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how does DE work to control mites?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

I think we're having a mite problem.  I keep reading about Diotomaceous Earth (food grade - where do you get the food grade kind?  co-op?) as a solution.  But I've also heard that it's not the way to go?  I'm confused.  Trying to be as non-chemical and hands-off as possible, but I want healthy girls!   How in the beans can DE control mites?? hmm Isnt it just ground up shells and fossilized bits of earth?  Is it different than "Departiculated Earth"?
Thanks.

2 light brahmans, 2 cinnamon queen, 2 production red
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2 light brahmans, 2 cinnamon queen, 2 production red
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post #2 of 9

DE, sometimes called Fossil Shell Flour, basically works because it's sharp, leaving tiny cuts on bugs as they crawl over it.  They then dehydrate and die.  That's probably a terrible explanation, but it's somewhat on the right track...

Owned by two old dogs (yellow lab and a big, red, fuzzy mutt) and four chickens (Buff Orpington, Barred Rock, and two Easter Eggers)
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Owned by two old dogs (yellow lab and a big, red, fuzzy mutt) and four chickens (Buff Orpington, Barred Rock, and two Easter Eggers)
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post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 

Yay Chicks! :

DE, sometimes called Fossil Shell Flour, basically works because it's sharp, leaving tiny cuts on bugs as they crawl over it.  They then dehydrate and die.  That's probably a terrible explanation, but it's somewhat on the right track...


SERIOUSLY???  Wow.  That's crude and basic, but I guess it makes sense.  So why then do people put this in the chix feed??????  I know they need grit to help digest, but that sounds harsh!  Thanks for that info.

2 light brahmans, 2 cinnamon queen, 2 production red
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2 light brahmans, 2 cinnamon queen, 2 production red
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post #4 of 9

The other post is basically right. Be sure to wear a protective mask when using it as it is very abrasive/sharp and if inhaled can cause silicosis.

Pest control: Diatomite (DE) is also used as an insecticide, due to its physico-sorptive properties. The fine powder absorbs lipids from the waxy outer layer of insects' exoskeletons, causing them to dehydrate.[7] Arthropods die as a result of the water pressure deficiency, based on Fick's law of diffusion. This also works against gastropods and is commonly employed in gardening to defeat slugs. However, since slugs inhabit humid environments, efficacy is very low. It is sometimes mixed with an attractant or other additives to increase its effectiveness. Medical-grade diatomite is sometimes used to de-worm both animals and humans, with questionable efficacy.[8][9] It is most commonly used in lieu of boric acid, and can be used to help control and eventually eliminate cockroach and flea infestations. This material has wide application for insect control in grain storage.[10] It has also been used to control bedbug infestations, but this method may take weeks to work.[11]

post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 

oh MY.  the things I'm learning from ya'll.  Thanks!

2 light brahmans, 2 cinnamon queen, 2 production red
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2 light brahmans, 2 cinnamon queen, 2 production red
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post #6 of 9

It kills them by desiccation.  Its primary action is ADSORPTION of lipids.  It is more effective as a preventative agent, than for treatment of a full blown infestation.

More info.:  http://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=294680&p=2  (post #20)  http://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=295586&p=2  (posts #'s 11/20/22).

post #7 of 9

These are good questions.  I think you should research Pyrethrin for mite problems, I've heard many good things.  Diatomaceous Earth works well for many things too but better at other things then mite infestations.  DE works in dry locations best and as a preventative.  After all, lobsters live in the stuff, and it don't hurt them.  It kills insects and arthropods (including mites) by abrading their water proof membranes around their joints causing them to dehydrate, Which is why it is obviously safe for the compost pile after being used in the coop bedding.  If it killed earth worms, I wouldn't want it in my yard.  But it don't, and it probably wont do many of the things I've heard claimed either.  However, it is made of the exact same stuff as quartz crystals, if you wanna get mystical with it. smile

6 hens, 3 kids, 2 bulldogs, 2 cats and only one wife.
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6 hens, 3 kids, 2 bulldogs, 2 cats and only one wife.
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post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 

I LOVE BYC!!!!thumbsup  I had a question, posted it, and not 5 minutes later I've gotten a handfull of helpful and funny responses. ya THANKS PEEPS!

2 light brahmans, 2 cinnamon queen, 2 production red
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2 light brahmans, 2 cinnamon queen, 2 production red
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post #9 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by SheilaTheBrave 

Yay Chicks! :

DE, sometimes called Fossil Shell Flour, basically works because it's sharp, leaving tiny cuts on bugs as they crawl over it.  They then dehydrate and die.  That's probably a terrible explanation, but it's somewhat on the right track...


SERIOUSLY???  Wow.  That's crude and basic, but I guess it makes sense.  So why then do people put this in the chix feed??????  I know they need grit to help digest, but that sounds harsh!  Thanks for that info.


Why people put it in chicken feed is a point of controversy.   You can find plenty of arguments by researching other threads.   wink  I just use it to keep things in the coop dry and as a preventative for bugs.

Owned by two old dogs (yellow lab and a big, red, fuzzy mutt) and four chickens (Buff Orpington, Barred Rock, and two Easter Eggers)
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Owned by two old dogs (yellow lab and a big, red, fuzzy mutt) and four chickens (Buff Orpington, Barred Rock, and two Easter Eggers)
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