We’ve all felt it.
That familiar twinge of alarm and anger as we discover that our carefully tended garden plants and shrubs have become way too popular with invasive, garden- destroying insects. Or…that dreaded line of ants marching, army-style, under your front door and through your kitchen as they migrate.
Your first instinct is most likely to wipe out these nasty little pests as quickly as possible. But if you struggle with the idea of introducing dangerous, toxic chemicals into your home or yard (especially around your children and pets), you have options. The good news is that there is an all-natural pest control for homes and gardens – one that actually works effectively without toxic chemicals.
Meet Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth
Diatomaceous (pronounced DIE-AH-TOE-MAY-SHUS) Earth, also known as DE, is an all-natural, fossilized rock that’s been ground into a super-fine powder. If you use toothpaste or facial scrubs, chances are you’ve already come into contact with it as it’s used as a mild abrasive in some of these products. Food grade Diatomaceous Earth has been approved for organic gardening and because it’s food grade it can safely be ingested by humans, pets, and livestock without causing any harm. It is an effective natural pest control product that is also commonly used to rid animals of intestinal parasites and fleas. In fact, it’s even used by people for cleansing and detoxifying the colon. You may even find it on the shelves at some health food stores. Note: You cannot use pool-grade diatomaceous earth. It undergoes extremely high heat treatments, effectively making it useless for pest control.
How Does Diatomaceous Earth Work?
Food Grade DE kills insects by destroying them naturally. Once they come into contact with the silica, insects with exoskeletons simply dehydrate and die. Ladybugs, bees and birds do not have exoskeletons, as is true of other beneficial insects and pollinators, so DE does them no harm. It also will not harm earthworms, those desirable underground residents keeping your soil fertilized and aerated. Food Grade DE is safe for use everywhere, eliminating destructive and annoying pests from your home’s interior, as well as your yard and garden.
How to Use Diatomaceous Earth as Natural Pest Control
Because DE only works once it comes into direct physical contact with certain pests, like fleas, ticks, and spiders, you need to make sure they pass through it. For example, if you find your plant leaves have become a favorite dining spot, simply dust DE directly on them. You can also put a border of DE around your flower or vegetable gardens and many people have found that it is highly effective to powder their entire yard as a means of controlling fleas and ticks. As it is a super-fine powder, it is best not to use it on windy days. For large areas you can use a fertilizer spreader, though there are also spreaders made especially for spreading DE. Some people recommend using it as a flea powder on your dogs or cats because it is so safe. In your home, use a thin line of DE on doorway thresholds and on windowsills to prevent pests from becoming a nuisance inside.
Diatomaceous Earth tops our list for an all-natural and amazingly safe insecticide and repellent.