DE and the Truth about DE : LUSENET : Freedom! self reliance : One Thread

I have used Diatomaceous earth for all of the things it is supposed to be good for...I don't think it's as grand as it's made out to be. I have spread it on fire ant mounds with absolutely no effect on the ant populace whatsoever. I put it in my goats feed mix and they still had worms. I have had some success with it *helping* to control flies and some success with it helping to keep fleas down on kittens. That's it.

What are you real experiences with the wonder of DE? I get tired of hearing how it's so fabulous for everything and it is a help, but not a fix all for a bunch of problems. it might help to keep fleas away in the north where it freeezes solid for 4 months, but here...Nope. Can't say as it does the job.

-- Doreen (, July 04, 2001


I think it is a waste of money.

-- Green (, July 05, 2001.

I have no idea what those huge white grubs are that overwinter in my barn, under the shavings. But when we clean out the barn in April, there are tons of them. The hens love them. But this has been the only plus to the DE, there were none. I used the DE as a bottom layer, and anytime I added more shavings I also added more DE. I also had an incredibly horrible asthma winter in my barn, so much so that I will not be kidding in the winter again, this is after 14 years of December kids so my girls would be showable in Feburary and the Houston Livestock Show. I really didn't put the lung irritant/DE quotionent and my asthma together until recently at a goat meeting somebody else was concerened that their does were pawing up the bedding with the DE in it. They were just having sneezing attacks and did go to the doctor at one point because she thought she had pnemonia from all the wheezing she was doing. Surely it was air borne. more DE here for me. Vicki

-- Vicki McGaugh (, July 05, 2001.

I have used DE to control fireants but it has to be applied weekly to every hill or after every rain. It works best around the areas I feed my dog in and where I store my feed cans. I just yesterday refreshed those areas. They stay dry and the ants have to crawl through it to get to the feed. Works well on roaches under the same conditions. I've used to dust my dog's "laying" holes that she sleeps in and it will kill the insects in the hole but if they're all over the dog and/or scattered over the yard you'll have to cope with those situations as well.

I've used it in the hen house to keep mites and lice down and have eliminated red mites and scaly leg mites with a liberal application repeated as necessary. I typically mix it four to one with powdered sulphur for these uses.

I think most folks don't understand how DE works which is why they get poor results. It's that small percentage of sharp silicate material (the diatom shells of which there is 3% or less in the NON-heat treated type that many people erroneously call "food grade")that does the job and it works by slicing through the soft tissue of chitinous insects to dehydrate their body fluids. It won't work if it gets wet, it won't work on insects resistant to such injuries (like us humans) which means it'll have poor to non-existant positive results on internal worms and it has no residual power if it gets wet or swept away. It works best on insects with shells that have soft tissue between the chitinous plates but some types of beetles that are nearly all hard shell won't be noticeably affected.

It has uses in food storage as well but there are more effective measures that can be taken with nearly as little effort so I no longer use DE for that purpose.


-- Live Oak (, July 05, 2001.

The only way to get DE to work on ant mounds is to dig it in... Dangerous prospect if its a huge mound!! You also have to spread the stuff over acres (seems like) so it gets into them from everywhere. It works.... but IS too much work for me, lol!

I don't know about the rest of the uses... This stuff reminds me of the old 'patent' remedies! They would cure everything - sure enough make you feel better from the high levels of alcohol, no doubt, lol!

-- Sue Diederich (, July 05, 2001.

I used it under my apple trees and it 100% got rid of grub/catapillar type bugs..used it on the fire ant mounds and I think they laughed at me...used it in my garden and again it killed the grub-like things. I do not feel it is worth the cost myself, at $5 per pound.

-- lesley (, July 05, 2001.

!!!$5 per POUND!!!!! yikes. I get 50 lb bags for $25 from one of the feed stores here. It used to be $18. It does do a good job in the hen house. I just get irritated with the claims about the bleeding fire ants. I have covered around my barn and in the area my does roll in the dirt right out side and STILL they get into the barn, and get into my feed. That is a pain in the neck and caused me to be rather upset over all the claims regarding DE.

I do understand how it works, and it does a good job on the soft bodied things and mites, but it doesn't work tremendously well for really knocking down a fly problem, or a flea problem. So it is good for some things and not the best for others. I guess the capper was someone telling me it would help on the hoppers. HA! I hate the hoppers more than the IRS and put one in a jar with a bunch of DE and he lived for four days. That isn't killing. He was living in the stuff.

-- Doreen (, July 05, 2001.

"HA! I hate the hoppers more than the IRS"

HE-HE-HOHO!! At least the hoppers are only able to "starve" you out....the IRS can starve, bankrupt, freeze (leave you homeless) and draw and quarter you!! Are you SURE you hate hoppers more?? LOL!! My heart is with you...I have the same battle with SQUASH BUGS---HATE EM, HATE EM!!!

As for the DE, I agree. Some things, not others!! Just wish I could find a local source, other than the 4# bags. Don't bother with those!

-- Wendy@GraceAcres (, July 06, 2001.

For fleas, try boric acid powder. It is sold under many names. Flee Flea, Flea Busters, and some other roach products. The stuff isn't poisonous, and it dries out their bodies so they don't bother you anymore. My sister used it on her fleas and managed to get rid of spiders, roaches and ants too. We went to look at a house and came back covered with the little buggers. They got into Joe's car, and we both looked like we had a case of the chicken pocks. I went down to Walmart, bought a pure boric acid product for roachs. Joe puffed it into his car and vacuumed it several hours later. He saw one more flea the next day, then they were gone like magic. Bye Bye fleas!

*Note: The Roach stuff says it against federal law to use the roach stuff in a manner inconsistent with it's labeling, so if you use it for fleas you will be a lawbreaker. Evil! Evil!

Little Bit Farm

-- Little bit Farm (, July 06, 2001.

DE has worked really well for keeping the lice population reduced on the goats. I usually clip them first, then rub it in well all over their body. The trouble is that it is very irritating to breathe the stuff, but then so is Sevin dust!! I mix DE in with the loose salt just in case it does help with intestinal parasites. I have read conflicting studies on this, some which say it has no effect whatever, and others which say it works really well, so well that no chemicals are needed. I wonder what efect the DE has on the worm eggs laying around in the manure? I would not put it under the bedding or just scatter it here and there through the barn, because it kills more than just the bad insects. I was also very concerned about the earthworms and the widespread use of it on the garden and beneficial insects( all the manure eventually ends up on the garden).

-- Rebekah (, July 06, 2001.

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