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Does Diatomaceous Earth Kill Bed Bugs?

Are you concerned about a bed bug infestation in your home? If so, you may have come across diatomaceous earth. You may have found it as you investigate pest control solutions. But does diatomaceous earth kill bed bugs?

I’m going to let you know what diatomaceous earth is, and what it can do to help your bed bug infestation. Keep on reading to find out more… 

Does Diatomaceous Earth Kill Bed Bugs?

What Is Diatomaceous Earth?

Diatomaceous earth (DE) is a distinctive type of powder. It comes from the fossilized remains of diatoms, a kind of algae.

These algae’s exoskeletons are primarily composed of silica. Which is a natural substance found in nature. When diatoms die, their silica-rich exoskeletons settle and accumulate, forming large deposits.

These deposits are mined and ground into a fine, chalk-like powder known as diatomaceous earth.

The silica content in diatomaceous earth possesses excellent desiccant properties. This means it can absorb and remove moisture very efficiently.

When you apply food-grade diatomaceous earth powder to areas infested by bugs or insects, such as bed bugs, it works by dehydrating their exoskeletons on contact.

As a result, the bugs are unable to retain water and eventually die.

What makes diatomaceous earth favored in organic pest control is its safety profile. Food-grade DE is safe for human handling. And is a non-toxic option compared to chemical pesticides.

It’s important to note, that while food-grade DE is safe. Crystalline silica, another form of silica present in some DE products, can be hazardous if inhaled.

Always ensure you’re using the food-grade variety, especially in household applications.

How To Use Does Diatomaceous Earth To Kill Bed Bugs

Does Diatomaceous Earth Kill Bed Bugs?

Diatomaceous earth (DE) is a fine powder. Made from the fossilized remains of tiny aquatic organisms known as diatoms.

Its abrasive and highly absorbent properties make it an effective agent for pest control. Particularly against bed bugs.

When you apply DE, it works by damaging the exoskeleton of bed bugs. Absorbing the oils and fats from the cuticle of their exoskeletons.

This process leads to dehydration and eventual death of these pests. Unlike chemical insecticides. DE provides a physical method of pest control which bed bugs cannot become resistant to.

Here’s how you can use DE to manage a bed bug infestation:

  1. Locate areas where bed bugs hide, often near sleeping areas.

  2. Apply a thin layer of food-grade diatomaceous earth to these areas.

  3. Wait for the DE to take effect, as it might take several days to kill bed bugs.

Precautions to consider:

  • Use food-grade DE to ensure safety, especially around pets and children.

  • Avoid inhalation of DE, as it can irritate your lungs.

  • Reapply DE after vacuuming or cleaning to maintain its effectiveness.

DE is not a standalone solution and should be part of a more comprehensive bed bug control strategy.

It’s important to combine it with measures like heat treatments, regular vacuuming, and sealing entry point. To prevent further infestation.

Diatomaceous Earth To Kill Bed Bugs

How To Use Does Diatomaceous Earth To Kill Bed Bugs

To use diatomaceous earth, follow these steps:


Before applying DE, prep the infested areas to ensure the substance targets the bed bugs efficiently.

  1. Empty the Room: Start by removing as much clutter as possible from the room.

  2. Clean Thoroughly: Vacuum all surfaces, including carpets, furniture, and crevices in the bed frame to remove any bed bugs and eggs. Dispose of the vacuum bag immediately after use in a sealed container.


  • Wear Safety Gear: Use a mask and gloves to prevent inhalation or skin contact with DE.

  • Apply DE: Lightly dust food-grade diatomaceous earth onto areas where bed bugs are suspected. Key focus areas include:

Location Application Method
Bed Frame Address cracks and seams
Mattress Light dusting, especially near seams and tags
Carpet Even distribution, work it into fibers with a brush
Furniture Treat gaps, joints, and under cushions
  1. Spread Evenly: Use a duster or your hands (with gloves on) to spread the dust thinly. DE is less effective in heaps.

After Application

  • Leave DE Dry: Keep DE on surfaces for several days for full effectiveness.

  • Avoid Moisture: Ensure the room stays dry, since DE’s efficacy reduces when wet.

  • Monitor & Re-Apply: Check treated areas and apply additional DE as needed, especially after vacuuming.

Clean-Up Process

  • Vacuum DE: After a few days, vacuum the treated areas thoroughly.

  • Wash Bedding/Clothes: Launder all bedding and clothes from the room in hot water to kill any remaining bed bugs.

Remember, while DE is a pesticide. Its non-toxic nature makes it a popular choice compared to chemical sprays.

Ensure you use a food-grade variety, for safety reasons and adhere to label instructions.

How Quickly Can Using Diatomaceous Earth Get Rid Of Bed Bugs?

How Quickly Can Using Diatomaceous Earth Get Rid Of Bed Bugs?

When you use diatomaceous earth (DE) as a treatment for bed bugs, it’s essential to understand the timeline of effectiveness. 

Patience is key since DE works by causing dehydration in bed bugs. Through absorption of oils and fats from their cuticle, leading to their eventual death.

The effectiveness of DE depends on several factors. Including the level of infestation and the bed bugs’ life cycle. Here is what you might expect:

  • Day 1 to Day 7: Once applied, bed bugs that come into contact with DE may not die immediately. They need to crawl through the powder for it to adhere to them.

  • Day 8 to Day 14: You may start seeing a reduction in bed bug activity as the DE takes effect. It’s reported that DE can kill the majority of bed bugs within 9 to 15 days after application.

  • Beyond Day 15: Some bed bugs might take longer to contact the DE, so the killing process can extend beyond two weeks. Consistent application is crucial since bed bugs can survive for months without feeding, and new eggs may hatch.

It’s important to periodically apply DE to ensure a comprehensive treatment. Particularly since bed bugs can be elusive and their eggs are resistant to many forms of treatment. 

Are There Any Risks Of Using Diatomaceous Earth For Bed Bug Pest Control?

Are There Any Risks Of Using Diatomaceous Earth For Bed Bug Pest Control?

When you consider using diatomaceous earth (DE) to combat bed bugs, you need to be aware of potential risks alongside its benefits.

DE is non-toxic and a natural substance. There are safety considerations to consider. Especially regarding the respiratory system. Also, consider the presence of children and pets in your environment.

  • Respiratory Irritation: Fine particles of DE can become airborne. And may irritate your respiratory system if inhaled. It’s essential to use food-grade DE and wear a mask during application to reduce this risk.

  • Skin and Eye Irritation: Direct contact with DE may dry out your skin and cause irritation. If it gets into your eyes, it can cause discomfort. Wearing gloves and safety goggles can help minimize these issues.

  • Pets and Children: DE is generally considered safe around pets and children. However, you should ensure that the treated areas are dry and that DE dust is settled before allowing them to re-enter the space. Ingesting large amounts of DE can be harmful.

  • Proper Handling: When applying DE for pest control, do so carefully to avoid scattering the powder into the air unnecessarily. Follow label instructions for safe and effective use.

Here are some precautions to remember:

  • Wear Protective Gear: Always use a mask, gloves, and goggles during application of DE.

  • Avoid Overuse: Excessive use of DE won’t increase its effectiveness and may lead to more dust in the air.

  • Clean with Care: When cleaning up DE, use a damp cloth or a vacuum with a HEPA filter to prevent it from becoming airborne.

Can You Use Diatomaceous Earth To Kill Bed Bug Eggs?

Can You Use Diatomaceous Earth To Kill Bed Bug Eggs?

Diatomaceous earth is known for its ability to kill adult bed bugs, but bed bug eggs present a different challenge.

Bed bug eggs are protected by a sticky substance. Which adheres them to surfaces and offers some resistance against various treatments.

The life cycle of bed bugs includes the egg stage, which is crucial to target to prevent a reinfestation.

Diatomaceous earth works by dehydrating the insects it comes into contact with. It does this by damaging their exoskeleton which leads to dehydration and eventual death.

Bed bug eggs are not as easily penetrated by DE. The substance may not be as effective on eggs. As they have a protective coating that keeps them from drying out.

Nevertheless, DE can still play a role in controlling the bed bug population:

  • By applying DE around areas where bed bugs are likely to crawl, you can affect adults and nymphs, breaking the life cycle and preventing new eggs from being laid.

  • Regular usage of DE can aid in controlling the population of bed bugs by catching new hatchings before they reach maturity and start laying eggs themselves.

Remember to sprinkle DE carefully in places where bed bugs hide. Also, sprinkle it where you have noticed fecal matter, as this indicates their presence.

Always opt for food-grade DE. Apply it based on the instructions. Take care not to inhale the powder.


Diatomaceous earth (DE) is a natural, non-toxic substance. It is made from the fossilized remains of diatoms. When applied as dust, it dehydrates bed bugs’ exoskeletons, killing them.

It’s important to note that DE might take several days to work. We should combine it with other measures. These include heat treatments, vacuuming, and sealing entry points.

Plus, always use food-grade DE for safety reasons.

DE can be an important component in your bed bug control strategy when used. It can help keep these annoying pests away for good.