Dealing with bed bugs, roaches and other pests can be extremely daunting. Firstly, because not all products can give you the needed results, and secondly because not all of the offered products on the market are safe for being used around humans. Luckily, you can rely on the use of the old but gold diatomaceous earth (DE).
DE was discovered in 1836 by Peter Kasten in Germany and back then, it was mainly used for making dynamite. Nowadays, this amazing product is used for many things like pest control, making toothpaste, water filters, metal polishing, etc.
This product comes in the form of powder and it’s made from the sediment of fossilised algae that is found near dried-up water. The mineral in DE is a result of the dead-single celled algae or also known as diatoms. The size of each diatom is about 0,5mm and while some of them fly by themselves, most diatoms group together and form a chain near the water and attach themselves to plants underwater or to rocks. The cells of the DE algae are high in silica, so it goes without saying that the produced dried sediment from these fossils is also high in silica.
The ancient Greeks used DE for creating building materials like blocks and bricks, however, through the years, people found that DE can be used for many other things than just this.
Types of Diatomaceous Earth Powder
Choosing pure and quality diatomaceous should be your top priority when searching for the right one, however, you should know that there are two types of DE on the market.
Filter grade or also known as pool grade is a type of DE that is made through calcination, a process that uses very high heat in order to change the silicon dioxide into crystalline silica. Precisely this makes pool-grade DE toxic which makes it ideal for filtration use only.
Diatomaceous earth food grade, on the other hand, isn’t toxic and can be consumed by humans. It contains 1% of crystalline silica and around 10mg/kg of arsenic or lead. The food-safe DE is used for treating several health and skin conditions, while the filter grade is perfect for getting rid of all sorts of bugs and fleas.
How Does It Kill Bugs and Pests?
One of the most common uses of DE these days is in the household for killing bugs and all kinds of unwanted insects. Once they come in contact with the powder, DE gets to their inside, starts working under the insects’ shells, punctures their body, and absorbs all the moisture which causes them to die from dehydration.
The secret behind its success in killing insects lies in its ability to physically kill them and it’s simply impossible for them to become immune to it. The best thing of all is that this type of DE isn’t dangerous to humans, so you can apply it everywhere around the house. Consequently, you no longer have to wonder ‘is diatomaceous earth pet safe’ or not. The only thing you should do though is to wear a dust mask when applying DE in the house since it can irritate your eyes, nose and lungs. Once the dust has settled, it’s completely safe to be around. When applying it outdoors, make sure to reapply it after it rains because DE only works when dry.
In case your dog has fleas, another way to deal with them other than some specific products for the purpose is with the use of food-grade DE. Just take some DE powder and gently rub it into its coat, on its bed and in your pet’s area. You can repeat the procedure every four days for about 12 days.
How to Use It in the Garden?
DE can also be used as an organic pest control method in the garden for a large selection of garden pests like slugs and tomato hornworms. All you should do is sprinkle it at the plants’ base and that’s it. You can even create a barrier with it in order not to cross it and get close to the plants.
What Are the Health Benefits of the Food-Safe DE?
Food-grade DE is a type of product that can also be used for improving health and overall well-being. Lots of studies have been made and they show that DE is able to reduce blood cholesterol which on the other hand, can positively affect health as well.
It’s also said that the silicon in DE can play an important role in bone formation. Aside from this, DE may also help you remove toxins from the body which is done because of its ability to remove heavy metals from water. DE can also be used for treating constipation, improving the hair, skin and nails, removing dead skin from the body and brushing/cleaning teeth.
Nowadays, you can easily find DE in the form of supplements, and although most manufacturers claim that DE can help you with almost everything, not all of them have been scientifically backed up. So before using DE in the form of a supplement for treating certain health conditions, make sure first to consult with your doctor.