Control garden pests naturally with Diatomaceous Earth (DE). DE is a natural substance that is safe for humans and animals but deadly for insects.

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I agree with C.S. Lewis. Insects are just wrong. Their insides are on their outside. Something filled with goo just should not be walking around. Or worse, flying. Ugh. But chemicals are also and “ugh.” So I control garden pests naturally with Diatomaceous Earth.

Some insects, often insects in larval form, can wreak havoc on a vegetable garden in hours. One summer I noticed some cabbage worms on my broccoli. I had to leave soon and made a mental note to deal with them when I got back. I was only gone for the afternoon. By the time I returned to deal with the cabbage worms, most of my broccoli was gone.

Now, I regularly spray my vegetable garden with Diatomaceous Earth (DE).


What is Diatomaceous Earth (DE)?

Diatomaceous Earth (I’ll call it DE from now on) is a very fine, white powder made from ancient fossilized single-celled creatures called diatoms. Diatoms fossilize in lake beds, the lake beds dry up, and their fossils create the sediment called DE. DE is silicon-based and kills insects by scratching their exoskeletons and causing them to dry out.

Humans and animals experience DE as a soft, harmless powder. Insects, however, experience DE as crawling over broken glass. Be sure to use Food Grade DE rather than Pool Grade DE. Pool Grade DE is not safe for consumption and not intended for garden use.

Controlling Garden Pests Naturally with DE

Sprinkle Method

Using DE in the garden is simple. Sprinkle it around the base of plants as they sprout and grow. Then as the stalks and leaves strengthen, sprinkle DE on the plant as well. Poke holes in the lid of an old container and use this to sprinkle DE on your plants. In the video below I top an empy Oui yogurt jar with a square of plastic with holes poked in it. Or you can use this handy sprinkle bottle.

Use the Sprinkle Method on days when the wind is calm. Wear a mask over your nose and mouth to prevent breathing in DE. DE can be harmful to the respiratory system, especially for people with chronic respiratory health issues. Be sure to sprinkle both sides of the plant’s leaves.

Avoid getting DE on your plant’s blooms. Honey bees get nectar from blooms. We don’t want to harm honey bees.

Reapply DE after rain or if the wind blows it away or off your plants.

DE is effective in eliminating ant hills. Just sprinkle DE all over the ant hill and in a few days, it’s over for all those ants.

Spray Method

Mix 1 tablespoons of DE to 16 ounces of water in a spray bottle. Spray your plants, avoiding the blooms, just until wet. Again, be sure to spray the underside of the leaves. The DE liquid is effective at naturally controlling insects when it dries. Your plants should look like they have a powder coating when they dry.

Where to Get DE

DE is available at most garden centers and big-name home improvement stores. If it isn’t in the garden center, it may be in the tile section because DE is also used in tile grout. It’s also available on Amazon.

Natural Pest Control That is Safe for Humans and Animals

If you prefer a non-chemical method for controlling garden pests, DE is the answer. It’s a completely natural substance free of chemicals. DE does not cause cancer, disrupt the endocrine system, or harm animals or the environment.

Video About Controlling Garden Pests Naturally with Diatomaceous Earth (DE)

All the best,