Food Grade DE
Garden Grade DE (Diatomaceous Earth)
Over 400,000 tons of pesticides are applied each year by American farmers
with less than one-tenth of one percent actually reaching targeted pests! A main source of
contamination of our soil, water, air and food as well as being highly inefficient, this
method of pest control is places at risk the health of the consumer and farmer alike.
With the increase of of organic methods of controls , we are seeing a reduction in
chemical usage. The farmer of today is beginning to understand the delicate balance of
nature of which he is directly responsible. With this knowledge comes the search for safer
more effective methods of pest control.
Into the ring comes a long time favorite of organic farmers;
DE. Thru out this site, I have been referring you to Garden or Food Grade Grade
DE (not the
pool kind). This is IMPORTANT!
They are not the same, one is chemically treated and is dangerous to
your lungs and the other one does not! Can you guess which?
Food Grade is safer to use then Garden Grade. Pool Grade is dangerous to your health.
DE (Diatomaceous Earth) contains 14 trace elements, is non-toxic and
biodegradable. DE controls via a mechanical action rather than chemical action,
importantly, what this means is that subsequent generations of insects can not become
resistant to it's effects.
DE Structure and it's Function
DE is derived from dead sea life called Diatoms. There are over 1,500
species of diatoms and each has it's own skeleton shape. Most are snow flake shaped with a
few being tuber shaped and some cone shaped. The shape is very important in it's
effectiveness. Their composition will vary according to the area they lived and died in.
Most DE contain silicon, sodium, aluminum, manganese, boron, magnesium, iron, calcium,
and copper. The amount of amorphous (un-crystallized) silica the diatoms have percent during
fossilization determines the amount of crystalline silica found in
today's DE. The greater
the concentration of crystalline silica the greater it's effect on insects. Also Fresh
water DE deposits contain lower percentages of silica than does salt water deposits.
How does DE work?
Look at De under an electron microscope and you will see that DE
crystals (crushed Diatom shells) have very shape edges with a large surface
area (making DE
very porous). Amorphous DE is very different from crystalline silica where health is
concerned. Crystalline silica is hazardous to ones health while garden grade
DE (Amorphous). Crystalline silica causes Silicosis (the World Health Organization has
declared that crystalline silica levels in agricultural grade DE exceeding 3% can be
dangerous to humans). This is why pool grade DE is not safe to use on your garden or farm.
Pool grade DE is made by super heating Amorphous DE until it becomes near 100% crystalline
Many companies add an acid to complicate matters. Avoid using Pool grade DE at all
DE causes insects to loss their bodies water content by over 10%. DE effects the
insects natural coating of cuticle( a waxy coating secreted by the epidermis). The
edges of the DE particles lacerate this coating and penetrates in between the insects body
plates, and absorbs any water (moisture) t comes into contact with. This slowly dehydrates
the insect. The DE effects the insect from the outside as well as from the inside if the
insect eats the DE as well.
For effective use, the DE must be fed long enough to catch all the newly hatching fly eggs as well as other parasites.
Cattle, including dairy cattle
2 % by weight of dry ration
4 grams in morning
5 % in feed
2 % of weight of grain
2 % of weight of feed ration
1/2 - 1 cup in daily ration
2% of weight of ground grain
Parasite Control for Pets: If you have pets, DE may be used for parasite control. However, it should never be given to very small pregnant animals such as cats, guinea pigs, etc. It may be given daily.
½ -1 teaspoon
Dogs under 35 lbs
Dogs 35-50 lbs.
Dogs over 50 lbs.
Dogs over 100 lbs.
Food Grade DE can be fed to your dogs, cats, horses without any harmful effects to them. It is a
natural de-wormer while providing trace minerals. A good formula to follow for feeding is:
One tablespoon per daily feeding for your larger dogs (over 50 pounds)
One teaspoon per daily feeding for your smaller dogs « teaspoon per daily feeding for
your cat One cup per daily ration for your horses. DE can also be added to their drinking
water at 1 tablespoon per gallon water or 1 cup per 50 gallons water.
By feeding DE to your animals, you are also providing for natural fly control since DE
will reduce fly populations. This happens because DE travels thru the animals digestive
system, and is deposited, unaffected, in the animals feces. The flies deposit their eggs
as usual in the manure but few larvae will survive because they must move thru the manure
in order to feed. DE can also be eaten by people. I suggest that you take a teaspoon in
your meals once per week.
Grade grade DE is classified as GRAS ( Generally Recognized As Safe) by the federal
government and has been exempted from the requirement of residue tolerance on stored
grain. It is so far be considered by most health professionals that Amphorus DE is not
cancer causing in animals and humans.
A word of Caution
While DE is safe to use, it would be wise to follow a few safety rules:
1. Avoid breathing, use a face mask if you have a breathing problem.
2. Avoid contact with the eyes. Wash with water asap. Do not rub!
3. Avoid over use. DE will kill beneficials as well as kill of earthworms if too much
DE is applied to the ground.
While DE does a great job of protecting plants from insect, it will do a better job if
the overall coverage is increased. This is best done by using an Electrostatic Nozzle
developed by PermaGuard of Albuquerque NM. This device charges particles by forcing them
thru an ionized filed, where they pick up negative electrons. Surfaces that are attached
to the ground are positive and will attract the DE dust. And due to the fact that like
charges repel, when one area of a surface is covered, it repels on-coming particles,
forcing them to move over and find an unused place. Eventually, the dust will cover the
entire leaf surface, both on top and underneath. This makes for a very effective use of
Here is a good Source of Garden Grade DE
Industries, Inc. 1-800-835-0123
tell em The Invisible Gardener sent ya
Here is a good source of Food Grade DE
tell em andy sent ya!
I was here last
March 12, 2013