How to Use Diatomaceous Earth to Kill Ants Dead

Are you wondering does diatomaceous earth kill ants?

If ants are overrunning your house or yard, you’ve likely heard about Diatomaceous Earth, and you want to give it a try. The only problem is you’re not sure if this will work on ants. No doubt you want to know does diatomaceous earth kill ants; the answer is – yes, it does!

Diatomaceous Earth – DE, for short, has been around the pest control industry since 1960 and is effective at killing a wide range of bugs and insects. In addition to ants, if you want to get rid of bed bugs, cockroaches, fleas, mites, spiders, ticks, and many other pests, DE is a viable solution.

What is diatomaceous earth?

If you are going to use the product, I think it’s important to know what you are getting into. So what exactly is Diatomaceous (die-uh-toe-may-shus) Earth, abbreviated as DE, and where does it come from? Diatomaceous earth is powdery dust that is made from crushed diatom fossils. Basically, the diatoms accumulate in the sediment of beds of water (i.e., lakes, rivers, oceans, & streams) over long periods. The diatoms are harvested when they become fossilized and then turned in products.

How does diatomaceous earth work to kill ants?

Most people believe that diatomaceous earth is poisonous, but this is not the case. DE can be found in thousands of non-pesticide commercial products that people buy and use every day. Some products that contain diatomaceous earth include beverages, foods, medicines, skincare products, toothpaste, water filters, and many other items.

Well, if DE is not a poison, how does it work to kill ants? When used as an insecticide, diatomaceous earth acts as a desiccant, meaning DE causes the ant to dry out and die. The ant does not have to eat DE to be effective. DE is abrasive, so when the ant comes in contact with, it tears apart the insect’s exoskeleton. As a result, the ant drys out and dies.

How to apply Diatomaceous earth to kill ants

I will give you some general guidelines for how to use diatomaceous earth to kill ants. However, when applying DE, it is always best to read and follow the product label instructions. Here are a few best practices to consider when using diatomaceous earth to get rid of ants.

  • Try to figure out where the ants are coming from and how they are getting into your house
  • Locate the ant colony, then spread DE around in a complete circle to create a perimeter around the nest
  • Also, apply a thin layer of diatomaceous earth along the trails ants are taking to and from your house
  • For outside treatment also sprinkle a light application of DE around the foundation for your house

Is diatomaceous earth safe for children, pets, and the environment?

According to the National Pesticide Information Center or NPIC, when used as direct, yes, diatomaceous earth is safe. Further research by the government of Canada suggests that DE safe for humans, pets, and the environment and is a non-toxic alternative to hazardous pesticides.

Will diatomaceous earth kill the queen ant?

If you have ant problems, you must seek out and kill the queen. The queen ant directs the activities of all the other ants in her colony. She tells them what to do, forage for food, build the ant nest, or protect and defend the mound from intruders. You can kill plenty of ants, however, until you take out the queen.

My best advice to you is to track down the ant colony. Find the ant nest and then sprinkle diatomaceous earth around the outer edges in a complete circle. For good measure, also apply DE to the top of the nest. The final step is to disrupt the nest so that the ants come out and go in defense mode.

The ants will swarm the nest, many of which will make contact with the diatomaceous earth and carry it back underground deep into the nest. At some point, the queen will come in contact with an already affected the DE will be transferred to her body, she will die, and your ant problem will be solved.

What brand of DE do you recommend for killing ants?

Before I get into the details of which brands are best, I must point out what might not be visible. In today’s market, you can buy three types of diatomaceous earth for the following purposes:

  1. Food grade DE for animal and human consumption
  2. Pool grade DE for water filtering and purifying
  3. Non-food grade DE for killing and controlling insects and bugs

Therefore, when it comes to bug and insect-killing, you want to stay away from food and pool grade DE. Instead, look for non-food and pool grade products that are made explicitly for insect control. The three brands that I can honestly recommend are listed below.

  1. Safer Brand
  2. Harris
  3. Bonide

Each of the above-listed products will kill a wide variety of crawling insects in and around your home.

What other insects are killed by diatomaceous earth?

When it comes to killing insects, diatomaceous earth (DE) is both non-toxic and inexpensive. You already know how effective DE is at killing ants, but do you also realize you can kill numerous other household bugs and insects? Depending on the brand you purchase, diatomaceous earth can be used against ants, aphids, bed bugs, box elder bugs, cockroaches, crickets, dust mites, flies, fleas, scorpions, slugs, silverfish, spiders, termites, ticks, and many others. The list goes on and on.

If you check the label of the brands I listed above, you will see that diatomaceous earth is effective at killing 100s of bugs and insects you will find in and around your home. Read the label of the product you buy for specific instructions on how best to go about killing the insect that is troubling you.

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Lynn Edwards

I founded DIY Pest Control Guide with the intention of sharing practical, user-friendly pest control strategies. If you need assistance, reach out to me at - I'm here to help you reclaim your peace of mind.

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