Diatomaceous Earth

Garden insectHave you heard of Diatomaceous Earth?

Chances are you haven’t but you need to learn about it.  It can really help your garden if you have an insect problem.  And the best part is the fact that it is completely safe to humans and pets.  Diatomaceous Earth or DE for short is the fossilized remains of marine phytoplankton that often looks like a soft white powder.  Bugs that have an exoskeleton such as fleas and ants will get the DE caught in their joints and it will cut up their bodies.  To these animals it is like razor blades that cuts them to pieces.  But to humans and other mammals it is completely harmless.  In fact if grains are a regular part of your diet chances are you have eaten DE.  As grains are stored with DE to stop bugs and insects from eating them.

Farmers use Diatomaceous Earth on their crops and also feed it to their animals as many believe it will kill any insects that may be plaguing their animals.  Many people eat it as a supplement as well.  If you do intend on consuming it make sure you purchase the food grade variety.  People mix it into juice and they swear it cleans their colons and keeps them fore healthy.  One note of caution if you do plan on consuming it is to make sure you don’t inhale the powder.  The powder may make it’s way to your lungs and this may be dangerous.

DE kills bugs by physical means not chemical means.  This is beneficial for two reasons.  One we are not polluting our environment.  And two the insects can’t build up an immunity to it.  Therefore we can be sure that it will still work in the future when other repellents may become ineffective as insects become able to adapt to chemicals.

You must keep it dry for it to be potent.  If for some reason it gets wet it will no longer kill the insects.  So storage is extremely important.

There is a pool grade DE and you don’t want to use that.  You definitely want to use the food grade.  The pool grade variety may contain up to 70% crystalline silica, so it should be avoided.  To be considered food grade DE it must have less than a half of a percent of crystalline silica.

Now you know the benefits of DE and if you haven’t used it in your garden, now is the time to start.

 

 

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