Yet Another DE question

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Anny, Jun 10, 2008.

  1. Anny

    Anny Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 24, 2008
    Detroit Michigan
    I was reading a little about DE and I was wondering are their any downsides to using DE? Can it hurt your chickens or other pets in anyways, can it hurt people?

    What exactly is it that is in DE?

    Basically I'm looking to see the pros and cons of this stuff before I invest any money into it.

    I don't know why but for some reason I'm questionable about using it....some one help ease my mind.
     
  2. SeaChick

    SeaChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 25, 2007
    Southern Maine
    DE can harm beneficial insect populations, like honeybees.

    You don't want to breathe a lot of it in, either. But it's fairly harmless. Food grade DE is used as an anti-caking agent (I think, or moisture absorber, or something) in some flours and grain products. Hence "food grade".

    From wikipedia:
    DE is a naturally occurring, soft, chalk-like sedimentary rock that is easily crumbled into a fine white to off-white powder. This powder has an abrasive feel, similar to pumice powder, and is very light, due to its high porosity. The typical chemical composition of diatomaceous earth is 86% silica, 5% sodium, 3% magnesium and 2% iron.
    Diatomaceous earth consists of fossilized remains of diatoms, a type of hard-shelled algae.

    Diatomite is also used as an insecticide, due to its physico-sorptive properties. The fine powder absorbs lipids from the cuticle, the waxy outer layer of insects' exoskeletons, causing them to dehydrate. 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. It is most commonly used in lieu of boric acid, and can be used to help control and eventually eliminate a cockroach infestation. This material has wide application in control of insects of grain storage.

    Disadvantages of using diatomaceous earth for pest control include the health risk to humans (see below), and the harm it does to many beneficial insects, including predatory beetles and bugs and many detritivores.
    SAFETY CONSIDERATIONS
    The absorbent qualities of diatomite can result in a significant drying of the hands, if handled without gloves. The saltwater (industrial) form contains a highly crystalline form of silica, resulting in sharp edges. The sharpness of this version of the material makes it dangerous to breathe and a dust mask is recommended when working with it.

    The type of hazard posed by inhalation depends on the form of the silica. Crystalline silica poses a serious inhalation hazard because it can cause silicosis. Amorphous silica can cause dusty lungs, but does not carry the same degree of risk as crystalline silica. Food-grade diatomite generally contains very low percentages of crystalline silica. Diatomite produced for pool filters is treated with heat, causing the formerly amorphous silicon dioxide to assume its crystalline form.

    In the United States, the crystalline silica content in the dusts is regulated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and there are guidelines for the maximum amounts allowable in the product and in the air near the breathing zone of workers.[3]​
     
  3. Anny

    Anny Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 24, 2008
    Detroit Michigan
    If I have Honey bees in or near my yard should I not use DE?

    Does it harm masonry bees and lady bugs as well?
     
  4. spatcher

    spatcher Chillin' With My Peeps

    881
    2
    151
    Apr 13, 2008
    Virginia - Southside
  5. mipsy6

    mipsy6 Out Of The Brooder

    63
    0
    29
    Mar 4, 2008
    Los Angeles, CA
    I am trying to figure out if the Concern Brand Diatomaceous Earth is okay to use on the floor of my coop. The website I ordered it from said it is "food grade," but the package itself does not say that. (The website also says, "Contains less than 0.1% Crystalline Silica.")

    The only hazard to humans & animals listed on the bag is eye irritation.

    Here are the ingredients listed:

    85% silicon dioxide, from diatomaceous earth
    10% other elemnet oxides
    5% moisture

    It is OMRI certified.

    Has anyone had experience with this brand?
    Do the ingredients sound okay?

    Thanks!
     
  6. gumpsgirl

    gumpsgirl Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

    14,108
    24
    311
    Mar 25, 2008
    Virginia
    I love it and use it in my chicken coop, my family gets it every day (orally mixed in O.J. or yogurt) and so does my dog. The dog gets it to help repel fleas, ticks, and as a wormer. The downside to it is the honeybee crisis, which you will hear a lot from posting this I'm sure. Food grade DE is made from ground up fossilized shells. The shells turn into tiny particles that are razor sharp (so tiny they only hurt insects) and cut into an insects exoskeleton which makes it loose water and dehydrates and dies. I have small children and pets so I do not like to use chemical insect killers. I have found foodgrade DE very effective in taking care of ants. When used in a correct manner (not around flower beds) it can be very beneficial. There are LOTS of uses for DE. I love it! Many people on here will argue that it's bad, but I'd much rather use "chemical free" products around my family and pets. [​IMG]
     
  7. lovemychicks9

    lovemychicks9 Chillin' With My Peeps

    509
    0
    149
    Apr 29, 2008
    South Carolina
    Very good explanation Gumpsgirl! I use DE all over my yard and home and in the coop. The girls get it on their food and I put some in the run to dust bath in. I give it to my dogs also and the best part? My coop and run has no odor what so ever and no bugs! Now if it just got rid of predators----- oh well can't have everything.
     
  8. mipsy6

    mipsy6 Out Of The Brooder

    63
    0
    29
    Mar 4, 2008
    Los Angeles, CA
    gumpsgirl and lovemychicks9, is the composition of the DE I listed above the same as the kind you use? I don't want to hurt my chickens with the wrong stuff (especially since one is already sick, which is why I got the DE in the first place).
     
  9. spatcher

    spatcher Chillin' With My Peeps

    881
    2
    151
    Apr 13, 2008
    Virginia - Southside
    You should be okay with it. To be food grade it has to have a crystalline silica content of 3% or less. The lower the better and yours is much lower.
     
  10. lovemychicks9

    lovemychicks9 Chillin' With My Peeps

    509
    0
    149
    Apr 29, 2008
    South Carolina
    Nope mine is 100% fossil shell flour or DE as we call it. It is as white and soft as can be. Looks like cake flour and feels like it too only softer. No other ingredients in it. It is made by Perma Gaurd. Trudy [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by