What on Earth is DE?

Find out more about Diatomaceous Earth!

Back in 1984, when we first started selling 4-pound bags of Diatomaceous Earth, people often asked, “What exactly is it?” Well, 20 years later, people are still asking.

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Diatomaceous Earth, also known as DE, is made from the mineral remains of single-cell aquatic plants. The formulation we sell is a super-fine dust (applied by hand or with a duster) that controls pests by abrading and dehydrating crawling insects, including slugs, ants, cockroaches, earwigs, fleas and other crawling insects. Some have found success using it to control bedbugs.

According to a fact sheet from the University of Oregon, DE is made from the fossilized remains of very small aquatic organisms called diatoms. “Their skeletons are made of a natural substance called silica. Over a long period of time, diatoms accumulated in the sediment of rivers, streams, lakes and oceans. Today, silica deposits are mined from these areas.”

Discovered in Germany in the 1830s, DE has been used in many ways. Initially it was used in water filters and eventually found its way into other goods, including paints and health care products.

Here at Gardener’s Supply, we’re still selling it in 4-pound bags, keeping the slugs and bugs in check. As with any pest control product, read the label before using.

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Last updated: 03/13/2024