If you haven’t heard of diatomaceous earth (DE, for short), you’re probably not alone. But this natural ingredient has been gaining in popularity over the last decade or so for several primary reasons: it’s affordable, effective, and an extremely versatile product to use around the farm.
DE is a finely ground powder made from the sediment of fossilized algae (diatoms) that have accumulated in rivers, streams, lakes, and oceans. It was used by the ancient Greeks to make building materials and later, in Europe, for various industrial uses.
DE is high in silica (80-90%), which has many proven health benefits including helping to maintain the health of bones and joints, connective tissue, skin, the immune system, the digestive system, and more. Because of this, DE is commonly used in many skincare products, in toothpaste, as well as in dietary supplements.
DE has many uses around the farm as well, but its most common use is as a natural insecticide. In fact, DE has been found to kill bed bugs, cockroaches, crickets, fleas, ticks, spiders, and other pests. Food grade DE is not poisonous and does not need to be eaten by the insects in order to be effective. Because the tiny diatoms have sharp edges, they slice into the insect’s exoskeleton and cause them to dry out and die.
Because of this ability to kill insects, DE is the primary ingredient in The Holistic Horse’s products FlyDie, AntDie, StallGuard, and PastureGuard, which target pests found around the barn, pasture, and yard.
DE can also be used directly on your pet’s skin to kill fleas. FleaGuard for Dogs uses DE as well as flea-repelling essential oils in order to help eliminate fleas. DE is also used in KennelGuard SC to help eliminate urine, odor, moisture, as well as flies from dog kennels.
FleaGuard for Cats is designed to be used directly on your cat’s hair coat to eliminate fleas (only without the essential oils which are toxic to cats).
DE is also commonly used as an all natural deworming product for horses, livestock, and pets. It works in the same manner, the abrasive diatoms slicing into the worms and killing them. It also helps to detoxify the horse’s body, supporting a strong immune system which will help to prevent heavy worm burdens in the first place. All of The Holistic Horse’s equine deworming products contain DE. They include:
- WormGuard SC Plus for Horses;
- Omni WormGuard Plus for Horses;
- Omni WormGuard Plus for Senior Horses;
- DiaGuard for Horses; and
You will also find DE in THH’s deworming products for other animals including cattle, llamas, alpacas, goats, chickens, pigs, ferrets, chinchillas, and guinea pigs.
The great thing about using DE around the farm is that it’s virtually non-toxic to fish, birds, aquatic animals, and other wildlife. Therefore, you can feel good about using it.
If you choose to purchase straight diatomaceous earth, make sure to buy the food-grade version, as opposed to the pool-grade form which is toxic if ingested. Also, take care not to inhale DE as it can cause lung irritation.