View Full Version : DE question...

06-07-2009, 01:30 AM
Diatomaceous Earth...I got it at Lowes a while back and so far, not too many bugs have been eating my garden up. However, the bad reads that if it's ingested or inhaled, that it could be very harmful. I thought that DE was harmless to humans and animals. Is there another kind that I don't know about?

06-07-2009, 02:15 AM
I believe (having never used the product) that the risk is mostly when applying it with a duster like Patti uses in her videos. Once it is on the ground or plant it is mostly safe. Just wash the food before eating it. And animals shouldn't be tempted to eat it. However, I've read putting a bit in dog food is helpful to deworm.

Short answer, take care and use common sense and you'll be fine. Good luck and glad it's working for you.

06-07-2009, 04:20 AM
DE works by basically cutting/scratching insects that come into contact with it and killing them. Because the small particles are sharp it is possible that DE can damage your lungs if you inhale it. However, some people do use DE as a means of controlling internal parasites in themselves or pets by mixing it into yogurt or petfood. If you do want to use it for that you might want to find foodgrade DE.

Fred's Fine Fowl
06-07-2009, 12:39 PM
Hi Everyone...

I guess I'll just chime in on this topic for a moment here...

DE is harmless... in, that it is not chemically active, this makes it great for bug control, in the face of chemical alternatives.

The Jury is still out, as to weather it's effective against internal parasites, as the abrasive activity serves to dehydrate little bugs... really effective on young insects and those without the hard exoskeleton. The digestive system of most animals is obviously moist and well lubricated, so the question of being able to dehydrate and destroy a intestinal parasite is challenged.

In my chicken video, I demonstrate DE as a preventive and treatment for poultry mites and fleas... I also caution that a respirator is highly recommended. There is medical evidence that DE can build up in the lungs and cause serious problems. It is largely silica and can't be broken down by lung fluids for proper expelling... you know when you get lung mucus while sick to help rid the body of material, or smokers coughing up that black jazz. There is a lengthy case history on people suffering lung problems from DE exposure.

To be safe, I would advise people blowing DE around, and being in closed areas where you will certainly breath it in, to wear a dust mask just to be on the safe side. The term "safe" in my opinion is simply that it will not chemically alter, nor poison your land, plants or animals.

Most effective in external parasites, where poultry are concerned. Dog or Cat have worms? I wouldn't bank on DE having any effect at all.

Take care,



06-07-2009, 08:20 PM
Thanks for breaking it down Fred!

06-08-2009, 12:26 AM
Fred, do you ever give anything to your chickens to rid them of worms? Just curious. Wonder if I need to?



Fred's Fine Fowl
06-08-2009, 05:10 PM
I have to say that I've personally never used any over the counter meds as de-wormers with my flock.

But then, my birds are not confined as some in paddocks or closed runs would be. Chickens on open range are apt to self medicate... for example, they peck at the leaves of several leafy plants, even those of rhubarb or comfrey (a favorite).

Watch your chickens and check out their waste material (poo)... if it is well formed and properly composed with that little white cap, then that bird is healthy. They also produce a tar like poo from time to time, this is also normal... if they produce something light and foamy, or bloody, then you should investigate further for signs of ill health... such as a dirty bird.

Some chicken ranchers put de-wormers in the water of all their birds several times a year as a preventive measure, I do not personally subscribe to this practice... to me, that's like taking cough medicine before I have a cough.

Also, if you give any antibiotics or meds to your birds, there will probably be a withdrawal period where you may not eat their eggs or meat.

Variety of greens and prepared rations are key to good poultry digestive health... healthy birds fend off parasites pretty well.

06-08-2009, 07:59 PM
Thank you all for responding so quickly. As I mentioned, I have been using DE with pretty decent results. I'm going to have to use more now that these pill bug have decided to eat up a lot of my collard seedlings that I have planted in a traditional row garden. They love them, but they haven't touched my zucchinis because I constantly keep a circle of DE around them. Time to step up the organic pesticide game!