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Eliminate Bed Bugs and Insects
Diatomaceous earth is a popular natural way to eliminate bed bugs, insects, and other annoying critters. Here’s everything you need to know about eliminating bed bugs and insects in your home using diatomaceous earth.
About Diatomaceous Earth
Diatomaceous earth (DE) is a powdery substance prized for its ability to naturally kill bed bugs and other pests. Today, DE is used all over the world as a natural insecticide and pesticide.
Diatomaceous earth is a naturally-occurring substance derived from algae-like plants known as diatoms. Diatoms have existed on earth for millions of years and are some of the oldest organisms on our planet. When diatoms die, they leave behind a powder-like substance known as diatomite. Manufacturers use this diatomite to create diatomaceous earth.
There are two types of diatomaceous earth: food-grade and filter-grade. Typically, you use food-grade diatomaceous earth on your gardens and pets, while filter-grade diatomaceous earth is used in pool filters or to kill bed bugs.
How Does Diatomaceous Earth Eliminate Bed Bugs?
Many homeowners have successfully eliminated bed bug infestations using diatomaceous earth. All you need is a small amount of powder and an applicator to naturally get rid of bed bugs.
With diatomaceous earth, there’s no need for toxic chemicals or exterminator fees. It’s an organic solution that works time and time again. It’s also cheap compared to other bed bug extermination methods.
Here’s how diatomaceous earth works: each particle of DE contains microscopic sharp edges. When bed bugs are exposed to these sharp edges, their exoskeletons are eviscerated. Once the exoskeletons are removed, the drying action of diatomaceous earth goes to work. The bed bugs dry out and die.
One of the biggest advantages of using diatomaceous earth to kill bed bugs is that it works physically: this isn’t a toxic chemical solution. The bed bugs can’t adapt to it or become immune: diatomaceous earth works over and over again and does not lose power over time.
How to Use Diatomaceous Earth on Bed Bugs
The secret to using diatomaceous earth on bed bugs is to put DE on the paths where bed bugs are forced to crawl.
To start, you apply diatomaceous earth to the parts of your bedroom affected by bed bugs. Use a shaker or applicator and avoid pouring the diatomaceous earth like sand or sugar.
I recommend surrounding each of the four legs of your bed with diatomaceous earth. Then, when the insects try to crawl into bed with you, they’ll be coated with DE and die.
You may also consider putting diatomaceous earth in other parts of your bed – like the joints, crevices, and rung holders.
Dust your mattress and focus on the folds and edges. Coat the cracks and crevices in your bedroom walls. Remove electrical outlet covers and place DE inside.
Repeat this routine for several days until you no longer have bed bug problems.
Tips for Using Diatomaceous Earth to Get Rid of Bed Bugs
— Bed bugs can lay 1 to 5 eggs every day. These eggs have an incubation period of about 10 days and require about 5 blood feedings to reach adult size, at which point they will begin laying eggs themselves. That’s why repeated diatomaceous earth application is important.
— Before applying diatomaceous earth, wash all parts of your bedding with Clorox and soap, then dry that bedding on the highest setting. If you have a steam cleaner, use it to clean your mattress and box springs. After putting the bedding back on your bed, make sure the bed (and the skirting) is not touching any of your walls. This will reduce your chances of exposure to bed bugs.
— Remember: bed bugs don’t fly. They walk around on four legs. As soon as these legs are coated with dust, the bed bug will most likely die. Your goal is to put diatomaceous earth between the bed bugs and yourself to maximize your chances of exposing the bed bug.
— Other types of blood feeding parasites that you may encounter include bat bugs, chimney swift bugs, and swallow bugs. These bugs typically feed on bats and birds, although they can also be found in homes. Fortunately, diatomaceous earth targets all of these critters.
— Bed bugs aren’t always dependent on you for their blood source: they can also feed on mice and birds in your home. In other words, you should put diatomaceous earth all over your home – not just between your walls and the bed.
— Learn to spot the symptoms of a bed bug infestation: look on your mattress and sheets for signs of black fecal matter (from the bed bugs) as well as blood smears (from you being bitten by the bugs). Those who are bitten will also have red, itchy bites across their body.
— Only use diatomaceous earth in areas where it will not get kicked up or disturbed by walking or other house hold activities. Diatomaceous earth can be harmful for pets and humans to breathe in.
— Wear protective gear when applying diatomaceous earth, including gloves, a dust mask, and goggles.
Downsides of Using Diatomaceous Earth as a Bed Bug Killer
Diatomaceous earth isn’t perfect. It doesn’t work 100% of the time. Sometimes, you might spread copious amounts of diatomaceous earth all around your bedroom – only to completely miss where the bed bugs are coming from.
Other downsides of diatomaceous earth include:
— It can take up to 10 days to kill a bed bug after the bug makes contact with diatomaceous earth (which is why repeated applications are important, because even contacted beg bugs can lay uncontacted eggs)
— Even food-grade diatomaceous earth can be harmful when breathed in (the microparticles can irritate your mucous membranes, nose, skin, and eyes)
— If you put too much diatomaceous earth between bed bugs and their target, then the bed bugs will simply avoid the powder, which is why you should only apply a thin layer
Ultimately, you can pay an exterminator hundreds of dollars to remove bed bugs from your home. Or, you can buy a bottle of diatomaceous earth for between $10 and $20. Even if it doesn’t work 100% of the time, diatomaceous earth is a good preventative measure to help you avoid bed bug infestations in your home.