Do You Use Diatomaceous Earth To Get Rid Of Fleas In Your Yard?

| February 17, 2011 | 12 Comments
Charlie and Fleas 224x300 Do You Use Diatomaceous Earth To Get Rid Of Fleas In Your Yard?

"I love it outside, but I hate fleas!"

As the snow melts in Kansas City, I have started to think of flea season.  Why?  Well, Charlie and Trigg had fleas last year, and I was at the acupuncture vet with my mom last week (her German Shepherd is getting acupuncture treatments for his degenerative disc disease), the vet mentioned how very bad fleas were last year and that hopefully all the deep freezing we have had this year will get rid of them.

Nonetheless, I need a better way to attack fleas before they are crawling around on Charlie and Trigg.  So this year, I am thinking about going the Diatomaceous Earth route.

For those who are wondering – “Diatomaceous Earth is a  naturally occurring siliceous sedimentary mineral compound from microscopic skeletal remains of unicellular algae-like plants called diatoms. To insects DE is a lethal dust with microscopic razor sharp edges. These sharp edges cut through the insect’s protective covering drying it out and killing them when they are either dusted with DE or if it applied as a wettable powder spray. If they ingest the DE it will shred their insides.”  Reference: Golden Harvest Organics.

So, even if you don’t let your cat outside, do you use Diatomaceous Earth?  I hear it is safe to be used in greenhouses, homes, gardens and on all types of plants.

button print blu20 Do You Use Diatomaceous Earth To Get Rid Of Fleas In Your Yard?

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Category: Health Care

About the Author ()

Hi, I’m Jenny Dean, creator of Floppycats! Ever since my Aunt got the first Ragdoll cat in our family, I have loved the breed. Inspired by my childhood Ragdoll cat, Rags, I created Floppycats to connect, share and inspire other Ragdoll cat lovers around the world,

Comments (12)

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  1. Barbara says:

    Never, ever heard of it till now.

  2. Lisa Barrett says:

    Thought about diatomaceous earth but decided on beneficial nematodes instead (http://www.hort.uconn.edu/ipm/homegrnd/htms/39nemat.htm or google for a less techy explanation). After A LOT of research I decided this was the way to go and I’ll be trying it out this spring.

  3. Shadie Kaye's Mom says:

    I think I’d be more inclined to use the Diatomaceous Earth rather then the nematodes, for me, more of a finacial decision, cost per area covered. As well, there is the issue of nematodes not being viable on arrival.

    I have thought seriously of using the Diatomaceous Earth just never got around to ordering, in part, a concern for the kittehs, themselves, of ingesting. I look forward to a review of your success both in the yard and on the kittehs. =^..^=

  4. Nancy says:

    Hi Jennifer,

    I should have given you at least some suggestion for the fleas.

    A far better idea is to build up the gut health – using rice bran,
    bifidus, PABA, and plenty of good protein foods and add some food
    yeast or brewer’s yeast, as that all provides the B vitamins which help
    cells become resistant.

    I had this information saved regarding fleas. I didn’t proof read this as it was just in my notes so there may be some repetitive info.

    Alternatives to chemical flea treatment

    Of all the chemicals out there for fleas, Frontline has the Lowest
    toxicity, though it is usually sold as Frontline PLUS and the PLUS is
    methoprene which is much more toxic.

    But there is a better way. Adding Brewer’s Yeast to food, increases
    the B vitamins that make blood taste bad to fleas.
    That helps a lot.

    If you have an animal that goes outdoors, especially a cat or dog as
    the cat flea is also the one found most on dogs (Ctenopalides felis),
    then it makes it very difficult to be flea-free in a flea-resort
    climate, as fleas know how to use a dog or cat as a taxi and then
    flea eggs fall off indoors, and you have a new cultural scene at home.
    Fleas have an interesting life, but no hobbies like knitting
    etc, and they swim well if you try to bath them off. Their entire
    time is spent eating, having sex and laying eggs, all while getting a
    ride. They die if they fall off the cat or dog. (Only rat fleas get
    off the rat to lay eggs.) And cat flea eats a lot – 22 times their
    own weight in blood per day, and a single flea can lay 22 thousand
    eggs. A little math will tell you they are dangerous insects for cats.
    Cats can easily die of fleabite anemia so fleas have to be controlled.

    Fleas also carry tapeworm eggs that get injected, travel to the gut
    and grow into tapeworms to gobble cat food there. But the greater
    danger is from anemia. An anemic cat can not fend off infections (or
    FIP).

    Adding Brewer’s yeast to food helps a lot but needs to be done
    slowly as it is high in protein and proteins need to always be introduced
    slowly as cats take at least a month to learn to digest a new protein.

    Another option to add is Santoninum 6X homeopathic remedy which can
    be given in water daily for 5 days, every 6 months. It builds
    tapeworm resistance but is not foolproof. (Helps about 80%)

    Things to NOT use:
    * Diatomaceous earth ( damages delicate intestinal lining and lung
    lining the same way it damages fleas)
    * Borax (toxic to cats)
    * Worse toxins than Frontline SPRAY (do not use Frontline topspot,
    too concentrated)
    * Essential oils (poison to cats)

    Fleas are not able to live where it is too dry or too high
    altitude. It may help to know the specifics, as one can manipulate
    them in some cases where it is borderline:

    Humidity:
    They love humidity of 80-85%.
    Do not provide it!
    Below 50% the larvae dry out and die in hours.

    Warmth:
    They love temp of 72 to 95 F so do not provide that in your house.

    Let the sun into open windows if you have in/out cats:
    They can not tolerate direct sun. It kills the larvae.
    Cut the lawn to prevent shade for larvae there.

    Altitude:
    If you live above 5000 ft you likely have no fleas, they dry out at that
    altitude.

    Dry and cool:
    If you can provide both dryness and cold – then you start to kill
    pupae -
    but about 5% of pupae survive under 50% humidity and under 72 F temp at
    the same time. It’s a step in the right direction:-)

    Weather to kill all fleas is 10 days of 37F or below -
    OR
    just a few hours below freezing.
    So in theory if you can get your house that way for some hours in
    winter,
    especially down in the cracks where pupae hide, you write off the lot.
    Just remember to leave some taps running if you do this!

    Pupae tend to stay in the pupa till conditions are in their favor:
    Fairly high humidity (like in animal breath)
    Fairly high temperature (like a warm animal going by)
    Increased pressure/vibration (like footprints of an animal going by)
    Carbon dioxide higher (like animal breath expiration)

    Remember the pupa detects these things at ground level – human breath
    does not go down to the ground. Cat and dog breath does.

    Flea issues:
    A fine-tooth flea comb is least toxic of course, but can miss them if
    there are a lot.
    Do not use concentrates like the kind you put between the shoulders.
    Frontline SPRAY (No extras added, so not Frontline Plus or whatever)
    is the least toxic flea chemical that is also effective. Do not spray
    it. Just dampen her fur with it using your hands.

    Also:
    Add 1/4 teaspoon brewer’s yeast to her food per day. It adds B
    vitamins that make her healthier while making her taste bad to fleas.

    Getting rid of fleas IS important because fleas eat 22 times their weight in blood per day EACH.

    Frontline SPRAY (no other additives like methoprene etc that are way
    more toxic) was tested in France on 3000 kittens starting with
    newborns and we did a test in SA as well among 30 breeders.
    One tiny kitten got hypothermia as it evaporates and cools as it does
    so. She was warmed up … no other issues besides dislike of the smell.
    It makes the coat punk-hairstyle but that comes right in 2 or 3 days
    on its own.

    I would not call this nontoxic – but it is the least toxic out there.
    The concentration used is extremely small.

    It only needs to be done once provided you dampen the coat everywhere.
    Start with areas around body openings as the fleas will try to hide
    in there.
    Do not get it in the eyes, it stings. But fleas will try to hide
    there so do a ring around the collar-top and ears.
    Then a ring around her rear, then work from back to front.

    Hope this helps somewhat,
    Nancy

    • Erica says:

      Nancy,

      I can attest that fleas can live in 110 degrees Fahrenheit and in dry weather, as our yard’s been having a flea infestation and it’s dryer than dust and hotter than heck outside! So your claim that fleas can’t live in hot weather or dry climate is entirely false.

      We live in Tucson, AZ, where it’s been about 110 outside with about 7% humidity. The fleas in the desert are called Sand Fleas, and I’ve been battling them with my cats for the past 2 months this summer.

  5. Nancy says:

    Hi Jennifer,

    Here is the definition of it from the medical dictionary.
    “di·a·to·ma·ceous earth (d-t-mshs, d-t-)
    n.
    A powder made of the desiccated shells of diatoms, used as a
    filtering agent, adsorbent, and abrasive in many chemical operations.”

    Diatoms and DE are sometimes used in toothpaste products because
    they are something like crushed glass (actually worse) and
    will scrape off hard plaque. So, I would not want to use something that is used as an abrasive for
    myself or an animal. Food grade or not. The food grade is to imply less contaminants- cleaner -not less abrasive.

    The insides of the gut contain delicate villi which are VERY easily
    damaged by DE, and then can let in undigested proteins to cause
    allergies and other disease effects.

    My holistic vet says that you only have to look at DE under a microscope – and also the villi
    at same magnification – to totally cringe from the obvious harm. It’s nonsense that the gut is protected from these super-sharp
    “Edward scissor-hands” effects. The parasites in the gut are NOT
    protected and they are a lot harder-surfaced than villi.

    I just wanted to give you the reasons I would never have the stuff in my house for any reason, especially with cats who groom so much and are sure to get it in their system.

    Take care,
    Nancy

  6. Charles Clarke says:

    Don’t like diatomaceous earth, a lot of ludicrous information in the replies above. I’ve used it for years, to start plants. In my plant sprays in my acre of garden, and in my cats food. Want the straight scoop on diatomacious earth “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diatomaceous_earth” clik on this website at wikipedia.
    Read the section on the use for Pest Control, Use IN Agriculture, and Marker in livestock nutrition experiments. It’s also used in grain storage facilities all over the world, ever ate cereal, you’ve probably had a taste.

  7. Nature Maid says:

    @Nancy -
    You should do your research before spouting off about something you obviously haven’t even researched. D.E. comes in a food grade that is one of the most amazing products to feed yourself and your pets. Those “sharp” objects are silica, which is an important mineral the body needs. Silica is also what makes up collagen, which is why people rave about their skin, hair and nails after a short while after taking D.E. daily. D.E. taken internally will not harm your body, but it will clean it, strengthen it, and keep it healthy. The only thing to be careful of is inhaling the fine dust of D.E. because of the sharp particles of silica and the dehydrating effect of it getting inside the eye and lungs. Wear a mask when sprinkling it anywhere and protect pets eyes and noses when applying as a flea powder. Rather than shake it, use hands to apply and knead it into their skin to prevent it from becoming airborne. Because it is an excellent product for cats to ingest, it is safe for them to groom themselves after applying into the fur for fleas. My cats get 1 t. every day in their food. I myself take 1 T. in water every day.

    D.E. that is used for pools has chemicals added. Never trust any vet to give you advice on natural products. They don’t have a clue. For a vet to dismiss a product because of the way it looks under a microscope is incredibly stupid and irresponsible. Their ignorance was demonstrated when they couldn’t even recognize an important mineral that is required by every living body to survive.

    Next time, research a product before you start handing out advice. A simple Google on Diatomaceous Earth will give you numerous sites with rave reviews of results for both humans and pets.

  8. kasey says:

    right on, nature maid! thank you for posting, it’s scary that people can have that negative impact about something thay don’t even know about. what do they think all those poisons are doing to their own and their pets bodies? farmer not only feed it to their animals, but it is mixed in wth the grains they harvest to kill insects, therefor in many of the foods we eat every single day.

  9. Lou says:

    We have used DE for at least 24 years,it’s wonderful. Kills many insects,but the food grade is also great for humans. We have been taking it for about 12 years,off and on,,at 66 yrs young,our skin is soft,hair still shiney,nails firm and we havent been sick since. Plus we have saved a fortune on this compared to the prices of “regular” bug killers. Read up on it,it will surprise you.

  10. Tiamet says:

    What’s the best thing to use on ferel cats?

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