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What Is Diatomaceous Earth & Can it Kill Pests?

Learn if diatomaceous earth works for bed bugs in this Howcast pest control video with expert Jeff White.


My name is Jeff White and I am the research entemalogist for Bed Bug Central and the host of Beg Bug TV, I have no idea how I got into bugs and bed bugs, and here I am six years later and having a lot of fun working with bed bugs and will be talking to you about pest control. Diatomaceous earth or DE, what is it and will it work for bed bugs? What you need to know about diatomaceous earth is that it is made from a crushed fossil called a diatome, and what it is is a white dust, or typically a white dust that is made from a crushed fossil that you can apply in your house for a lot of different reasons. If you do some research you are actually going to find out that DE is commonly used in pool filters, it also can be used as a supplement to a diet, you can find it in pill form that you can take. There are even certain forms that you can put on your dog to treat for different issues, whether its fleas or other types of bugs. And, o how does it work for bed bugs and what is it going to do, Well this pesticide, diatomaceous earth is going to be a dessicant and what that means is its going to dry a bed bug out. And so, if this dust gets on a bug its going to be very abrassive to that bugs exoskeleton and then dry it out and potentially kill it. And so, will it actually work, yes it will. Labs have found that DE will kill bugs on contact. The most important thing about using DE in your home is knowing that these other formulations that you can use in a pool filter, the ones that you can take as part of your diet, you want to make sure that you are purchasing DE that was made for pest control reasons and so go out there, do some research and find the ones that were made by people who were intending it to be used for pest control. Once you buy it you also want to make sure that you follow the labels directions. People think of this is a green pesticide, it's made from crushed fossils, I'm just going to spread it all over my house. Remember that it is still a pesticide, and it does still have toxicity issues with it all be it very low toxicity but it does still exist so you want to follow the label directions and you want to be applying it to cracks and crevices. It may say you can dump it on the floor but remember that bed bugs hide in cracks and crevices and so you want to be applying that dust to those areas to address bed bugs most appropriately. But the bottom line is that yes, you can use DE to kill bed bugs. If you get it to bed bugs, it will kill a lot of bed bugs and it can be a very good product to use as part of a control program. It won't alone solve your bed bug problem.

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