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Does Diatomaceous Earth Kill Ants? Get Rid of Ants With DE

Diatomaceous earth is natural, organic pest control that you can use to get rid of ants. It’s safe for people and pets, while also being environmentally friendly. 

Diatomaceous earth is a great choice if you’re looking for an all-natural way of getting rid of ants in your home or on your property without harmful chemicals. 

5 Things You Didn't Know About Ants x
5 Things You Didn't Know About Ants

Want to learn more about diatomaceous earth? Keep reading!

What Is Diatomaceous Earth?

Diatomaceous earth is a natural powder made from diatom fossils [1]. The diatoms are ground up to make the diatomaceous earth, which looks like talcum powder or cornstarch. 

Ants die when diatomaceous earth sticks on their body and absorbs moisture, causing them to dry out. Diatomite can also kill bed bugs, slugs, and other insects.

Diatomaceous Earth

People have used diatomaceous earth for years to naturally protect their crops from damaging pests. The diatoms in diatomite also absorb lipids from the waxy outer coating of insects’ exoskeletons which causes them to dehydrate and die within 48 hours after coming into contact with diatomaceous earth.

Diatomaceous earth is a good choice if you’re looking for an environmentally friendly and natural way of getting rid of ants.

It’s safe to use around people and pets because diatomite has no odor, doesn’t leave any stains or residue behind, and won’t poison children or pets if they ingest diatomaceous earth.

Diatomaceous earth is also an excellent choice if you’re trying to go all-natural since diatomite doesn’t contain any chemicals or toxins that other pest control products do. It’s non-toxic and won’t harm your pets, children, or the environment around your home when used as directed.

Does Diatomaceous Earth Kill Ants?

Yes, diatomaceous earth can kill ants. It kills them by desiccating them – meaning it dries out their exoskeleton until they die. The diatomite particles in diatomaceous earth are extremely sharp, and once they pierce the ant’s exoskeleton, it will dehydrate them.

ghost ant

Diatomaceous earth is a good natural choice to kill ants because diatomite comes from diatoms – which are one-celled algae with hard shells made of silica.

You can buy diatomaceous earth online or at your local garden supply store.

You can use diatomite to get rid of ants, slugs, mole crickets, rabbits, bedbugs, and earwigs. 

On your property you can sprinkle diatomaceous earth in infested areas like flower beds or under shrubs where these pests are living; diatomaceous earth won’t hurt earthworms, sowbugs, and other beneficial insects since diatoms can’t harm them.

It’s Safe, Natural, and Organic

Diatomaceous Earth kills ants by dehydrating them. It is a safe and natural alternative to chemical pesticides, which can be harmful to children and pets as well as the environment.

white powder pesticide

Diatomite diatomaceous earth, aka diatomaceous earth or DE for short, may be a little dusty but it’s totally non-toxic and safe to handle.

Diatomaceous earth only works to kill ants when they come in contact with diatomaceous earth, so it’s important to apply diatomite properly if you want effective results.

How Long Does It Take for Diatomaceous Earth to Kill Ants?

Diatomaceous earth will usually kill ants in a span of 16 to 24 hours, depending on the species.

Killing an entire colony can take a few days (for small colonies) up to several weeks (for large ones).

Is Diatomaceous Earth Good for Killing Ants?

DE is a good remedy to kill ants if you want to take the all-natural route. 

The diatomaceous material kills the ants because it absorbs their moisture and dries them up until they die. It has very small particles of silica dioxide diatoms shaped like tiny glass shards. These diatoms pierce the exoskeleton of ants, causing them to dehydrate and eventually die.

Diatomaceous earth is a completely natural substance that’s found in diatomite. It doesn’t contain any chemicals or poisons, making it safe for use around children, pets, wildlife, and other beneficial insects like bees.

Looking for an alternative? Take a look at how to get rid of ants with bleach here.

How Does Diatomaceous Earth Work Against Ants?

Diatomaceous earth is a naturally occurring mineral that has been used for centuries to kill garden pests. The diatomite powder absorbs lipids from the waxy outer coating of insects and causes them to dehydrate and die. 

ant on the dust

Diatomaceous earth cannot be easily seen by ants, so they might be crawling through it without even knowing it.

The diatoms cling to their legs and bodies, causing the diatoms to cut through the waxy coating on the insects’ exoskeleton. If you notice a fine dusting in your home or near an ant trail, it’s likely diatomaceous earth that is preventing ants from moving freely.

How Effective Is Diatomaceous Earth at Killing Ants?

Diatomaceous Earth is a natural form of silica that works as an insecticide by dehydrating the ant’s shell and causing them to die from dehydration or starvation. It is very effective at killing ants and diatomaceous earth can be used for other insects as well.

How to Use Diatomaceous Earth to Get Rid of Ants

Diatomaceous earth is a great alternative to commercial pesticides. Not only does diatomaceous earth kill ants, but it’s also effective against other bugs such as fleas and cockroaches. 

In addition, diatomite is safe for pets and children since diatomaceous earth doesn’t harm humans or animals when ingested.

Here’s how you can use diatomaceous earth to get rid of ants.

Application Methods

1. Figure Out Where the Ants Enter

The first step in diatomaceous earth ant control is to figure out where the ants are getting into your house. Look for cracks or crevices around windows, doors, plumbing lines, and other entrances to your house from outside.

Elimination of food sources such as crumbs on counters can help stop an infestation before it starts.

alone carpenter ant crawling on the woods

2. Sprinkle a Thin Layer of DE

Diatomaceous earth diatoms are microscopic and will dry out the ants. To kill ants, sprinkle diatomite along baseboards in rooms where you see them entering your home. 

You can also spread diatomaceous earth around window sills or doorways to keep ants from coming inside your home.

sprinkling powder

3. Wait a Couple of Days

You should see a dramatic decrease in the number of ants over the next few days, and diatomaceous earth diatoms will continue to kill any stragglers for up to four weeks.

It’s important to be patient. If, however, you’re not seeing a decrease in ants invading your house, it might be time to call in a professional.

dead ant and insects

4. Clean Up the DE

You’ll need to empty diatomaceous earth from your home, so be sure to use a vacuum or broom and dustpan to clean up diatomite. If you have asthma or breathing problems, wear a mask while cleaning it up.

If you’ve used diatomaceous earth outside though, it’s not needed to clean up. This only applies when using DE inside your home.

Red vacuum cleaner on a beige carpet

How Much Does Diatomaceous Earth Cost?

Diatomaceous earth costs about $15 for a 2-pound bag. This diatomite is also available in smaller quantities, though you may have to pay more per pound. 

Diatomaceous earth is not the cheapest option around since it’s used as an industrial product and isn’t diluted with other chemicals or filler ingredients like many of the diatomite products on the market.

Alternatives to diatomaceous earth are other natural remedies (such as essential oils), or chemical solutions.

If you’re not having any luck getting rid of ants with DE, your best option will always be to call an exterminator.

About Teodoro Pittman

Teodoro is a nature and animal lover. He specifically focuses on insects, such as ants, bees, and the like. In his free time, he takes care of his own ant farm, where he analyzes their behavior. Teodoro has spent the last 7 years studying the intricate behavior of these small creatures.