Diatomaceous earth is known to be effective for pest control, and you've probably seen quite a number of pests you want to use it on, like springtails. We've looked into this topic and in this post, we will discuss how diatomaceous earth affects springtails and if you can use it to control pests in your garden.
Commonly used in organic insecticides, diatomaceous earth works against insects that have an exoskeleton, like springtails. A light dusting of diatomaceous earth will kill springtails because the silica has sharp edges that create abrasions on the exoskeleton of the springtails.
We know that using diatomaceous earth is effective on springtails, but can it be used all the time? Fortunately, we've collected all the information you need to know about this. Keep reading as we also talk about how you can manage springtails naturally and where you can also use diatomaceous earth.
Does Diatomaceous Earth Kill Springtails?
When the temperatures are a little colder, and the weather is a little wetter, you might see clumps of these little critters crawling about in soil or mulch. They're really tiny and during the winter season, you might even see little black dots jumping on the snow.
These are springtails, or sometimes they are called snow fleas. These tiny little critters are very hardy and they are not seasonal, so you might see them all year round. Springtails are not known to cause any harm to humans or pets, but they can be very annoying to deal with because they can infest quickly.
One of the most popular ways to deal with insects naturally is using diatomaceous earth. It is a very fine chalk-like white powder made up of fossilized single-shell aquatic organisms called diatoms. Diatomaceous earth is naturally occurring and it is also non-toxic to humans which is why it's popular for pest control.
Diatomaceous earth is known to be effective against insects that have exoskeletons, which springtails have. The diatoms that make up the diatomaceous earth are made up of rock-hard shells and these shells are made of silica, a hard mineral that is a component of glass and concrete.
When diatomaceous earth comes into contact with these insects, the micro-sharp edges of the silica create abrasions on their exoskeletons. The microscopic shards break down the protective outer layer of the insects, and ultimately, they die.
What Causes Springtails To Infest Your Home?
Springtails are drawn to damp areas of the home, and they feed on bacteria, algae, and decaying vegetation. This is the reason why you will commonly see springtails outside in the yard in places that are generally wet, like the mulch pile or the compost.
These little critters prefer the outdoors where mold and organic debris are plentiful. However, during the drier months, you might find that they migrate to different areas of your home like under the kitchen sink, the base of your bathtubs, or even near the water spouts.
Springtail infestation occurs because these critters are looking for damp places to live. They seek moisture, so they will try to get into these places. Check for areas that typically get wet like kitchen sinks, bathrooms, and laundry areas.
They also infest indoor houseplants because the soil of these plants is usually very moist. For other areas of the house where springtails appear, you might have to check your plumbing because your pipes might be leaking.
How Do I Manage Springtails Naturally?
Now that we've established that springtails aren't harmful to humans, it is still understandable why you would want to get rid of them because they can get pretty annoying. They can multiply rather quickly, not to mention they might make you uncomfortable because they look like fleas.
It's important to know that springtails are important to the environment, which is why we shouldn't completely eliminate them. They are ecosystem cleaners and they improve the soil structure and help make the nutrients that plants feed on.
Managing springtails naturally is pretty easy. Since they are attracted to moisture, the first step is to keep things dry. Clean and air-dry all known damp areas at home and make sure to keep them this way.
You can also use dehumidifiers to keep rooms dry and to prevent moisture from building up in your rooms.
Distilled White Vinegar
You can also repel springtails from claiming their place in your home by wiping down the common areas where they stay with distilled white vinegar. You can also spray vinegar directly on the springtails to get rid of them.
Try not to use apple cider vinegar because it can sometimes attract insects instead of repelling them.
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Another natural way to repel springtails is by using food-grade diatomaceous earth. It is best to use food-grade diatomaceous earth because this is non-toxic to humans. Industrial-grade diatomaceous earth can be harmful to mammals, so don't try to use that variant.
To use this, simply sprinkle the diatomaceous earth on top of the soil where your springtails are plentiful. Try to keep the diatomaceous earth as dry as possible because they are the most effective when dry. Make sure to sprinkle the diatomaceous earth under the base of the plants and under indoor plant pots.
When using diatomaceous earth, avoid applying it during windy days. There is a risk when you inhale diatomaceous earth, especially for extended periods of time. Make sure to also wear a mask when you are applying them to your springtail-infested areas.
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What Else Can I Use Diatomaceous Earth On?
Surprisingly, diatomaceous earth has many uses. Aside from the usual insect-killing properties, it is also a repellant as well as a host of a whole lot of things. Here are some ways you can use diatomaceous earth in your home.
One of the caveats in using diatomaceous earth is that it can be a bit useless when it is wet. However, when it dries, it retains the same bug-deterrent capabilities and will continue to put abrasions on those tiny bugs.
If you have a hard time sprinkling diatomaceous earth in tight spaces, you can spray it and let it dry. Create a slurry by mixing 1/2-cup of diatomaceous earth with 2 cups of water, and put it in a spray bottle or in the pressure washer.
Make sure to shake your bottle frequently as you spray to avoid it from sinking.
Aside from repelling insects in your home, you can also use diatomaceous earth to deodorize closed spaces like closets or the refrigerator. Simply fill an open-top container with about 1/2-cup of diatomaceous earth and swap it out every one or two weeks.
Spill and Stain Remover
Diatomaceous earth is also great for cleaning up spills and removing stains. This mineral is highly absorbent, so if you find yourself dealing with spills made up of oil or grease, you can use diatomaceous earth in a pinch. You can use it on carpets, wooden floors, or concrete surfaces.
To clean up spills using diatomaceous earth, simply sprinkle it on top of whatever liquid you have spilled and wait for it to be completely absorbed. After getting absorbed, simply vacuum the diatomaceous earth and make sure that the surface is completely clean.
Diatomaceous earth is known to be made up of silica, and it is a very abrasive mineral. A great way to clean and scrub stains off of your aluminum and silver objects is by mixing diatomaceous earth with natural cleaning products.
You can use it with lemon juice, vinegar, or even just plain water. Just make it into a paste and keep scrubbing—you'll have your precious silver or aluminum items bright and shiny again.
Springtails are not dangerous, but they can be a little annoying to deal with at times. As much as possible, try to keep all the areas in your home clean and dry to prevent them from infesting certain areas of the house. However, you can use diatomaceous earth to deter them and to keep your home chemical-free.
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