Applying diatomaceous earth on infestation can help reduce the population of ants that can get inside the building through cracks in walls, spaces in kitchen cabinets, and window sills.
Can You Use Diatomaceous Earth Powder to Kill Ants? You can use diatomaceous earth powder to kill ants because these sharp particles can cause injuries in their exoskeleton and lead to moisture loss. Severe dehydration can cause their death, but it kills only a small proportion of the colony having direct contact with the powder. On average, it takes 12 to 15 hours to kill ants, but 20 to 24 hours for those having a harder outer shell.
It can also help treat outdoor nuisance pests that can attack the trash containers and plants in the garden while looking for food.
Why would you use diatomaceous earth powder to kill ants?
Many people prefer natural ingredients to deal with the infestation of ants indoors or even outdoors, as it helps protect the environment from the hazardous effect of toxic chemicals.
Accordingly, diatomaceous earth is considered a suitable ingredient to use against insects because it is a cheap insecticide with high toxicity for these insects.
It is gritty in texture due to silica particles having sharp edges that can be deadly for the tiny bodies of ants when they come in direct contact with it.
Moreover, these particles can be abrasive for the exoskeleton and cause serious injuries when these insects try to cross a thick boundary of powder.
It can cut the waxy outer layer of the insects and penetrate deep into the body tissues. They begin to lose moisture after damage to their hard exoskeleton.
Accordingly, it becomes difficult for them to survive after losing moisture because their bodies begin to dry and body plates fall off in some time.
One of the prominent reasons for the high efficiency of diatomaceous earth in killing ants is that these insects cannot develop resistance against it, which commonly occurs with sugary baits.
Their immunity cannot help resist the toxicity because it involves a mechanical disruption of their bodies by the sharp silica particles in the powder.
How do you use diatomaceous earth powder to kill ants?
There are different ways to use diatomaceous earth powder (DE) to deal with the nuisance pests or trails of ants reaching inside the home or climbing on the plant.
You can use the powder to create a boundary without making any solution. Spread the powder around the plants, but the thickness of the boundary should be 5 to 8 inches at least.
This boundary can help prevent damage to a plant as it is not possible for these insects to cross the line. You can also restrict the insects by spreading powder around their mound.
In addition, spread the powder at possible entry points like windows, doorways, and holes around pipes to keep them at a distance.
You can sprinkle the powder close to infestation or ant trails to get rid of them as they fear this toxic ingredient.
Moreover, vacuum clean ants from the floor, add diatomaceous earth powder to the vacuum bag after removing it, and seal it properly. It can lead to the death of all the insects after a few hours.
Additionally, you can prepare a spraying solution by mixing 1 tablespoon of this powder in 2 tablespoons of hot pepper sauce and 1 tablespoon of powdered pyrethrum.
Add 4 to 6 drops of soap and sesame seed oil into the mixture and mix them well after adding 1 liter of water. Spray the solution on the infested areas or directly on the trails.
Furthermore, you can also use it to make sugary baits by mixing the DE in the powdered sugar to attract the insects for ingestion.
The ratio of DE and powdered sugar can be 1:2 because both are white powders, and the sweetness of sugar makes this bait detectable by the odor receptors of insects.
How long does diatomaceous earth powder take to kill ants?
The time diatomaceous earth powder takes to kill insects ranges between a few hours and a day, depending on the ants’ species, as some have harder exoskeletons than others.
Moreover, the method of using this toxic powder also affects the total time as a direct sprinkling of powder is more effective and quick than creating boundaries.
You should sprinkle an adequate amount of powder on the infestation to get better results, as it increases the chances of exposure to insects.
The duration increases to 48 hours if their legs come in contact with the powder only, but the time can reduce up to 9 hours if the powder covers all of their body.
It will take 12 to 15 hours to kill the tiny insects having thin exoskeletons and smaller bodies that can lose moisture quickly.
However, some harder insects take more time; that’s why this toxic powder takes almost 20 to 24 hours to kill black ants.
In addition, the environmental conditions also affect its efficacy because it works quickly in dry conditions, but the wet ground takes a long time to cause injuries and dehydration.
Sometimes, it can take more time than usual in some conditions, so you have to be patient without showing any doubt about the effectiveness of this product.
Furthermore, this toxic substance remains active for a long if the external conditions are dry, but wet conditions or high humidity affect their effectiveness.
You have to recreate the boundary of diatomaceous earth powder after rain because rainwater can wash away the ground surface or make it wet.
So, you have to reapply the powder on the possible entry points for ants after a heavy dew or snow in the cold nights because it reduces the effectiveness or killing potential of the powder.
Can I use food-grade diatomaceous earth powder to kill ants?
You have to choose the suitable type of products to kill ants, as food-grade and filter-grade have varying effectiveness against these tiny insects.
Food-grade diatomaceous earth is considered a safe substance to get rid of ants because it is edible for humans and used in many household products.
It is a common ingredient in toothpaste that helps improve teeth health. It does not cause any serious harm to pets and children if you use a small amount of powder.
However, excessive exposure can cause mild irritation on the exposed surface and sometimes leads to dryness. The abrasive particles in the powder can irritate the eyes.
Moreover, it does not affect the health of birds like chickens, so you can use it to create a boundary for these insects moving toward the bird’s cage.
In addition, you should be careful of the dust particles while sprinkling this powder because they can cause breathing problems once inhaled.
You can wear a mask to avoid particle inhalation because it can irritate the nasal passages after inhalation or leads to a sudden cough.
You can use it to prevent outdoor ants from getting on the plant surface because these pests can destroy plant structure and cause the deformation of leaves.
Furthermore, food-grade diatomaceous earth containing 1% to 2% crystalline silica is safer than filter-grade because it has a lesser concentration of heavy metals.