How Does Diatomaceous Earth Kill Bed Bugs
Many are interested in knowing how to get rid of bed bugs with diatomaceous earth. Diatomaceous earth (DE) is considered one of most the effective tools in killing bed bugs. As an all-natural and non-toxic solution, DE can both prevent and kill these pests as it stops the bugs from moving freely. Thus, preventing them from reaching other places of your home and eventually killing them.
The Difference of Food Grade and Pool Grade Diatomaceous Earth
There are two types of DE that you can choose from. One is food grade DE and the other is pool grade. What makes them different is how each type is treated:
- Pool Grade DE
With this type, DE is calcined or treated with very high heat. This process turns the silicon dioxide in DE into crystalline silica. This makes most Pool Grade DE have high concentrations of the converted compound that ranges from 60 to 70%.
Crystalline silica is known to be very harmful to both humans and animals. Hence, pool grade is not recommended to be used for treating bed bugs, but can be used for filtration.
- Food Grade DE
A safe way to treat bed bugs with diatomaceous earth is to use the food grade type. This type doesn’t go through the same process as pool grade. It is composed of amorphous silica, which makes all food grade DE to have less than 1% of crystalline silica. This makes it safe to be used for insect control even when exposed to animals.
Though there are many success stories about the use of DE for killing bed bugs, always remember that you cannot completely kill bed bugs with diatomaceous earth alone. For an infestation to be dealt with, it requires the combination of various solutions or treatments that can get rid of bed bugs slowly but surely.
How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs with Diatomaceous Earth
If you’re ready to deal with bed bugs by applying diatomaceous earth, follow these steps:
- Sort all items
The first thing that you must do is sort all of the items in your room or home. Start by putting all washable items in the washing machine with hot water and then dry them using the highest temperature setting. Place the clothing directly in ziplock bags after cleaning. Steam cleaning is also advised for couches, mattresses and box springs.
Pull the bed and all pieces of furniture away from the wall and put them in the center of the room to get full access to all angles in a room or in your home.
Next, wear protective eyewear and a dust mask to protect your eyes and mouth, and from inhaling the compound as you use it.
- Seal all possible passageways in your home.
Look for all possible passageways of bed bugs in your home and seal them off using the DE. Using a DE duster, inject the dust as deep as possible in every crack you find.
Aside from the small, narrow spaces, don’t forget to put a thin layer of powder on all entryways. Create a physical barrier by lining the length of the walls with DE. Remove faceplates of all electrical outlets and pour the powder in every outlet.
- Protect your sleeping area
Aside from using bed bug pillow cases, mattress covers and box spring encasements for your bed, protect your sleeping area by dusting DE around the bed. This will prevent bed bugs from reaching you and climbing on your bed, as they have to crawl through the powder first. They will die before they reach you.
- Bed bug-proof all possible hiding areas
Not sure where these bugs could be hiding? Bed bug-proof every small spot you see by caulking every small hole or crack. Doing so will only give the remaining bed bugs a new place to hide and you’ll experience another infestation in no time.
Apply DE liberally on all areas such as carpets, chairs and other interior spaces. Rub it in using a broom, as you want to reach deep within the fibres instead of letting it rest on top.
Important Notes When Using Diatomaceous Earth
The following are some important notes to keep in mind as you use DE to treat bed bugs:
- Make sure the areas where you are going to put DE are not affected by continuous airflow, as it can blow the powder away. This will ruin the purpose of DE in treating bed bugs. Also, make it a point to put the powder only in areas that receive less, or no foot traffic as constant disturbances will displace the powder.
- As long as the DE stays in place, it can remain effective for years. However, regular vacuuming and constant reapplication will help in picking up dead bugs and their eggs. Always have fresh powder ready for possible re-infestation.