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Friday, July 29, 2011

Diatom - What Is A Diatom?

A diatom is a one celled plant so tiny that it must be magnified thousands of times to be visible. I had to borrow the above photo because they are so minute special camera equipment is needed to photo them. They live in such quantiles that they outweigh the total of land plants combined. Diatoms take the minerals out of water and build a protective shell. As they die they build up on the bottom of the water and can be hundreds of feet thick.

The diatom shell is a tiny cylinder that is full of holes. Like a rice chex cereal only microscopic. They have a negative charge and the holes are just the correct size to absorb positive charged matter. So what does this have to do with anything? It has everything to do if you have insect problems. It is so fine that when sprinkled it drifts in the air being smaller and lighter than talcum powder. The positive charge generated by insects like mites, flea's, ants and virtually any other hard body insect collects the negatively charged diatoms, and due to the diatoms construction they cut and lacerate the body of the insect and they die of dehydration.

It is sometimes referred to as DM which is short for Diatomaceous Earth. Be sure to use food grade DM as the untreated DM may have things in it that are not as safe for the health of people and animals. We have used it now for a few years and can safely say it works - we are now believers. Some people who raise chickens dust them with DM for mites. You can dust dogs and cats for fleas or mites. You will not see instant results as in spraying some of those toxic chemicals that attack the nervous system and are harmful to people and animals. They do kill though and completely. I have wondered why DM hasn't been used on bed bug infestations but I have not seen it advertised for that purpose.

So if you have flea, mite, ant or any other insect problem consider food grade DM, not the stuff used in swimming pools as it not as safe to use. It works without exception, it is superior to chemical sprays and much safer. We purchased a huge bag several years ago and have hardly dented the contents. We buy ours from Wolf Creek Ranch in California. Go to Their web site is loaded with the many uses and safety of the product.

It is a safe and effective way to handle pests and won't damage or destroy the environment in the process. I believe you will also find it is much cheaper than the chemical sprays also.


Pat said...

Wow – Bruce. I have a friend, Sherry, who trains and boards dogs and is constantly fighting flea problems from dogs brought into her home. I’ve just forwarded this to her. We’ve both heard about DM… There are businesses here that charge hundreds of dollars to treat homes with DM to control fleas., but we didn’t know two things you just told us: Food grade and the source for supply. Thanks! Plus, I’m saving this info in a word file, as eventually Wendy will run into a flea problem… You have a dog? At some point you will get fleas….

Bruce said...

Pat: Check out their web site - there is more info. there on DM than anyone really needs to know. Stuff works like a charm and I did a blog for Mother Earth News on DM too and it was well received.

Bruce said...

Oops, its DE, not DM...sorry about that.

Barbara said...

Thanks for the informative article Bruce. I just got some of this stuff shipped to me yesterday (not from the same company that you mentioned) and haven't used it yet. Looking forward to trying it.