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Post  happyfrog on 12/9/2010, 6:12 pm

Steve (boffer) and I were talking about the wonders of diatamaceous earth and he thought it would be fun to start a topic here for everyone to share what's worked for them with the resilient critters we call bugs . . bad bugs.

I use feed grade DE (shorter way of saying diatamaceous earth - 'sides it's hard to spell) to kill the grubs and slugs and other creepy crawlies in my garden that i do not enjoy such as ants taking over my lettuce squares.

all i do is sprinkle it liberally into the soil and trowel blend it in gently. that's it! it looks rather like dirt actually - very fine dirt.

i also feed it to my cat to reduce the likelihood that he'll have worms or other parasites.

the way DE works is it is itty bitty little pieces that are razor sharp to slugs, grubs, ants.

the bad thing is, it's also detrimental to bees. so i am VERY VERY careful not to have it on plants that the bees might light upon to harvest nectar from flowers and pollination.

it's non toxic to humans but it's dehydrating, so never a good idea to get it in your eyes and one should wash hands thoroughly and/or wear gloves to protect oneself from drying out the skin.

when planting my squash, i also liberally amend the soil so that the dreaded cutworms don't eat my plants again (that's how i learned about DE in the first place).

gosh i sound like an advert! LOL

oh i found the feed grade DE at my local milling supply store. i'm sure if you ask around, you'll find it, too. it's used often in farms for deworming and as a precautionary measure for keeping bugs/icky crawly things out of animal feed.

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Post  Lemonie on 12/9/2010, 7:41 pm

I'm more of an animal expert...but along the lines of pesky critters: sprinkle DE on cats & dogs to get rid of fleas. Also can be used on floors and yard for big problems. Again....use FOOD grade DE only!
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Post  Megan on 12/9/2010, 8:01 pm

I am not a pet expert, but I would be fearful of using DE directly on pets (or people!) for fear of silicosis, or something similar. It's a very fine powder.
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Post  camprn on 12/9/2010, 8:04 pm

@Megan wrote:I am not a pet expert, but I would be fearful of using DE directly on pets (or people!) for fear of silicosis, or something similar. It's a very fine powder.
+1 I wear a facemask on the rare occasion I dust DE in the garden.
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Post  Miss Mousie on 12/9/2010, 11:14 pm

Okay, I'm not an expert on much of anything.......but I'm a cat lover. I'm just curious #1 how you get a cat to eat DE Shocked but #2 don't the tiny razor sharp pieces cut up the insides of the cat? Sad
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Post  Odd Duck on 12/10/2010, 1:15 am

I wouldn't use DE on my own pets, nor recommend them to my clients for their pets. Cats, especially, have enough respiratory problems, they don't need to get DE in their sinuses.

Frequent vacuuming is one of the best things you can do to help prevent fleas. The vacuum kills about 97% of fleas that go through it - adults, larvae and eggs. Pretty much nothing kills the pupae, that's why you have to vacuum frequently, so you'll get the pupae as soon as they hatch out.

Most people aren't aware of it, but fleas only spend 3-5% of their life span on the pet, the adult only. The rest of the fleas' life span and ALL other stages in the fleas life cycle are spent in the environment. There are about 100 fleas in the environment for every flea on your pet. Your vacuum is your friend when it comes to controlling fleas.

End of flea lecture.

Oh, and I use Bt (Bacillus thurigensis spray) and spinosad - mostly to control SVB moth and sometimes for cabbage worms. This fall, I made and hung fake cabbage white butterflies (supposedly they're territorial) and it appears to have worked. We'll see this spring when there's more risk.

I like the idea of using the DE for cutworms, though. I might add that to the arsenal. I've also used a lot of companion plants, but I think the TX environment is extra tough, because that hasn't seemed to really work as well as I'd hoped.
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Post  happyfrog on 12/10/2010, 5:34 am

re: feeding to my cat - i just mix it with some wet cat food. it's itty bitty dust like particles. they're not going to hurt/cut my cat's innards, but they WILL injure parasites/worms. not those wonderful worms that every garden loves,i mean like parasitic worms and cutworms, grubs.

odd duck - question: Bt (Bacillus thurigensis spray) and spinosad -what are they? how do you use them? are they toxic if say my kid goes out to garden and eats broccoli heads right off the plant by nibbling them off? (she does tha tkind of thing) - and that's why i try to use stuff that won't hurt a person. .

those cabbage worms sure are resilient - so i am definitely eager to learn more!
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Post  Odd Duck on 12/11/2010, 12:33 pm

Bt is a bacteria that only affects bugs that chew your plants. It causes the mother of all "stomach flu" for the bug. They stop eating within about 30 minutes of exposure, then die within a couple days. It is organic and supposedly 100% safe for people, although I think the label says to wait a day before harvesting?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bacillus_thuringiensis

Spinosad is, I believe, a bacterial extract that acts the same way as Bt. I haven't been able to get a straight answer on that one. But it also is organic, only hurts the bugs, etc, but is supposed to get more bugs than the Bt.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spinosad

Oh, look. I guess I didn't look in the right place last time I researched, cuz here it is!
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