Diatomeceous earth. Just saying it is fun. But what the hell is it? And what do you do with it?
Diatomeceous earth is a white, crumbly substance that is made from some interesting material. It’s basically crushed up diatoms. Duh. Okay, uhm, what are diotams? They are a type of phytoplankton – algae to be more exact. So, they’re super tiny uni-cellular organisms. Their cell walls are made of silica and are believed to have originated in the Jurassic period. The crushed up fossilized remains of these guys is what makes up diatomaceous earth.
One of the most well-known uses for diatomaceous earth is pest control. There are several different grades of diatomaceous earth. The one you’re going to want to use for any pests, whether it’s indoor or in your garden, is the food grade kind. Many farmers mix it right in their silos with corn to keep bugs at bay. I had some ants recently that just would not quit. I tried several different home remedies, including (but certainly not limited to) various essential oil concoctions and traps, all while keeping everything clean as a whistle. They kept coming back! I even resorted to a chemical spray. I thought that would really do them in – but it didn’t! My brother recommended diatomaceous earth, and I was able to procure some from a friend. You sprinkle it around where the wall and the floor meet, in crevices, and on the edges of your counter. The only down-side at first was it did look a little messy. If you decide to try it out, you might want to consider getting a cheap condiment bottle. The plastic kind with the nozzle on the top. You can fill that up and just sort of puff some diatomaceous earth in the areas you want it. It produces a very fine layer that is not as noticeable, but still does the trick.
So low and behold diatomaceous earth did what even chemical-horrible-for-you-and-kinda-scary Raid couldn’t. After the first day, no more ants. None. It had been months that I could not seem to get rid of them, and just a little bit of this and they were gone.
The diatomaceous earth particles are so fine it mostly just looks like talcum powder to us, but it’s actually got some really sharp edges to small insects. It causes cuts in the exoskeleton of bugs, and also ruins their waxy coat, dehydrating them. Brutal. It can take a week to work, but I was so impressed with the immediate difference. It is also very long lasting, and highly effective on various insects, including fleas and bedbugs.
There are other uses for DE as well. You can use it to deodorize shoes, carpets and kitty litter. Due to its abrasiveness, you can mix it with lemon and vinegar for an all natural cleaner. I also hear it absorbs oil stains on clothes and pavement. It works like a dream in the garden for any kind of bug or slug.
So, here’s something else. I’m going to tell you this and tell you to take it with a grain of salt because I haven’t found much solid scientific evidence for it, mainly just testimonials. Some people mix about a teaspoon of DE into water and drink it once, maybe twice a day. It’s supposed to really help your digestive system, and rid you of any weird bacteria or other little things in your system. People rave about it for it’s weight loss benefits, wrinkle reduction, and hair growth! There’s testimonials of people saying that after ingesting it for a while, they were no longer bald. I also hear that it gets rid of gray hair. That might be the most likely claim because of all the silica in DE (it’s about 85%). Gray hair is often a result of not having enough silica in your diet. Again, so I hear.
It cures everything. Just like coconut oil, and (yup) kombucha. I’m not saying all the claims for any of those things are true, but if you do a little research and deem it safe, why not give it a shot? Let me know … because I’m too scared to try it. I will tell you it has been the most successful ant deterrent I have ever encountered, and that alone is something.