This is a cute article from the Utah Daily Herald about the benefits of Diatomaceous Earth. Here at Canada-Bedbugs.com we have noticed a definite increase in the number of people ordering diatomaceous earth as a food supplement or for their gardens. What do you use diatomaceous earth for?
The powdered mineral has all the infomercial earmarks — it’s all-natural, you’ve likely never heard of it before and it can de-worm your dog, kill bed bugs and even revive your lawn, all while posing no risk to your loved ones, users say.
“I don’t want to cram it down my friends’ and neighbors’ throats, but I think people would be interested in it if they knew what it was,” said Mona Ashton, who distributes the stuff out of her Mapleton home.
Diatomaceous earth is basically the pulverized fossil shells of single-cell water plants called diatoms, found in both fresh and salt water, said Merv Haney, president of diatomaceous earth distributor Perma-Guard. The porous and jagged shells abrade and absorb the waxy coating on insect bodies, thus dehydrating and killing them, he said, while leaving mammalian insides and outsides unharmed.
“It’s not a fad; it’s a good product,” said Andy Linares, president of New York City-based Bug Off Pest Control Center, which sponsors the yearly New York Pest Expo. He had a hard time moving the stuff off his shelves the first time he bought it, he said, but when bed bugs made a comeback five or six years ago, he started selling out.
He said a University of Kentucky study found it to be only the third-most effective powder against the stubborn critters, but more active substances require a license. And customers like that it’s chemical-free and harmless to humans and pets, barring some lung and skin irritation if it’s carelessly applied, he said.
“I’m confident in selling it because of research results,” Linares said.
Beyond bugs, some folks are finding uses in agriculture, livestock and even human health.
Ashton became a local Perma-Guard customer/distributor after hearing somewhere — she can’t remember where — that diatomaceous earth mixed into feed keeps chickens healthy, she said. She had to find a way for a coop of hens, her kids, her garden and her grass to all play nice in the same backyard, and that meant no pesticides.
That’s when diatomaceous earth became a “housewife’s best friend,” she said.
First, it went into the chicken feed; her chickens stayed healthy and developed soft, shiny feathers. Then, she scattered it in the coop, where it dried out the droppings and killed the larvae therein, eliminating the stench and the inevitable swirl of flies.
Next, under the apricot trees, where the fallen fruit used to produce stink and flies as it soured; next, a generous dusting on her corn and bean sprouts, which kept the earwigs and grasshoppers at bay. The high absorbency of diatomaceous earth also keeps more water on the plants, she said, which means her grass also benefits from the chicken feed mix-in, eventually.
“I haven’t fertilized the lawn all summer,” she said. She sprays driveway cracks and the corners of her house with an old mustard bottle filled with diatomaceous earth, which eliminated a stubborn ant infestation. Now she’s even looking into claims that consuming the mineral will detox the body and possibly lower cholesterol.
“It’s hard to keep a level head, and not think it’s a cure-all for everything, and all we need in life,” she said. “It doesn’t make my teeth whiter, but it did kill worms in my chickens.”
As for safety, the Ashtons comfortably eat vegetables coated in the mineral, and sprinkle it into their stores of grains and rice. This keeps out weevils, first of all, but also keeps the grains fresh and clump-free. In fact, the anti-clumping property is the only use the government has approved for food-grade diatomaceous earth, Haney said.
“Perma-Guard hasn’t had a lot of money in its past. Therefore, it’s never been able to afford to do all the expensive tests to register it as a de-wormer, colon cleanser, etc.,” he said, despite the fact that it has been used as such as many as 4,000 years ago in China.
Even so, Perma-Guard will sell about 300 truckloads — at 44,000 pounds a pop — of diatomaceous earth this year, he said, including overseas, but the reason you probably haven’t heard of it is because legally, he and the handful of its other makers can only bill it as an anti-caking agent.
All the other uses — a quick Google search will yield skin exfoliation, stronger teeth and gums and even alleviation from menopause — have to get around through experimentation and word of mouth, he said.
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