Diatomaceous Earth for Bed Bugs and Insects


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.

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  1. Jose A Garcia

    Sounds good, where can I find the locations where they sell it physically in stores?????????????? in McAllen, TX 78539

    Thank you!!!!!

  2. Raven

    Had a thought and wanted to know if it’s been tested. I was wondering what would happen if I put dry bedding in the dryer with a small amount of diatomaceous earth. I know if the bedding is wet it’ll negate the effects but i was wondering if by putting a moderate amount in after the clothes or bedding were already dried if it would essentially spread the powder into the fabrics and help create a barrier to prevent them from nesting in the clean clothes.

    • Leta Rosetree

      You do not want it where you or a pet can inhale it; so putting it on bedding is not a good idea.

    • Sharon Beckmon

      I am pretty sure that you will be sorry if you use it in your dryer. breathing it is a hazard., so why would you want it on every inch of your sheets.(to breathe it in all night?)…do you have a death wish?
      DON’T DO IT

    • Stacy

      High heat setting for 30-45 minutes should kill them, anyway.

  3. Delores

    Will it also kill roaches? We are an assisted living community and have been paying an exterminator a lot of money each month to rid our buildings of roaches.

    • Karen

      It should. It works on all exoskeleton insects, which cockroaches definitely are.

    • cyndi

      It kills all bugs that have an ecoskelleton..lice, roaches, bedbugs, etc

    • Sue standley

      Just wondered what kind of bugs it kills

    • dean

      boric acid spread along the walls and where they crawl is better for roaches.

  4. Yolanda

    Is the food grade as effective for bed bugs?

    • cyndi

      Only use food grade in your home and it is still just as beneficial while being much safer than filter grade.

      • Leta Rosetree

        Only food grade should be used, and cats and dogs should NOT be dusted with it, because it contains silica, an abrasive, that damages lungs, stomachs, the whole digestive system. Animals lick and scratch their skin, inhaling the fine dust it creates, so don’t risk it. And ‘natural’ or organic does not guarantee safety. There are many organic and natural substances that are poisonous to our pets.

    • dean

      it is better and SAFER to use food grade. pool filter grade has 70 to 80 percent silica food grade 2 percent …if you have pets DO NOT use the filter grade. it is very dangerous in ANY quantity,

  5. Lenae Stenerodden

    Hi- I often Foster animals for rescue groups and ioccasionally dog ticks are brought in to my yard because of it I was told by someone that food-grade –safe for my dogs would be safe and would kill dog ticks -Is that true?
    That’s my highest priority!Thank U Much!
    Scottsdale, AZ

    • cyndi

      Yes. It kills everything with an ectoskeleton. It is safe for Ani as but dusty so maybe put them out when applying it. You can rub it in their coats

    • dean

      i wouldnt use it directly on your dogs. it will irritate their sinuses very badly.

    • Max

      Yes, this WILL work on dogs. In fact, it works on all livestock as well. My dad uses it religiously on his farm and it’s always worked. Sprinkle a little in the food and they’ll be clear in a few weeks.

    • Yes it will kill ticks BUT it is also dangerous when inhaled by animals that scratch or lick themselves, inhaling the dust. Best ask your veterinarian for a safe flea killer. DE is actually silica (glass), an abrasive that damages lungs and other mucous membranes.

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