Diatomaceous Earth (DE) is an organic product mined in the West. It was formed from trillions of microscopic one-celled alogae called diatoms, which wove tiny shells for themselves out of the silica they extracted from sea water. As the diatoms died, these shells settled in deposits at the bottom of ancient lakes and lagoons. When these dried up and the seas receded the deposits were fossilized and compressed into a soft chalky rock, which is surface mined and crushed into a powder looking much like flour. DE particles are characterized by their irregular shapes, generally spiny structures and pitted surface area. They average only 5 to 20 microns in diameter yet have a surface area several times greater than any other mineral with the same particle size.
DE can be safely fed to animals or used as a dust or spray, for parasite control. This action is strictly mechanical. The microscopically sharp edges of the product contact the offending organisms and pierce their protective coatings. The parasites then dry out in a few hours and die.
What's It Used For?
Some uses of DE are: as a dust against fleas, lice and other external pests on dogs, cats, pigs, chickens and goats. Use full strength as a talcum powder to rub into dog, cat or goat coats, sprinkle on pigs, and add to dustimg boxes for chickens.
DE can be used as a dust or spray to control massed flies in pastures, in and around trees and shrubs, grounds and buildings and on manure piles. Due to its fine powder nature, it is best applied at night when the air is calm. Dust on 15 to 20 pounds per acre (20 to 25 pounds in quiet air). For liquid spray, mix two pounds per gallon of water and agitate while using.
When used on stored grains and seeds, it can replace chemicals like malathion. The most effective protection is achieved if grain or seeds are treated immediately after harvest by lightly coating the outside of the substantially all kernels or seeds with dust. This is best done by applying the powder directly as it is moved into storage. The rate is seven pounds per ton. Barley, corn buckwheat, oats, rice, rye, wheat, sorghum and mixtures of these grains may be treated in this manner.
Dusting yards like pastures or animal enclosures can work against a wide variety of lawn pests. While spreading is suitable for grass areas, spraying should be used on shrubs or other plants. To help the DE to cling to plants, place a teaspoon of flax-soap (dish soap) in a quart of warm water. Put 1/4 pound of DE in a 5-gallon sprayer, add the soap mixture and top off with water. Keep the solution agitated when using it.
To protect fruit trees, sprinkle a liberal amount of DE on the ground around the trunks. Also paint the trunks with a mixture of flax-soap, DE and water. The protective buffer zone will impede the migration of various fruit tree flies and worms, as well as Japanese Beetles.
You may need to spread DE several times a year for continued control. Due to its shape, use approved masks and googles to keep particles out of the nose and eyes as the sharp edges can irritate the eyes and respiratory system.
DE is not harmful to earthworms since they are structurally different from insects. In fact, som earthworm growers use DE in the bedding material to control parasites in it and in the earthworms.
For internal use, suggested feeding rates are:
Goats - 1% in grain or free choice
Beef Cattle - 1% by weight of total dry ration or free choice
Calves - 4 grams in morning milk
Dairy Cattle - 2% by weight of total ration
Chickens - 5% in feed
Large dogs - (55 lbs. +) 1 Tablespoon per day
Small dogs (54 lbs. -) 1 Teaspoon per day
Hogs - 2% by weight in feed ration
Horses - 5 ounces (1 cup) daily in grain ration per horse
Sheep - 1% in grain ration
DiaFil is: EPA-registered: No. 59910-1
Accepted by the Department of Agriculture as an additive in animal feeds where its desireable properties include good anti-caking action. Listed, by class, in the Food Chemicals Codex and a safe ingredient in foods.
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