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Natural Pest Control
Using Garden or Food Grade DE (Diatomaceous Earth)



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Food Grade DE

Garden Grade DE (Diatomaceous Earth)

Over 400,000 tons of pesticides are applied each year by American farmers with less than one-tenth of one percent actually reaching targeted pests! A main source of contamination of our soil, water, air and food as well as being highly inefficient, this method of pest control is places at risk the health of the consumer and farmer alike.

With the increase of of organic methods of controls , we are seeing a reduction in chemical usage. The farmer of today is beginning to understand the delicate balance of nature of which he is directly responsible. With this knowledge comes the search for safer more effective methods of pest control.

Into the ring comes a long time favorite of organic farmers;

DE. Thru out this site, I have been referring you to Garden or Food Grade Grade DE (not the pool kind). This is IMPORTANT They are not the same, one is chemically treated and is dangerous to your lungs and the other one does not!  Can you guess which?

Food Grade is safer to use then Garden Grade. Pool Grade is dangerous to your health.

DE (Diatomaceous Earth) contains 14 trace elements, is non-toxic and biodegradable. DE controls via a mechanical action rather than chemical action, importantly, what this means is that subsequent generations of insects can not become resistant to it's effects.

DE Structure and it's Function

DE is derived from dead sea life called Diatoms. There are over 1,500 species of diatoms and each has it's own skeleton shape. Most are snow flake shaped with a few being tuber shaped and some cone shaped. The shape is very important in it's effectiveness. Their composition will vary according to the area they lived and died in.

Most DE contain silicon, sodium, aluminum, manganese, boron, magnesium, iron, calcium, and copper. The amount of amorphous (un-crystallized) silica the diatoms have percent during fossilization determines the amount of crystalline silica found in today's DE. The greater the concentration of crystalline silica the greater it's effect on insects. Also Fresh water DE deposits contain lower percentages of silica than does salt water deposits.

How does DE work?

Look at De under an electron microscope and you will see that DE crystals (crushed Diatom shells) have very shape edges with a large surface area (making DE very porous). Amorphous DE is very different from crystalline silica where health is concerned. Crystalline silica is hazardous to ones health while garden grade DE (Amorphous). Crystalline silica causes Silicosis (the World Health Organization has declared that crystalline silica levels in agricultural grade DE exceeding 3% can be dangerous to humans). This is why pool grade DE is not safe to use on your garden or farm. Pool grade DE is made by super heating Amorphous DE until it becomes near 100% crystalline silica!

Many companies add an acid to complicate matters. Avoid using Pool grade DE at all costs!

DE causes insects to loss their bodies water content by over 10%. DE effects the insects natural coating of cuticle( a waxy coating secreted by the epidermis). The sharp edges of the DE particles lacerate this coating and penetrates in between the insects body plates, and absorbs any water (moisture) t comes into contact with. This slowly dehydrates the insect. The DE effects the insect from the outside as well as from the inside if the insect eats the DE as well.


Food Grade

For effective use, the DE must be fed long enough to catch all the newly hatching fly eggs as well as other parasites.

Cattle, including dairy cattle
2 % by weight of dry ration

4 grams in morning

5 % in feed

2 % of weight of grain

2 % of weight of feed ration

1/2 - 1 cup in daily ration

2% of weight of ground grain
Parasite Control for Pets: If you have pets, DE may be used for parasite control. However, it should never be given to very small pregnant animals such as cats, guinea pigs, etc. It may be given daily.

1/2 teaspoon

1 teaspoon

½ -1 teaspoon

Dogs under 35 lbs
1 teaspoon

Dogs 35-50 lbs.
2 teaspoons

Dogs over 50 lbs.
1 Tablespoon

Dogs over 100 lbs.
2 Tablespoons

Food Grade DE can be fed to your dogs, cats, horses without any harmful effects to them. It is a natural de-wormer while providing trace minerals. A good formula to follow for feeding is:

One tablespoon per daily feeding for your larger dogs (over 50 pounds)

One teaspoon per daily feeding for your smaller dogs « teaspoon per daily feeding for your cat One cup per daily ration for your horses. DE can also be added to their drinking water at 1 tablespoon per gallon water or 1 cup per 50 gallons water.

By feeding DE to your animals, you are also providing for natural fly control since DE will reduce fly populations. This happens because DE travels thru the animals digestive system, and is deposited, unaffected, in the animals feces. The flies deposit their eggs as usual in the manure but few larvae will survive because they must move thru the manure in order to feed. DE can also be eaten by people. I suggest that you take a teaspoon in your meals once per week.

Grade grade DE is classified as GRAS ( Generally Recognized As Safe) by the federal government and has been exempted from the requirement of residue tolerance on stored grain. It is so far be considered by most health professionals that Amphorus DE is not cancer causing in animals and humans.

A word of Caution

While DE is safe to use, it would be wise to follow a few safety rules:

1.  Avoid breathing, use a face mask if you have a breathing problem.

2.  Avoid contact with the eyes. Wash with water asap. Do not rub!

3.  Avoid over use. DE will kill beneficials as well as kill of earthworms if too much DE is applied to the ground.

    While DE does a great job of protecting plants from insect, it will do a better job if the overall coverage is increased. This is best done by using an Electrostatic Nozzle developed by PermaGuard of Albuquerque NM. This device charges particles by forcing them thru an ionized filed, where they pick up negative electrons. Surfaces that are attached to the ground are positive and will attract the DE dust. And due to the fact that like charges repel, when one area of a surface is covered, it repels on-coming particles, forcing them to move over and find an unused place. Eventually, the dust will cover the entire leaf surface, both on top and underneath. This makes for a very effective use of DE.


Here is a good Source of  Garden Grade DE

  Nitron Industries, Inc. 1-800-835-0123 

tell em The Invisible Gardener sent ya


Here is a good source of Food Grade DE

DE  source
tell em andy sent ya!



andy lopez

Invisible Gardener


I was here last March 12, 2013



natural and organic pest control information

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