Millions of years ago, tiny-single celled plants called diatoms settled on the beds of oceans and lakes after dying. Over the years, the organisms formed layers and became fossils.
Fast forward to now, we mine these diatoms and grind them into a soft powder that has a plethora of uses.
Believe me when I say that diatomaceous earth can easily be used as supplements by humans or it can be used as a sustainable pesticide that can effectively get rid of cockroaches.
Read on to find out how this seemingly harmless soft, white powder can transform into a cockroach killer.
Does Diatomaceous Earth Kill Roaches?
Diatomaceous earth when used in its purest form has the ability to absorb lipids. Though the diatomaceous earth, also called D.E, may be soft to our touch, it looks like sharp shards of glass when seen under the microscope.
Combined with the small size of each particle and the sharp nature, it easily penetrates the exoskeleton of cockroaches. Once underneath, it absorbs the oils and fats from the cockroach and damages its cuticle. This will induce the roach to shed the exoskeleton which will expose its soft inner body to the harsh environment. With the loss of its cuticle, liquids in the body are flushed out. The roach will eventually die due to dehydration or due to attack by predators.
How to Use Diatomaceous Earth to Kill Cockroaches
Diatomaceous earth is a powdery substance that can kill segmented organisms with an exoskeleton like arthropods on contact. This means that insects like roaches and beetles will have to walk over the powder or be dusted with it for the diatomaceous earth to work. Hence, you will have to patient and wait for around 2-4 weeks for the diatomaceous earth to kill the roaches.
But there is no doubt that diatomaceous earth is the best insecticide in the market that will ensure that roaches will be sent to their grave while also ensuring that your pets, your plants, your family and your home doesn’t get loaded up with health-threatening toxic waste. So, read on to know what to do while killing cockroaches with diatomaceous earth.
- Diatomaceous earth does not work when it is wet. So, ensure that you have cleaned and dried your house. Do not apply on areas which are damp or wet always.
- Locate all the spots that roaches would frequent. This would usually be near sources of food. Look near dustbins, under refrigerators, pantry, food cabinets and any dark places.
- Killing cockroaches with diatomaceous earth would take longer with a sustained source of food. It would be in your best interests to block any access to food. Make sure there are no holes in food containers or any gaps on your dustbins that would welcome any roaches inside. Keep cleaning up crumbs that may have fallen on the ground and don’t feel lazy to take out the trash.
- Now, let the fun begin. Spread a thin layer of diatomaceous earth over the roaches’ usual hangout spots. Sprinkle it, use a duster or apply it using salt shakers or paintbrushes.
- Make sure not to lump it in a pile because the roaches will avoid it like the plague and just escape to other havens in your house.
- Assess the damage. Scout for other areas in your home that the roaches might be biding their days in. Roaches can actually live for weeks without food and survive a week without water. So, always be wary and calculate your next move.
- Apply the powder consistently to the areas that are most infamous for being cockroach hangout spots.
- And voila, you can do you final check-up of your house. The roach infestation will have died down by now.
- To ensure that the roaches don’t find their way into your home and make themselves comfortable again, locate any entryways and holes. Seal up these holes and make sure the gaps under doorways are not large enough for a few roaches to slip through.
Precautions to Take While Using Diatomaceous Earth
Although pest-grade diatomaceous earth is non-toxic, it is still a pesticide. It would be best not to play around with the diatomaceous earth to avoid any side-effects. To ensure that you stay safe while using diatomaceous earth for cockroach control, make sure that you:
- Use a mask. If inhaled, it can dry out your airways and cause irritation.
- It can dry out any skin it comes into contact with. Use of gloves and avoiding direct contact with diatomaceous earth is always a responsible move.
- Make sure the wind doesn’t blow it into your eyes or nasal pathways. Avoid working with it when it is apparent that the breeze will pull a mischievous prank on you. Be extra careful when working with diatomaceous earth outside your home.
- Diatomaceous earth has multiple grades: Pest grade, pool grade and food grade. Make sure you buy the proper diatomaceous earth and follow the instructions that come with it.
- Do not apply diatomaceous earth near doorways or windows. A draft of wind is enough to kick it up and spread it all over the house and in places you don’t want it to be.
- Clean the places that you have applied diatomaceous earth on frequently using a wet cloth or vacuum cleaner.
- Diatomaceous earth can block the filter of vacuum cleaners easily. Clean out the filter often to make sure the vacuum does not choke.
And you are good to go! Go and have a bashkilling those roaches with diatomaceous earth.
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2020 is the year when it is more apparent than ever that we need to adapt to more sustainable and environment friendly practices. Using diatomaceous earth for cockroach control is the safest method and most non-toxic alternative.
Diatomaceous earth is exactly the thing you need to transition from toxic pesticides to ones that are non-toxic. As long as you are careful and follow the instructions carefully, you can use diatomaceous earth without worrying about how it would affect the environment, your family, the backyard garden that you spend back-breaking hours on or your darling pets.