Does Diatomaceous Earth Kill Bed Bugs? [6 Tactics]

As bed bugs travel through a layer of diatomaceous earth they will gradually become dehydrated and die. By combining diatomaceous earth with other bed bug treatments, you can reclaim your home and get rid of the pest infestation. Plus, diatomaceous earth is all-natural, non-toxic, and safe to use around pets. Spread diatomaceous earth in areas where bed bugs travel, such as around the edges of your room, in the cracks where baseboards meet the floor, and on the legs of furniture.

Does diatomaceous earth kill bed bugs?

How Does Diatomaceous Earth Kill Bed Bugs?

Diatomaceous earth kills bed bugs by making microscopic cuts and scrapes in the exoskeleton of the bugs. Once the hard exterior coating of the bed bug has been damaged, the diatomaceous earth dehydrates the insects, killing them. Diatomaceous earth is powerful enough to kill bed bugs, ants, and almost all types of insects.

  • Diatomaceous earth makes small cuts in the outer coating of bed bugs, which dehydrates and kills them.
  • In addition to bed bugs, diatomaceous earth also kills most other pest insects.
  • Spread diatomaceous earth in areas where bed bugs frequently travel in order to kill them faster.

In order to get the most killing power, it’s essential to spread a layer of diatomaceous earth in areas where bed bugs will crawl through the powder. The more the bugs are exposed to this powder, the faster they’ll die.

Can You Sleep in a Room with Diatomaceous Earth?

As long as you use food-grade diatomaceous earth, it is completely safe to spread this bed bug killer inside your home, even in your bedroom. Diatomaceous earth is made from the fossils of tiny creatures. It contains no artificial chemicals and is practically harmless to humans and pets.

  • This food-grade diatomaceous earth is safe for use in every room in your home, including the bedroom.
  • Diatomaceous earth is made up of fossilized organisms, called diatoms. It contains no chemicals.
  • Do not use pool-grade diatomaceous earth—it can irritate airways if inhaled.

Although diatomaceous earth is non-toxic and safe for humans, it is best to avoid skin contact with the powder when possible. Diatomaceous earth can dry out and mildly irritate your skin. It won’t cause any serious health problems, but it’s best not to spread the powder on your bed or other furniture.

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6 Ways to Use Diatomaceous Earth to Kill Bed Bugs

If you’re facing a bed bug infestation then diatomaceous earth can help to kill the pests. Although it’s still recommended that you use steam cleaning and other measures of bed bug control to kill bed bugs in mattresses and furniture, diatomaceous earth can help eradicate adult bed bugs throughout your home. Here’s how to use it:

Along Baseboards

Begin by sprinkling a thin layer of diatomaceous earth around the edges of each room in your home. Then, use a hair dryer to blow the diatomaceous earth into the crack between the baseboard and the floor. This will kill bed bugs crawling through hidden areas of your home. You may even want to spread an additional layer of diatomaceous earth along the baseboards after using the hair dryer. You want to create an even dusting that bed bugs cannot avoid.

In Carpeted Areas

Much like mattresses and other furniture, carpets and rugs in your home can become infested with bed bugs. To battle this, dust carpeted areas with diatomaceous earth powder. Use enough that the carpet or rug takes on a “dusty” appearance, but do not leave mounds of the powder. To prevent dry skin irritation on your feet, wear shoes whenever you walk on a carpeted area that has been treated with diatomaceous earth.

Behind Socket Plates

Bed bugs often crawl through the walls of your home. They use openings in the wall—such as electrical outlets—as doors. So, it’s a great idea to use a screwdriver to remove the switchplate, then dust the interior of the socket with diatomaceous earth. Once you’re done, put the plate back on. You’ll kill plenty of bed bugs with this tip.

Around Furniture

Because bed bugs love to crawl onto furniture, such as sofas and beds, it’s a good idea to protect them with a ring of diatomaceous earth. A layer of powder 6–12 inches (15–30 cm) wide around each piece of furniture will kill bed bugs as they crawl through. You do not have to create a mounded ring—a thin layer will do. However, you will need to replace the diatomaceous earth if it is displaced by vacuuming or foot traffic.

On Furniture Legs

Bed bugs are great climbers that love to use the legs of chairs, couches, and beds to reach new areas of your home. You can kill bed bugs as they attempt this climb if you use a powder duster to apply diatomaceous earth to the legs of your furniture. By combining this with a ring of powder around your furniture, bed bugs are sure to die before they climb onto your furniture and bite you.

On Windowsills

Because bed bugs climb and explore in search of a human or animal to bite, it’s a good idea to dust the flat surfaces of your home with diatomaceous earth. Windowsills, the tops of door frames, and even the shelves in your pantry and closet are good choices. Since diatomaceous earth is completely non-toxic, it’s safe to use throughout your home without any risk of harm to you and your family.

How Long Does it Take for Diatomaceous Earth to Work on Bed Bugs?

Diatomaceous earth requires 7–14 days to fully kill off a bed bug infestation in your home. This fix takes too long if you’re dealing with painful bed bug bites on a daily basis. So, it’s best to combine diatomaceous earth with other bed bug products. Using steam cleaning, pesticides, and other measures helps kill bed bugs faster.

  • It will take 1–2 weeks for diatomaceous earth to kill bed bugs on its own.
  • It’s best to combine diatomaceous earth with other bed-bug-killing tactics for a fast extermination.
  • Using diatomaceous earth makes killing bed bugs more effective overall and helps to stop the infestation permanently.

You may be tempted to skip the diatomaceous earth and focus on other bed bug killers, but this would be a mistake. Although diatomaceous rath requires time to be effective, it really can clear your whole house of bed bugs. Using diatomaceous earth throughout your home ensures you kill off the entire bed bug infestation permanently.

Can You Sprinkle Diatomaceous Earth On Your Mattress?

Although it won’t cause you any serious harm, it’s best to not sprinkle diatomaceous earth on your mattress to kill bed bugs. Despite its non-toxicity, diatomaceous earth is a mild irritant to human skin and airways. Sleeping on a mattress sprinkled with diatomaceous earth can cause red, irritated, or itchy skin.

  • Do not sprinkle diatomaceous earth on your mattress or other furniture.
  • Although it won’t cause serious harm, diatomaceous earth can dry out and irritate your skin.
  • Try using a powerful steam cleaner to kill bed bugs in your mattress.

Steam cleaning is one of the best ways to fix a bed bug-infested mattress. So, it’s best to use a powerful steam cleaner along with diatomaceous earth for bed bugs.

How Long Should You Let Diatomaceous Earth Sit?

When you are killing bed bugs, allow diatomaceous earth to remain in place for at least 2 weeks. Longer is better, since it ensures any lingering bed bugs will be killed as they try to repopulate your home. Don’t get rid of the diatomaceous earth in your home too early or some bed bugs may survive.

  • Do not remove diatomaceous earth for at least 14 days after you apply it.
  • Removing diatomaceous earth too soon can allow the bed bug population to bounce back.
  • Because 14 days is a long period of time, you may need to replenish the diatomaceous earth powder in some areas of your home.

When treating your home with diatomaceous earth, keep an eye on the areas you have treated with the powder. If the powder is vacuumed, swept, or blown away, replace it. By maintaining a constant layer of diatomaceous earth, you’ll greatly increase your chances of killing more bed bugs faster.

Does Diatomaceous Earth Kill Bed Bug Eggs?

Diatomaceous earth does not kill bed bug eggs. It only kills bed bugs that have hatched. A bed bug must walk through diatomaceous earth in order to be killed. So, it’s essential to maintain a dusting of diatomaceous earth in key areas throughout your home to kill new generations of bed bugs as they hatch.

  • Bed bug eggs are not affected by diatomaceous earth.
  • Diatomaceous earth only kills bed bugs that have hatched.
  • High temperatures are the most effective way to kill bed bug eggs.
  • It is recommended to work with a professional exterminator in order to kill bed bug eggs.

Bed bug eggs can be killed by high temperatures, which makes steam cleaning a great way to kill adult bed bugs and their eggs. It is best to work with a professional exterminator in order to eradicate bed bugs and their eggs, so you can clear the infestation.

Will Diatomaceous Earth Kill Bed Bugs?

Diatomaceous earth cuts through the waxy coating of bed bug exoskeletons, drying out and killing these pests. In order to use it effectively, follow these tips:

  • Use food-grade diatomaceous earth only—pool-grade is not safe for use in the home.
  • Spread diatomaceous earth along floorboards and use a hair dryer to blow it into the cracks along baseboards.
  • Cover carpeted areas and rugs with diatomaceous earth.
  • Remove socket plates and switchplates, then dust the interior with diatomaceous earth.
  • Create a 6–12-inch (15–30 cm) ring of diatomaceous earth around furniture.
  • Dust furniture legs with diatomaceous earth.
  • Spread a thin layer of diatomaceous earth on windowsills, the tops of door frames, and on shelving.
  • Diatomaceous earth is non-toxic and contains no pesticides.
  • Avoid skin contact with diatomaceous earth because it can cause mild irritation.

By using diatomaceous earth around your home, combined with other natural tactics, you can avoid using chemical insecticides to kill bed bugs. This will help you clear the infestation quickly and safely.

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