How to Use Diatomaceous Earth To Kill Bed Bugs Fast

People want to know – does diatomaceous earth kill bed bugs?

When bed bugs are an issue in the home, the most frequently asked question we get is, “does diatomaceous earth kill bed bugs”? Yes, diatomaceous earth – called DE for short, has proven to be effective at killing and getting rid of bed bugs. If you are worried about harmful insecticides and are looking for a safe alternative, DE can eliminate bed bugs in your home. Although not as well known in the United States, the Canadian Government recognizes DE as a treatment option for bed bugs.

What is diatomaceous earth and how does it work?

Diatomaceous earth is a non-toxic and inexpensive way to get rid of bed bugs and other household pests like cockroaches, fleas, mites, and ticks, to name a few. DE is a fossilized powdery substance made from diatoms. The pest industry started using DE in the 1960s to eliminate insects and bugs effectively.

DE is not a poison that is swallowed to cause death. Instead, pests walkthrough or come in contact with DE, which is razor-sharp. When contact is made, the insect’s outer skin is damaged, and as a result, the pest will dehydrate and die out.

What brand of DE do you recommend for killing bed bugs?

Harris Bed Bug Killer is the brand we recommend most for killing bed bugs in the home. The Harris product ships with a duster to let you treat hard to reach areas like cracks and crevices, and other hard to reach areas, where bed bugs like to hide. This Harris diatomaceous earth product is fast-acting – any bed bugs that come in contact with the powder will die within 48-72 hours. If you keep the product dry, it has a long residual effect and will kill insects for weeks after an application.

Best of all, Harris bed bug killer is registered (reg# 73729-1-3) for use in homes with people and pets. If safety is a concern, use the product as directed to protect you, your family, and pets.

What kills bed bugs on contact?

In the previous paragraph, I stated that DD does not kill bed bugs instantly. It will take 48-73 hours for the bugs to die outright. But maybe this is not fast enough for you and you want to see quicker results. There are three solutions that I know of that kill bed bugs on contact.

1. Liquid Sprays

Liquid sprays are excellent contact killers. When you spray them on bed bugs, they die immediately. If you are using liquid sprays along with DE, be sure to apply the product first and let it dry completely. If you recall, DE will only work if it remains dry. When it comes to liquid sprays, I prefer products with a pyrethroid as the main active ingredient – they are stronger and last longer.

2. Aerosols

For fast and immediate results, another option is to spray aerosols. Basically, this is an insecticide that you spray from a can. Aerosols are very useful because you can spray them in hard to reach areas like crack and crevices where bugs like to hideout. Be sure to buy an aerosol that targets explicitly bed bugs and their eggs.

3. Heat Treatments

You can use extreme heat to eliminate bed bugs. It’s a known fact that bed bugs, nymphs, and eggs die at approximately 122 degrees Fahrenheit. Heat can be applied using a washer, dryer, or steam machine to kill the bugs easily. All fabric items that are infested by bed bugs can be wash and dried on high heat settings.

However, I like using the steam machine best when it comes to using heat treatments to kill bed bugs. Just run the steam machine over your mattresses, box springs, carpets, and bedroom drapes, and curtains should do the trick.

How to kill bed bugs using Diatomaceous Earth

The video below explains the how and why of using DE to kill bed bugs. If you’re pressed for time and can’t watch the 2 minute and 55-second video, here is all you need to know.

  • Choose a product that is designed for bed bugs
  • Always read the product label and follow directions
  • Remove clutter from the area, wash and dry bed linens and furniture covers
  • Remove the box spring and mattress from your bed and vacuum them thoroughly
  • Using a duster apply diatomaceous earth everywhere bed bugs could be (see the product instructions for exact placement locations)

How to clean up after you have killed the bed bugs

Diatomaceous earth has done the job, helping you get rid of bed bugs so that you have a pest-free house. Do you leave the product in place, or do you clean up what’s left behind? You could do either. However, if you decide not to remove the DE it will remain active and continue to kill pests as long as it stays dry.

If you have other bugs and insects like cockroaches, fleas, mites, and ants running around, they will be eradicated, just like the bed bugs. But if you’re like me, you will not want to leave this stuff just lying around if you do not have other pests to deal with.
Although DE is considered safe for children and pets, it just doesn’t’ sit well with me leaving this stuff sitting around. For safety purposes, I would recommend you wear masks and gloves when cleaning.

You will want to go behind and clean an area where you have applied DE. You can remove the product from carpets, rugs, and other fabric surfaces by vacuuming these areas thoroughly. Take a broom, sweep, then mop hard floor surfaces like cement, hardwood, granite, laminate, tile, etc.

Closing thoughts about using DE to kill bed bugs

Yes, Diatomaceous earth does kill bed bugs and is very effective at doing so. But if you want even better results, you should use DE in conjunction with other bed bug fighting products like the aerosols or liquid sprays I mentioned early.

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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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