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diatomaceous earth  RSS feed

 
Posts: 12
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I apologize for that, your right - I tend to call parasites worms

PS
Thank you for adopting a rescued dog !
 
gardener
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Location: PNW Oregon
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Cassie Langstraat wrote:This might be a stupid question but do you put the DE on the ground/soil near the plants that are infested, or just all over the plant, leaves and all?



Hi Cassie - it depends on the infestation.

I just had a thick line of ants going up my fig tree and eating a ripe fig. So I put and pile of DE on the base of the steams at the ground and on the ground around them. I did this just after watering real good so I could leave it for a couple of days, and I picked all the ripe fruit. Within minutes I could see no more ants. In two days when I needed to water again I still could see no ants anywhere. And I have had no ants return to this tree since, that was two weeks ago.

In the past when I've had ants installing aphids under leaves on my veggies I've had to apply DE to the base stock and to the leaves. I had to reapply daily as well as trim the plants back from touching each other - it was a huge battle that I eventually lost as the ants and aphids had a big head start on me. So when using DE one needs to consider other ways pests can gain access and treat those at the same time. For ants I also like to strong smelling sprays on the ground to mess up their pheromone trails. Pheromones - this is how one ant becomes 527.

I hope this helps ~
 
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I have just discovered that I have fleas. I have heard that diatomaceous earth is the best way to treat for them. My husband is concerned about breathing it in since we have been instructed to dust it on all of our floors and leave it there for days. The debate has been made that DE will not continue to work if it's moist so breathing it in is not harmful. Seems pretty straight forward, and makes logical sense. My question is if it looses the ability to work when it's moist why am I reading (in the same articles that mention this) that people eat it to kill parasites and feed it to their animals to kill parasites. Does anyone know how this makes any sense?

Does anyone know of a website with good instructions on using it for flea infestation?

Thank you in advance for your thoughts.
 
steward
Posts: 1373
Location: Northwest Montana from Zone 3a to 4b (multiple properties)
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If you haven't found it yet, this is the link to Paul's article on DE. It is pretty comprehensive and will likely answer many, if not most, of your questions.

Paul's DE Article linky thing


My two cents with my anecdotal experience is that it works just dandy!
 
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Location: Denver, CO
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So, I just read all 7 pages of the DE conversation here and am wondering why Paul nor anyone else in the know has addressed the few people who raised question as to the sustainability of using (and telling masses of people to use) a product which is: 1) finite, to whatever degree, having taking this long to form, and 2) opposite of closing loops and providing for our own means

I am also interested in someone who knows addressing the post about mining one's own DE for consumption. I assume there is a nice, fancy machine at the DE "plant" where they process it to a specific granule size, thus trying to manufacture one's own would not work out great for consumption purposes?
 
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I read about a way to spread DE called a "wet application" in which you put a few tablespoons of DE into a spray bottle then fill it with water, shake, and mist it evenly over an area. You're supposed to allow the water to evaporate and it should leave behind the DE as a dust. Any idea if this affects how the DE works to kill bugs like ants?
 
Posts: 96
Location: Medellin, Colombia
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Ken Peavey wrote: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.



I recently came back from doing some field visits to fired clay brick manufacturers, where I found that DE is being used as an insulator in kiln walls and ceilings with very good results. Its obviously raw mined unprocessed DE, not food grade, so it probably contains other minerals as well.

Here is a photo of the raw mineral:



I got this sample of a clay stabilized DE (or as it is called here: diatomite) brick:


It is a solid (no holes) brick and weighs about 1/3 of a standard solid fired clay brick of the same dimentions made by the same manufacturer. The manufacturer is highly empirical so he kept no record of the proportions of clay/DE used to make this one, but he claims that you could put an acetylene torch to one side of the brick while holding it with your hand and not get burned (he didn't mention for how long though ). This is by no means a real insulation test but you see what he was trying to get at.

One advantage of having the DE stabilized with clay is that it can act as a refractory/insulative material at the same time. The manufacturer also claims that he overhauled the vault ceiling on one of his batch kilns (pictured below) using this type of brick and it reduced the amount of coal needed for every batch burn by about 30%, which is quite a lot without making any adjustments to the combustion itself.



Another brick manufacturer is building a tunnel kiln (continuous operation as opposed to batch, pictured below) in which they are adding the raw DE as filler in between the refractory bricks and between the refractory bricks and ceramic fiber insulation in the ceiling of the kiln, which is expected to increase the insulation compared to just the layers of refractory brick and ceramic fiber.



This got me thinking that DE might be used for rocket mass heater cores. Particularly when making a cast riser where diatomite might be more easily available and/or cheaper than perlite or pumice, or when building the riser out of bricks if one can get hold of bricks like the one I have shown.

Some online sources cite a temperature resistance of up to 900 ÂșC, which I believe could be raised even higher using the right mix of DE/clay/other refractory minerals (like alumina), and thermal conductivity values from 0.06 W/mK for DE and 0.12 W/mK for Diatomite.

Should I move this post to the RMH forum?
 
Posts: 257
Location: Nicoya, Costa Rica
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Wow, new look! I hadn't been here in a while.

So, I'm having a battle with fleas here. I live on a farm in Costa Rica. It's very damp during the rainy season (now). We have two dogs. One of our cabins is infested. The lady living in it doesn't want it to be sprayed with carcinogenic crap, and I don't want the dogs' blood to be full of preventative chemicals, if I haven't seen a single flea on them for months.

She said some exterminators that came here last year and treated our place with that fungus that eats insects from the inside told her fleas don't need to live on dogs. They just feed for some time, but for the most part they make their nest in damp places. In our case it's all the cracks between the cabin walls and the porch floor, that are now canyons thanks to the many earthquakes we get.
This lady tried with DE and said it doesn't work. I don't know how she's applying it, but she does do a lot of internet researches. So far in this forum I read about feeding the dogs a teaspoon of ACV every day, as well as feeding them brewer's yeast, except we get it from the US for our salad and it's really expensive.

Can somebody please help with my situation? With dogs running out into the forest on some expedition every couple of weeks, they are bound to bring home some parassite or other. Also, with those cracks around the cabin, it's like having an empty hotel for fleas. Any help is welcome.
 
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Perhaps because it goes in and comes out moist,
diatomaceous earth is not unhealthy. In other words,
contact with mucous membrane renders it wet enough to
prevent damage to animal or man.

Does anyone have a better explanation of
why such sharp molecules do no harm to us,
and even benefit us therefore?
 
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Pardon me, this is my first post ever and I haven't figured things out yet.  SERGIO:  Working at a veterinarian's office for a number of years (though a long time ago), I can confirm that fleas do not need to live on the dog (or any other animal).  In fact, it is quite possible to have an infestation of fleas in your home even if you have no pets at all--they can simply hitch a ride into your home (or car) on a pants leg, sock, etc.  Then they will jump onto any warm blooded body (including humans) for a meal. This happened quite often when we would have a very wet and hot summer.  Fleas do indeed take up residence just about anywhere so, when treating the animal, it's necessary to treat the residence, the furniture, etc, paying particular attention to where the dog sleeps.  You could, for example, treat the dogs with DE or even a heavy duty insecticide (yuk), but it would be useless unless the dog's bed, couch, cracks in the floors and such were also treated.

I didn't know about DE back in those days and we haven't had pets in quite a few years, so I can't verify that it works on fleas from my own experience.  However, we've used it often in garages, basements, storage units, sheds and our home with excellent results.  I believe the key to success is to use it liberally and repeat the application fairly often--especially if it gets wet.  I have heard that it can be used directly on the animal, as well as in the animal's bedding.  This article might be helpful--it's long, but may be useful to you:
MotherEarthNewsArticle

Note that she mentions avoiding organophosphates and carbamares--these are very dangerous chemicals and are even more dangerous when combined (such as spraying on an animal and then having the animal wear a flea collar).  It actually increases the toxicity enormously.  She also mentions pyrethrins.  We used pyrethrin shampoos on very young puppies and kittens when they were badly infested with fleas--a severe flea infestation can be very dangerous to a tiny puppy or kitten.  I've never tried anything with d-Limonene, which she says is natural.  It might be worth doing some research on it.  But I would definitely try the DE first, which she recommends and she gives a 'battle plan' for tackling the fleas.

I hope this is helpful and you win the fight with the fleas, they can be a real challenge.  In my very first apartment, as a teenager, we had several cats and, naturally, my roommate and I ended up with a terrible infestation (the fleas loved our shag carpet!).  It was horrible--so bad, in fact, that my roommate wore flea collars on her ankles.  We had no idea back then about the dangers of the chemicals involved.
 
gardener
Posts: 827
Location: Ohio, USA
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Just tried after all this excitement. Applied on floors and furniture. Flea problem seemed to be gone, HOWEVER, it's not just dust. It's microscopic dust that stays in the air for like 1 hour. If you put it on soft furniture, it will microscopically "poof" every time you sit down, allowing you to take it in your lungs, resulting in lung irritation, dry throat and nose. If in a fairly enclosed area, like a house, it can suck the moisture out of the house. It feels like mid-winter without a humidifier, even though we turned on two humidifiers to negate the affects. Maybe the affects are temporarily, but I am not sure I will EVER use this stuff again. I think it should say "DANGER" because lung irritation and drying out of skin is in non-visible quantities of the stuff in the air. I come from a dusty place and was never bothered by the native dust, this was definitely different.
 
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I live in Sichuan Province, China. I am building an earthbag house and growing food in the mountains. This mountain has tons of diatomaceous earth. I use it instead of sand when making natural plaster.

I am curious to know if I can use it as a soil amendment. Actually, the small plot I am beginning to grow in is basically about 80-90% DE, with the remainder being decomposed leaves and plant matter and some clay.

Do I need to add a lot more compost to make up for the fact that the DE is in such high concentrations? My Chinese farmer friend said they used to grow sweet potatoes, potatoes, corn and more on this plot. I want to grow green leafy vegetables.

Dustin
Sichuan, Province China
 
steward
Posts: 2971
Location: Moved from south central WI to Portland, OR
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diatomaceous earth worked very well for a flea infestation in a crappy apartment I rented when I first got to Portland.  The apartment had wall to wall carpeting, and we noticed the fleas within a week.  The cat was most bothered.

I sprinkled it all over the carpets (wore a dust mask) and crawled around sort of lightly rubbing it into the carpet, then vacuumed.  Subsequently I reapplied lightly (without all the crawling around) and vacuumed again daily for a few days, then maybe every other day for several more days.  I didn't thoroughly vacuum right to the walls every time, I just let the white powder sit there close to the walls, for example.  (This was a very ugly apartment - we weren't having any guests, we were actively looking for better housing.)  Once I felt confident all the fleas were gone, I got out the hose attachment and vacuumed it all up.

The daily vacuuming is key, I think.  The vacuum sets off the "animal sensors" of the baby fleas, so they quick hatch out and climb up the carpet fiber, thinking they are going to find a deer or something, but instead they get sucked into a paper bag full of diatomaceous earth!  Ha ha suckers!!!

It didn't take a lot of time, nothing ever smelled bad, and the fleas all went away.

Worked for me.
 
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I know this is an old topic but I'm just reading it. One question I have not seen an answer to in browsing the thread is - Paul stated the only thing to make food grade DE ineffective is getting it wet. Also mentioned many folks eat it for health benefits. My knowledge always said to put a tablespoon in water and guzzle it. This will obviously get it wet. Is there a problem with that?
 
Julia Winter
steward
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I think DE is used for different things.  If you want it to kill insects, it needs to be dry, because it works by getting into their exoskeleton and cutting them up inside.

The people who mix it into orange juice I think are taking it as a silica supplement, not to kill insects.

This doesn't explain the idea that it will kill internal parasites -- I'm not sure how that works.
 
master steward
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If you are using apples for a pie, then you are probably going to cook those apples.  If you are trying to use apples for fresh eating, then you are probably going to not cook those apples.  

If you are going to use water for washing dishes, you might add soap.  If you are using water for drinking, I suggest that you don't add soap.

If you are trying to kill insects with an exoskeleton, then keep your DE dry.   If you are trying to ingest DE because you want to consume more silica, then you might want to mix a bit up in some juice.
 
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I know this is a really old post- I just wanted to say to those searching for a place that sells DE, Tractor Supply carries it.
 
pollinator
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Am going to get some for my potatoes to get rid of the bloody Colorado beetles that have stopped me from planting for the last 2 years. Watch this space. P.s. who wants to live to over 100? I need stronger and stronger glasses, my teeth sit in a jar at night and I need a new hip and knee. I'm only 58.
 
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Location: Central Oklahoma
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The article misses one MAJOR use for DE - sealing your dam.  Any leak in the dam can be abated by applying DE to the source (water side) and waiting for the DE to hold the sediment that gets pulled through.
 
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