Diatomaceous Earth: The Bug-Killing Substance You Can Eat

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Imagine a pest control product that was deadly to invasive bugs, yet safe enough for human consumption. You would no longer need to use harmful chemicals in your home to treat pests and at the same time be rest assured that your family and pets are safe even if it gets into the wrong hands (or paws).

The good news is, such a product does exist, and it's called diatomaceous earth. Better yet, this substance is not only naturally occurring in nature, but incredibly abundant as well. Due to its amazing pest-killing benefits and natural origin, exterminators are offering it as an eco-friendly solution to pest control, but it is available for homeowners to use on their own as well. If pests have infiltrated your home, it's time to ditch the pesticides and harness the natural pest controlling power of diatomaceous earth.

Bug-Killing Substance

What is Diatomaceous Earth?

Diatomaceous earth is made from the fossilized remains of tiny, aquatic organisms known as diatoms. The white, chalky substance consists of almost pure silica with traces of beneficial minerals and is completely non-toxic. Over a long period of time, diatoms have accumulated in abundance in the sediment of rivers, streams, lakes, and oceans, which is where it is mined today. Currently, diatomaceous earth has a variety of uses, including providing numerous health benefits to humans: when consumed, humans can expect improvements in skeletal, digestive, and colon health, as well metal detoxification and heightened nutrient absorption. However, diatomaceous earth's most common use is as organic pesticide, and its ability to wreak havoc on bugs has made it an effective pest control remedy since the early 1960s.

How Does it Kill Bugs?

Diatomaceous earth is deadly to any insect that has an exoskeleton, such as fleas, beetles, and cockroaches, as well as soft-bodied pests like slugs. The substance works by penetrating under the shell of the bug and puncturing its body. Since diatomaceous earth has extremely sharp, glass-like edges, it can easily cut through the thick exoskeleton of invasive pests. Once the exterior of the bug has been penetrated, the substance then dehydrates the insect's soft interior until its demise. Since it eats away at the bugs from within, you may not necessarily see a pile of dead bugs in the places where you applied it, but you can be rest assured that it did the trick.

Bug-Killing Substance

How to Apply Diatomaceous Earth?

Many pest control professionals offer the safe and effective application of diatomaceous earth for your home or garden to ensure the treatment is performed properly. However, if you wish to apply it yourself, you can buy it at most organic gardening suppliers or online. Once purchased, simply sprinkle the powdery substance on problem areas invasive pests frequent. Diatomaceous will work on its own without any further input on your end, but you may want to repeat this process every few days until all bugs are killed.

Keep in mind that the substance must be dry when you apply it, as water makes it ineffective on bugs. Also, if you are planning on applying this organic treatment in your home or garden, make sure you buy food-grade diatomaceous earth instead of pool grade, as the latter contains up to 70% crystalline silica, which is known to be carcinogenic with sustained use.

Diatomaceous earth is a quick, inexpensive, and effective way to treat invasive pests in your home, presenting no threat to humans and pets. Therefore, the next time you spot pests scurry across your floor or hiding in the cracks and crevices of your home, try using this eco-friendly alternative to treat the problem. If you have any questions or concerns or need additional assistance with the application of diatomaceous earth, contact your local pest control professional to keep your home and garden pest-free.

Daniel Mackie, co-owner of Greenleaf Pest Control, is a Toronto pest control expert well-known as an industry go-to guy, an innovator of safe, effective pest control solutions, and is a regular guest on HGTV. Mackie, along with business partner Sandy Costa, were the first pest control professionals in Canada to use detection dogs and thermal remediation for the successful eradication of bed bugs. In his free time, he is an avid gardener.

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