Diatomaceous Earth Uses

There are numerous diatomaceous earth uses, including controlling flies, using it as scouring powder or for a general method of pest control. We'll show you how to choose the right kind.

| January/February 1975

There are different diatomaceous earth uses. If controlling flies around your chickens is an issue, you can use diatomaceous earth to tame the population. You can also use it as a scouring powder, a shoe deodorizer or one of the various ways for garden pest control.

MOTHER EARTH NEWS readers won't survive long if they take the advice in how to prepare for survival.

The author recommends storing grain with diatomaceous earth "from a pool supply firm". Don't do it! Diatomaceous earth is prepared for use in pool filters by a heat treatment which changes its molecular structure to a form of silica. The sharp silica spikes readily pierce the bodies of insects and their larvae . . . also human intestines. Pet animals "dusted carefully" with this product would lose their lives along with their fleas.

Kris Torrey's suggestion is valid, however, for the natural, untreated form of diatomaceous earth. Its carbonaceous molecular structure is deadly to insects but safe for consumption by humans, dogs, cats and chickens. When mixed with chickenfeed, for instance, this substance passes unchanged through the bird's digestive tract and is deposited in the feces . . . where it then kills the flies and larvae that attempt to breed in the waste. It works.

Untreated diatomaceous earth, I'm sorry to say, does cost 57¢ per pound at our local natural food store . . . but is much cheaper bought by the hundredweight.

Joanne Ross
Nevada City, Calif. 

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