Does diatomaceous earth kill bees and earthworms?

Discussion in 'Gardening and Agriculture' started by horseman09, Jul 11, 2010.

  1. horseman09

    horseman09 Well-Known Member

    Thanks to all of you folks who use DE, I bought a 24 pound bag and a duster. I went out this morning and dusted everything but the maters. No bugs that I can see on them, not even aphids. Lots of bugs on the broccoli and B sprouts. Hope the DE kills the little creeps.

    Interesting thing, tho............we planted about 150 marigolds around 2 sides of the garden and they are absolutely infested with J beatles and another kind of smaller beatle-like bug. So much for marigolds keeping the bugs away. They seem more like a breeding ground for the darned things, so I dusted the marigolds too. When I saw bees on the flower blooms, it occurred to me that DE might well kill bees too. What about earthworms?

    Anyone have any thoughts?

    PS The duster is pretty slick. Does a good job and the nozzle turns upsidedown for underleaf coverage.
  2. Emerald

    Emerald Well-Known Member

    All the studies that I have looked at says that it will not harm earth worms only hard shelled bugs. So you might still have to use Bt to kill any kind of caterpillars on your plants like cabbage loopers and tomato/tobacco hornworms.
    I use DE and still have plenty of Earth Worms.. lol

  3. gypsysue

    gypsysue The wanderer

    From this website: Beekeeping Forums • View topic - Will Diatomaceous Earth harm bees?

    Re: Will Diatomaceous Earth harm bees?
    Post Number:#2 by Wally's Baby Beek » Mon May 17, 2010 10:44 pm

    DE will kill bees just like any other powder designed to kill insects. If the bees get in it, it will stick to them like pollen and be used in the hive with the pollen and kill the bees that are exposed to it.
    Does she have to stop using DE? No, just be careful with it. Only use the DE when necessary and use a pesticide applicator. Don't use it on plants that are blooming unless she is willing to either cover the plants or keep the bees in.
    It would be best if she could use a liquid instead of powder since you have more control over where it lands. But, I don't think that there is a liquid DE.
    If she provides clean drinking water for the bees that is easy for them to get to, they won't drink the water off the dirt .
    Here's some good organic pesticide recipes if she doesn't like to use chemicals:List of Homemade Organic Recipes
    You can read about DE here:"
  4. horseman09

    horseman09 Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the info, gals. I'll be more careful using DE from now on. I'll avoid using it on flowering plants.
  5. UncleJoe

    UncleJoe Well-Known Member

    You could also use neem oil. I found the DE was not as effective as I had hoped on the potato beetles. I know the neem oil works well.
  6. lanahi

    lanahi Well-Known Member

    This says it does not harm earthworms, but it is better not to mix it in with the soil.
    Diatomaceous Earth - Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth Health Benefits
    It may not have harmed the bees either, but I would not allow it to touch blossoms again, to be safe.
  7. horseman09

    horseman09 Well-Known Member

    UncleJoe, I'm gonna look into neem oil. I've never heard of it until you mentioned it.

  8. UncleJoe

    UncleJoe Well-Known Member

    Make sure you read about it. It doesn't work the same way as a chemical incesticide. You don't get instant kill. You'll still see activity for a week or two after you apply it. But have no fear; it is working. I bought a gallon of concentratethis past spring. That will make about 50 gallons of spray. Should probably last me the rest of my life.
  9. horseman09

    horseman09 Well-Known Member

    lol Thanks UncleJoe, for the info. I'll read up on it.

    I was chuckling because of your typo: "a chemical incesticide". Does that mean it kills those who commit incest? :)
  10. UncleJoe

    UncleJoe Well-Known Member

    :eek:oops: :booboo: I was in a hurry this morning and didn't read before I hit the submit button. :eek:
  11. WhiskeyReb

    WhiskeyReb Never quite ready

    DE is a bed of razors to anything with a soft underbelly.
  12. LongRider

    LongRider Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the links and info never to much info. As far a liquid DE, you can make a paint or paste with it. You will need to keep it stirred as it is not really water soluble but you can use the paint/paste to paint your plants up along the stalk. It will still do its thing slicing the creepy crawlies as they crawl up the plant. That is not as effective for ants and such as dusting because they do not carry as much if any DE back to the nest as when you dust an area, but it does provide a you some control of the level of exposure. You can paint non flowering plants or just the very base of flowering plants and limit the exposure to bee's and reduce the risk of their carrying it back to the hive.
  13. Immolatus

    Immolatus Just getting started. Always.

    I will be applying some this weekend. Something is eating my peas and broccoli somethin fierce.
    Anyone have experience usin it? I dont see how it wouldnt kill earthworms if its so deadly to soft bodies creatures?
  14. Magus

    Magus Scavenger deluxe

    Its perfectly safe,only messes with things that eat it dry.
  15. JayJay

    JayJay Well-Known Member

    I'm not sure where I read it, but remember reading to liquidify with water in a spray bottle.
    Not much and use warm water-- should work.
  16. dragon5126

    dragon5126 Tired of Posers

    DE Can mess up a bee hive through ingestion much like eating ground glass, if it gets carried back to the hive. The way it works is it is literally the skeletal structure of diatoms, and is very abrasive. It erodes the hard shell of beetle like insects and they dry out and die, hence the time frame for effectiveness. This is also why it is best used prophylactically, before the insects get a foothold as they younger the insect the thinner and softer their shell.
  17. Emerald

    Emerald Well-Known Member

    I use DE all the time and still have tons of bees and earthworms.. But no fleas.. yippee!
  18. turkeydog

    turkeydog Member

    The marigolds don't keep j beetles away, they provide a food source instead of your veggies.
  19. dtburanek

    dtburanek Newbie

    I was just about to say the same as turkeydog until I saw there were two pages. Marigolds are meant to have the bugs! Only learned about DE only recently. Love all this information!
  20. LincTex

    LincTex Jack of all trades?

    ...where they can conveniently be dusted and killed!