We recently read about DE and decided to order some to use here on the farm.
DE is a natural substance which is made from the fossilised remains of tiny aquatic organisms whose skeletons are made from silica. It’s mainly used for insect control, although food grade DE can be purchased as there are some health benefits to using it on yourself (but I haven’t looked into this side of it!).
Although it’s a natural substance, you have to be a little careful when using it – I try not to breath it in, and keep it away from my eyes etc, as it can be harmful when sprinkling it around. It’s not poisonous, so safe to use here around the dog and chickens, which is what really attracted me to the idea of using it.
The insects don’t have to ingest it – simply walking through it will do the trick. To an insect, the powder is like thousands of shards of glass which penetrate the insect. It causes insects to dry out and die by absorbing the oils and fats from the insect’s exoskeleton – cool! This comes second only to exploding ants by mixing bicarbonate of soda and icing sugar! The bicarbonate expands inside them to explode them!
DE is only effective if it’s dry, so regular sprinkling is required. I have used some in the chicken coop and run, around the dogs kennel (she was being attacked by ticks daily poor thing) and around the outside of the house. So far it seems to be quite effective.
We’ve also sprinkled it around the bases of the trees where they get attacked by ants farming aphids up in the leaves, and that, combined with the systemic insecticide, is working rather well.
It’s also good to use around the vegetable garden to protect our crops, and we’re even using it in the house to deter critters coming in to bite us in the night, and around the bodega where we store food (mainly in jars, tins and plastic boxes, but you can’t be too careful!)
There really are A LOT of insects here!
You can buy DE online and it’s not too expensive – we bought a 25kg sack of it for about €25, but you can get it in smaller bags – might be a good option for lots of you in the garden!