Kill Bed Bugs with Diatomaceous Earth
When it comes to the total and utter destruction of bed bugs in your home, you don’t have to turn to harmful insecticides or chemicals.
All-natural, pet-friendly, non-toxic diatomaceous earth is an affordable and safe option for anyone dealing with bed bugs.
Let’s find out how diatomaceous earth kills bed bugs!
Diatomaceous Earth Bed Bugs
Bed bugs are nasty parasitic insects that often hide within the crevices of your mattress, sheets, pillows, and furniture. They sneak out of their hiding places during the night to feed on warm blood.
When a bed bug infestation is noticed, it’s usually already substantial, meaning that there are likely thousands of bed bugs in your home. Applying poisons or insecticides can be an expensive and potentially dangerous procedure.
Many people turn to natural solutions, such as diatomaceous earth. But before we can learn how this stuff kills bed bugs, we must first determine what it is.
What is Diatomaceous Earth?
Diatomaceous earth is a lot like sand. It has the texture and consistency of powder, though it is a bit thicker. Diatomaceous earth is made of fossilized diatoms.
Diatoms are a type of microalgae. They spend their lives in the ocean, and their bodies are made of silicon. When diatoms become diatomaceous earth, this silicon is still present. And it does some fantastic things to the exoskeletons of pesky insects.
This fossilized silicon is very tough and very abrasive. It slices through the protective coverings, or exoskeletons, of most insects with ease. Once a bug’s exoskeleton has been compromised, they’re on their way to the grave.
Diatomaceous earth has been used for ages as an insect repellent and pest treatment. But does it work on bed bugs?
Does Diatomaceous Earth Kill Bed Bugs?
The short answer is yes. When applied heavily and left for several days or weeks, diatomaceous earth does kill bed bugs and their eggs.
But bed bugs are smart. They will try to avoid walking through any diatomaceous earth they spot. This means that you must completely cover your problem areas, and most of your home, for the treatment to be effective.
Also, diatomaceous earth requires several days to exterminate bed bugs fully. Because it is so powdery, it is a breathing hazard. When applying diatomaceous sand, you must wear a breathing mask that fully covers your mouth and nose.
However, using diatomaceous earth to treat a bed bug infestation is one of the most environmentally and health-friendly options available. It will not introduce harmful or long-lasting chemicals into your home and can be vacuumed up easily.
The most common procedure when using diatomaceous earth is also to use heat. Heat treatments are another popular and non-toxic way of ridding your home of bed bugs. Using both diatomaceous earth and heat concurrently is sure to eliminate your bed bug problems.
How to Use Diatomaceous Earth for Bed Bugs
Diatomaceous earth must be sprinkled generously on your mattress, carpets, furniture, and in the seams between your baseboards, ceiling mouldings, windows, and doors. Any dark and cold crack that is large enough to host a bed bug should be sprinkled.
Heavier powdering should be reserved for trouble areas where multiple bed bugs have been spotted. This typically, though not always, means the bed and bedroom.
A protective mask should always be worn while applying diatomaceous earth. If inhaled, it could potentially pose a health risk.
Once all areas of your home have been blanketed in this powdery stuff, you can choose to pursue heat treatment, or simply wait. Concurrent heat treatment will increase the effectiveness of your diatomaceous earth treatment.
The waiting period generally lasts between seven and fourteen days. Once the diatomaceous earth has had this time to do its thing, you are free to vacuum it up. Frequent vacuuming will catch any errant bug bodies, eggs, or earth, and is a great way to prevent re-infestation.
Frequently Asked Questions
You can use Diatomaceous Earth on dogs, cats, and even humans without fear of getting sick. Make sure you only use “food grade” Diatomaceous Earth, as “filter grade” Diatomaceous Earth can be harmful to your pets. Moreover, take note that you should take extra care when using it or applying it in larger amounts. While the tiny particles are sharp and abrasive, which also speeds up the absorption process in insects, they can cause scratchiness or irritated skin and eyes.
Ideally, bed bugs are killed by diatomaceous earth by acting as a desiccant. Bed bugs often use the waxy coating they have on their bodies to preserve moisture and nutrients inside of them. Bed bugs eventually dehydrate and die when moisture escapes from coatings that have been punctured or damaged by DE powder. However, the use of diatomaceous earth alone will not completely eradicate bed bug infestations. The best use of diatomaceous earth is alongside heat treatment and other effective processes.
Application is based on the location of the infestation. Diatomaceous Earth should typically be dusted on your shelves, corners, and edges where the floor and wall meet. It should be positioned where the bugs are moving to let them pass through the DE. Once it has been applied to the flooring, it needs to be vacuumed once every seven days and then reapplied. It may take a total of four weeks or more to get rid of the majority of bed bugs.
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