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How often to apply Diatomaceous Earth?

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How often to apply Diatomaceous Earth?

Post  lalawson on 5/9/2013, 12:35 pm

I've been researching on the forum that this is a great way to keep ants and other insects out of the garden. I just got some and am wondering how often and the best method of application is for this. When I search for it on the internet, it comes up with a million ways to get rid of bed bugs with it. All I want to know is how often to use it for my plants. Smile

I just dusted my whole garden but if it rains later this afternoon will I need to reapply it to get rid of the ants and other pests? This could get expensive if I have to keep this up all summer. I don't mind doing it, but just wonder if there is an economical application for this product.



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Re: How often to apply Diatomaceous Earth?

Post  camprn on 5/9/2013, 12:38 pm

Regarding the question in the title of this thread... what does the package label say>?


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There are certain pursuits which, if not wholly poetic and true, do at least suggest a nobler and finer relation to nature than we know. The keeping of bees, for instance. ~ Henry David Thoreau



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Re: How often to apply Diatomaceous Earth?

Post  lalawson on 5/9/2013, 12:46 pm

It doesn't really have any directions pertaining to gardens.


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Re: How often to apply Diatomaceous Earth?

Post  Pollinator on 5/9/2013, 12:53 pm

Diatomacious earth will wash off in the rain and no longer be effective.

But, like all pesticides, care is needed in use. It should be reserved to spot treatments in cases of genuine need.

There are many beneficial insects that are (or should be) in your garden. If the garden is balanced, they should pretty much take care of pest insects. But pesticides kill off the good guys, too.

The bad guys can almost always reproduce faster than the good guys, so the bad guys can quickly take over. If you use a pesticide as a broad blanket early in the season, you probably are committing yourself to continuous pesticide use for the rest of the season. It's a treadmill that the pesticide companies just love.

And you may also have to hand pollinate your veggies, because pesticides, yes, even "organic" DE can also kill off your pollinators.

So use it with great care, only in extreme cases, as a spot treatment.


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Re: How often to apply Diatomaceous Earth?

Post  jjlonsdale on 5/9/2013, 1:26 pm

I had a ton of aphids earlier in the season, so I used DE to get rid of the ants that were farming them. (Ladybugs were still larvae so I wasn't too worried about killing them off.) My SFG is edged with cinder blocks and the ants were loving all the cracks between them.

I did two applications of DE, a few days apart, each time shaking it liberally in the cracks between cinder blocks and then a light dusting over the garden (which was just little baby plants at the time.) Ants were totally gone for about a month!!!

They're back now -- just noticed them a couple of days ago -- but they seem to be eating the little weird gnat-things I have in the crevices of my lettuce heads, so I might let them stay for a while. Also at this point the DE would kill the ladybugs too, and I have lots of them and I definitely don't want that to happen. I did, however, give everything a big dousing of NEEM solution last night. That may or may not do anything to the ants (results are mixed), but it should help with the caterpillars I've seen and help prevent powdery mildew.

I'm in love with NEEM -- it affects the bad guys that eat the leaves, but not the good guys that eat the bad guys.

Having tons of fun trying to manage my little backyard mini-ecosystem!!!!


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Re: How often to apply Diatomaceous Earth?

Post  Lemonie on 5/9/2013, 2:45 pm

I find that it is ineffective when it gets wet but is still very useful when needed (and organic!). I mostly use it 2 ways: 1) put it in a recycled shaker canister (Parmesan cheese or large spice containers work well) and shake it on plants where you see bad bugs (works great on cabbage loopers). 2) I mix it up w/ cornmeal and a few crushed iron tablets, put 1-2Tbs in a glass jar and tip it on it's side (keeps the bait mostly dry for a few days)....this seems to attract and kill ants, slugs, pill bugs and some centipedes.

Overall, I think you are right that this would be a huge investment when using as your only source of pest prevention...but is less costly when paired with a natural, homemade spray and especially with infestations. It will kill your beneficial bugs too. Sad


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Apply as often as you need

Post  mallory4DE on 6/4/2013, 1:26 pm

Glad to hear you are finding success with diatomaceous earth. You are right about having to re-apply after a rain storm. When you apply DE to your garden, you can actually wet the plants first and then apply the DE. This helps the DE to adhere to the plants. However, after a rain, it may wash away some of the DE. But each time the DE dries, it will become effective again.

You can apply DE to your garden as often as you need. If you are in a rainy area, I would suggest applying it every month. (This is assuming it rains every month).

Best of luck to you.


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Re: How often to apply Diatomaceous Earth?

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