DE is Great Stuff!
DISCLAIMER: Any food grade diatomaceous earth uses other than those approved by the EPA, FDA, or USDA are strictly reports of what farmers, others, and we ourselves have done with diatomaceous earth. Additionally, the following material is not intended as a substitute for the advice of a physician or vet. This information is not intended as a substitute for the reader's independent judgment and personal responsibility. Health issues are far too important to delegate to anyone else. It is highly recommended you seek information and counsel from as wide a variety of sources as possible, as in the end YOU make the decisions.
There is a lot of really good, in-depth information on the Internet about Diatomaceous Earth, or DE. Since we at Flickennel buy ours in 50 lb bags from a local Perma-Guard dealer in Westcliffe, we'll use the Perma-Guard site's information. It takes us months to go through a bag, even with all we do with it, but for normal household use with only a couple of dogs, cats, other mammals, or birds of any kind or size, plus a garden or flowerbed, it'll take you YEARS to use 50 lbs! There are smaller packages available, down to a few ounces or a single pound, so you needn't worry about how you're going to use an enormous quantity.
Before getting into the online-available info, however, let me mention how we and our friends have used it and found it to be "Great Stuff." We have our vet, Dr. Julie, to thank for recommending that we try DE in the kennel to help prevent intestinal parasites, reduce fly populations, prevent fleas and ticks (we've very seldom had any problem with them, anyway, except now that we're having more moist summers!), and to help dry up wet spots. Our main use is on the dogs' food every day to prevent intestinal parasites, and it works! Dr. Julie had been using it on her chickens and livestock to reduce and eliminate external parasites - lice and mites, fleas, ticks and flies - and found it worked better than anything else she had ever used, at lower cost and with no worries about toxicity or side-effects. We were sold before we even tried it, and have been using it ever since!
1. Sprinkled about 1 tsp on each dachshund's food each day, to kill any intestinal worms,reduce numbers of flies, and add essential trace mineral nutrients to the dogs' diet.
2. Sprinkled lightly in with bedding to eliminate odors and absorb liquids, especially in winter when the dogs are inside a lot more. It neutralizes and eliminates urine and ammonia odor immediately! We do not usually have fleas or ticks in the kennel, so that has not been a reason for daily use, but we have dusted the dogs' coats and bedding to kill fleas if and when we find a stray one, as a preventive.
3. Add a tablespoon or two to a hot beverage consumed each day, to add minerals to our own diet.
4. Puffed or shaken from a small-holed shaker-bottle onto houseplants, outdoor flowers and garden plants to control soft-bodied sucking insects, gnats, whiteflies, aphids and slugs. Sprinkled onto soil and worked in, to control grubs and snails/slugs.
DE truly is amazing material, but many veterinarians pooh-pooh the idea of using it, saying tests have shown that it's ineffective. Well, we're here to tell you: IT DOES WORK!!! It has been used since 2009 in the kennel, and in our own homes and gardens. If it didn't work, we sure wouldn't use it. The following article is straight from PermaGuard; it's the information sheet they gave us when we bought our first bag of it. We suggest you print and read it for ideas on how to use this wonderful "fossil shell flour." There will be other articles added, or links to online information, after this 2-page article from Perma-Guard.
Diatomaceous Earth Instructions
WHAT IS IT?
Diatomaceous earth, an organic and natural product, is mined in the American West. It was formed from trillions of microscopic one-celled algae called diatoms, which weave tiny shells for themselves out of the silica they extract from water.
As the diatoms die, these shells settle in deposits at the bottom of ancient lakes and lagoons. When the lakes dry up and the seas recede, the deposits are fossilized and compressed into a soft, chalky rock called diatomaceous earth.
After it is quarried, milled, finely ground and passed through a screen, it feels and looks like flour and can safely be fed to animals, or used as a dust or spray.
Diatomaceous earth particles are characterized by their very irregular shapes, generally spiny structure and pitted surface area. They average only 5 to 20 microns in diameter, yet have a surface area several times greater than any other mineral with the same particle size.
Diatomaceous earth contains about 33% silica - the main ingredient in a diatom's skeleton - plus sodium, titanium, magnesium, boron, copper, strontium, manganese, vanadium, gallium and other trace elements, including aluminum, iron, calcium and zirconium.
SAFETY PRECAUTIONS - IMPORTANT!
When spraying or dusting, use a mask and goggles to keep particles out of your nose and eyes. The sharp edges which destroy the insects can irritate the eyes and respiratory system.
LAWN AND GARDEN
Diatomaceous earth can be applied as a dust or mixed into a slurry for foliar spraying. It can be used as a barrier to crawling pests or dusted/sprayed onto foliage for control of soft-bodied insects as well as ants, cockroaches, silverfish, etc.
Dust in the late evening or at night, to reduce harm to beneficial insects. Because the substance is so dry, dusting works best after a light rain or after plants have been sprayed with a fine mist of water. Dusting should progress upward from the ground, covering all stems and leaves, especially the
undersides of the leaves and stems.
Diatomaceous earth can also be applied wet. Using a five-gallon sprayer, place a teaspoonful of Safer soap or another sticker-spreader in a quart of warm water. Put 1/4 pound diatomaceous earth in the sprayer, and add the soap mixture, then top off with water. Make sure to keep the solution agitated as you spray.
To protect your fruit trees, sprinkle a liberal amount of diatomaceous earth on the ground around the trunks. Also paint the tree trunks with a mixture of Safer soap (above), diatomaceous earth and water. This protective buffer zone will impede the migration of various fruit tree flies (maggot stage) and worms, as well as Japanese beetles (grub stage).
When used as a barrier for earwigs, snails, slugs, etc., diatomaceous earth must be kept dry to be effective.
As a lawn insecticide, diatomaceous earth is a potent deterrent to grubs, chinch bugs, cutworms and other soil insects. Apply the dust four times a year at a rate of 25 pounds per 1500 square feet.
Earthworm farmers find 100% diatomaceous earth effective in controlling parasites in worm beds. Because earthworms are structurally different from insects, they can digest particles of diatomaceous earth and then eliminate them in their castings.
DUST FOR LICE AND FLEA CONTROL
Diatomaceous earth is used as a dust against fleas, lice and other external pests on pigs, dogs, cats, horses, cattle, goats, and chickens. Use full strength as a talcum powder to rub into dog and cat coats and in dusting boxes for chickens.
PARASITE CONTROL IN ANIMALS
A purely natural product, diatomaceous earth's action against insects is strictly mechanical. The microscopically sharp edges of the ground product contact the offending organisms and pierce their protective coatings. The parasites then dry out in a few hours and die, passing harmlessly through your animal's digestive system and into the manure pile.
SUGGESTED FEEDING RATES
Beef Cattle: 1% by weight of total dry ration, or free choice.
Calves: 4 grams in morning milk.
Dairy Cattle: 1 % by weight of total dry ration, or free choice.
Chickens: 5% in feed.
Dogs: 1 tablespoon per day for large dogs (over 55 lbs); 1 teaspoon per day for small dogs and puppies.
Goats: 1% in grain.
Horses: 5 oz. (1 cupful) in daily ration per horse.
Sheep: 1 % in grain.
Diatomaceous earth can be applied as a dust or spray to control massed flies in pastures, in and around trees, grounds and buildings. It is best applied at night when the air is calm. Pyrethrin may be added for quick knock-down of insects without risk of spreading toxins to milk. Dust on 15 to 40 lbs per acre (20-25 lbs in quiet air) and use the same rate for enclosed spaces. For liquid spray, mix two lbs per gallon of water.
Some grain and flour mills have replaced chemicals like Malathion with diatomaceous earth to aid in the prevention of insect damage to the stored grains and seeds. The most effective protection will be achieved if grain or seed is treated immediately after harvest by lightly coating the outside of all kernels with dust. The best way is to apply the powder directly onto the grain either at the bottom of an elevator leg or as it is being moved into storage by auger or conveyer belt, using seven pounds of diatomaceous earth for each ton of grain. Barley, corn, buckwheat, oats, rice, rye, wheat, sorghum and mixtures of these grains may be treated in this manner.
ONLY USE PURE FOOD GRADE DE
Please do not use Pool Grade DE for anything except pool filters! It has a different make-up and is toxic if ingested!
Here are some links to websites with good information about diatomaceous earth.
Perma-Guard - be sure to read their page on Fossil Shell Flour. Perma-Guard is a wholesale distributor, however, and has a number of local outlets around the Westcliffe/Silver Cliff area, as well as around the country. We buy ours from the local chiropractor, but check the Perma-Guard website for a complete list of their outlets. Many local feed stores or farm & ranch supply stores carry or will order it for you.
Wikipedia article - lots of terrific information, including the fact that Alfred Nobel discovered that nitroglycerin is much more stable if it is absorbed in diatomite (another name for DE), and in 1867 he patented this mixture as DYNAMITE!!!
Wolf Creek Ranch, home of Whispering Winds Wholistic Animal Sanctuary
Phone: (951) 674-0921 / Fax (951) 674-9998 They mention the deodorizing effects of DE, which I (Becky) have noticed in sprinkling it on my carpets between shampooings, to kill odors instantly. They suggest using DE in kitty litter boxes and in any wet areas that smell bad, indoors or out. They also have a list of retailers in Colorado and some other states that sell DE, but they don't list Perma-Guard, located right in Silver Cliff.
Food-grade DE is also widely available at feed & animal-supply stores, especially in the 50# sacks, because it is commonly used as an anti-caking agent in grain and livestock feeds. If you buy it locally that way, you don't have to pay for shipping it to you, and the feed store may allow sales of smaller amounts than 50# sacks, especially if they have a bag that got damaged in shipping it to them.
Photo by Scott Dankof; used with permission. Check out scottdankofphoto.com!