Diatomaceous Earth: A Natural Way To Eradicate Bed Bugs
Before using Diatomaceous Earth, make sure that you become familiar with this insect and it’s habits. Bed bugs have been roaming the world for centuries, especially in hot climates.
Their attraction to wood and their common infestation of headboards and bed frames has earned them their name, bedbugs.
They can inhabit most materials and they are often found in furniture, closets, linens and even hardwood floors. Bed bugs multiply rapidly and it is important to deal with them immediately, so they do not get out of control. While there are a number of ways to eradicate the insects, Diatomaceous Earth has been gaining popularity over the last decade, as pesticide immunity has become an increasing problem.
- Bed bugs and Diatomaceous Earth
Food grade diatomaceous earth will eliminate worms, parasites, fleas, flies, ants, worms, without causing harm to your livestock, animals, and pets during your eradication of bedbugs.
While it is a relatively new method of bedbug eradication, Diatomaceous Earth is a tried and true method of controlling other insect populations. In the past, it was most commonly used in cockroach infestations as an alternative to boric acid, with great success.
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Because Bed bugs can fit into smaller spaces and tend to have larger colonies than cockroaches, Diatomaceous Earth has often been overlooked as a method of control. In order to work effectively, it must coat the individual insects, and it can be difficult to apply short of covering every surface in the infested house. Because of this, it can take much longer to eradicate this insect, and many people opt for a quicker method of controlling their infestation.
- The Problem with Chemical Pesticides
For a long time, chemical pesticides have been relied on as the sole effective method of bedbug control. While there are a number of effective pesticides, the most common are pyrethroids, dichlovos and malathion. These poisons can be toxic to humans and pets, and most states require that they be applied by a professional, or by someone trained in pesticide application. Hiring an exterminator can be costly and it several applications are often necessary to eradicate the Bed bugs fully.
Additionally, overuse of chemical pesticides has resulted in a growing crisis of immunity. Even the strongest pesticides may leave one or two survivors. These survivors are usually the largest, most resilient Bed bugs and when they multiply, they pass on their resilience to their offspring.
Over time, this has resulted in bedbug populations that are immune to the popular chemical pesticides, making it more difficult than ever to control infestations. Bed bugs cannot become immune to its action. When insects come in contact with this powder or ingest it, they literally dry up like a prune and die within a very short time spand; it may be a good alternative for those dealing with pesticide immunity.
- How to Get the Best Results
Most experts recommend that Diatomaceous Earth be used in conjunction with other natural controlled methods in order to be most effective. The most important factor to keeping a bedbug-free home is awareness. The insects are commonly brought into the house in used furniture and clothing.
Because of this, it is a good idea to be wary of thrift store furniture and to dry clean any second-hand clothing or linens before bringing them into the home. Bed bugs are often picked up during travel and carried in the crevices of a suitcase or backpack. It is important to carefully inspect all luggages and dry clean as much as possible.
Bed bugs multiply rapidly and can take over a house or apartment in a short period of time, so it is also important to act immediately at the first sign of an infestation. The more time passes, the harder they will be to get rid of.
Before applying Diatomaceous Earth, it is important to steam clean all infested areas. This will kill many of the weaker bugs immediately and will make it easier to control the rest of the population. Vacuum all floors and furniture and dispose of the vacuum bag away from the house.
Remove any clutter the Bed bugs could hide behind and seal all holes and cracks that could be giving them shelter. Only once the infested area is as clean as possible, should the powder be applied.
Applications can take a few months to be fully effective. One study showed that after ten weeks, only 50% of treated apartments were completely free of Bed bugs. All apartments showed a drastic decrease in the number of bugs, however, meaning that it is an effective treatment, if not a complete cure.
When used for a greater length of time, or when used in with selective doses of chemical pesticides, it can be a very effective alternative to dousing the entire house with chemicals.
- Taking the Proper Precautions
While Diatomaceous Earth does not contain the same high levels of toxicity as a chemical pesticide, it does carry the risk of several health hazards. Because of its porous, absorbent nature, it can cause severe drying if contact is made with the skin.
It is important when applying to wear heavy duty gloves that prevent the dust from directly touching the skin. Depending on the form of silica present in the powder, inhalation may also pose a health risk. Breathing in crystalline silica can cause silicosis and amorphous silica can cause dusty lungs.
While crystalline silica is regulated in the United States, it is a good idea to double-check the contents of any pesticide before application, particularly if it was purchased internationally. While the risk of side effects may be minimized through the use of a dust mask during application, large quantities of dust in the air may still pose a threat to children or animals living in the house.
- Eradication at a Minimal Cost
One advantage to using Diatomaceous Earth for Bed bugs is the price. Because Bed bugs are often a problem in low-income housing that has been poorly maintained, and the cost can be a major barrier for those trying to deal with an infestation. While a professional exterminator may charge hundreds of dollars per application, a 3 lb container of powder can cost less than twenty dollars. Even over a ten-week period of multiple applications, the total treatment cost usually totals around $450, a fraction of the amount charged for the same number of chemical applications.
It is important to remember that a bedbug infestation can grow very quickly and if you hesitate to react, in the end, it may be a far greater cost to eradicate them, than you once thought? Start using Diatomaceous Earth today and eradicate these pesky insects from your home, before they eradicate you?