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Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous Earth

Nature Labs , Administrator  

What is Diatomaceous Earth?

Diatomaceous Earth (DE) is fossilized unicellular algae with cell walls constructed of silica (diatoms). 

The picture below shows DE under an electron microscope. (Source: Princeton University)


Diatomaceous Earth is odorless and nontoxic. It looks like a fine white powder and has a very high porosity, which makes it an excellent moisture absorber. DE is even used in some kinds of water filters.

DE is also an effective and organic way to fight ants, bedbugs, box elder bugs, carpet beetles, centipedes, crickets, lice, ticks, cockroaches, earwigs, fleas, grasshoppers, millipedes, slugs, silverfish and many other household, livestock, and pet related pests.

DE works on these pests through its physico-sorptive properties.  Insects have a thin covering of wax on their body to help prevent water loss through the surface of the insect body.  DE disrupts the waxy coating and causes rapid water loss leading to the death of the insect. It could be as much as 12 hours before the bug(s) die, however. (Source: University of Florida, University of Connecticut)

Keep in mind that DE can also kill honeybees if put on flowers, so try to avoid spreading it there. (Source: University of Connecticut)

In addition, farmers will spread diatomaceous earth around their barn to get rid of nasty smells.

Our Dirty Dog and our Feline Feel Fine products are a blend of food grade DE and insect repelling essential oil(s) that make an effective pet deodorizer and all natural flea and tick solution. If your dog or cat hates water, this product will essentially work as a dry bath.


Use diatomaceous earth on dry days, since injured insects are more likely to maintain their water / liquids on humid days. (Source: University of Connecticut)

Of course, the more thoroughly you apply and spread the DE, the better it will work as an insecticide. Use it liberally! (Source: University of Connecticut)

CAUTION: Diatomaceous earth is not safe to breath, as the tiny particles can be aggravating to the lungs of people and pets. To guard against this, simply wear a mask when using DE and keep it away from your animal's eyes, nose, and mouth. Also, always use diatomaceous earth outside, for the tiny particles can sometimes damage sensitive equipment and electronics (such as computers).

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