Food-grade DE is a non-chemical approach to killing insects
Diatomaceous Earth is not really “earth,” but rather fossilized deposits of diatoms, microscopic marine algae whose cell walls contain silica. As diatoms die by the billions, their exoskeletons drift to the bottom of their water habitat, forming large deposits.
NOT ALL DE IS SAFE!
Because there are more than 25,000 species of diatoms, coming from fresh water and salt water fossil strata, with different shapes and purity levels, don’t be fooled into thinking that all DE is the same. Natural, food-grade DE (such as Perma-Guard’s Fossil Shell Flour®) is mined, dried, ground, sifted and bagged. Commercial-grade DE (such as that used in swimming pools) is heat-treated, partially melted and chemically treated. The heat-treated DE contains a large percentage of crystalline silica, which is hazardous to horses, humans, and other creatures.
Consider the Michigan dairy farmer who lost an entire herd of cows because he thought all diatomaceous earth was beneficial. After all, he’d been administering food-grade DE to his cows with great results. He has an opportunity to buy a truckload of DE, saving money in the process. Unfortunately, not all the DE he purchased was Food-Grade DE, and he ended up poisoning his herd.
DE INFLICTS SLOW DEATH ON INSECTS
When a bug comes in contact with DE, the DE absorbs the waxy protective cuticle of the insect and it dies of dehydration.
In technical terms, here’s what happens:
1. Laceration of the chitin (outer covering) in the bellows of the joint
2. Severance of the muscles of the Tracheole valve
3. Perforation of the walls of the Trachea and the Tracheoles
4. Mandibular damage by abrasion
5. Esophageal laceration
6. Peritonitis, due to perforations in the walls of the digestive system
7. Severance of the constrictive muscles
8. Absorption of the wax, allowing dehydration
9. Starvation of the larvae
So why would we want to expose our horses to DE?
As explained by the folks at Perma-Guard, one big thing to stress is that our cell walls and those of animals are so much thicker than an insect’s, DE doesn’t damage warm-blooded mammals. Food-grade DE can be fed to horses and dusted/sprayed around barns and yards.
BEFORE YOU BUY
If you’re considering implementing DE as part of your pest control program, remember:
• Purchase only Food-Grade fresh water DE with a crystalline silica content of less than 3%.
• If you’re using fly predators, DO NOT incorporate DE into your fly control program. DE will kill the fly predators.