When fleas invade your home, you should be well-prepared to battle it out because they are often too stubborn to get rid of. But riding your yard of fleas can be challenging sometimes, especially if you are not sure what tools to use or even where to start.
Over the last couple of years, people have been introduced to several flea removal methods, such that it is becoming hard to choose the right one for your needs.
Some believe that only pesticides and flea collars will chase away fleas, while others advocate for a natural approach because the chemicals in the former can harm your family and pets.
While there is no single solution to fight the flea problem, this post will focus on a substance called diatomaceous earth (DE).
What is Diatomaceous Earth?
Diatomaceous earth is a superb insect killer that is both long-lasting and non-toxic. It is a fine powder that comprises of microscopic remains of fossilized algae called diatoms. It is effective because it cuts at the waxy layer that protects fleas.
This substance can also block up and damages the fleas’ respiratory system. In the real sense, diatomaceous earth causes the fleas to die because of lack of air and dehydration.
Diatomaceous earth was discovered back in the 1830s when an old farmer found a hard substance that he initially mistaken it for limestone. The ancestors of today’s diatomaceous earth settled in bed on the floors of ancient but non-existent lakes.
This product can be now mined and used for different purposes. Besides fighting fleas, diatomaceous earth has been used for a variety of industrial, farm, medical, and even food-based situations.
How to Use Diatomaceous Earth in Your Yard?
It is not enough to treat your pets alone, because some fleas could jump into neighboring areas, such as your yard. So, you need to also thoroughly clean your yard. Even before that, you should first prepare it for treatment by picking weeds and mowing grass.
On top of this, check for infected areas and remove other clutter like leaves, wood, and molds of rock. The more clutter you have in your yard, the more place fleas can take refuge.
Once you have pinpointed all the infested areas in your yard, you can apply diatomaceous earth. The best time to apply this product is during dry weather because they only work effectively in dust form. You can use a dust spreader to sprinkle DE into the infested areas. Alternatively, you can toss handfuls of dust to the infected areas.
If you know the weather will be dry enough for at least weak or so, you can mix the dust with water and sprayed it on your yard. The goal here is to let diatomaceous earth to retune to its dust form, which will be effective in killing fleas.
Is Diatomaceous Earth Safe for Pets?
Generally, diatomaceous earth is harmless for pets. But it is critical that you use food-grade DE for pet applications. When you are shopping in-store or online, read the label carefully or verify the grade with the vendor.
Choosing the wrong grade of DE may compromise the health of your pets. Usually, industrial-grade DE is not safe not only for pets but also for humans. That’s why experts advise that you wear gloves when removing pests from your garden or pets using DE.
Overall, diatomaceous earth is an effective, non-toxic alternative to chemical pesticides. So, if you are worried about using pesticides in and around your home, you are safe dusting your pets with DE. After all, it can control other external parasites besides fleas, including ticks, ants, and flies.
Can You Use Diatomaceous Earth on Your Lawn?
When you sprinkle diatomaceous earth over lawns, the powder will repel and control fleas and other similar pests. To get rid of lawn pests, mix and apply wettable powders in the right proportions. Here are the exact steps:
- While DE is not poisonous to animals and humans, you should wear protective clothing, such as long pants, gloves, and a face mask. It can cause irritation if it gets into your eyes or nose.
- Apply the dust on a dry day. You can mix the DE powder with water or dampen the lawn first, then apply the powder. The light misting will help the powder to stick into your grass.
- Spay the DE into the lawn in a thin and even coat until you cover the entire lawn area, including the surrounding perimeters.
- You can apply DE once a month or at least after each hard rain
Can You Use Diatomaceous Earth in Your Garden?
Diatomaceous earth is usually categorized as a non-toxic insect repellant and is in fact recognized as a treatment in organic farming. But you should be keen not to overuse it. When used in correct proportions, DE can be foolproof in controlling a variety of destructive pests in your garden.
Because of silica skeletons in DE, fleas and insects get tiny cuts when they crawl over soil treated with DE. And when their bodies get cut, they eventually dehydrate and die. Besides this, DE can also absorb fats from these insects, thus causing dehydration.
How Long it Takes to Kill Fleas with Diatomaceous Earth?
When used appropriately, diatomaceous earth can kill off fleas within a few days. What it does is that it punctures the fleas’ waxy exoskeleton using it sharp particles.
And once it gets inside, the DE powder sucks all the moisture in their bodies, and consequently, dehydrating them to death. On average, it may take up to two days to eradicate the pests entirely. But you may see the first results after 12 hours.
Can Diatomaceous Earth Kill Other Insects Too?
As mentioned before, diatomaceous earth is not only lethal to fleas, but it can also kill a number of pests. Besides fleas, it can kill other hard-shell insects, such as cockroaches, ticks, beetles, and bedbugs.
The product is also effective in controlling soft-bodied insects, too, including aphids, caterpillar, and snugs.
So, there you have it. Hopefully, we have answered all of your questions about diatomaceous earth. It is a great pest control products that are also environmentally friendly. While it is not a harmful substance, try covering your mouth and nose when using diatomaceous earth.
If you inhale large amounts of this substance, it can cause coughing and irritate nasal passages, especially if you are sensitive to dust particles.