If you have been a member of our vegetable gardening page on Facebook then you have surely seen Diatomaceous earth mentioned on multiple occasions. It is a great resource as a natural pesticide.
Diatomaceous earth naturally occurs. It is a siliceous sedimentary rock that has been reduced to a fine powder. It is lethal to pests because even at the microscopic level, Diatomaceous earth, DE for short, contains extremely sharp edges which cuts through the insect or will dry the insect out. If they ingest the DE it will kill them from the inside out via shredding their insides.
DE consists of fossilized remains of diatoms which is a type of hard shelled algae. Beyond DE’s pest control possibilities it has been used for other areas as well, including, but not limited to, absorbent for liquids and as a thermal insulator.
Although DE is microscopic, it is strongly recommended that you wear a dust mask when applying it. DE in large quantities, breathed in, is not good for humans. Even though most applications of DE occur outside the home where there is plenty of ventilation, do not take any chances. Wear a dust mask.
You can purchase Diatomaceous earth from any garden center or online retailer that sells gardening supplies. Expect to pay about twelve to sixteen dollars (US) for a 10 pound bag. Although you can apply the DE using a cup or even your hand (wearing gloves of course), it is recommended that you apply DE with a pest pistol. They are also available at garden centers and online retailers for about ten dollars to thirteen dollars (US). A pest pistol allows you to get into tight areas or apply inside or outside in cracks and crevices that allow DE to work as an insect barrier.
So, which insects is DE good for? Pretty much everything from small aphids to cockroaches. Keep in mind that DE is not a chemical pesticide. You do not simply put it down and the bugs die. It may take multiple applications before you start seeing results. If you are patient, and want a great safe way to rid your garden and/or home of pests, DE will be your product of choice.
About the Author
Mike Podlesny is the owner of Mike the Gardener Enterprises, LLC, the exclusive home for the Seeds of the Month Club, which has appeared on NBC, ABC and MSN Money as a great way for consumers to save money.
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