Natural Prevention Works Just as Well
If you are here, then you no doubt have an issue with fleas, whether some have bitten you, or your pets have fleas – or if you just want to know how to prevent them from infesting your pets and your home – you’ve come to the right place.
Fortunately, a number of viable natural remedies exist, and the next few posts will be dedicated to looking at each of them and their usefulness against fighting current infestations and preventing new ones.
What is Diatomaceous Earth?
Diatomaceous earth is made from ground up diatom remains, which contain silica. They are tiny little animals that are kind of like crustaceans that have been fossilized. Diatomaceous Earth is good for pretty much anything you can think of including pest control and alleviating various ailments.
Sprinkling some of the ground up shells that make up the diatomaceous earth around your home both inside and out will stop bugs from becoming permanent pests.
How Diatomaceous Earth Works
The reason DE works is a bit gruesome, but effective. The diatom fossils are ground up to create the powder we know as DE. The fossils break into microscopic pieces with extremely sharp edges (see left photo).
When DE gets on the pests, it sticks to them and lacerates the exoskeletons, causing them to become dehydrated while absorbing oils and moisture.
No matter how much water they have available to drink, they will not survive – period.
Why Use Diatomaceous Earth, and How?
DE is available in different grades:
Food grade DE: Food grade DE is chalky, and is finer than 100x powdered sugar, It does a better job sticking to and lacerating pests. Food grade DE is highly recommended as a pest control product, but it also treats a number of human and pet ailments.
For example, humans use it to aid digestion and alleviate constipation, while you can feed it to pets to kill parasites and alleviate constipation. While other DE grades are non-toxic, food grade DE is the only one safe around food children and pets.
Sprinkle it into your carpets and fabric covered furniture and then vacuum a day later – do this at least once a week. After vacuuming, lightly dust the corners of the rooms, under and behind furniture – anywhere fleas might hide.
Non-food grade DE: This on the other hand is not ground as fine, so it does not stick to the pests as well as the food grade does. However, it still does an excellent job at preventing infestations. It is best used outdoors where children or pets are not likely to inhale it.
DE Dangers: The only real danger to using DE is that it can cause skin irritation if a lot of it gets on your skin. While DE can irritate your lungs, you would essentially have to stick your head in a bucket of DE and inhale half of it to cause a problem, such as shortness of breath or wheezing.
Generally speaking, the amount used during disbursement as an insect repellant generally doesn’t cause any health problems, but if you want to be safe you can wear a mask rated to filter out particles as small as .3 microns.
Otherwise, Diatomaceous Earth makes a better preventative measure against fleas than treatment for flea infestations simply because of the way it works. It takes a long time for the pests to dehydrate, up to two weeks in some cases.
When it does finally tart working, you will begin to notice fewer and fewer of the pests until they are practically non-existent. Keeping up with the use of DE will likely rid your home of all bugs that have exoskeletons for good. This includes fleas, bed bugs, roaches, and other pest types.
The best part about DE? It is extremely cheap. You can get a jar of food grade DE from any local megamart or online for about $10 a pound.
Have you used Diatomaceous Earth before? Let us know below!