Diatomaceous earth or silicon dioxide
Origin and source of diatomaceous earth
Diatoms or Bacillariophyceae are microscopic unicellular algae fossilised from marine organisms which have the particularity of possessing a siliceous skeleton also known as a "frustule". They can measure from a few micrometres to more than 500 micrometres.
Each species of diatom has a unique series of holes, visible under a very powerful electron microscope.
Diatoms can grow wherever they find a minimum of light and humidity: fresh, brackish and marine waters, but also in the soil and in the air.
Deposits of dead diatom shells found in the soil are better known as "diatomaceous earth".
Note that there are 2 commercially available types of diatomaceous earth :
1 - uncalcined diatomaceous earth (amorphous silica) like the one we sell, which has not been modified in any way
2 - diatomaceous earth calcined at 900°C (crystallised silica), which is mainly marketed for filtration and is very irritating. It also loses its active ingredients (silica).
Diatomaceous earth colours
The colours of diatomaceous earth on the market can vary. In fact, it all depends on where it is extracted. But whether it's grey, beige or white, diatomaceous earth is just as effective and natural! Some people prefer to use white diatomaceous earth indoors (for its bright, clean look) for their pets, and grey diatomaceous earth outdoors for other animals, but the properties are identical and the colour is not a particular indicator of quality.
The marine environment, lakes or rivers, geological events or the types of diatom species present at the time will influence the formation of rock types... and therefore their colours.
Main uses of diatomaceous earth
Calcined diatomaceous earth is mainly used in industry for filtration due to its high porosity (wine or beer for example), polishing or as a liquid absorbent (diatomaceous earth does not form a sludge after absorbing liquid).
But that's not all it can be used for. As you'll see, diatomaceous earth can be a real help around the house in many different situations. The one we're particularly interested in is its undeniable effect on crawling insects.
Diatomaceous earth, a natural insecticide
Diatomaceous earth is an inert product free from known harmful substances. After grinding, it looks like talcum powder. Thanks to the specific surface area of its grains and its siliceous skeleton, diatomaceous earth has a number of very interesting properties :High absorption capacity : up to 150% of its weight in water.
The ingestion of silica particles by insects causes lesions in their digestive tract.
The fineness and hardness of the silica particles collected by the insect's bristles cause lesions on its limbs or carapace (walking on diatoms is like walking on broken glass!). This causes the insect to lose body fluids, leading to death from dehydration after a few days. The absorbent properties of diatomaceous earth help this process.
As it is totally inert, it provides long-term protection for treated areas, both indoors and out.
Today, diatomaceous earth is probably the safest and most effective insecticide in the home.
A means of combating crawling insects
Diatomaceous earth (or Kieselguhr in German) is a totally ecological (used in organic farming) and natural insecticide used to combat insects, particularly crawling insects such as cockroaches, silverfish, ants, bedbugs, fleas, woodlice, scutigers, beetles, earwigs, etc.
Kieselguhr is available on our site under the name "Diatomaceous earth - Kieselguhr - Crawling insecticide".
Unlike conventional insecticides, with which the insect dies quickly due to the neurotoxic action of the product, it can take several days with diatomaceous earth. On the other hand, while insecticides have a limited effectiveness over time due to their degradation, diatomaceous earth provides long-term protection for treated areas. Only moisture or dust can limit its action. Diatomaceous earth is therefore excellent for indoor use. Its use will be more limited outdoors (in a vegetable garden, for example) because of the daily rain or dew.
But be careful : diatomaceous earth is not selective. It can therefore kill both harmful and more useful insects (garden helpers, for example). It makes no distinction.
Use and application of diatomaceous earth against insects in the home
In the home, basement or attic, simply place a small amount of powder in areas where insects pass through: behind cupboards, in cracks, under the bath, behind skirting boards, door bottoms, in corners, cracks, crevices, etc.
You can also sprinkle on your pets' sleeping areas (leave for 48 hours and brush), their bedding and their kennels to prevent external parasites.
On the terrace, in the yard, in garden sheds: sprinkle the powder along walls, in places where insects pass through and in hiding places, away from dampness.
Duration of action: reapply after the powder has dispersed or if it has absorbed moisture.
Baits such as powdered sugar can be added to encourage insects to ingest the product.
Houseplants can be sprayed with a solution of 5g of powder diluted in 1 litre of water.
Precautions for use : Amorphous silica SIO2
Warning : Although uncalcined diatomaceous earth is composed of amorphous, uncrystallised silica, here are a few recommendations to follow :
1 - It contains an average of 1% crystalline diatomite, so it is advisable to handle it with care and avoid inhaling its dust : wearing a mask is recommended (possible irritation of the respiratory tract if ingested in large quantities).
2 - In the event of contact with the eyes, rinse thoroughly and consult a doctor if irritation persists.
3 - This diatomaceous earth has a drying power that can irritate the skin, so wearing gloves is recommended.
4 - Store your diatomaceous earth in a dry, dry place out of the reach of children.
Crawling insect repellent powder - Celatom amorphous diatomaceous earth
Our diatomaceous earth comes from Europe's marine quarries, which are the richest in silica (90%), representing 20% of the world's resources. The Celatom grades of which it is composed are the purest and most consistent on the market. It is naturally pure diatomaceous earth. Its light beige colour is very different from the very dark colours (presence of impurities) of diatomaceous earth mainly from India or China. It is not treated or added to in any way. An effective natural ecological product for use in livestock, attics, gardens and homes.
Our Penn'Ty Bio diatomaceous earth is available on our website in 4 pack sizes :
- The 150 g can (about 500 ml) comes with a powder cap.
- The 300 g can (about 1 litre) comes with a pouring cap.
- The 1 kg bucket (approx. 3 litres) is supplied as a refill or for use in a powder dispenser.
- The 2 kg bucket (approx. 5 litres) is supplied as a refill or can be used in a dusting machine.
We also sell Kapo Vert diatomaceous earth in aerosol form. This innovation is based on the propulsion of the product by the gas it contains, allowing the powder to be injected deep into the cracks and crevices of the home. A real help in the fight against insects when you know how difficult it can be to reach certain hiding places.
Other uses for diatomaceous earth
Diatomaceous earth can also be very effective as a cleaning product. Because this powder can absorb up to 150% of its weight in water (making it much more absorbent than Sommière earth), it is ideal for absorbing moisture or any liquid (pet litter, stains on fabrics, urine, etc.). Its ability to absorb will eliminate certain odours. With its very fine, abrasive structure, it can also be used to shine copper, stainless steel or silver without scratching (use a micro-fibre cloth soaked in vinegar and Diatomaceous Earth to rub the object to be polished - the result is fast and perfect!)
You can also use it to remove unpleasant odours from your shoes ! Simply sprinkle a small amount of this powder inside your shoes. As a general rule, diatomaceous earth is effective for all unpleasant odours, such as those from your dustbins or fridge. Simply place a small dish near the area to be treated.
Still little known in France, but widely used in the United States and England, it is also used by many gardeners. It can be used in organic farming. Many gardeners use it against caterpillars, slugs, aphids, box tree borer and many other insects. Be careful, though, as this soil acts mechanically, so it won't make any difference to ladybirds and other beneficial insects in your garden. It's up to you to target the areas to be sprinkled carefully, so as to eradicate the target insects rather than the whole ecosystem.
Diatomaceous earth redistributes the nutrients it contains evenly and laterally to the crops by promoting capillary action. Its structure facilitates root aeration. With a pH of 5.6, Diatomaceous Earth is an excellent growth medium for plants, and can be used as an additive or soil improver. The many trace elements it naturally contains (boron, calcium, iron, manganese, copper and sodium) will contribute to their healthy growth.
Another piece of information is that this soil is only effective when it is completely dry. Morning dew or a shower will stop its action against insects. It will regain all its properties once it is dry again.
Frequently asked questions about diatomaceous earth
Q: Hello, can this product be used in a child's bedroom ? behind furniture, beds, cupboards ? Or does it smell dangerous to children ?
A: Diatomaceous earth is a completely inert product. However, care should be taken not to inhale or ingest it. This very fine powder can be similar to talcum powder and can become irritating.
It should be borne in mind that it acts on insects that come into contact with it by injuring their body envelope and digestive tract through ingestion (silica particles). All things considered, the risk to humans is much more limited. These large quantities would have to be swallowed over long periods. It is also recommended as a food supplement for animals. The idea is to place it in every nook and cranny or piece of furniture. We'll avoid putting it on all surfaces and we'll favour non-trafficked surfaces to avoid getting it stuck to your shoes. But the more there is, the greater your chances of hitting the insects. This may seem logical, but we'll also avoid putting any on top of the bed and sleeping on diatomaceous earth. This product still has no odour.
Q: Hello, I would like to know if I can use diatomaceous earth on food products. Kind regards.
A: The diatomaceous earth we sell is Celatom grade MN51. It is also AFA grade MN51.
- One is used as a natural insecticide (MN51): Kills insects and slugs by dehydration, damaging their skeletons by absorbing the protective waxes. For use in gardens, homes, vegetable gardens, barns, stables and animal pens. Can also be used as a dry shampoo, sprinkled on animals' coats to combat fleas and ticks. dosage 100%.
- The other (AFA MN 51) can be used in Codex Food Grade animal feed. Recognised as technical additive E551C. Naturally contains numerous trace elements such as iron, calcium and magnesium, which are beneficial to animal health. Beautifies the coat and improves hoof condition. Reduces overall stress in animals, 2% dosage.
Many of our customers use it without any problems in their hen's nesting boxes, particularly against red lice.
Q: I ordered diatomaceous earth and 4-day insecticide from you to get rid of bedbugs because it's psychologically hard and I wanted to know how to use them properly, especially diatomaceous earth. Do you have to use a little, or even a very little, everywhere, or a lot, etc.?
A: You don't need to use large quantities of diatomaceous earth. A thin film is all you need (2 to 3 mm). I advise you to place it under the bed, at the foot of the bed, under furniture and all other places where there is no traffic. That way you won't have to put it under your shoes and carry it everywhere.
The principle is that any insect passing over this "soil" sticks it to its body and swallows it. So there's no need to use 1 cm thick.
Diatomaceous earth is a complementary product to the treatment against bedbugs. It's really important to treat bedbugs with an insecticide like the one you've bought and only then use diatomaceous earth.
Q: Hello, you write that diatomaceous earth is effective against fleas but also that you should avoid breathing it or having contact with your eyes. In your opinion, is it possible to put some on the floor or in the baskets of cats and dogs to prevent fleas when they might breathe it in or rub their heads on the floor ? If not, how can it be used so that it is effective but safe for pets ?
A: Diatomaceous earth should be applied to floors, preferably on surfaces that are not used by traffic (so you don't get it under your shoes). Its main effect is on all crawling insects, as it wounds and dehydrates the insect as soon as it passes over it (fleas are therefore not the No. 1 insect targeted by this product). You can also apply it to an animal to eliminate fleas. Be careful when applying it to a cat, which is a much more sensitive animal. It should be applied as a dry shampoo to the base of the hair. Then comb the animal with a fine-toothed comb to remove the diatomaceous earth particles (and dead fleas). Diatomaceous earth is a very fine powder that can be likened to talcum powder. It consists of particles of silica. It can therefore be irritating if inhaled too much or by repeated contact. For regulatory reasons, we are obliged to indicate the risk phrases that accompany the product. But you don't have to disperse it into the air when you apply it. Just spread it gently on the ground, so there's no risk of any particles remaining suspended in the air.
Q: I bought some diatomaceous earth to put behind furniture and in cupboards to get rid of beetles. Before using it, I wanted to know whether it could be removed with a hoover or whether there was a risk of it becoming airborne (the hoover filter might not stop this very fine powder). If so, what do you recommend ?
A: Diatomaceous earth can be easily vacuumed up. If your appliance and its filter are in good condition, it shouldn't be a problem.