Ants Diatomaceous arth

Does Diatomaceous Earth Get Rid of Ants? If So, How to Do It?

Avatar of author Ismael Girard
Ismael Girard
min read

Ever wondered if diatomaceous earth kills ants? The answer is yes! Diatomaceous earth poses a lethal threat to ants and other bugs, as it dehydrates them for a period of 48 hours until they eventually die.

In this text, we'll tell you exactly how to kills or repel ants using diatomaceous earth. With our extensive research and practical insights, we're set to help you get rid of ants forever!

What's Diatomaceous Earth?

Diatomaceous earth (DE), quite simply, is the fossilized remains of minuscule aquatic organisms called diatoms. Their skeletons comprise silica, a natural element found abundantly in nature, specifically in sedimentary rock. Originating from ancient rivers, lakes, and oceans, these diatoms accumulated over a substantial time, resulting in large deposits of what's now known as DE.

Types of Diatomaceous Earth

Interestingly, not all diatomaceous earth is equal. Two main types are floating around the pest control market: food grade and filter grade (or pool grade).

Food-grade DE, as the name suggests, is safe for human consumption. Hence, you'll often find it in grain storage as it prevents ants while keeping your stuff edible.

The filter grade DE, on the other hand, undergoes heavy processing, enhancing its silica content to around 60%. But, this concentration makes it unsafe for ingestion but ideal for filtering treatments, like in pools and water treatment facilities.

How Does Diatomaceous Earth Kills Ants?

The microscopic, sharp edges of diatoms in the DE produce cuts in the exoskeleton of these pests. This damage allows for a steady, uncontrollable leakage of the insect's vital body fluids. When applied directly to an ant colony or ant trails, it results in the eradication of the majority of the common insects within two to three days.

But, diatomaceous earth must make constant contact with the ant to be effective. It's crucial to note, diatomaceous earth does not kill ants immediately upon contact. Instead, ants may survive up to 48 hours before dying of dehydration. Also, it primarily affects adult ants and could take longer to eliminate the entire colony, including the larvae and queens.

How to Get Rid of Ants Using Diatomaceous Earth?

image of a bucket filled with

Diatomaceous earth is effective in both indoor and outdoor settings. You will need the following ingredients and tools in order for this to work:

  • Dust mask (even though diatomaceous earth is non-toxic to humans and pets, it can irritate your lungs if inhaled)
  • Food-grade DE (safer variant)
  • Dust spreader or duster (required for precision)

Now, let's cover the step-by-steps required for getting rid of ants using DE.

Using Diatomaceous Earth Indoor

To use diatomaceous earth in an indoor setting: 

  • Preparation: Start by donning a dust mask for safety.
  • Application: Identify the common areas where ants typically roam in your house and apply diatomaceous earth on these trails. Ant trails are often clear, straight lines, so simply follow the trail and dust the earth lightly.
  • Maintenance Tips: Once you apply the diatomaceous earth, give it time to work. It kills insects by causing dehydration, which leads to their death. Cleaning up too soon will make treatment ineffective. Hence, you must wait at least two days before cleaning the area.

Using Diatomaceous Earth Outdoor

  • Preparation: Start by donning a dust mask for safety.
  • Application: Apply diatomaceous earth to the areas where ants typically enter from outside, like door thresholds, windows, or any cracks in the walls.
  • Maintenance Tips: Rain can wash away diatomaceous earth, so re-application after a downpour is a must.

Each strategy aims to disrupt ant infestations. Whether indoors or outdoors, the solutions provided above offer effective ways to rid your home of common insects using diatomaceous earth. Always remember, careful application is critical to the success of this natural insect control method.

How to Choose the Right Type of Diatomaceous Earth?

It's crucial first to distinguish between food-grade diatomaceous earth and its pool-grade counterpart. The first one, derived from fossilized remains of diatoms, is safe for use around home and contains microscopic, razor-sharp particles that cleave into ants' exoskeletons, causing dehydration and death. On the other hand, pool-grade diatomaceous earth undergoes chemical treatment, rendering it unsafe for pest control around the house.

Ensuring you have the right variant, devoid of chemicals, amplifies its safety around pets and humans while still acting as one of the most effective ant killers. Here's a quick checklist:

  • The product label should explicitly state 'food-grade.'
  • It should be free from additives and chemical treatments.

Cleanup and Handling Tips

Applying diatomaceous earth is as easy as dusting it lightly over ant trails or mixing with water in a spray bottle. Care should be demonstrated in not wetting it too much as it reduces effectiveness. A duster or applicator can help you reach small and tight spots.

Post-treatment cleanup is a breeze. A damp cloth or mop is enough to gather the diatomaceous earth from non-infested areas. If you've dusted your bed or soft furnishings, a vacuum comes in handy. Remember to reapply the diatomaceous earth after cleanup; it's a step towards maintaining a formidable barrier against ants.

Every step towards controlling these common insects cements a safer, healthier home while promoting the use of non-chemical solutions. By adhering to these practices, you're choosing not just an effective, but a safe and cost-efficient way to keep ants at bay.

What Are the Advantages of Using Diatomaceous Earth for Ant Control?

Diatomaceous earth (DE) effectively controls ant infestations by damaging their protective outer layers, leading to dehydration and death. This natural substance boasts several benefits, not just in ant control but also in broader applications.

Safety Features

Like mentioned above, food grade DE acts as a safe formula for ant control. Made from tiny fossilized aquatic organisms known as diatoms, this powder, unlike chemicals, is non-toxic and harmless.

This means you can freely use it around your house without fretting about health implications.

Environmental Benefits

Plus to safety, DE brims with environmental benefits. Being a natural product, it doesn't contaminate the environment like some common insect control chemicals do.

It's an organic insect killer that harms only the insects it comes in contact with, leaving other organisms untouched. Also noteworthy is that DE remains effective as long as it's dry, implying that the need for reapplying arises only when it rains. By reducing the number of treatments, DE indirectly minimizes environmental pollution.

Cost Efficiency

Lastly, we can't overlook DE's cost efficiency. Unlike other pest control solutions that require frequent reapplication, DE continues to kill ants long after its initial application. This long-lasting effectiveness, coupled with the easy, self-applying process, makes DE a cost-effective approach for large infestations.

In a nutshell, Diatomaceous earth sets itself apart as a safe, environmentally friendly, and pocket-friendly solution for ant control, offering an unrivaled trifecta of advantages. So, next time you have an ant infestation, make DE your go-to solution.


On your journey to achieve an ant-free home, utilizing diatomaceous earth proves effective as seen in your victory over both singular and swarming invaders. Now, you've accumulated knowledge on how the fossilized remains of diatoms, presented in the form of a soft, chalk-like sedimentary rock, can annihilate common insects, notably ants, by causing water loss from their exoskeleton.

By following these methods, you have found the best ant removal solutions. In particular, using diatomaceous earth indoors and outdoors has provided a natural and effective way to eliminate ants. Additionally, when dealing with mobile living spaces, this method is highly recommended to eliminate ants in camper settings.

Throughout this progression, you've discovered the importance of proper, repeated application after rain, to keep the barrier against ant infestations intact. Protecting home spaces, like kitchen baseboards and window entry points, has become second nature. You’re also conscious about careful use around children and pets, ensuring their safety while creating an ant-free zone.

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Frequently asked questions

How does diatomaceous earth affect ants physically?

Diatomaceous earth pierces the exoskeleton of ants with its sharp, microscopic particles, causing them to dehydrate and eventually die from fluid loss.

What distinguishes food-grade diatomaceous earth from filter grade?

Food-grade diatomaceous earth is safe for consumption and use around children and pets, while filter grade is chemically treated and used in industrial filtration systems, making it unsafe for ingestion.

Why is diatomaceous earth considered an eco-friendly pest control solution?

Diatomaceous earth is non-toxic, does not pollute the environment, and specifically targets crawling pests without harming other wildlife or ecosystems, making it an eco-friendly choice for pest control.