Bed bugs can lurk in the tiniest hiding places and quickly form vast colonies. So it’s essential to act fast after spotting any signs of their presence in your home.
If you don’t want the expense of hiring an exterminator or risk of using chemicals to eliminate the bugs, one option you can consider is diatomaceous earth. It’s been gaining popularity over the years. But make no mistake, this product can only be of great assistance if you understand its important details such as what it is, how it works, and its potential limitations.
We’ve done the hard work for you and come up with a comprehensive guide on the use of diatomaceous earth for bed bugs.
Table of Contents
Does Diatomaceous Earth Work?
Diatomaceous earth, commonly referred to as DE, is a dust-like powder. It’s a naturally occurring substance that consists of the fossilized remains of sea creatures known as diatoms. The bodies of these diatoms are primarily made of silicon dioxide.
DE is widely used as a natural pesticide. It can naturally kill household pests such as ants and bed bugs. It’s cheap in comparison to other bed bug treatments on the market.
Diatomaceous earth is an example of a bed bug powder. For more information on treating bed bugs with powders, click this link.
The particles of DE have microscopic razor-sharp edges. When a bed bug makes contact with them, they lacerate its exoskeleton. Once the exoskeleton is damaged, the DE absorbs the bug’s bodily fluids. Eventually, the pest dies of dehydration.
DE is non-toxic and chemical-free. It has a physical mode of action. For that reason, it’s impossible for bed bugs to adapt or become immune to it. It works unremittingly without losing its power.
How long does it take to work on bed bugs?
DE works by turning the bug’s body against itself, so it doesn’t make an immediate kill. And in addition to that, the DE works only after the bed bug comes into contact with it. Most probably, not all the bugs will touch the powder in the first few days.
For those reasons, it can take 7-17 days to kill bed bugs. If you have a severe infestation, it can take a whole month to deal with the pest problem.
Although DE is slow acting, its results are long-lasting and effective.
You may come across many products made of diatomaceous earth. However, not all of them are organic DE. You have to ensure you buy the right DE product for bed bugs to avoid leaving behind toxic residues after application.
There are two main types of diatomaceous earth:
- Food-grade DE,
- Pool-grade DE.
Food-grade diatomaceous earth is the type you use on your garden and pets. On the other hand, pool-grade DE is used in pool filters.
Which grade of DE should I buy?
Whenever you want to use diatomaceous earth inside your home, you should always go for food-grade DE. That’s because it’s the safer of the two around your kids, plants, and pets. It won’t cause any problems if ingested.
Your cat and dog will be fine if they lick the food-grade DE off their paws. Similarly, nothing will happen to your kids if they find it sprinkled on your floor and intentionally lick it.
Did you know that DE is mainly made of silica, which is needed by mammals in small quantities for optimal health? It’s an important component of cartilages, ligaments, and musculature.
Some people take diatomaceous earth as a supplement.
Food-grade DE can cause irritation to your respiratory system if you inhale it in large quantities. Follow basic precautions such as wearing a dust mask or respirator and clothing that covers as much skin as possible, especially if you’re treating a large infestation.
You can easily find diatomaceous earth at local health supplement stores, gardening stores, and online.
Getting DE from Lowe’s
Lowe’s is one of the best stores to get diatomaceous earth. Apart from the numerous physical stores, you can also shop for DE at their online store.
You can take advantage of Price Protection and buy a DE product online if it’s price is lower than that at your local Lowe’s store. You’ll pick up the product at the local store.
Another advantage for shopping for diatomaceous earth at Lowe’s is that you can get an unrivaled discount. If you see a competitor selling an identical product at a lower price, Lowe’s will be willing to match their price.
What Do Reviews Say
When you’re considering purchasing a product for the first time, one surefire way to avoid making a mistake is checking the user reviews beforehand. To make things easier for you, we’ve checked numerous reviews.
Here’s a summary of the reviews.
Most DE users have nothing but praise for the product. Thanks to it, they’ve permanently gotten rid of bed bugs. Some other factors that have impressed these users are the product’s low cost and its non-toxicity to pets.
While some customers were able to eliminate the bugs after a few days, a good number of them had to reapply the product every few days or weeks before successfully solving their pest problem.
The main complaint of the negative reviewers is the product’s inability to kill bed bugs quickly. They are unimpressed by the fact that the bugs continued to live even after coming into contact with the DE dust.
If you prefer using a fast-acting bed bug solution, you may want to consider pesticides. Go here to learn about the best pesticide for bed bugs.
A few of these reviewers didn’t like how dusty the product made their belongings.
The secret to using DE on bed bugs is applying it in the areas where bed bugs hide or are forced to crawl through. Also, you shouldn’t apply large mounds of the powder. That will only make these annoying pests walk around them. Make sure you apply it in such a manner that it forms a very fine film.
Don’t vacuum a room soon after application. That will make the diatomaceous earth ineffective.
Vacuuming is an integral part of most bed bug eradication methods. So which is the best vacuum for bed bugs? Find out here.
Let’s now look at how you should use the DE to get rid of bedbugs.
Procedure for treating bed bugs with DE:
- Wash all your clothes, bedding, and linen in hot water. If possible, add some Clorox together with the soap.
- With the dryer set on the highest heat setting, dry the items. Seal the bedding and clothing you’re not using and keep them away from the infested areas.
- If possible, use a steamer on your box spring, mattress, cushions, and other parts of your furniture that you can access. DE works well with heat treatment. If you can’t get a steamer, simply vacuum your entire home. Pay attention to the carpet and furniture frames and seams. It’s best to dismantle the furniture before vacuuming and reassemble it after you’re done with the vacuuming.
- Pull your bed, shelves, dressers and everything else away from the walls if possible. This will allow you to reach the areas you want to apply DE on easily.
- Using your hands or a dusting applicator, lightly dust some DE to the following areas:
- Apply a thin dust to the box spring and mattress on all sides.
- Apply to the ridges of cushions as well as under them. Apply to the sides, inside, and legs of furniture. Also, apply to the legs of your bed.
- Put some of the product behind electrical and light switch face plates using a pistol dispenser.
- Apply some DE to the front of baseboards.
- Work the product into the crevice between the floor and the wall as well as where the molding and wall meet.
- If you have wall-to-wall carpeting, apply the DE around the edges where the wall and carpeting meet.
- Reapply the product to the same areas for 7 consecutive days. Once the bed bugs are gone, you can clean the DE off all spots you treated.
Now that you have the essential information on diatomaceous earth, you can make a decision on whether to use it or not. The product will kill bed bugs but will need your patience. You can also use it together with other effective extermination techniques such as steam cleaning to make bed bugs a thing of the past.
You can find further details of Bed Bugs Control here.