who doesn't use DE and why?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by midd2005, May 30, 2010.

  1. midd2005

    midd2005 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 22, 2010
    One of the main reasons i am planning on getting chickens is so i can add their poop to my compost pile, which will make my fruit trees so happy.

    thus, i'm leery of using DE because it will make its way from the coop to pile and kill the bugs that are there doing their jobs.

    if you're not using DE, why? if you are and compost, have you noticed an effect on your pile?

    i'm also worried about it killing the good bugs, like bees, that are just passing through. and would it kill geckos?

    i see my property (as well as the neighbors') as a whole ecosystem, and don't want everything else to suffer for the chickens.

    are there other ways, aside from DE, that i can help protect my chickens from mites?
  2. 77horses

    77horses ◊The Spontaneous Pullet!◊

    Aug 19, 2008
    I use DE. There are many threads about why some people do and don't use it...Try doing a search. [​IMG]
  3. pongoid

    pongoid Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 8, 2010
    It is my understanding that diatomaceous earth kills mites and bugs in a natural way because they are they exoskeletons of microscopic sea creatures. These skeleton are very small , very sharp pieces of glass and very beautiful under a microscope. All bugs breathe passively, meaning they have no lungs and the air goes in and out of their body through holes in there abdomens. There is a slight pumping effect from their body movements but no real muscular diaphragm. Anywho, the pieces of glass lodge themselves in these holes and suffocate the bugs.

    I would imagine that once in a pile of compost, DE would stick to all kinds of other stuff (like velcro covered with lint) and render it harmless.
  4. twentynine

    twentynine Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 14, 2009
    Don't use it.


    Don't need it.
  5. lauralou

    lauralou Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 10, 2007
    Central Virginia
    I don't use it either. I don't have a good reason for the why or why not of it. I've never felt that I needed it.
  6. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    No, it won't kill geckos and I'm told it won't kill worms, either. The downside to DE is that it's hard to find and expensive in many places. My compost is full of grubs, larvae, sometimes baby snakes and I always use DE inside the coop or to dust the birds with--don't like poisons. It's the poison-free solution to bug control inside the coop and on the birds.
  7. A.T. Hagan

    A.T. Hagan Don't Panic

    Aug 13, 2007
    North/Central Florida
    I do and do not use DE and have done so for about a decade now.

    I do use it to powder the nest boxes in my fixed hen yard to discourage the fire ants. So long as it stays dry it works fairly well for that and the nests are fairly protected.

    I also use it to powder the floor around the storage cans in my feed room. It keeps ants out and discourages the roaches. I also use it in my dog food storage can (the dog food stays inside the bag) to keep the fire ants out. They're a dang nuisance with any kind of feed that has meat in it.

    I will occasionally flour the inside of roost house in the fixed hen yard for fly control. It works fairly well for that so long as it stays dry. Don't often need it for that, but once in a while I do.

    What I don't use it for is to worm anything. It's never been proven to work at all for that purpose. I also do not use it for fire ant control where it can get wet. Once it gets wet it crusts over and loses effectiveness. In the dry season you can rake an ant bed out and powder it well with DE and it will kill the ants it comes into contact with which means it is not going to kill the queens (note the plural) unless you really dig to the bottom of the nest and spread it out. That generally is not very effective.

    DE is a contact pesticide. No contact, no effect. It works fairly well when it's dry, but miserably poor if it gets wet until it dries out again and is not crusty. It has its uses, but it's not a wonder product. I'll keep on using it for what it's good for.
  8. CityChook

    CityChook Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 9, 2008
    Minneapolis, MN
    My Coop
    [​IMG] from MN

    I use DE in my coop for bug control. It has worked great and I really don't use very much. I do put all my shavings either into the compost pile or directly onto my flower gardens (it's been in the coop for 6 months already so it's not as hot). I have HUGE worms in my compost, so I can tell you that the DE isn't affecting them. Unsure about any other bugs. Just my $.02
  9. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    DE is a contact pesticide. No contact, no effect. It works fairly well when it's dry, but miserably poor if it gets wet until it dries out again and is not crusty. It has its uses, but it's not a wonder product. I'll keep on using it for what it's good for.

    That sums it up very well.​
  10. Alabama ee

    Alabama ee Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 18, 2010
    I don't use it for a couple reasons. First, I have not had a bug problem with our chickens. Although some people use it as a preventative, I don't want to treat something that is not a problem. Second, I am a little nervous about using it as an insecticide. It has to its physico-sorptive properties. The fine powder absorbs lipids from the waxy outer layer of insects' exoskeletons, causing them to dehydrate. I am sure breathing it would not be a good thing for the kids, me, or the chickens. Especially, if it is something used over a long span of time.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by