Thursday, February 6, 2014

Using Diatomaceous Earth for Non-Toxic, Natural Pest Control

Last year I offered a workshop for 10 Ways to Avoid Chemicals in Your Garden.   
One of my absolute favorite options for non-toxic pest control 
Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth (DE).  It is so safe you can eat it.  Seriously!

Diatomaceous Earth is a natural, organic garden pest control and household insect killer. Diatomaceous Earth kills by physical action, not chemical. It is safe for pets and people. The tiny diatoms scratch off the insect's waxy coating, and dehydrate it. DE kills spiders, roaches, silverfish, ants, fire ants, carpenter ants, bedbugs, lice, mites, earwigs, flies, fleas, box elder bugs, crabs(std), pubic and hair lice, scorpions, crickets and harmful insects. Diatomaceous Earth is used in the home, yard, animal housing, etc. Sprinkle a 2 inch wide border around the foundation of your house to stop insects from entering. 

Diatomaceous Earth kills aphids, white flies, beetles, loopers, mites, snails, slugs, leaf hoppers, and harmful pests. Use Diatomaceous Earth inside your home, greenhouse or outdoors on fruits, vegetables, flowers, grains and grass. Apply Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth up to and including day of harvest.

Click Here to see Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth in our Store

Are you ready for another amazing revelation?
Bugs can not become immune because they are killed by physical action, not chemical.  

Tell those garden pests to EAT DIRT!

What is Diatomaceous Earth (DE)?  Diatomaceous earth consists of fossilized remains of diatoms, a type of hard-shelled algae. 

How to Apply Diatomaceous Earth to your Veggie Garden:

-Fill a shaker container with diatomaceous earth. Avoid creating dust by using a spoon to transfer the powder to the container. Although diatomaceous earth is non-toxic, you should not breathe the fine dust. Consider wearing a disposable face mask if you will be working with large quantities of the powder or if you have respiratory issues.

-Shake the powder onto the vegetable plants. The best time to do this is in early morning or late evening, when the plants are wet with dew. The moisture helps the dust to adhere to the plant. Diatomaceous earth won’t harm insects when it is wet, but it will be effective once it dries. Shake the powder on the vegetables as well as the leaves; the powder can be easily washed off the vegetables prior to consumption. 

-Apply the powder to the garden bed and to the area surrounding the garden. This will keep many crawling insects from even reaching the vegetable plants.

-Pour a thick ring of diatomaceous earth around the base of plants to deter snails, slugs and squash bugs.

**ONLY use FOOD GRADE Diatomaceous Earth**
The stuff for pools is TOXIC!
DO NOT USE ON FLOWERS.  Do not use on flowering plants

 And there you have it! Non-Toxic and Natural Pest Control with Diatomaceous Earth from Mary's Heirloom Seeds.

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Marla Gates said...

I use this all the time in my garden. It is great for bugs. I used it on my roses summer when no other organic spray worked. I love it. Thanks for sharing.

Libby said...

This is really good information. Last year I did my first attempt at organic gardening using the cinderblock garden concept. Overall it was a good experience, but I definitely know now to be prepared for all kinds of things. Organic solutions are not as readily available around here where I live and so you really have to be proactive. When I encountered some problems, it was so difficult to find an organic solution. But at least I have one now to add to my book. I've heard of DE before, but of people eating it. Going to have some on hand as I prepare for spring gardening. Thanks!

Sharon Lemire said...

??? my roses were filled with caterpillars last year...for I have a butterfly this still safe to use.?????

Mary Smith said...

Hi Sharon,
From what I read, your caterpillars should be safe. The DE is mostly for hard-shelled insects.
At the same time, caution should be used. I know I have used DE for a major aphid infestation on my cucumbers and brussels sprouts and it worked but I did not use this on my flowers.

Anonymous said...

Hi Mary - I also want to share another great option. It is Greenbug for Outdoors which is an EPA exempt product that uses cedar as the active ingredient. I used it in my organic garden last summer to control aphids and it worked great. I also use the Greenbug for People on myself to keep mosquitoes away when I garden. I am always looking for safe solutions so I wanted to share. Many thanks for what you do.

Janet Pesaturo said...

Thanks for sharing on Tuesday With a Twist. Good info, and I especially appreciate the tip on dusting the plants when they are still wet with dew.

Becca said...

Good info. Does it kill potato beetles?

Laura Ryder said...

Love this!! We use DE for our pool filter and now I will be using it in our garden. Do you have any tips for rabbits..and I mean Texas rabbits? Ones that are so mean they even eat my rose's. I could use some help there!!

Thanks so much for linking up with Wake up Wednesday!!

Laura @ Mice In The Kitchen

Mary Smith said...

I just wanted to clarify...
You must use FOOD GRADE Diatomaceous Earth in your garden and around your home.
**Pool grade* is not the same.

@ Becca, YES! It should work withe potato beetles!

Lisa Lynn said...

Hi Mary,
I've read that you need to be careful about breathing it in...any idea if that is true?

Thanks for sharing on The HomeAcre Hop! Hope to see you again tomorrow!

Mary Smith said...

Hi Lisa!
Yes, you are correct. When I bagged up the pounds of DE to sell@ Mary's Heirloom Seeds, I used a dust/painter mask. The tiny particles can be very irritating on the lungs and throat. Even though the instructions state to be careful...I still re-iterate to people who buy it.

Kim Seghers said...

Hi Mary, this is very interesting that I'm reading this tonight. I had a conversation with a customer today at work she using the food grade Diatomaceous Earth to brush her teeth with and makes her own deodorant with it . I'm glad I came upon your post very interesting ! Thanks for sharing! Kim

Pam @ over50feeling40 said...

Such good information...I am going to try it this spring and pass it along to my daughter. Thanks so much for sharing on the Thursday Blog Hop!

Michelle Williams said...

Thanks for linking up at the MaMade Blog Hop! Don't forget to stop back to link up again next week and see if you've been featured! :) Have a great weekend!

Cynthia Landrie said...

This is great information! I hate using nasty chemicals, and I love how safe this is. Thanks for linking to the In and Out of the Kitchen Link Party. Hope to see you next week.

Chris K said...

Just need to point out that Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth (aka DE) will kill bees (and other insects that you may not want to kill (like butterflies) this is why you shouldn't use on flowering plants.

Don't get me wrong, I love the stuff, Food grade DE (important to use the 'food grade' when talking about it!) is great for many things (I use it in my chicken coop to eliminate/prevent bugs), as a personal detox and in my garden, just not anywhere near the flowering plants.

Mary Smith said...

Yes. That's why I wrote in all caps about not using on flowers. I have read that it won't necessarily kill the bees as Bees have a fine hair covering their bodies.
And yes, always use FOOD GRADE Diatomaceous Earth.
Thanks for stopping by!

Rosemary Abbott said...

Will DE hurt earthworms?

Mary Smith said...

Hi Rosemary,
No, DE will not hurt Earthworms. DE is active when it is dry and works on hard-shelled insects.

Karen said...

Since this shouldn't be used on flowering plants, does this include flowering vegetable plants? Like zucchini? Is it okay to sprinkle around the zucchini plant as long as I don't get it on the plant itself? Are there other vegetable plants that I should avoid putting this on?