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diatomaceous earth

 
Jami McBride
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Yes, swimming pool DE is ONLY good for swimming pools 

However, there are actually 3 types of DE -

1. FDA food grade
2. Also 'natural' but not FDA tested garden-store variety - used for pest, gardens, feed etc.
3. Artificial - swimming pool filter DE

 
                    
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Thanks for sharing, I had not heard that yet. I just learn something new everyday here on permies.com!
 
                                    
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I am wondering if anyone has ever used this on grasshoppers. We are having a lot of them in CO this year and I was going to try to use this on them. I am thinking I would probably have to pretty much get direct contact on them for it to be effective or does anyone know a better way. Also, by dusting it on my plants for the grasshoppers am I running a risk of killing good insects if they come in contact with it? Any ideas or suggestions would be appreciated.
 
Ken Peavey
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Used as an insulator, DE is close to fiberglass in effectiveness, however the weight would be an issue to consider in wall and ceiling structures.

 
Emerson White
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FP, not to mention the fact that there are better things to do with it. DE is an excellent filter, second to none in polishing the particles from water, and a tremendously useful product for abrading, polishing, grinding, and insect pest control. There are some pretty vast deposits but they are not infinite and using it for insulation will drive up the price for other uses.
 
                    
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It would seem that if it works on beetles it would work on hoppers, but I'm not sure.
 
                    
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Hmmmm...We are in the N CA foothills and are experiencing a crazy, giant spider invasion in our humble home.  I don't suppose DE would do much more than tickle their feet as they dance around and across us  I really don't mind them outside, and even allow a few daddy long legs to hang out in the upper corners to catch mosquitoes.  But, just this week....WOW! They seem to want to take over the inside of the house! Our house is on an old rock foundation with no sub floor - so, you can't really blame them for checking the place out.  That said, my kids claim to have seen a brown recluse  I'm not so sure.  In any case, I would rather not use any sprays if I can avoid it.  Soooo.... If DE would work- that would be super!  If not; I'd love other ideas!  FYI: In general, none of us suffer from arachnoidphobia.......it's just that there are SO many this year (and some of them are being accused of being "bad" spiders!)  Lookin' forward to lots of wisdom here in reply to my very first post 
 
                    
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Hi pixel_dust , I'm not sure about DE working on spiders but I have uses pure essential peppermint oil on cotton balls & had luck with it deterring spiders & moths.

You just put a peppermint cotton ball in each corner & in other places they might hand out. You must use real pure essential peppermint oil not extract or flavoring.

Let me know how it works if you decide to try it.
 
Chris Watkins
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There's now an Appropedia page: diatomaceous earth.  Anything, from basic info to detailed info about diatomaceous earth, please add - thanks.
 
Jami McBride
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Essential oils are a great deterrent because of their strong smell.

I would  place piles of DE in - cracks, corners, along the walls, under furniture and other out of the way places, especially at doorways and windows.  Also blow it off your palm into any spider webs to coat them.  Doing this along with applying essential oils should rid your house of most of your unwanted visitors    including spiders, leaving a nice pleasant smell.
 
                    
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Good luck I hope you are soon spider free.
 
paul wheaton
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I'll be sure to take a look. Did you add your review to amazon??
 
John Meshna
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If you'd like to support a company besides amazon corporation you can buy diatomaceous earth at Dirt Works online everyday. In fact we were one of the very first companies to bring this product to market in a major way besides the mining company that produces it that is. We've been selling it for thirteen years now and our web site has free downloads for instructions and general information all in one place.
And FYI you can use it wet. One way to get it down an ant or termite hole id to wet it along with some castile soap and pour it down the hole. The soap helps smother the bugs and when the solution dries out the stuff sticks to the bugs and their eggs and larvae like glue and does them in. DE never loses it's kill capacity. It doesn't dissolve in water. It has to be constantly agitated to stay in solution and the soap helps it do that too. sort of makes a colloidal suspension product out of it when mixed with soap.
 
paul wheaton
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John,

I remember that there used to be some things I didn't like about your page - but it looks like you've made a lot of changes. 

After reading the book and talking to the author a bit, I am open to changing my links for purchase, but this is going to be based primarily on products that contain 0.1% or less crystaline silica.  I'm not sure what level is in the GreenSense product I currently link to.  Do you know what level your stuff is?
 
Jan Sebastian Dunkelheit
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I powder my dog with DE when she's scratching - it is working no question - but I wouldn't use it in the garden for pest control. Pests outproduce predators in birthrate without a challenge and with DE you kill the usefull bugs aswell resulting in a pest invasion when you stop using it. Massdestruction is not permaculture because it is effort and it is in the end harming your land.

Invite predators by creating habitats. Every pest has a mortal enemy otherwise they wouldn't need such a high reproduction rate.
 
                                          
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Does any one know,  is Zeolite diatomaceous earth?  There is a product called Zeolite and it is listed as "a natural mineral".  It looks like, feels like and tastes like diatomaceous earth.  I can't find anything to back up my assumption  and thought someone here might know.

Thanks in advance.
 
Emerson White
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No, Zeolite is made from volcanic rocks of some name that I can't remember, but they are aluminosilicates (maybe there is supposed to be a hyphen in there) rather than being made from pure silica. Also they lack the microscopic structure of DE, which is the important part.
 
                                    
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So it does work for spiders?  Seems this year we are over run with spiders in the house here in Arizona. 
 
paul wheaton
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lmroberts wrote:
So it does work for spiders?  Seems this year we are over run with spiders in the house here in Arizona. 


Yes, it does work on spiders. 

BUT!

I strongly suggest that you don't use it on spiders unless you know you have a spider problem of the variety that can bite you.

I've been bitten by a brown recluse, and ever since then, any spider coming close to that seriously freaks me out. 

Here is what I do:  I encourage lots of daddy long legs and jumping spiders to stay in my house.  They eat the spider food - leaving no spider food for any other kind of spider that might be thinking of moving in.  My house appears to be completely free of all other insects and these are two kinds of spiders I like and know they won't hurt me.



 
paul wheaton
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I changed the name of the article to "diatomaceous earth (DE): bug killer you can eat!" - seems less clunky than the old title "diatomaceous earth (DE): good for mammals, bad for bugs"
 
                                    
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paul wheaton wrote:
I changed the name of the article to "iatomaceous Earth (DE): bug killer you can eat!" - seems less clunky than the old title "iatomaceous Earth (DE): good for mammals, bad for bugs"


Well I've found two black widow's so far one was sitting on a nest underneath my sons bed.  The otherone I found out in the open in the bathroom, it was building a web above the counter.  We live in an old adobe ranch house out in the desert in AZ.  I've not seen as many daddy longlegs as I used to, and we have those darn camel spiders if that is what you mean by "jumping spiders".  The black widows really scare me and for one to be building a nest out in the open like that really bothers me.


 
                          
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I use DE but what i do is  put it into my sprayer and  spray it on Wet.
that way no dust is flying around i spray it directly on the plants top and bottom and i just  shake the sprayer now and then to  keep the DE in suspension.
 
                          
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pixel_dust wrote:
Hmmmm...We are in the N CA foothills and are experiencing a crazy, giant spider invasion in our humble home.  I don't suppose DE would do much more than tickle their feet as they dance around and across us  I really don't mind them outside, and even allow a few daddy long legs to hang out in the upper corners to catch mosquitoes.  But, just this week....WOW! They seem to want to take over the inside of the house! Our house is on an old rock foundation with no sub floor - so, you can't really blame them for checking the place out.  That said, my kids claim to have seen a brown recluse  I'm not so sure.  In any case, I would rather not use any sprays if I can avoid it.  Soooo.... If DE would work- that would be super!  If not; I'd love other ideas!  FYI: In general, none of us suffer from arachnoidphobia.......it's just that there are SO many this year (and some of them are being accused of being "bad" spiders!)  Lookin' forward to lots of wisdom here in reply to my very first post 



YES DE will kill them dead! if they  touch it they will die
 
paul wheaton
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I have a goat that can not seem to get over coccidiosis.  We have given him multiple treatments and now are trying a new medication for resistant bugs.  Has anyone heard if diatomaceous earth might help him?  Thanks for any and all feedback.  TL
 
Mekka Pakanohida
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Chriswaterguy wrote:
There's now an Appropedia page: diatomaceous earth.  Anything, from basic info to detailed info about diatomaceous earth, please add - thanks.


It is strip mined near the town of Kaneohe, Hawaii and replaced with garbage (land filled) in the shape of the hill the mined down. 
 
                                  
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So by the sounds of it DE can be used on pets to help with fleas but what about as a heartworm preventative? From what I understand the heartworm L3 larva is deposited in mosquito saliva next to the bite and then it has to "swim" through it to get to the bite and under the skin . . . I haven't seen any info on how long that takes but by the sounds of it DE could be used on the pet to absorb the moisture from the mosquito bite thereby killing the larvae? Might it also penetrate the bite and kill the larvae under the skin? I just got a Great Pyrenees and want to do as much as I can to keep him healthy. I live in SE Michigan so the risk of infection only lasts two to three months.
 
Emerson White
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If you cake your pet in DE constantly maybe. But I wouldn't count on it.
 
Jami McBride
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The issue with DE and treating pets coats is that the hair mostly keeps the DE suspended above the skin.  I've had friends who kept their dog covered in DE but the fleas still thrived.  Eventually mange joined in the attack. 

I would say to use DE in the bedding, but also use strong smelling tinctures/essential oils on the skin as they can get past the fur, and feed garlic and other immune system builders.

DE has it's good uses, but dusting past hair isn't one of them - imo
 
Al Loria
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We just started using food grade DE on our four dogs this week.  Will not use the Frontline anymore.  I would hope the fleas and ticks would get some of it on them from the fur when they are crawling around, to help in controlling them.

Jami, could you let me know what essential oils specifically we should use?
 
Jami McBride
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Sure, I use peppermint/spearmint, eucalyptus or clove - for the intense smell.  I bet cinnamon would work too. 

Treat a complete circle around the animals neck by splitting the hair and rubbing the diluted (1:2) oil on.  Then treat around the tail and rear in the same fashion.  You can also diluted the oil in water (1:10) and put it into a spray bottle for misting around legs before letting the animal off to roam.  Your animals won't love being treated, but neither do the pests!  That's why it works so well - aroma aversion therapy, and it smells great in your house.

Do the same when bathing - add the EO to liquid castile soap so it's strong smelling, next add some of this dog-soap to some warm water and pour around the neck and tail areas first, soaking them well and working it into a lather before continuing with the rest of the dogs body.  You'll find more dead fleas in the bath water if you prevent them from hiding on the head or tail/rear-end areas by treating them first with the EO-soap before you start the bath water running.

Peppermint oil (my favorite) will leave your hands, and the dogs skin very tingling - imagine what it does to the fleas 

P.S. I would add that our dog has never been chemically treated with any product, just the EO and that's enough to keep the fleas in check.  I treat him with oil, spray and/or baths as necessary, and it works great, but like the DE there is a finesse as to how, when and where to apply for best results.  So play with it until you achieve the results you are satisfied with.

 
Al Loria
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Thanks, Jami.  Going to give this a try.

This makes good sense as we have a people spray we use for the summer to keep the mosquitoes away that is an essential oil prep, and it works well.   The additional factor of the dogs smelling nice is a plus.

 
Suzy Bean
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Appropedia has a good definition of diatomaceous earth. Here's the link: http://www.appropedia.org/Diatomaceous_earth
 
John Polk
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Hey, I'm willing to compromise.  I'll click on an appropedia link the next time I buy a bag of DE.
 
Suzy Bean
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Any insight on this?

If DE has to be kept dry in order to work, how does it help kill parasites for people internally?

And why would it kill intestinal worms but not earthworms?
 
Emerson White
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Earthworms are more closely related to us than they are to intestinal worms. However I have no idea how the DE is supposed to work. My wild guess would be that it cuts the bodies of the roundworms and mixes their internal fluids with the contents of the intestines, which cannot be good for them.
 
                                      
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Will diatomaceous earth work outside as long as it doesn't get rained on? The fleas are worse and earlier this year than ever.
 
Al Loria
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seasonable wrote:
Will diatomaceous earth work outside as long as it doesn't get rained on? The fleas are worse and earlier this year than ever.


It should.  Even after it gets wet its properties return when it dries again.
 
                                      
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Thanks Al, I'm about to go on a flea-killing rampage. Guess I'll be needing to vacuum more than once a week! 
 
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