Treat surrounding cracks and crevices, baseboards, furniture, carpeting and wherever fleas are suspected. Apply a thin coat of dust to rugs and carpets. You should rake (not sweep) nap back and forth, causing dust to enter rug or carpet. Let product sit overnight. Repeat application as necessary and vacuum every 3 – 4 days for effective flea control. DE will kill fleas and help deodorize carpet or rug.
If you have a vacation or summer home that is closed up regularly, applying DE to the home before it is retired for the season will offer long term and non toxic pest control without great expense or effort.
DE is effective for the treatment of outdoor ANTS, EARWIGS, MITES, SPIDERS AND OTHER CRAWLING INSECTS. Try using a hand duster or other equipment suitable for application of dusts, dust lightly in areas where insects are found such as windowsills and doorframes, around foundations and along ant trails. Direct contact with dry dust is required for effective control. Repeat treatment in problem areas as necessary for control.

Monica Bird (949 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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