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Diatomaceous Earth, Good To Use?

Posted by PaRaD0x Z7 Philadelphia (My Page) on
Wed, Apr 6, 05 at 16:43

While tending to my lawn today, I flipped over some big rocks that we use as a border/edging, and there were thousands of ants/winged ants (took em to a bug store and id'd them...was worried about termites)...The guy ID'd those as ants (didn't specify type), and another flying winged ant as a swarming citronella ant...Did some research and read that they're basically harmless...but I really would like to kill them off....was quite disgusted when I unearthed them.

Would Diatomaceous Earth be good/safe to use? Don't know much about it...bout I've heard about it...wanted to ask here first.

Thanks!
Todd In Philly


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Diatomaceous Earth, Good To Use?

Diatomaceous Earth is effective against most ants.

But not Pharaoh ants.They can only be controlled through a comprehensive baiting program.Make sure the ants you have are not Pharaoh ants. Treatment with insecticides will actually make the infestation much worse by causing the ants to "bud" or "split" into several smaller satellite colonies. There are many excellent baits on the market for pharaoh ant control.


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RE: Diatomaceous Earth, Good To Use?

Please don't kill things just because you find them "disgusting to look at." That's a reason to not look at them, not a reason to kill them.


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RE: Diatomaceous Earth, Good To Use?

Since they are harmless there is no real good reason to kill them off. If they do no harm they do good, helping to recycle organic matter and other insect bodies. Leave them alone, do not use something to kill them.


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RE: Diatomaceous Earth, Good To Use?

  • Posted by PaRaD0x Z7 Philadelphia (My Page) on
    Tue, Apr 12, 05 at 8:10

I'm not interested in their removal "just" because of the disgust factor. Considering their only 3-4 feet from the perimter of my home, eventually finding them inside of the house is likely, is it not? I don't think most people enjoy ants swarming on their kitchen counters, their bathtubs, etc...Also, I also don't want my child playing around in the grass and come back covered in ants. I detest the killing of anything living, and routinely carefully send spiders found inside to the outside world w/o killing them.

I think I'm being misunderstood here....hope this clarifies things...

Todd


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RE: Diatomaceous Earth, Good To Use?

Finding ants inside your house is not very likely simoly because they are 3 or 4 feet from the house. Ants come in because they find a way, are curious about what is there, and are looking for a food source.
Make sure there is no food source for them and plug all points of entry (will also aid in keeping the Asian Lady Beetles and Box Elder Bugs out) and they won't come in.
There is never a good, justifiable reason to simply kill any insect just because.


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RE: Diatomaceous Earth, Good To Use?

Can someone address the question about diatomaceous earth?
Has anyone used it around their home or garden and found it effective? Something is eating the dill and cucumbers in our new garden and I can't figure out what is is. So, I was also wondering about the use of diatomaceous earth in the garden.


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RE: Diatomaceous Earth, Good To Use?

Diamotaceous Earth does have its use, to control soft bodied insects that its sharp sides (providing you get food, not pool, grade) can cut into. Ants are not listed on the product label as one of the species controled, or at least not on the product label of the bag I have.


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RE: Diatomaceous Earth, Good To Use?

Ants are highly treatable with DE, as long as the correct bait material is included. Kimmsr, you are not quite correct in your understanding of how DE works. It does not have to cut into the soft bodies of insects in order to do the damage. It is also absorbed into the spiracles (breathing tubes), and into the soft nooks and crannies around their joints, eyes, etc. It is very effective against hard bodies like beetles and ants and cockroaches, fleas, weevils and more.

Ants need to be baited to the DE. Some are protein eaters and some are sweet eaters. It is possible to wipe a an entire huge nest of ants in a couple of days with the right bait and DE. I had to do that last weekend when ants decided to swarm into a downstairs bathroom. One baited trap, 24 hours. It was pretty intense for a few hours, but they swarmed to take the baited DE back to their nest, and those poor ants are now history.

DE can be used in vegetable gardens, as long as it is not applied indescriminately. DE can harm benefical insects, too. Hoopsmom, it is always best to try to ID a pest before trying something to get rid of it.

Ants are not always a bad thing.


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RE: Diatomaceous Earth, Good To Use?

I would like to clarify the type of DE to use. As Kimmsr said, don't use the stuff for swimming pools. Use the DE sold in garden centers. It isn't labled food grade, or at least the stuff that I have bought has never said that. The bag I have currently has a fetching picture of a cockroach on it.

DE works great in dry weather, but not after rain, so apply it when no rain is expected and reapply after rain.


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RE: Diatomaceous Earth, Good To Use?

Food grade and horticultural grade are the same thing. It's just the packaging that is different! You are likely to come across 'food grade' DE at an agricultural supply store, because it has long been used to control pests of livestock....inside and out! Vets recommend it to control fleas on animals and worms inside the animal!


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RE: Diatomaceous Earth, Good To Use?

So sorry to add to the mix but there is a difference between food and hort. grade DE. Some people use food grade DE as a wormer for animals- it is also used in different food processes for humans. You can use food grade in the garden but you shouldn't use horticultural DE in food (it can contain "bait" ingredients that no one seems to want to identify so I won't use it on my animals). Lowes carries a DE product by "safer" brand that is advertised for ants and cockroaches and other "crawling insects". That would be a great thing for what you are wanting to use it for.


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RE: Diatomaceous Earth, Good To Use?

As you can see from the earlier posts, food grade DE will work for what you need to accomplish. A good web site to check it out would be gardenharvestsupply.com. The prices are very good.

Here is a link that might be useful: Diatomaceous Earth


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RE: Diatomaceous Earth, Good To Use?

I've had a problem with ants in my house ever since I bought it. Poison bait and ant traps NEVER worked. And that stuff you buy to sprinkle around the foundation of your home never worked either.

I learned about DE recently and tried it this spring when they were swarming in (again).

I sprinkled it in between all my windows, on the threshold of outside doors, under sinks, around pet food bowls and then all over my kitchen floors and counters. And yes, I made sure I bought food grade.

The results?

The tiny brown "grease ants" died right as they crawled through it. After a few days I did not see any more of the brown ants that had taken over my kitchen. I swept up the dead ants and DE powder and only reapplied it to in between the windows and doors to keep them from entering again.

The big black ants that are running everywhere in every room are still with me. I watch them running through the DE powder that I have sprinkled on my door stoop and haven't seen even one dead one laying in the DE powder. Black ants are still running all over my kitchen walls and counters and other rooms of my house.

So, "Does it work?". Well, YES and NO. It obviously did not work for the black ants.

There is an old maple tree a few feet from my house where the black ants are nesting . I see them going in and out of a hole on the side and there is a pile of sawdust at the base of the tree in front of the hole. I tried blowing DE into the nest with straw. Believe it or not those ants are carrying the DE right back out as part of their house cleaning and there is now a pile of white DE powder at the base of the tree in front of the hole.

A neighbor has already called the city about the ants in the tree because she thinks they will hollow out the tree and it will fall on her house during a storm. The city told me they put out bait and I assumed they use some 'super-dooper' industial strength stuff but it hasn't done a thing. Ants are still running in and out of that tree.

If anybody has any suggestions for me PLEASE post or email me directly. I am at my wits end with these black ants. Has anybody used one of these exterminators listed in the Yellow Pages? Do they work? Or are they a rip-off? I'm willing to pay big bucks to get rid of these things since nothing else has worked but I don't want to waste good $$ on something that is going to do no good.


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RE: Diatomaceous Earth, Good To Use?

they are carpenter ants. get some orange clean. it eats through their bodies.


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RE: Diatomaceous Earth, Good To Use?

I'm sorry to hear that your application of DE was not effective against carpenter ants.

I have been using de for carpenter ants for quite some time now, and have found it quite effective, if used properly. Initially, I was broadcasting it about, willy nilly, without forethought and without too much success. I then read somewhere that the dust was most effective when spayed with a duster into crevices where the ants are crawling back to the nest. So, with some patience, you need to locate where the nest might be. Follow them, and locate where they are entering a possible nest site. Usually, you will see a few congregating around the opening and then entering. Once you have located what appears to be the entry area (I find that they most often enter my home through the outside soffits), you can then begin the application process via entry holes and crevices.

I use a mixture of agricultural de (not the swimming pool stuff) and boric acid in equal parts. Place the mixture in a duster. You can purchase a duster on the web for about $15 intended for crevice aplication. Or, you can make your own using a turkey baster. To reach deep inside the crevice, tape a 6 to 8 inch 3/8 inch flexible tubing (typically used in home aquariums and available at all pet shops) to the end of the baster using electrical tape to keep it in place. The flexible tubing will allow you to move the baster about for the best blast effect. Fill the bulb with the mixture and squeeze it into the crevice and openings where you have seen the ants entering. Also effective, is applying the mixture directly on to the ants as some will most likely carry it back to the nest. It adheres to their bodies, so they don't need to directly eat it to be effective. You may need to reapply in several days if you still see activity. The effect of dusting is not immediate, so you need to let at least a few days pass before you begin to notice the numbers dwindle. If you've done it correctly, they should should be gone in about a weeks time. However, if there are other nests you were not aware of, you will have to treat them as well as untreated ones will lead to reinfestation in other areaa of the home. You may also want to consider dusting inside your exterior walls from INSIDE the house near where the ants may be entering. Instead of drilling holes in the wall, try to find an electrical outlet near where you have located the ants entry point. Remove the faceplate from the electical outlet and insert the applicator's flexible tubing between the junction box and the sheet rock. You can also use this procedure for cable junctions attached to your wall. Use a dust mask, to avoid breathing the dust, and wash up immediately after using.


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RE: Diatomaceous Earth, Good To Use?

If you have ever eaten bisquick you have eaten D.E. its the greatest gardening tool i have living in arizona i contend with a lot of bugs and on the off growing season i study the different kinds in my garden and after long study i have found no benificials in my garden. even the honeybees are no good because of thier overagressive nature so.,...... i kill them all. i make my own mixture of D.E. and permethrin it is very strong (much more than u can buy) just keep it away from your cats and especialy fish permitherin is deadly to both.it WILL kill all insects without prediduice and make your gardening life alot happier and best of all YOU get eat the veggiies not the bugs


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RE: Diatomaceous Earth, Good To Use?

Bud WI there are a number of alternatives to DE especially in the house.
I use All Natural Bug-Be-Gone from desertoasissoap.com. It contains distilled water, castor oil, essential oils of Citronella, Geranium, Ecualyptus, Cedarwood, Lemongrass, Lavender, Peppermint, Litsea cubeba, Tea Tree, and Patchouli.
Stuff is amazing and it works for so many insects other than ants.[Their soaps are to die for too.] In addition wipe the entire area [cabinet surfaces etc] with diluted Dr. Bronner's peppermint oil soap.
I am going to get DE to use at the base of my fig tree because as much as I hate to randomly killed any critters I am not willing to lose another crop of figs to the ants.
I have dogs so I am also not willing to use toxic waste [my term for 99% of commercial chemical based products].


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RE: Diatomaceous Earth, Good To Use?

Kurtieb, would you be willing to share your formulation of DE and Permethrin? I have discovered Colorado potato beetles in my potatoes and corn, and from what I read, they develop a resistance to insecticides very readily, so one must vary the type rather than always using the same one all the time. I was wondering if it would work to mix permethrin with fish emulsion as a spray, as my soil needs all the help I can give it. I would appreciate your opinion on this. Thanks in advance, Mary


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RE: Diatomaceous Earth, Good To Use?

Will this kill bees? I want to use this in my garden, but don't want to risk killing the pollinating bees that visit my garden. I just want to kill the pests.

Thanks


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RE: Diatomaceous Earth, Good To Use?

Both DE and permethrin are toxic to bees and other non-target insects.


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RE: Diamotaceous Earth, Good To Use?

Permethrin is a synthetic pyrethrin and has been classified as a carcinogen so you might want to reconsider using it at all.
Diamotatious Earth application method is on the ground not sprinkled around where the blossoms are.


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RE: Diatomaceous Earth, Good To Use?

What is a good bait to mix with DE when trying to get rid of fire ants?


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RE: Diatomaceous Earth, Good To Use?

I read an article about mixing DE with some kind of surfactant or a small amount of soap to help it stick, and that, when dry, it would be very effective against spider mites, aphids, etc. I added DE per the instructions given - 1 TBSP per gallon and mixed it with insecticidal soap and applied to my brugsmansias and my hibiscus which were just ravaged with spider mites. It's been about two weeks and NOW they have aphids! Just a few - nothing too significant yet. So, I have a number of questions. Am I correct in my understanding that as long as the dust is dry, it will harm the insects, or do certain mixtures cause it to lose its effectiveness? There is so much conflicting information out there on the internet - my head is spinning! I have TRIED beneficial mites with very little success in the past. And, since I've got this DE, I would like to use it. I nipped the flowers off of the plants so they would not hurt bees and other beneficials. I also read an article about using a non-ionic surfactant with DE in a sprayer to help it stick to the leaves. Will THIS work? I really don't want to have to use Forbid - or any other chemical. I've ordered the pest pistol to see if that will help by applying it as a powder but I have a lot of leaves to cover, and the powder floating in the air is probably dangerous to beneficials, so I'm in a conundrum. One last question - I had some ants in my house - nothing too substantial, but I used Terro to get most of them. I also sprinkled a little dust around the feeding area after most of them were gone and I know a few of the ants walked right over the stuff like it was nothing. I trapped a couple of them after they walked through it and put them in a dish and they were still alive and crawling like crazy the next day. I released them outside the next day since I didn't think they would make it another day without food. Shouldn't I have noticed SOME kind of slow down? These were not carpenter ants, they were the sweet eating ants, about 1/4" long at most. I've read that DE isn't instantaneous but still, I was disappointed. I was all pysched about a natural bug killer.

Sorry for my long-windedness. I'm really trying to be green - I am a former "KILL EVERY BUG IN SIGHT" person, and I've come to love my beneficials (I am quite happy to allow ladybugs to winter-over indoors at my house), so I just want some kind of affirmation that it's working.

Thanks so much!


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RE: Diatomaceous Earth, Good To Use?

The use of the liquid Boric Acid baits (by Terro) worked like a charm for me when I had an ant invasion. I used the little plastic trays already filled with the stuff. Ants investigated, sampled, and ran off to tell ALLLLL of their sisters. In a few hours, the tray was empty and the ants never returned. That was about 4 years ago. The trick is to leave the bait trays (and ants) alone, even when you see a hoard of ants collecting from it.

Personally, I don't like the use of DE in a garden setting as it can affect far too many non-target organisms. I've used it for container plants, sprinkled on the soil. I've also used it to control sowbugs that were crawling into the drainage holes of my bonsai. Oh, I use it in bags of bird seed to keep the weevils and other buggies at bay.


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RE: Diatomaceous Earth, Good To Use?

I bought this bag of diatomaceous earth at lowes today. I was getting ready to spread it on the soil, on my container plants, when I noticed it had "patented baits" as an ingredient. Is this stuff safe to use on the top of my soil? Will this ingredient be taken up by the plant and eventually eaten by my family? This statement on the back pretty much answered my question and stopped me in my tracks.

"Do not contaminate water, food or feed by storage and disposal".


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RE: Diatomaceous Earth, Good To Use?

No, you're okay. That statement is just the usual disclaimer for people who put things like rat poison in their coffee instead of sugar.

What they've added is a bait that attracts the insects to the DE. No insecticides have been added, I don't think. Why? Because of those four letters in the very bottom left of your photo: "OMRI". Any product that has OMRI on it has been okayed by the Organic Materials Review Institute for use in organic food production.

Any time you see OMRI on a garden product, you're good to go.

Sue


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RE: Diatomaceous Earth, Good To Use?

urbangardenfarmer, the information given you earlier regarding OMRI labeling is not correct. There are many, many insecticides approved for use by this organization...some of which can be pretty toxic!

However! I am pretty sure that your specific product contains DE with added ingredients such as sugars, maybe ground up corn cob or other filler, and other stuff to make an enticing BAIT. A bait must be formulated to be attractive to the target insect...or it's not a bait.

Please read the ingredient listing on your label and let us know what it says.



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RE: Diatomaceous Earth, Good To Use?

I wash out my DE pool filter over ants nests
Past week I've been washing it out over a large area with black ants
They seem to be gone now
My wife wants to kill anything within 15' of the house
I only worry about what is right along the foundation
And with a kid unless you clean everything every day there will be crumbs somewhere that ants will find
So yes, we kill them
Plenty more ants out in our yard, gardens & wooded area
If anyone wants to "save" the ants you are more then welcome to come over dig them up & take them home


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RE: Diatomaceous Earth, Good To Use?

Im with davejuno when it comes to "ant savers". I spend A LOT of time in my garden and my lawn...these pests are no friends of mine.If you enjoy the itchy bites incurred by the little tormentors than by all means- come get all you want from my yard here in Mesa AZ. But if you miss any , Ill be doing my best to murder each and everyone. Sheeesh some folks probably don't WASH as this could lead to the deaths of countless bacteria. OK done with that. Thanks davejuno on the only post favorable towards the pool filter variety. Ive got a ton so Ill try it.


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RE: Diatomaceous Earth, Good To Use?

Sorry, pool filter DE is not going to have much effect on ants but it it might be interesting for you to know that it is a serious carcinogen. You decide if it's worth using, or not.


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RE: Diatomaceous Earth, Good To Use?

Diatomaceous Earth carcinogen?!
Man Ive got to agree after spending almost an hour scouring the net.Thanks Rhizo. Sigh ... the bags of pool filter DE are now in the trash and Ill pick up some food grade stuff tomorrow. Ill have to find some bait... maybe more bermuda grass seed... they sure cleaned up the lawn I planted with it lol


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RE: Diatomaceous Earth, Good To Use?

You might try corn meal and/or sugar as the bait.


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RE: Diatomaceous Earth, Good To Use?

Is diatomaceous soil/earth good to use around a yard perimeter for keeping snakes, especially copperheads, out. If so, for how long does it work.


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RE: Diatomaceous Earth, Good To Use?

Nope.


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RE: Diatomaceous Earth, Good To Use?

Food grade Diamoataceous Earth has sharp edges that will cut into the exoskeleton of any insect that crawls over the DE sprinkled around the area. DE is a passive insecticide that the target insect must contact.
Like any foreign material DE can be a carcinogen is you inhale some, because any such foreign substance in yuour lungs can be harmful to those lungs.


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RE: Diatomaceous Earth, Good To Use?

I have a bee hive and there are ants near by, which could be a problem. Can I use the DE on the ground near the hive since my hive is 2 feet off the ground?


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RE: Diatomaceous Earth, Good To Use?

Yes, Deb. For DE to be effective against arthropods, they have to come into direct contact with it by walking through it, rolling around in it, taking particles of it into a nest on purpose (as in a bait) or accidentally.


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RE: Diatomaceous Earth, Good To Use?

I have successfully used DE pool powder. The only problems I know of with it is you cannot use it for foods and pets and you also more need to mask up with the pool powder, since the pool filter powder is 'cooked' (homogenized), it's consistency has changed and after inhaling enough you can get silicosis. DE in either form is an irritant to skin, eyes and lungs. It does not stay floating but is best to spray when it is less windy. Do not use on plants and trees when the items are flowering so as to not harm your pollinators.

DE can be used wet. It is a silicon form so water will not damage it, just move it. It is a soil conditioner. For ant beds, it is said to heavily powder and water into the mound so it can get down to the eggs and queen(s). I treat several times. Of course, armadillos are great at getting rid of ants that are in the yard on the ground but it is easier to treat them and more likely to work than waiting for an armadillo. They don't travel all over the world either. I have no personal experience with pharaoh ants so cannot share any experiences.

Again, DE powder does work wet. Remember, it is used in pools. It lasts longer outdoors until it is drenched off the places you put it. This is the only problem with it but that is a good thing because you can treat the plant/tree and wash off later to avoid harming the pollinators later. I use a puff duster and that works well. I only use it after the plant has fruited. This does nothing against bird, animal or human pests though. Hope this helps. These are personal experiences, not just things I have read (except for the silicosis).


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RE: Diatomaceous Earth, Good To Use?

gemtree, you must certainly be confusing the types of DE. You are officially on my list of people who's health I'll worry about. ;-)

First of all, pool grade DE is not effective against arthropods. The manufacturing process changes the physical structure of the diatoms...and it is that physical structure that scratches the exoskeleton of arthropods and also gets into their bodies via the spiracles (breathing tubes).

Your pool grade DE contains as much as 75% crystalline silica, a serious carcinogen that can be toxic to non-target organisms if ingested or inhaled. Frankly, there is no way to safely handle this form of DE. Food grade DE, which is a naturally dried product, retains its amorphous state and typically contains around .5% free silica.

SO! Your personal observations are real in that the insect pests left the area. It is VERY easy to get ants to relocate. People do it all the time with grits, orange peels, assorted spices, etc., none of which kills them.

I strongly encourage you to do some research about the health hazards of pool grade DE as well as its ineffectiveness as an insecticide. It is not used as a soil conditioner, or a pesticide, or for any other purposes but filtering water and other closed environment industrial uses. It should never, ever be recommended for any garden or household purposes. Please...do some reading. The information that can protect you is readily available on line.

If you aren't interested in finding out more about DE, and plan on continuing your personal use of pool grade DE, at least cease recommending it to others. It is a very dangerous substance when not used in the very specific purposes for which it is intended.


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RE: Diatomaceous Earth, Good To Use?

I bought some diatomaceous earth because I heard it was really good at getting rid of fleas. I applied it all over my carpets as soon as I got it home. Three days later, the fleas were so bad, I had to vacuum and reapply. One day later, the fleas are starting to get bad again. How long is this supposed to take to work? I do have cats, and I ordered medication for them, so that will be taken care of soon. I want to get rid of the fleas naturally. Thanks for your replys!


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RE: Diatomaceous Earth, Good To Use?

There's an awful lot of misinformation and conflicting info out there on DE, which I'd like to try and help clear up, because I hate to think of folk eating DE with pesticide (yes, some DE has a pesticide bait, such as the bag in the image halfway up the page).

First, there are not two, but three different categories or grades of DE:

(1) Codex or "fossil shell flour," which is the true food grade and is added to animal feeds as an anti-caking agent to to assist if flowability. If you're going to take DE orally -- and I offer no advice on the wisdom of this -- you want to make sure you see the word "Codex" on the label, which tells you it has been tested and meets certain criteria, including thresholds of safety on contaminants such as arsenic and lead.

(2) pool grade, which is high in crystalline silica (the bad stuff), and, as such, works great in pool filters. But it should never, ever be used as a pesticide or in any food applications.

(3) This is the tricky category: DE pesticides, which are variously labeled as "natural" pestides for gardens, pets, grain storage and for various types of insects. This is the type of DE you will likely find in the garden section of your local store, and which will be variously described on the bag labels as "insect killers" or "pesticides," and which will not contain the word "Codex" on the label. These types of DE may (or may not) be coated with pesticides. Perma-Guard, one of the better known brands of both Codex and pesticide DEs, explains it this way on their website: "The addition of Pyrethrins and Piperonyl butoxide is to irritate the bug, causing the bug to become active, allowing the DE to work more quickly." These two pesticide compounds are commonly used in lice shampoos and in sprays & fogs for bedbugs, mosquitoes, garden pests, etc. The only way to know if the DE at your local garden center is "coated" or "baited" is to read the label. And carefully. But even if they aren't coated, they are not Codex and are therefore not considered safe for human consumption.

I hate to think of folk acting on bad advice and then munching down on DE that is either bait-coated or contains higher levels of, say, arsenic and lead. A lot of people assume that, if it's not pool grade, then it must be the Codex food grade. But there is that 3rd category, from which a good bit of confusion and misinformation seems to generate. As with any thing you use -- whether it's for bugs or people -- it's really important to read the label and to understand what you are reading.


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RE: Diatomaceous Earth, Good To Use?

Thank you, Laura. That's very helpful information.


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RE: Diatomaceous Earth, Good To Use?

First, make sure it is Food Grade DE and that you buy it from someplace you trust. Secondly, this is the best stuff ever! I first found out about it when looking for a safe and organic solution to garden critters. It worked great in my gardens and I started using it on my lawns (mixed with my fertilizer) twice a year. No fleas...no ticks...no ants! There is a bunch of information on this page; just scroll down: http://www.gardenharvestsupply.com/ProductCart/pc/Diatomaceous-Earth-Food-Grade-p39.htm


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RE: Diatomaceous Earth, Good To Use?

Mixing Diamotaceous Earth and pyrethrins makes no sense at all. Even though pyrethrins are "natural" they are one of the most toxic poisons available and spreading the stuff around willy nilly is not the best use of that product, which should be one of those things used as a last resort.


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