Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Organic Pest Controls: Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous Earth, a great, safe Pest Control.

Diatomaceous Earth is a soft, crumbly, white powder... to us humans.  If we look at Diatomaceous Earth under a microscope, we will see that each particle has sharp edges.  Diatomaceous Earth is really the fossilized remains of microscopic algae called Diatoms.

Diatoms under a microscope.

Diatomaceous Earth is used as an insecticide in organic gardening.  It will wedge into the head and leg joints of soft-bodied insects and will absorb moisture from the insect's exoskeleton.  This causes dehydration and eventually death.  Insects most affected by Diatomaceous Earth are Aphids and Leafhoppers.  It also works well against most ants.

Diatomaceous Earth is also effective against gastropods (snails and slugs) since these pests require so much moisture to stay alive.

Since Diatomaceous Earth is quickly neutralized by moisture, its effects are short-lived after rain or watering.  Timing is the key to effective pest control with Diatomaceous Earth.  A sudden surge of aphids or leafhoppers is a great time to dust affected pests with this natural pesticide.

These young potato plants don't have a very even application, but it is still effective.

How is it used?
Coat plants and soil surrounding the plant with a thin coating.  It can be directly applied over anthills.

This is a safe and effective pest control method that allows us to avoid potentially toxic chemicals on our food.  If you are a gardener, and you haven't heard of this or used it before, look into it.


  1. Is this organic pest control available on the market? People should be using this pest control instead of chemicals.

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  2. Diatomaceous Earth is sold in many places on the internet and at plant/nursery stores that have a good understanding of Organic growing. It is way safer for humans than many of the manmade chemical pesticides.

  3. Is this the same product used for pool filters?

    1. Yes and no, Debbie. While Diatomaceous Earth is sold for pool filtration and others with insecticide, neither should be used for food crops or crops in which humans would come in contact with regularly.

      Only FOOD GRADE Diatomaceous Earth should be used.

      You probably realized that since your post is two years old, but in case others are unaware, now they know.

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