In today’s article we’re going to be deep-diving into the topic of diatomaceous earth. We’re going to talk about what it is and what you can use it on and what you should completely avoid using it.
Diatomaceous earth is also known as de.
Diatomaceous earth is ground-up seashells and these seashells extremely fine to where it’s basically a powder but to your hands, it feels soft but under a microscope, it is extremely jagged and sharp and fractured and fragmented and this makes it a very good insecticide.
Uses of Diatomaceous Earth
When you take it and apply it, then you need to be used as an insecticide that’s the first mistake so many people making so now we’re gonna start talking about what you shouldn’t use it on diatomaceous earth.
Diatomaceous earth should never be used as a fungicide I see so many people using diatomaceous earth on their squash plants on their pumpkin plants on their zucchini plants their cucumber plants their melon plants.
When they get powdery mildew diatomaceous earth almost did it but diatomaceous earth is not a fungicide it has no effect on fungus whatsoever it is also not to be used on your tomatoes because it’s not a fungicide it can’t be used to fix blight.
So many people just spray down their plants to prevent blight and they have just completely wasted like six dollars in diatomaceous earth because someone told them it was effective against it but it’s not effective
folks it does nothing because it is not a fungicide that’s the first thing you need to know.
The second thing you need to know it is not a broad-spectrum insecticide and diatomaceous earth is not for every single insect.
The broad-spectrum insecticide is essentially an insecticide that will kill whatever insect you spray this on it kills indiscriminately so if you take ten or twenty or a thousand different insects and you spray this on it will kill them all it’s a lot like using a weed killer in your lawn.
It says kills the weeds not, your lawn that is not a broad-spectrum herbicide because if it was it would kill your grass and the weeds. It’s a very specific herbicide that kills the weeds and not the grass this is the exact same thing with diatomaceous earth.
Diatomaceous earth is 100% natural and it’s 100% organic because again it is just ground-up c-shell that’s all and why it only works on one specific type of insect is because it’s actually an arthropod aside now this is a term.
You’ll never hear anyone else use in the history of mankind because it’s just not a term that most consumers understand and you have to actually understand biology in order to understand arthropod is any insect that has a segmented body and an exoskeleton if it has a segmented body and an exoskeleton it is an arthropod this is the only thing that diatomaceous earth works.
We’re deep diving so this is gonna be a pretty broad topic but what I don’t want people using it on are
anything but arthropods don’t use it on caterpillars doesn’t use it on squash vine borer larvae don’t use it on moths don’t use it on butterflies don’t worry about using it on honeybees or don’t worry about using it around your pets.
Some people say that it’s harmful to pets’ folks’ chinchillas to roll in this stuff in fact farmers use it as a deworming agent because worms are arthropods and if you feed it to your chickens in their chicken feed it will kill the worms in the digestive tract because of its abrasive nature.
So it does not kill your animals it does not kill the other things that are not arthropods that’s because diatomaceous earth as we talked about or diatomaceous earth as I’m trying to talk about is an arthropod aside.
It only targets arthropods so for those of you that are freaking out about using it around butterflies or honeybees they’re not arthropods they are not affected it will coat them yes, but it will not kill them.
So, what are some examples of arthropods ladybugs a beneficial insect that it will kill so it’s suggested not to use it around ladybugs but if it does get on ladybugs it will kill it. If you have ants you can use it however applying it to just a big pile and it will not do anything you have to dust
The ants which make it very ineffective. Don’t use diatomaceous earth as an insecticide against ants.
There are far better options out there because if you dust them down yes it will work but it does not actually eradicate the problem.
It just only kills a few that you’re dusting them on because you actually have to land it on them.
So, use it on Hornets use it on wasps use it on mite’s spider mites in the garden a great arthropod to use diatomaceous earth on use it on beetle’s, Japanese beetle’s, flea beetles even fleas.
If your dogs have fleas use diatomaceous earth and if your cats have or mites or anything like that use diatomaceous earth.
So, you can use diatomaceous earth to attack mites, beetles, hornets, and wasps pretty much any type of creepy crawly insect.
That has a hard exoskeleton pretty much I’m not gonna go through the whole list those are the things you want to use it on and a really easy way to assess if it’s an arthropod is does it has a segmented body.
Roly polies look like little mini armadillos that have a segmented body those little armored shell on the back it’s an exoskeleton just look at it look at the anatomy pull it up on Google see an image if it looks like it has an exoskeleton or sees if it does have an exoskeleton that means it’ll work against it.
I want you guys to tell you just do your research doing your due diligence before you apply something so you’re not wasting time and money so the final thing that I want to talk about is what makes diatomaceous earth so effective against arthropods and nothing else.
you know why if you apply it to a caterpillar does it do nothing but yeah you apply it to a beetle and it pretty much just annihilates the thing and that’s because of the perfect combination of that the really small particle size and the shape of the particles being like shards of glass and the exoskeleton.
you know caterpillars don’t have an exoskeleton therefore it just sits on their skin and not cause any abrasion however when you dust a beetle down the particles get underneath that exoskeleton and it
causes them to feel like they’re bathing in shards of glass.
It’s very sharp it causes irritation which then causes discomfort and they shed that exoskeleton the only purpose of the exoskeleton is to protect it from the Sun and they protect it from pests or other predators and so when you force the insect to shed the exoskeleton you pretty much render it completely defenseless.
It’s either going to fry in the Sun dehydrate in the air or get eaten up by a pest like a bird and this is what
makes it so effective.
If you have other uses for diatomaceous earth it’s also there’s food-grade diatomaceous earth as well so it’s not even bad for humans now I wouldn’t just suggest eating it do your due diligence and research but it’s really great stuff it’s super effective.
How to Use Diatomaceous Earth
I’ll just want to tell I use a Duster that I use to apply diatomaceous earth and like to said you can also go up to your plants.
It’s best to do this in the morning when there’s still morning dew or after you’ve done watering and there’s a little moisture on your plants.
It’s going to give a dust-like that now when it comes time to eat your edible vegetables or fruits then you can simply rinse it off this stuff just rinses right off and any of the diatomaceous earth that hits the ground again is going to add to the soil profile it’s not going to harm anything like the worms so don’t worry too much about that.
Water Effect of Diatomaceous Earth
I wanted to tell you about water and how that affects diatomaceous earth. So, water is going to render diatomaceous earth ineffective as long as it’s wet but once it dries back out it becomes effective once again.
So actually, there’s a common way of applying diatomaceous earth and hard to get spots by adding it to a spray bottle with water and spraying those areas, and like I said once it dries back out.
You’re left with the diatomaceous earth that becomes effective again.
Also, it’s a good idea to actually wet your plants down or wait till early in the morning. when you still got morning dew on the plants to dust your plants with the diatomaceous earth.
It’s just going to allow the product to stick better to the plants that you’re treating so water is not an issue however if you are doing a heavy sprinkling or you know soaking your plants.
Then there’s a good chance a lot of that products going to seep into the soil which by the way is beneficial as well it actually contributes to overall soil health and water retention.
Mainly in Sandy and loamy soils, it can actually help to retain moisture so it’s not a bad thing to enter into your soil profile as well but it’s not an issue.
You get the product wet once and it becomes totally ineffective so I just wanted to dispel that rumor myth just knows that when it is wet it’s not effective and when it dries back out it becomes the effect.
Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth Versus Industrial Grade
Now let’s talk food grade diatomaceous earth versus industrial grade. There is a big difference obviously with the food grade diatomaceous earth this is going to be acceptable for human consumption and mammal consumption.
So, you can take diatomaceous Earth as a smoothie and it has benefits that can help with the skin the nail the hair amongst other things.
The main difference between the two is the industrial grade diatomaceous earth is usually heat treated and that creates the little tiny shards if you looked under a microscope at the diatomaceous earth it would almost look like shards of glass.
So, what that does is harden that and the reason they do that is mainly for filtration and things
like pool filters and such they will harden the diatomaceous earth before they put it into the filter it’s more effective that way.
How Does Diatomaceous Earth Works
The way diatomaceous earth works is it really dehydrates the insect with an exoskeleton and it does that by absorbing up the fats the lipids the oils that are on the outside of the insects’ body and it does create little microscopic lacerations on the insects body as well which just expedite the process.
But these aren’t deep cut wounds that are causing suffering in the insect they’re just very microscopic little slits.
you can observe and interact nature yourself and see what kind of results you’re getting but when it comes to pest control you know there’s really no way that you’re gonna look at this and say oh that was a great feeling and I’m happy I was able to kill some Insects.
So I hope you guys enjoyed the article and hope you learned something new about diatomaceous earth and you know if it sounded like I’m ranting it’s just because I get passionate about this stuff and I absolutely love talking about diatomaceous earth.
A lot of misinformation around and you see people that are quote-unquote gurus that are spreading this misinformation around I just get really quite flustered not in a way that causes me to rant but in a way that makes me want to get out there and passionately talk about the truths about diatomaceous earth.