Family - Pets
By: - at April 29, 2013

Use Food-Grade Diatomaceous Earth to Kill Fleas Naturally

kill fleasAs a pet owner, it can be frustrating to find out that your pet has brought fleas into your home. While many people use harsh chemical sprays and flea bombs to kill fleas, I could not because of my concern for the environment. In addition to my dogs and cats, I also have several fish, a turtle and a snake. The flea bombs would most certainly kill my pets. I knew there had to be a better solution for killing fleas and that is when I discovered food-grade diatomaceous earth.

What is Food-Grade Diatomaceous Earth?
Food-grade diatomaceous earth, or DE, is an off-white powder that is composed of the skeletal remains of algae-like plants known as Diatoms. Diatoms live in the water and develop tiny microscopic shells from the silica they absorb. When Diatoms die, they leave behind their skeletons which fossilize. Mined from now non-existent water sources such as dry lake and ocean beds, diatomaceous earth is used in everyday items such as toothpaste and fish tanks.

Food-Grade Diatomaceous Earth

Farmers add DE to their stored grain to kill the insects that would otherwise feast upon it and sometimes even feed small amounts to their livestock.

Is Diatomaceous Earth Safe?
Yes, but you must follow the proper safety precautions and only purchase FOOD-GRADE diatomaceous Earth. The only known complications associated with using food-grade diatomaceous earth arise from inhaling it. Therefore, if you wear a mask while distributing powdered diatomaceous earth around your home there should not be any risks.

Bag of Diatomaceous Earth

How Does Diatomaceous Earth Kills Fleas?
This is my favorite part! Not only does DE kill fleas but also a number of other pests such as ants and even bed bugs. So how does it work?

bed bugs

Microscopic diatomaceous earth particles are very sharp and while they will not cut you, they do penetrate the exoskeletons of insects. In addition to injuring the insect, they also scratch away the waxy, protective layer of the insect. The waxy layer is essential to insects because it keeps their bodies moist and prevents them from dehydrating. Without this protective layer the insects die. In fact, diatomaceous earth does this so efficiently, that it has been reported to kill 75% of the fleas and insects (in all life stages) it comes into contact with within 3 days.

Using Food-Grade Diatomaceous Earth in Your Home to Kill Fleas
Fleas can hide anywhere. As such, you must make sure to use food-grade DE on any surface that cannot be washed. Before treating your home, treat your pet with a flea treatment. You can purchase this from a pet store. Next, wash everything that can be laundered. Bedding (yours and the pet’s), curtains, cushion covers, stuffed animals, and anything in close proximity. Next, move your pet and any people to a different room while inoculating possibly contaminated objects. DE can be irritating if inhaled. Use a mask to cover your own face. Now you need to sprinkle the food-grade diatomaceous earth onto your carpeting, under furniture and between cushions. I used an old Pringles can with holes in the top to accomplish this, but just about any container will work. Cover everything in DE. Use a broom to rub the DE into the carpet fibers. Once in the carpet, the DE will begin killing the fleas and will not be airborne. Move your pet and family members to the now clean room and repeat the process in every room of your home that has carpet or furniture.

dog scratching from fleas

You do not need to use DE on hard flooring such as linoleum because fleas cannot survive there. However, any area rugs should be treated. If you have hardwood floors, be sure to work the diatomaceous earth into the cracks. Fleas can hide there! Leave the diatomaceous earth in your carpeting and under cushions for at least one week. At the end of the week, simply vacuum your home and furniture thoroughly. If you have done a thorough job there should be no more fleas present in your home. Make sure to treat your pet year-round to avoid a re-infestation.


 

 

 

 

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