A surprising, natural remedy is winning praise for its work at drying out problem pests, including fleas and roaches. Diatomaceous earth (DE) is made of ancient algae skeletons with mummifying properties.
Where does it come from?
How does it work?
Under a microscope, the grains look sort of like abstract art, resembling porous cylinders and other shapes.
The dust is scratchy. DE cuts through the bugs’ exoskeletons, absorbing the oils and fats from the pests — essentially mummifying them.
It targets common problem critters, including ants, roaches, and fleas. The powder also works against slugs and tomato hornworms.
“Insects require a certain level of humidity or moisture to thrive,” Scaravella told Insider.
By drying out the places the bugs like to live, the powder is taking down the welcome sign, making your home and garden inhospitable to them.
How do you use it?
For best use, Insider suggests finding the source of the infestation and putting the powder inside and around nests. It can be applied near the base of houseplants, as well.
The dust can be irritating to the skin and eyes, so wear a mask when using large amounts, the Farmers’ Almanac suggests.
It can be put at the base of outdoor plants.
“[O]r use it to create a barrier [bugs] won’t cross,” the Almanac notes.
And be sure to reapply the powder after it rains.
Where do I get it?
DE can be bought online for around $15, depending on the size. Harris, one company that sells DE, sources it from Nevada. It can be part of a more planet-friendly garden, utilizing natural ways to eliminate pests.
DE, however, “is prized” for its effectiveness and safety, Insider wrote.
It can also be a household science lesson.
“Tell your kids it’s ‘skeleton powder.’ Or that it slashes and dehydrates bugs to death! If you have boys, especially, they may look at your natural pantry with a whole new respect,” Wellness Mama blogger Katie Wells wrote.
Join our free newsletter for easy tips to save more, waste less, and help yourself while helping the planet.