Q: What happens when DE goes into the manure pile? Will it also kill the beneficial insects/earth worms that help decompose the waste? I've been working on a possible solution since I think the stuff is great - I have a bucket with a bit of manure in it, which is sprinkled with DE. The manure lures the pesty flying bugs to eat the DE. When it's dried out, I toss in the trash away from the manure pile. The question is, when the bugs that eat it die and decompose, is the DE re-released into the environment?
A: Susan Schultz, Basic H-S Acres...
Fossil Shell Flour (DE) diatoms do not pass through the gut the same way they enter into the gut. They attract the bad bugs by the millions and pass through, decomposing as all green matter does when consumed by an animal. The diatom does not come out in the manure in the same condition as it went in via mouth. These diatoms are ultimately plant matter, not chemicals.
If you spread the DE (food grade) powder all over the manure pile, it will kill the insects it comes into contact with because of the physical abrasive action of the DE to the invertebrate. If a fly gets the DE on its body, it is history.
To get the best out of a manure pile, keeping it wet and covered with black plastic is about the best deal to decompose. Then those little critters will have a happy time under the blanket!
DE has a drying effect, for pee spots, wet areas where mosquitoes live and breed, etc. When the DE gets real wet and cakes, then the effectiveness is gone.
A: Josh Nelson
DE could hurt the worms that come in contact with it, if it were a heavy concentration of DE. Instead of putting the manure and DE in the trash, I would put it in your garden to deter/control borer/worms, slugs and burrowing pests.