What is Diatomaceous Earth?
Simply put, diatomaceous earth, or DE, is a powdered substance that is chocked full of the fossilized remains of phytoplanktons. Phytoplanktons are small marine animals that live throughout the oceans and are too tiny to be seen by the naked human eye. These small marine animals utilize photosynthesis to gain energy, and therefore are often found in the top layers of the ocean. They are primary producers in the food and energy chain, and help create much of the organic compounds found in the Earth. Phytoplanktons accomplish this through numerous chemical reactions, and by utilizing excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and oceans to create organic compounds. Once they die, their bodies cling together, and over time, they turn into fossils. These fossilized masses are known as DE.
How Does Diatomaceous Earth Affect Fleas?
For years now, Diatomaceous Earth has been utilized as a bug killer. DE is powerful, and super affective; however the best part is that it doesn’t affect mammals. In fact, mammals eat DE practically every day, and have never been affected by the potent bug killer. That’s because DE is found readily in grains, and grain products. So, every time you pick up a piece of bread, or eat a serving of pasta, you are ingesting DE. It isn’t bad for you, and it won’t harm you at all. But, if you were to put the same compound on a bug that has an exoskeleton then they would quickly die. Due to the fact that DE is often found in grains, many bugs that have exoskeletons shy away from eating grains as part of their diets. Over the years, they have evolved to not need grains in their diets so that they don’t accidentally die from eating a meal.
Where Can Diatomaceous Earth Be Found?
Diatomaceous Earth can be found at most specialty outdoor stores. Sometimes, it can even be found in the outdoor section of grocery stores. The flea killer and bug killer comes in small containers, and appears to be a white thin powder. It has a similar appearance to talc powder, and is easily sprinkled over areas that are infested with bugs or fleas. If you can’t find this powder at any outdoor store, than try looking at farming supply stores, or look for it online. Many online vendors such as Amazon and Overstock have many variations of DE. One of the best things about DE is that it is so cheap. The cost of a small container is incredibly miniscule, and a small amount of the powder goes a long way. The other characteristic of DE that most people love is the fact that mammals can ingest it, roll in it, and smear it all over themselves, and never have any type of reaction. It’s completely safe!
How Can Diatomaceous Earth Be Used as a Flea Killer?
So, if you have fleas in your home or in your garden and desperately need to get rid of them, then you can easily follow these instructions. For carpets, first vacuum your carpet and give it a good brushing. This will aggravate the fleas, and cause them to start jumping. Next, sprinkle Diatomaceous Earth all over your carpet until it has formed a thin layer over your carpet. You might want to leave the house after this step, otherwise you might track the DE powder all over your home. Most scientists believe that DE can kill fleas in as little as four hours, since the flea simply has to come in contact once with the powder; however to be on the safe side, allow the DE powder to sit on your carpet for at least 10 hours. Then, all you have to do is vacuum up the excess powder, and enjoy your flea free home. If fleas have taken over your garden, then simply sprinkle the powder over your soil and your plants. Within a day the fleas should be gone, and you can continue to water your garden as normal.
Diatomaceous Earth works in a very simple way. Once the powder comes in contact with bugs that have exoskeletons, the exoskeletons dissolve, and the bug loses its defenses. Within seconds the bugs will die, due to their insides not being protected. In layman’s terms, the bugs’ insides will turn to mush.
Are There Any Concerns Surrounding Diatomaceous Earth?
After reading all of the facts about Diatomaceous Earth you might be thinking it sounds like the perfect bug killer. Not only will it kill bugs almost instantly, but it is also safe for you and your family to ingest. However, there are a few minor concerns surrounding the natural flea and bug killer. Here are four minor concerns.
- If you use the powder on your carpet frequently, then it might be hard to vacuum up. Often, people have to vacuum their floors numerous times in order to completely remove the powder from their homes.
- Even though DE is safe for skin, it can cause dryness and slight irritation if you are constantly introducing it to your skin. Often, this occurs when dog owners rub the powder into their dog’s fur every day. Their skin, and their dog’s skin, will become brittle and dry after a few weeks. If you are using the powder as a flea killer on your dog, then start small and only treat your dog once every two weeks to begin with.
- DE’s effectiveness is greatly reduced around moisture. When using the powder outside on your yard or garden, then don’t use it in the mornings or evenings when dew is present.
- When purchasing DE, you need to look for the product that is the purest. Look for DE products that contain no more than 1% of ingredients other than DE. These other ingredients can include chemical compounds such as crystalline silica, which can be toxic in large quantities.
Diatomaceous Earth is a wonderful product that can kill fleas almost instantly. If you have a flea problem in your home or in your yard, then consider trying DE before you try any other type of insecticide. Not only is the product safe for your family, but it will kill the bugs within a day, and often you don’t need more than one treatment before seeing the results you desire.