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The All-Natural Way to Get Rid of Bedbugs, Insects, and Other Creepy Crawlies

Got crawling insects like centipedes, spiders, bedbugs, ants, silverfish, cockroaches, fleas, and all other creepy crawlies trying to take over your home or garden? Don’t call an exterminator quite yet. I’m confident this is a problem you can fix yourself with non-toxic, completely safe, natural diatomaceous earth (DE)—cheaper and faster!

 

What is Diatomaceous Earth?

Diatomaceous Earth (DE), an off-white talc-like powder, is the fossilized remains of marine phytoplankton that have been ground to a fine powder. If you could take a look at it through a microscope you’d see that it resembles shards of glass. It comes in bags and is easily found online ,and in the garden department of stores like Home Depot, Lowe’s, Walmart and Tractor Supply.

When sprinkled on a bug that has an exoskeleton (centipedes, ants, bedbugs, cockroaches, bedbugs, fleas) or placed strategically so that bug crawls into it, the DE cuts into that bug’s exoskeleton, which causes it to dehydrate and die.

What kind of DE?

It is critical to understand DE is available in two “grades.”

Food-grade DE. For this application of killing bugs and insects, you must use food-grade Diatomaceous Earth. Make sure it reads “food-grade” on the label. Only food-grade Diatomaceous Earth will rid of centipedes, spiders, bedbugs, ants, silverfish, cockroaches, fleas, and all other creepy crawlies.

Pool-grade DE. Swimming pool supply stores sell Pool-Grade Diatomaceous Earth to be used in DE pool filters. This DE has been treated chemically for this specific use—in a swimming pool DE filter. The pool grade DE is calcined, which changes the chemical compound from silicon dioxide to crystalline silica. Pool-grade DE will not work to kill bugs and insects. Worse, pool-grade DE is very toxic and should be handled with extreme care, to be used only in a DE-specific pool filter.

DE for bedbugs

Bedbugs are parasitic insects that feed on blood. They’re a nightmare. Bedbugs can enter your home undetected on luggage, clothing, on and inside used mattresses, bed frames, couches, and other items.

collage showing bedbugs in bed on sheets and mattress

Typically, bedbugs hide in the folds, creases, cracks, and crevices of mattresses, box springs, bed frames, and headboards where they have easy access to people to bite in the night.

Fully grown, a bedbug is about the size of Abraham Lincoln’s head on a US penny. Foggers are useless against bedbugs because those ugly critters are so good at hiding in places the fog can’t reach. Bedbugs are even resistant to expensive professional chemical fumigation!

Food-grade Diatomaceous Earth is the only effective option. It is all-natural and safe. DE acts like shards of glass to puncture bedbugs’ exoskeletons. It then absorbs their internal fluids dehydrating them quickly and effectively. If you are experiencing a bedbug infestation, you need these full instructions for how to treat bedbugs with food-grade DE.

Safe around pets, kids

Here’s the most amazing thing about DE: It kills bugs but doesn’t hurt mammals. You and your pets could eat it without harm. In fact, many people add food-grade DE to their daily diet to promote good health.

How to apply

Using a flour sifter, fine mesh strainer, a salt shaker, or this Pest Control Bulb Duster, lightly dust the powdery DE in cracks and crevices, along baseboards, windowsills, door frames; beneath and behind appliances, in the garden, yard—anywhere you see those little pests. This is a non-toxic and environmentally safe treatment for bugs and insects, but please wear a face protector because it is fine as talcum powder.

For flea-invested carpet, dust the carpet well with the DE and then pound it in with a broom. Leave it to do its job, then vacuum the carpet very well after 24 to 36 hours, emptying the bag or dust collector often. To do its job as the most effective pesticide ever, DE must be dry. If it gets wet, clean it up and then reapply.

Resource

Food-Grade Diatomaceous Earth is readily available at garden centers and hardware stores. You can get a 10-lb. bag of Diatomaceous Earth from Amazon that includes a bulb duster. Always make certain you are purchasing food-grade diatomaceous earth, not the variety of DE used in swimming pools, which has been chemically altered and will not work as a pesticide. It must be food-grade, and Harris is the brand of food-grade DE you can trust. Wholly mined, produced, and packaged in the USA.

One last thing: To do its job as the most effective pesticide ever, DE must be dry. If it gets wet, clean it up and then reapply.


 

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9 replies
  1. Jenni says:

    Before I ever ordered DE, I collected and ground up eggshells into a fine powder and sprinkled them around my house (apt house, etc) every Spring and Fall. I use the DE indoors now with the applicator and have Never had a problem with bugs. Well, there were ants in the Dining Room when we bought this house but not for long! I still grind the eggshells for the outdoors because they hold up to the rain. DE (and finely ground eggshells) can work miracles!

    Reply
    • Mary Hunt says:

      I’m not a doctor … however given that it is a very fine powder, common sense says you don’t want to breathe it. Wearing a mask would be advisable for everyone! Foodgrade DE is not toxic, but in the same way you don’t want to breathe in sanding dust when remodeling your home, you don’t want to breathe in DE either. Hope that helps!

      Reply
  2. Janet Storey says:

    Please wear a mask when applying, you do not want this in your lungs. And wash off if it gets on your skin, it is very drying.

    Reply
  3. Barbara Jackson says:

    We had cockroaches in the kitchen and occasionally in the bathrooms during the spring and summer months. Yuk! At Mary’s recommendation, I got Harris DE at amazon.com and used it as directed. DE got rid of them, and they have not come back. For maintenance, I squirt new DE around the baseboards when needed after I vacuum and mop the floors. A little goes a long way, so the small bag will do nicely. Harris DE is made in the USA, a bonus.

    Reply
  4. Amy says:

    Thank you! I like this info. I have a bad silverfish problem inside…I just can’t figure out how to use DE without it being a mess/eyesore…and then if I put it outside, it gets wet. Grr.

    Reply
    • Mary Hunt says:

      Use the duster to “squirt” the DE along the baseboards in the area you’re seeing silverfish. If they’re inside drawers, do the same. It is very fine like talcum powder so it will get into those cracks and crevices. You can use a soft cloth to help push it in if it is unsightly. I think you’ll be surprised by how easy and effective this treatment is.

      Reply

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