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Can Diatomaceous Earth Be Used to Get Rid of Bed Bugs?

Diatomaceous Earth and Bed Bugs
Diatomaceous earth is a mineral-based pesticide that is abrasive in nature. It causes insects to die by absorbing the fat from their exoskeletons. This write-up provides ways to get rid of bed bugs using this pesticide.
Smita Pandit
Last Updated: May 31, 2018
Bed bugs are small nocturnal bugs with flattened bodies. Their flattened bodies help them to enter the narrow crevices or cracks in the house. These can easily enter into the seams in the mattresses. Being nocturnal, these come out of their hiding place at night. When they come in contact with the skin, they pierce into the skin to feed on human blood. Since they reproduce at a fast rate, it becomes essential to get rid of them. Diatomaceous earth (DE), which is also referred to as diatomite, can be used to get rid of these pests.

What is Diatomaceous Earth?

Diatomaceous earth is actually a mineral-based pesticide made from tiny fossilized shells of marine plants called diatoms. Magnesium, silicon, calcium, iron, manganese, copper, titanium, sodium, and boron are some of the minerals present in this pesticide. If your house in infested with bed bugs, ants, cockroaches, silverfish, and mites, it would be a good idea to use this product. It also works wonders when it comes to controlling the infestation of aphids, thrips, and earwigs.

How Does it Work

The best way to know if your house is infested with these bugs is to look for brownish-red specks around the seams of your mattress. If you notice such marks, all you need to do is buy the food-grade DE. The one that is in an amorphous form can pose certain health risks and must not be used at all.

DE is an abrasive powder. It is also highly absorbent in nature. These properties are responsible for its ability to kill insects. Since it is highly abrasive, the pests die of lacerations. The protective covering of the insects is also absorbed by this powder. As a result, the insects get dehydrated and die.

Before you apply this abrasive powder, wear a face mask so that you don't end up inhaling this powder. Keep your pets away while you apply it around the crevices and cracks around the bed. Mix it with a little water and apply it using a paint brush. Make sure that you run the brush around the cracks and crevices at all places in your homes, as these bugs can crawl into the tiniest of the spaces. They could even be hiding under the crevices of the walls or the cracks in furniture. Make sure that you wash the bedding or linen with hot water more often. Using a steam cleaner on the mattress might also help. Since these bugs can crawl from the walls onto the bed, it would be better if your bed doesn't touch the walls.

Being a dust, diatomaceous earth can cause irritation, if it comes in contact with the eyes or skin. Thus, it is advisable to wear a protective mask and gloves while using it.