There is a home remedy that is as old as the hills – it is diatomacious earth or DE – and comprises a light talc like powder made up of the fossilized remains of marine phytoplankton.
How does DE work?
When this powder is sprinkled on a bug that has an exoskeleton (such as bed bugs, ants or fleas) it rests between the small exoskeleton joints so that as the insect moves, the DE acts like razor blades cutting the insect up into small pieces.
The good news is that although it is so fatal to unwanted insects, it is not harmful to mammals. We can even eat it and often do because farmers and those managing grain storage frequently use it to keep bugs from eating the grain. So much safer than toxic insecticides.
People do not realize that they are often eating lots of diatomaceous earth every time they consume any bread, pasta or other grain based food. Fortunately, there is no harm in this.
Use only food grade DE and keep it dry when using as an insect deterrent
DE is almost pure silica (with some beneficial trace minerals) and under a microscope, it looks like shards of glass. Of course, glass is also made from silica. DE is totally non toxic and makes the perfect insect deterrent because there is no buildup of tolerance like there is with poisons. The remedy is entirely physical and not chemical. It is a most effective solution to fighting pests like fleas, ants and bed bugs.
Farmers often feed this same food grade DE to their animals to counteract a host of ailments, swearing that this is a successful way of getting rid of worms and parasites in their animals.
Many people use DE as a home remedy for themselves by mixing a quarter cup of food grade DE into a juice drink. It is popular for colon cleansing, parasite control, relieving arthritis and joint pain
as well as a form of detox.
Diatemaceous earth is useful for the following
- Flea control
- Ants and aphids
- Sugar ants
- Carpenter ants
- Flea beetles
- Slug control
- Dry preservation of legumes and corn
- Pin worms
- Hens and mites
- and bed bugs
When dealing with bed bugs, here is the suggested method
First line of defence is to wash any bedding in hot water and dry at the highest heat or in the sun. Put anything (such as fluffy toys) that cannot be washed into plastic bags and seal to suffocate the bed bugs. Use the DE to dust the mattress and all parts of the bed, the baseboards, the carpet and all crevices in the bedroom. If you can drag anything movable out into the sunshine, even better.
One word of warning
When spreading diatomaceous earth as a repellent, it is wise to pop on a mask to prevent breathing in the very fine particles. Although of course DE is non-toxic, the particles are extremely sharp and, if inhaled, can irritate the lungs. Once the DE is applied, there should not be a problem with this. Aim for a light layer as you want any bugs to crawl through the DE and not around it. Don't forget to remove electric outlet covers off and puff some DE in there too.
You should allow a few days for the whole procedure to do its work and it will!