Will DE harm the "good guys" in compost?

Our7Wonders

In the Brooder
9 Years
Aug 6, 2010
25
0
32
Central Washington State
I've been using DE sprinkled in my coop to help keep the flies down and the other little critters at bay. My question is, when I clean the coop, is the DE that's mixxed in going to be harmful to the composting good buggies and bacteria? Or if I let it compost in a future garden area is it going to effect the worms? I really want to be able to continue to use DE as I've read so many positive reports of it's use but I've been pondering it's possible down side lately. If any one has any thoughts I would really appreciate it.

Thanks,
Debbi
 

patandchickens

Flock Mistress
12 Years
Apr 20, 2007
12,520
348
341
Ontario, Canada
Many people have asked this question. I am not aware of any definitive, study-based answer. However, anecdotally you will find that people who compost stuff containing DE do not generally feel like they're seeing obvious effects. Personally I would not expect much if any effect, insofar as most of what DE does, it does only in a dry environment, whereas a compost pile (and the soil you use the compost in) are at least moderately damp.

Still, there is no definitive empirical answer yet that I know of, so it's up to you what you want to do. Certainly the less DE you use in your coop, the less likelihood of a problem with it in the compost.

(e.t.a. -- it will never be "gone", though. DE does not break down or decompose into other substances, not meaningfully. It is silicon, ideally in amorphous rather than crystalline form. It will not transmute to another element <g> and it is really quite nonreactive. Think of it as sand. Sand does not go away, it just gets smaller and smaller, and may be diluted out by other stuff that is mixed in)

Personally I think an awful lot of people on this forum throw around WAY too much DE for not very compellingly good reasons, sometimes to the point of respiratory hazard, more often just in a wasteful way. But, it's a free country.

Good luck, have fun,

Pat
 
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Lisa202

Songster
9 Years
Aug 20, 2010
718
13
133
Long Island NY
Patandchickens...

When you say that people

"throw around WAY too much DE for not very compellingly good reasons, sometimes to the point of respiratory hazard, more often just in a wasteful way."


do you mean that they are just using too much unnecessarily and a lot less would do just as well? or do you mean that there is no actual fact that it really does what they say it does and they are wasting their time and money?
 

shesaredroan

Songster
9 Years
May 7, 2010
437
26
111
south of Fort Worth, Texas
I had the same question when I got my first bag of DE at the feed store. Mainly I was concerned about it being harmful to worms.
NO it won't hurt your worms. DE works on bugs with exoskeletons, it makes tiny scratches on their hard exteriors as they walk through it and then their insides start leaking out.
I feed sweet feed to my horses and started to have a REAL problem with fire ants getting into my feed barrels. DE sprinkled around the feed barrels took care of that problem. Beats the #%&* out of using some kind of poison to do the same job.
Just don't confuse feed store DE with the stuff that is used for swimming pools......2 very different things.
 

Bear Foot Farm

Crowing
11 Years
Mar 31, 2008
5,543
311
288
Grifton NC
"throw around WAY too much DE for not very compellingly good reasons, sometimes to the point of respiratory hazard, more often just in a wasteful way."


do you mean that they are just using too much unnecessarily and a lot less would do just as well? or do you mean that there is no actual fact that it really does what they say it does and they are wasting their time and money?

I'd go with both of those statements.

As Pat said, it's basically SAND

It kills a few bugs and soaks up some moisture, but not much more​
 

chick4chix

Songster
11 Years
Jun 4, 2009
1,097
23
211
So Cal
I am an avid composter (ALL kitchen and garden scraps get composted- along with all the litter from the run which is straw and chicken poop)
I use DE in the nest boxes- sprinkled under and on top of the bedding there, and under the roosts in the litter there and, on the roost. I also put it in the chicken dust bath tub (which is a rubber horse feeder) filled with wood ash, pine shavings, and DE, and some dry soil. I also put a bit in their food. My chickens are all healthy and have had no parasites, due in part to a healthy diet and environment, but also to DE.
All of these items go into my compost and I have seen no adverse effects from it- My compost is glorious and gets TONS of worms (after it has cooled down).
So, in answer to your question- DE has not harmed any "good guys" in my compost.
lol.png
good luck with your composting efforts
 

Bear Foot Farm

Crowing
11 Years
Mar 31, 2008
5,543
311
288
Grifton NC
My chickens are all healthy and have had no parasites, due in part to a healthy diet and environment, but also to DE.
All of these items go into my compost and I have seen no adverse effects from it- My compost is glorious and gets TONS of worms (after it has cooled down).
So, in answer to your question- DE has not harmed any "good guys" in my compost

If it won't kill worms in compost, it won't kill worms in chickens

My chickens are healthy and have had no parasites, and I've never used DE

It's not magic dust
It's just powdered rock​
 

Big C

J &amp; C Farms
11 Years
Dec 15, 2008
561
3
139
Vernon Texas
de does not discriminate. It is non selective as used. In compost with de to help rebuild the "naturals" we use a mixture of molasses and humates. There are few if any chemicals or naturals that differentiate good from bad. You could use Orange Oil to do the same as a spray. Will do the same, but again there is no insect discrimination.
 

MANNA-PRO

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