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Since getting into animals of various varieties and having flea infestations (2 years ago now?… from our cat who died), and various crawlies like beetles and carpenter ants that get into our house, we have learned a lot about how to take care of all these sorts of things.
Our house is 101 years old this year (built in 1913), and with that comes lots of habitat and potential for bugs to get in. With the animals as well comes potential vet bills, sicknesses, worms and all sorts of bothersome thing.
Last year or the year before, whenever it was, we had – in the same calendar year – a nest of carpenter ants, and fleas. That was a bad year. Due to the ants originally we did purchase a years worth of pest control from Orkin. And that certainly did take care of our problems. Issue is that #1, its not cheap. I suppose thats subjective, $500 for the year but thats not a lot more than a buck a day and to take care of creepy crawlers destroying our house, its not too bad, and #2 it introduces poisons of various sorts to the house. In both pest cases we had to have the house fumigated. We actually went to stay with Granny for a night each time. Not the end of the world, and it fixed our issues. Along with that they helped us control mice…
How do you continue to protect your house though without an annual subscription to Orkin – and all the chemicals that go with it?
Enter diatomaceous earth! This is a brilliant naturally occurring product.
Here is the Wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diatomaceous_earth
Diatomaceous earth/ˌdaɪ.ətəˌmeɪʃəs ˈɜrθ/, also known as D.E., diatomite, or kieselgur/kieselguhr, is a naturally occurring, soft, siliceoussedimentary rock that is easily crumbled into a fine white to off-white powder. It has a particle size ranging from less than 3 micrometres to more than 1 millimetre, but typically 10 to 200 micrometres. Depending on the granularity, this powder can have an abrasive feel, similar to pumice powder, and has a low density as a result of its high porosity. The typical chemical composition of oven-dried diatomaceous earth is 80 to 90% silica, with 2 to 4% alumina (attributed mostly to clay minerals) and 0.5 to 2% iron oxide.
Diatomaceous earth consists of fossilized remains of diatoms, a type of hard-shelled algae. It is used as a filtration aid, mild abrasive in products including toothpaste, mechanical insecticide, absorbent for liquids, matting agent for coatings, reinforcing filler in plastics and rubber, anti-block in plastic films, porous support for chemical catalysts, cat litter, activator in blood clotting studies, a stabilizing component of dynamite, and a thermal insulator.
In laymen’s terms, its sand and finely ground up shells of diatoms. How does it work? Well, any exoskeleton animal that ingests it or walks over it gets cut up. Its like sliding your belly over a thousand razor blades. It cuts them up and they dehydrate basically.
Ok, here is the official answer:
Diatomite is used as an insecticide, due to its abrasive and physico-sorptive properties. The fine powder absorbslipids from the waxy outer layer of insects’ exoskeletons, causing them to dehydrate. Arthropods die as a result of the water pressure deficiency, based on Fick’s law of diffusion.
So maybe it doesn’t actually cut them up! You get it though.
Its a brilliant substance, 100% naturally occurring. Its edible, good for a million things:
(and they have a list and description of things on the wiki page)
- feed supplement for animals
- kills bugs in the feed
- kills bugs in the animals stomachs
- edible for chickens, cows, pigs, you name it.
- absorbs water
- can be sprinkled about the house in the basement to control / take care of insets and crawlies
- can be sprinkled on firewood to keep ants out of it! (i did this with my indoor wood this year)
For my pigs, its good to give them some of this every once and a while and it will control worms in their stomachs and prevent a vet call or more costly / non organic drugs
For the chickens, it keeps their feed dry and pest free – though chickens will clean up their own insects as they love eating them
We used it this year to disinfect our chicken shed flood to ensure no mites or bugs of any kind were there or would congregate there.
We sprinkled it upstairs and down in our house. Our old hose has tongue and groove boards that are perfect for letting food and stuff fall through into the sub floor, which then is perfect habitat and space for bugs and mice. Sprinkling it on the floor and letting it fall into the subfloor while adding dust, will help to control any of the insects that may be breeding in there. Certainly it makes it uncomfortable in the least for bug populations that may otherwise find that a perfect place to live and hide out.
So it has a ton of uses and its fully child safe. A kid could eat a handful of it and suffer no ill consequences other than upset stomachs themselves because they just ate a handful of dirt 🙂
Inhaling the dust from it can be hazardous over years of exposure but then inhaling anything for years other than plain air is probably bad for you… The wiki has health concerns section too.
The more you learn about the earth and its ‘stuff’, you realize there is pretty much a natural cure for just about anything. Even sickness and disease, there are tons of known cures from natural plants or substances. We in the modern age like to concentrate it and bottle it but the fact is, most of our medicine comes from plants and such.
God made an amazing world. I’m betting that if we were allowed to live on this earth long enough, we would figure out that there is a plant of substance that would cure cancer! Or better yet, cleaning our diet of certain things and eating how God intended us to eat. Thats another blog for another day.
So if you have bug issues, or are just curious, check out the properties and usefulness of diatomaceous earth. We can’t do stuff any better than God has already done!
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