Diatomaceous earth, pets and cucumber beetles

shellva(Camden 7b/8a)May 15, 2007

I didn't want to take over Everlasting's thread with my questions so I'm posting another...

Anyone know if diatomaceous earth would help with cucumber beetles?

Also I wanted to put some on my strawberry plants but I worry that my dogs might go sniffing around in there. From my understanding this DE is not good to breath in at all. Petey LOVES strawberries. I know he gets into my plants once in awhile at least.

What do you critter lovers say as far as using it around pets?

Thanks...

Michelle

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decklap(5IL)

DE works with any pests that have hard ecoskeletons.
It is razor sharp so it knicks and cuts their outer
shells till they die from dehydration often. Gruesome
but true.

It probably wouldn't be great for your dog to
breathe though.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2007 at 6:59PM
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shellva(Camden 7b/8a)

Thanks Decklap:)

Michelle

    Bookmark   May 16, 2007 at 7:52AM
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miss_em

Hi Michelle,

I have these annoying bugs, too. Along with thrips and who knows what else. Seems like I'm attracting just about every pest known to man. And I have four cats that like to go outside and sniff everything in the yard. I would love to find a way to get rid of these things that is not harmful to my animals.

Have you thought about getting beneficial nematodes to get the cucumber beetle larva that is in the soil, and using insecticidal soap on the adults that fly around? I'm thinking about this and it seems like it would be harmless to the animals. Curious to know people's thoughts.

Thanks,

Emily

    Bookmark   May 17, 2007 at 9:23PM
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justaguy2(5)

Have you thought about getting beneficial nematodes to get the cucumber beetle larva that is in the soil, and using insecticidal soap on the adults that fly around? I'm thinking about this and it seems like it would be harmless to the animals. Curious to know people's thoughts.

Unfortunately cucumber beetles fly hundreds of miles. In Wisconsin they generally don't overwinter well, but their arrival can be watched as they progress from the south to the north as temperatures warm each year. There are actually people who do this tracking to assist farmers with timing of pesticide applications.

As a result killing the larvae in one's yard isn't likely to do much for the population on one's plants. It's a nice idea, but once again Mother Nature has frustrated our best laid plans ;-)

    Bookmark   May 17, 2007 at 11:16PM
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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

For Diamotaceous Earth to be effective the target insect must crawl through, over, the dust. Cucumber beetles do not spend much time crawling so DE would not be an effective control for them.
Floating row covers, thick straw mulches, and parasitic nematodes have all been shown to be effective methods of control.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2007 at 7:03AM
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julianna_il(z6 IL)

I'm planning on trying companion planting to try and control the cuke beetles, who devastated my melon and cuke crops last year.

I've done a lot of reading on it and companion enthusiasts swear by it, but know I have zero experience with this. I can report back in the fall.

A couple of plants are reputed to be very good at repelling them: radishes, plant a circle of radishes around your plant. Nasturtiums (though they may attract aphids, which are easier to control) also are said to repel. Plant around/among your curcurbits.

The other is tansy, though that can be hard to find. I tried growing from seed and not one germinated. But I found a plant among the herbs at my local nursery.

Also, attracting beneficials can help. Spined soldier bugs are supposed to be very good at eating them. Ladybugs will eat their larvae. You can buy a batch of ladybugs for about $15, but you need some plants to keep them around.

I grew hairy vetch as a cover crop and for the first time ever, have a nice population of wonderful ladybugs.

But I confess the first time last year I saw a cuke beetle, I squealed, thinking it was a yellow ladybug. LOL.

I'm still on the learning curve.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2007 at 10:53AM
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miss_em

Hi Julianna,

What a great idea. I'm going to try planting radishes and nasturtiums. I'm also going to make yellow sticky traps and spray them with some diluted clove oil, which is supposed to attract the females (I got the idea from the attached link).

It makes me laugh that you thought it was a yellow ladybug. I have to say I thought the same thing when I first saw them, and I thought "how cute!" Little did I know. Then one day I found one gnawing on the side of one of my rosebuds - it wasn't cute anymore.

In case you guys haven't seen it, I found an old thread from last year that gave me some ideas on getting rid of these pesky beetles. Maybe you will find it useful too.

Emily

Here is a link that might be useful: Cucumber Beetle Trap Experiment

    Bookmark   May 22, 2007 at 4:32PM
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preslysiana

There used to be a product called "City Kitty" that was a supplement for animals to keep them flea free. It contained diatomaceous earth. The idea was that the pet would eat the city kitty sprinkled on its food, then lick its fur and deposit a little DE there, which would kill the fleas. I had 2 cats who loved it, and one lived to be 15, the other 17.
They also used to "help" me garden and I used lots of DE against snails and slugs.
Pres

    Bookmark   May 23, 2007 at 12:07AM
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MLGardens

I am convinced diatomaceous earth does a great job controlling squash bugs. The stuff works if applied correctly. It must be applied about once every two weeks. Don't waste your time going to the garden center and spending 11 dollars on a 12 ounce can of the stuff. Instead head to the feed store and buy a 50 pound bag of Amphorous Silica FOOD GRADE. Then dust the heck out of the plants. I have saved my pumpkin patch this way. I even made a video on how to apply DE.

It can be seen on Youtube and my blog at mlgardens.blogspot.com

Here is a link that might be useful: How to dust with Diatomaceous Earth.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2012 at 11:01PM
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ma-newbie(6)

Holy moley MLGardens! Your method will kill every bee, ladybug, lacewing, etc. within a half mile! (Not to mention that you say in the video yourself that breathing in DE can be harmful to humans.)

Here is a link that might be useful: Barbara Pleasant/Mother Earth on applying DE

    Bookmark   August 18, 2013 at 7:48PM
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NilaJones(7b)

The nematodes have been a miracle for me, in managing cuke beetles.

The parents may fly in, but they lay eggs and hatch a new generation in garden soil every 2-3 weeks, IIRC. And those larvae eat the plant roots! It's very sad to see a plant struggling with them :(.

As for DE, I would think animals would sniff it once, not like it, and not sniff it again. Unless it was on everything, maybe?

    Bookmark   August 19, 2013 at 11:41AM
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michael723(6)

This is an older thread but "Safer brand tomato and Vegetable Insect Killer" is an OMRI listed product that supposedly kills cucumber beetles and a host of other insects as well..

    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 1:22PM
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amypond

I know this post was a while ago, but I've used diatomaceous earth quite often and I want to put in my two cents. Many people are worried about breathing in diatomaceous earth, but this is a big misconception in the gardening world.

If you're sensitive to dusts, then of course take care when applying DE. It's still a dust, but keep in mind you would be just as sensitive if you were throwing flour up in the air as well.

Most people know to use FOOD GRADE diatomaceous earth. It's mostly--about 80 to 90 percent-- of amorphous silica or silicon dioxide. When DE is mined out of the earth, the natural and unaltered state is food grade.

Pool grade is made of crystalline silica. It's super-heated (or calcined) to make it a more efficient filter. This is what "crystallizes" or alters the silica. Crystalline silica has been linked to carcinogenicity.

To be labelled food grade diatomaceous earth, it must contain less than one percent crystalline silica.

Now we're back to the beginning. If you're using food grade, than it should be fine. One of the big pulls for using DE is it's safe to use around children and pets. Even if they breathe it in, it should cause anything worse than minor irritation.

To use it for pests in the garden, it's best to water first and then dust with DE. This way it sticks better to the plants and gets on all sides of it as well. Make sure you purposely dust underneath some plants as well.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2014 at 3:55PM
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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

"Many people are worried about breathing in diatomaceous earth, but this is a big misconception in the gardening world. "
That is a gross misconception. Any foreign substance in the lungs is bad, even the flour that is used in cooking will cause major issues if inhaled.
DE, food grade, looses its ability to control insect pests when wet. It must be applied dry and reapplied if it becomes wet.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2014 at 6:31AM
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