Is Diatomaceous Earth safe for beneficial insects?

What Does Diatomaceous Earth Kill?(Fact Checker & Myth Buster!)

Diatomaceous Earth is a powder that is extracted from fossilized remains of aquatic organisms called Diatoms.

I always advise people to use food-grade Diatomaceous Earth. Diatomaceous Earth is used to eradicate a variety of harmful insect pests in the garden.

There’s this common question asked by my readers. Does it harm beneficial insects? If yes, what insects does it kill?

Is Diatomaceous Earth safe for beneficial insects?

No, Diatmoaceous Earth is not safe for beneficial insects. It can’t and doesn’t differentiate between beneficial and harmful insects.

For instance, Diatomaceous earth kills Ladybugs, Bees, Beneficial nematodes, Butterflies, Praying mantis etc. if they come in contact with it.

Does Diatomaceous Earth kill ladybugs?

Yes, Diatomaceous Earth kills ladybugs. Unfortunately, Diatomaceous earth doesn’t differentiate between plant pests and beneficial insects like Ladybugs.

Diatomaceous earth works by piercing the external body surface of insects. Even ladybugs are harmed due to this characteristic feature of Diatomaceous Earth.

Does Diatomaceous earth kill bees?

Yes, Diatomaceous earth can kill bees. Diatomaceous earth is coarse and penetrates into the exoskeleton of bees.

It is better not to apply Diatomaceous Earth around flowering plants. Do not ever let bees come into contact with DE, they’ll dehydrate and die if they do.

Tip: Don’t apply Diatomaceous earth on the blossoms or the leaves that surround the flowers.

Will Diatomaceous Earth kill Beneficial Nematodes?

Diatomaceous Earth kills beneficial nematodes as well as harmful nematodes. It can’t differentiate between the two.

Try not to add Diatomaceous Earth to the soil if you have beneficial nematodes around.

Does Diatomaceous earth kill Earthworms?

No, Diatomaceous Earth doesn’t kill Earthworms. The slimy layer that lines the Earthworm’s body protects it from the porous Diatomaceous Earth.

Earthworms can digest the particles of Diatomaceous Earth and excrete it along with the castings. Farmers use DE to eliminate pests that cause harm to Earthworms.

Diatomaceous Earth doesn’t harm warm-blooded animals or Earthworms. This means when you use food-grade DE, your Earthworms are safe.

Will Diatomaceous Earth kill Butterflies?

Yes, Diatomaceous Earth will kill Butterflies if it comes into contact with them. Diatomaceous Earth doesn’t differentiate between harmful and beneficial insects.

It just pierces into insects’ exoskeletons and causes injuries. Insects when injured by DE get dried out. So, try to keep DE away from butterflies.

Does Diatomaceous earth kill lizards?

Diatomaceous Earth doesn’t kill lizards. DE does cause minor skin irritations in lizards but it is not that fatal assuming it’s food-grade.

Diatomaceous Earth is not at all fatal to lizards so you can use if safely in places where you see these reptiles.

Is Diatomaceous Earth safe for Pollinators?

No, Diatomaceous Earth is not safe for pollinators like Bees, Butterflies. DE just causes damage to any kind of insect.

You may want to keep Diatomaceous Earth away from places where pollinators are likely to be present.

Will Diatomaceous earth kill Praying Mantis?

Yes, Diatomaceous Earth can kill Praying Mantis. Praying mantis is a helpful insect that betters your garden ecosystem.

But DE doesn’t differentiate between harmful insects and the beneficial Praying Mantis. So, do not apply it near to the places where Praying Mantis insects live.

What does Diatomaceous Earth kill?

In addition to killing many beneficial insects, DE can be used to eradicate harmful insect pests in the garden. Diatomaceous Earth can be used to kill spiders, mites, ants, tomato worms, horn worms, Tarantulas, Mice and many more.

Does Diatomaceous Earth kill spiders?

Yes, Diatomaceous Earth has been proven to eradicate spiders from your garden. DE penetrates into the exoskeleton of spiders and kills them.

Use Diatomaceous Earth if there’s a good number of spiders in your garden. Use DE cautiously as it can kill beneficial insects too.

Does Diatomaceous Earth kill mites?

Yes, Diatomaceous Earth can be used to kill various types of mites that are commonly found in gardens.

It can be used to eradicate spider mites and other types of mites that are harmful to the garden ecosystem. Apply DE around the susceptible plants.

Does Diatomaceous Earth kill ants?

Yes, Diatomaceous Earth can be used to kill ants. Ants have exoskeletons like other insects and DE is able to pierce through the exoskeleton.

Use Diatomaceous Earth around places where the plants are susceptible to aphids. Aphids are carried onto the host plants by ants.

So, to control aphid infestations you may want to get rid of ants. Diatomaceous Earth can even kill the queen ant.

Will Diatomaceous Earth kill Tomato Worms?

Yes, Diatomaceous Earth can be used to eradicate Tomato worms. Hornworms bother a lot of tomato farmers as they infest and devour the produce.

Sprinkle some DE on these worms as soon as you see them on your tomato plants. This would dry the worms out and kill them.

Use DE carefully though as it can kill even beneficial insects. Beneficial insects include pollinators and also the natural enemies of tomato pests.

Will Diatomaceous Earth kill Horn Worms?

Yes, Diatomaceous Earth can be used to eradicate Horn worms. Horn worms are pests that infest a wide variety of garden plants.

Spray DE on Horn worms as soon as you see them. Diatomaceous Earth penetrates into Horn worm’s body and dries them out.

Does Diatomaceous Earth kill Tarantulas?

Yes, Diatomaceous Earth can kill Tarantulas. Apply DE on places where Tarantulas are roaming around to eradicate them.

DE kills all the types of bugs that have exoskeletons. Use food-grade DE only if there’s a serious problem with Tarantulas as DE will also kill a variety of beneficial insects.

Does Diatomaceous Earth kill Roaches?

Yes, Diatomaceous Earth can kill roaches. You can use DE to get rid of roaches that roam around in the mulch layer.

Mix equal parts of flour and Diatomaceous Earth. Apply it on the affected area. Roaches will take this ‘food’ to other roaches killing the others too.

Does Diatomaceous Earth kill Mice?

Yes, Diatomaceous Earth can get rid of Mice and Rats in the garden. Mice are a head-ache of a lot of gardeners including myself.

Whenever I see rats I just think of DE, as it’s effective and efficient. DE is non-toxic and gets the job done in the case of mice.

Does Diatomaceous Earth kill Carpenter ants?

Yes, Diatomaceous Earth can be used to kill Carpenter ants. Carpenter ants cause a lot of damage to furniture, especially the patio ones.

I experienced this with my patio chairs. I dusted some DE on Carpenter ants’ colonies. DE gets rid of Carpenter ants efficiently.

I wish you a pest-free garden!