Diatomaceous Earth?

HappyClucker7

Crowing
Apr 28, 2016
2,534
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New York
I've seen a lot of conflicting information on here, and on other websites, about diatomaceous earth. Some people say it's great for getting rid of lice and mites, and others say it does nothing other than cause respiratory issues. So, which is actually true? Is diatomaceous earth good or bad?
 

ChickenCanoe

Crossing the Road
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Nov 23, 2010
31,772
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St. Louis, MO
I'm not aware of any definitive studies but I can offer this observation.
DE works by causing desiccation of soft bodied animals like slugs. If it works on lice and mites, which I believe it does that is one thing. But the claims of some people that it works on internal parasites, I doubt there is any evidence of that since the internal environment is moist and wouldn't serve to desiccate anything.
 

EggSighted4Life

Crossing the Road
Apr 9, 2016
13,331
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California's Redwood Coast
I've seen a lot of conflicting information on here, and on other websites, about diatomaceous earth. Some people say it's great for getting rid of lice and mites, and others say it does nothing other than cause respiratory issues. So, which is actually true? Is diatomaceous earth good or bad?
DE has some uses.. such as an anti-caking agent in grains and feeds. Also used as filtering media in some swimming pool filters.

It is ineffective in humid environments. And there for will do nothing to help with lice or mites in my location.. My local friend uses it avidly and didn't know she had and infestation until I showed her what to look for. She needed to treat with something effective, there are many options. To me, it can be harmful (drying and irritating) to the skin whether food grade or not. Due to other issues mentioned DE is not welcome at my place for many reasons. Even with the other products used, everything has pluses and minus.. for me the cons outweigh the pros of DE in my location. Permethrin based product has been very effective against poultry lice and mites, but not so much with dog fleas. In fact, frontline plus USED to work for dog fleas at my previous location but has shown inefficacy at my current location as well... Sometimes we must reconsider our approach when things change.. this is my first time in 6+ years dealing with fleas.

What is true.. is that some things work better in different locations for different people.

I'm already appalled at the cloud of dust entering the air when my birds bathe or every time they shake out. I would rather not add extra POSSIBLY harmful stuff, as breathing fresh air with less particulate is one reason why we moved to our current location. Previous place on bad air days.. they equated walking a mile in it with smoking a pack of cigarettes! :sick

So without any fear mongering or brow beating.. it's a personal choice that may be relevant to ones' location and what options they have available to them as well as their general take and stance or even understanding of things. I'm in the anti- DE camp. :)

To me natural and organic are over rated terms.. so is deadly night shade, radon and arsenic, etc! :hmm

Adding your general location to your profile can help folks make their most relevant suggestions possible at a glance. ;)

Best wishes deciding if DE is the right choice for you! :fl
 

HappyClucker7

Crowing
Apr 28, 2016
2,534
6,961
337
New York
Okay, thank you. I think I probably won't use it anymore then. It can get quite humid in the summers where I live, so DE probably doesn't even work here.
Can I use the permethrin sprays as a preventative, or should I only use it if I have a parasite problem?
 

humblehillsfarm

Songster
Mar 27, 2020
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Southwestern Pennsylvania
I agree with others, and by the time you actually have a bug problem it's time to bring out the big guns (permethrin for the coop, or sevin dust for the birds and coop), because DE would have little affect on a chronic problem. At best, it's could be preventative for external problems, at worst, it may do nothing except irritate a bird's respiratory system.
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
7 Years
Nov 27, 2012
84,261
97,615
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SW Michigan
My Coop
I've seen a lot of conflicting information on here, and on other websites, about diatomaceous earth.
..and you will get the same conflicting info in this thread too.


Did a little experiment recently.
Had some maggots on top of a poop bucket, I nearly covered them with DE.
Most were still crawling around 3 days later.

The only thing I've found DE to be effective for is grain mites in feed,
and even that can take a few days to kill them all.

I've read many stories here about flocks with serious mite or lice infestations,
many of them say "but I've used lots of DE everywhere all the time!!".
That's enough to convince me it doesn't do diddly as a preventative,
no matter how many people say "I use DE and have never had mite/lice",
it just means they have never had mites or lice.
 

WNYfarmfresh

Chirping
Aug 1, 2020
67
117
60
Western NY
DE , is actually recommended in humid areas to help control Flies and can hold plenty of water itself much like perlite. It is meant to control walking insects so will do little for fly larva crawling but.... DE is is detrimental to insects via consumption in feed, or simply walking on it. To them, it’s like walking on razor blades. It kills Arthropods due to water pressure deficiency. It’s also an effective control for Gastropods.

win win, no more harmful than the play sand in the sand box.
 

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