What is Diatomaceous Earth?
January 7, 2016
Diatomaceous earth, D.E. for short, is the powdered form of diatomite, the fossilized remains of oceanic organisms. A relatively safe alternative to chemical insecticides, D.E.’s sharp edges cut through insect exoskeletons, dehydrating and killing them on contact to reduce infestations in your home and garden.
Insect Hit List: Indoors, diatomaceous earth is used to eliminate ants, carpet beetles, bed bugs, fleas, dust mites, cockroaches, chiggers, gnats, and silverfish. Outdoors, D.E. fights off beetles, slugs, ants, aphids, and earwigs. D.E. is also used in grain storage to keep pests away.
How to Mix and Apply: In gardens, dust diatomaceous earth on the tops and bottom of plant leaves with a shaker can or dusting applicator. A 4.4-lb container of D.E. covers about 1,800’ square. To coat a surface more evenly, mix ¼ cup of D.E. with 1 gallon of water and let the material dry on the leaves before it can be effective. Be sure to apply when the forecast calls for dry weather as rain washes D.E. away, which requires reapplication. Besides gardens, outdoor insect invasions are common in windows, door frames, and windowsills.
Indoors, use enough powder to cover the targeted surface with a fine layer. Common affected areas include the spaces around stoves, refrigerators, sinks, cabinets, garbage cans, pipes, drains, window frames, and in attics and basements. Vacuum thoroughly, then sprinkle and rub D.E. into carpet with a broom. Leave on for up to 12 hours to ensure the adult insects have died. Repeat this process once a week for four weeks to prevent another infestation in case any eggs hatch.
Safety Concerns: Diatomaceous earth is most commonly available in two forms: food grade and pool grade. Be sure to purchase the food grade type, as the pool grade variety contains crystalline silica, a respiratory hazard for humans and pets. D.E. is a powder, so inhalation of its tiny particles is the primary worry. When gardening, wear a mask, goggles, and gloves during application and always wash your hands immediately after use.
Diatomaceous earth poses a hazard to honeybees. Apply to plants late in the evening when bee activity lessens, avoiding any plants in flower.
For further assistance in protecting yourself from pests, call Green Pest Solutions at 877-636-9469. Not just a pest control company, we act as a support system, there to help make sure you’re able to spend more time free of infestations. Call us today for more tips and tricks on pests at bay—the safe way.
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