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Diatomaceous Earth: A Natural Way for Flea Control

Diatomaceous Earth: A Natural Way for Flea Control
Apart from the house, even your pet and livestock that includes cows and goats can benefit from the use of diatomaceous earth to kill fleas. This HomeQuicks post discusses more about this natural way for flea control.
HomeQuicks Staff
Last Updated: Apr 22, 2018
Did You Know?
Diatomaceous earth (DE) used for swimming pool maintenance is not recommended for flea control. Instead, always use food grade DE to get rid of fleas infestation.
Diatomaceous Earth is a safe, non-toxic product that can be effective to get rid of flea infestation. This off-white talc-like powder is made from the fossilized remains of freshwater unicellular organisms called diatoms. Diatoms are oceanic algae like plants that are thought to have expired more than 30 million years ago. Their skeletal remains have accumulated over the years, which are then mined and ground up, leaving a thick, white, siliceous powder, referred to as diatomaceous powder.

Diatomaceous earth can safely be used around the house, without worrying about kids and pets. But at the same time, it can be deadly against bugs, particularly fleas. This natural compound is essentially a mineral-based compound, hence, its usage is unlikely to carry any health risk.
How Diatomaceous Earth Kills Fleas
This fine flour-like powder can extensively damage the exoskeleton, the outer hard shell of the fleas. The exoskeleton plays a crucial role to preserve body moisture as well as protect internal organs. DE, known for its razor-sharp particles, literally eats through the exoskeleton. No wonder DE exposure can easily crack the exoskeleton, which breaks open. DE then draws out all the internal moisture, eventually making the insect lifeless.
The question of bugs becoming resistant to DE does not arise, because it has a mechanical mode of action in which the outer shell of the bug is destroyed. As there is no chemical action, the fleas simply cannot build resistance to it.
Usage
Identify the problem areas where flea infestation is suspected. This may include the carpets, bedding (including pet bedding), cabinets, sinks, drains, areas of plumbing pipe access, baseboards, window frames, cracks, and crevices. Sprinkle this natural product in these infested areas and let it remain overnight. In the morning, use a vacuum cleaner to clear the mess. You will have to repeat this process as and when required to substantially reduce the flea population.
DE is one of the few natural remedies that can be spread directly onto your pet's coat. Even if your pet ingests a small quantity of it, there is nothing to worry about. So, with DE, you not only treat flea infestation around the house, but also infestation that affects your pet. In simple words, you don't have to look for another treatment to control fleas on your pet. The use of this non-toxic product can also be extended to livestock, that includes cows, sheep, horses, pigs, and rabbits. Though, make sure you talk with your veterinarian, before using DE on your pet. He/she may suggest a flea-fighting plan that works well to restore your pet's health.
Precautions
⦿ Although food grain DE is non-toxic, you need to exercise caution when using it for flea control. The very fine particles of DE can easily become airborne, which upon inhalation, can cause nasal irritation and hurt the lungs. Thus, whenever sprinkling DE, make sure that you have put on a face mask. Also, people who are asthmatic or have other breathing disorders should stay away from using DE.
⦿ DE has to be used as it is; as given in powdered form. Combining it with water and using it as a spray lessens its effectiveness as far as combating flea infestation is concerned. Similarly, in damp or humid conditions, DE attracts excessive moisture, making it clumpy and wet. Using it when clumping occurs can also make it less effective in controlling fleas.
⦿ While DE can directly spread onto the pet's skin, you should not leave the powder for too long, for DE is known for its skin drying effect. Wash it off within 12 hours of application, and make sure that the nose, mouth, and the eyes of your pet do not come in direct contact with the DE powder.