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Diatomaceous Earth for Insect Control

a grass hopper on top of a flower bloom

Insects are an integral part of our ecosystem, playing vital roles in pollination, decomposition, and food chain dynamics. However, certain insect species can become pests, infesting our homes, gardens, and agricultural fields. When faced with such infestations, it's important to consider effective and sustainable methods of insect control. One such solution is diatomaceous earth (DE), a natural and versatile substance that offers an eco-friendly approach to pest management.  On this page, we will explore the various aspects of DE and its application in insect control.

Its amazing to us that something so simple, pure, and safe to us can be so deadly to an insect.  We have helped hundreds of single family homes rid insect infestations.  Along with family homes we have helped apartment complex management mitigate insects from apartments and have helped rid bed bugs from homeless shelters.  All with a simple, effective, and safe product!  Be sure to check out our how to use diatomaceous earth page on how to apply effectively for certain insects.

What is Diatomaceous Earth?


Diatomaceous earth is a powdery substance derived from the fossilized remains of diatoms, a type of microscopic algae. These ancient marine organisms had hard silica shells that accumulated over millions of years on the ocean floor. DE is primarily composed of silica, along with small amounts of minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and iron. The fine powder is abrasive to insects, causing damage to their exoskeletons and leading to desiccation, ultimately resulting in their demise.  Check out our dedicated page regarding what diatomaceous earth is!

Mechanism of Action


Diatomaceous earth works through a physical mode of action rather than chemical means. The microscopic particles of DE possess sharp edges and an abrasive texture, which pierce the protective outer layer of insects, causing them to dehydrate and die. It also has an electrostatic charge that attracts insects and helps to enhance its efficacy. Furthermore, DE can be ingested by insects, leading to internal dehydration and disruption of their digestive systems.

Safe for Humans and the Environment


One of the significant advantages of using diatomaceous earth for insect control is its safety for humans, pets, and the environment. Unlike many chemical pesticides, DE is non-toxic and poses minimal health risks when used properly. It is considered a food-grade substance and is widely used in various industries, including agriculture, food processing, and animal husbandry. DE is generally regarded as safe (GRAS) by regulatory authorities, making it an excellent choice for eco-conscious individuals seeking sustainable pest control methods.

Applications for Diatomaceous Earth in Insect Control

gardener sprinkling diatomaceous earth on garden plants

Diatomaceous earth (DE) is a versatile substance that can be applied in various ways to effectively control and manage insect populations. Let's explore some of the key applications of diatomaceous earth in insect control:

Household Pest Control

DE can effectively control a wide range of household pests such as ants, bed bugs, cockroaches, fleas, and silverfish. Applying a thin layer of DE in areas where these pests frequent, such as cracks, crevices, and entry points, can create a barrier that insects must traverse, resulting in their eventual demise.

Garden and Plant Protection

DE can be used to protect plants from various garden pests, including aphids, caterpillars, slugs, and snails. By dusting the leaves, stems, and surrounding soil with DE, insects that come into contact with the powder will be affected, providing a natural defense for your garden without harming beneficial insects or compromising plant health.

Livestock and Poultry Management

DE can be a valuable tool in managing parasites in livestock and poultry. It can be mixed with animal feed or applied directly to their living quarters to control pests such as fleas, lice, ticks, mites, and worms. Its non-toxic nature makes it a safer alternative to traditional chemical treatments.

Stored Grain Protection

Insects such as weevils, beetles, and moths can infest stored grain, causing significant losses. DE can be used as a natural grain protectant by applying it to the storage containers or directly to the grain. The abrasive properties of DE prevent insects from feeding on or laying eggs in the grain, preserving its quality and preventing infestations.

Tips for Effectively Using Diatomaceous Earth for Insect Control

Some general and helpful tips from our experience using diatomaceous earth for insects.

Bowl of food grade diatomaceous earth

Apply DE in dry conditions, as moisture can reduce its effectiveness.

Wear a mask when applying DE to avoid inhalation of the fine particles.

Bag of food grade diatomaceous earth.jpg

Reapply DE after rain or excessive moisture.

Ensure you are using diatomaceous earth approved as a pesticide, as industrial-grade DE or filter grade may contain additional substances that could be harmful.  We offer Crawling Insect Control Diatomaceous Earth which is non toxic and safe like the food grade but is approved to kill insects with.

Use caution when applying DE in windy conditions to prevent inhalation or drift.

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