Does Diatomaceous Earth Kill Ticks In Yard And House

Does Diatomaceous Earth Kill Ticks?


Environmentally friendly methods of ecological pest control are becoming increasingly popular. Fleas, mites, bed bugs, lice, and ticks pose a health threat and need to be controlled. Diatomaceous earth is an effective alternative to chemical agents and can be used as a natural pest control method, for a more sustainable and healthier lifestyle without chemicals that cause long-term irreparable damage to the environment and our health.

Does Diatomaceous Earth Kill Ticks And Other Vermin

Diatomaceous earth is effective against all sorts of critters and skin parasites. It kills ticks, fleas, lice, mites, roaches, silverfish, weevils, bed bugs, roaches, thrips, woodlice, ants, snails, and many more.

How To Use Diatomaceous Earth In Yard And House

Diatomaceous earth (DE) is a chemical-free alternative for the control of numerous insect pests in your yard. It is applied in its powdered form or sometimes dissolved in water, for use in the garden, at home, in living rooms or in basements, storage rooms, and stables.

Diatomaceous earth is spread as a thin layer on the ground, for example along the preferred paths of ants, or can be dusted directly on vermin nests.

Garden plants, balcony plants, potted plants and plants in the garden that are affected by mites, thrips or aphids can be treated. Simply dust the affected area with DE.

Sleeping places of pets, small animal cages and carpets can also be dusted with diatomaceous earth to keep them free of vermin.

Veterinarians also recommend dusting the fur of pets infested with fleas or ticks to kill the parasites quickly and efficiently.

In order to ensure that all pests and also subsequent generations that have not yet hatched are eliminated, it is recommended that the process be repeated after a while, if necessary.

What is Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous earth (DE) also called Diatomite, is a sedimentary rock deposit formed from the fossilized shells of Diatoms. Diatoms are microalgae that have been around for the last 200 Million years. The cell wall of diatoms is made of Biogenic silica (a non-crystalline Silicon dioxide – a kind of glass-like stuff). These microalgae are still very common today and are found in the oceans, waterways, and soils of the world where they make up an estimated 50 percent of the living biomass on earth.

Diatoms under the Microscope, by Prof. Gordon T. Taylor, Stony Brook University / Public domain

What is Diatomaceous Earth made of?

When diatoms die, they sink to the bottom of the ocean or lakes. Over millennia their shells which are made of silicon dioxide form thick layers of sediment. It appears as a fine white or greyish powder called diatomaceous earth. One milligram of this sand-like powder contains the shells of about one billion diatoms.

The difference between Food Grade DE and Filter Grade DE

There are two common forms of Diatomite: Food Grade and Filter Grade (also called Pool Grade).

Both forms of DE consist of silica. In its pure form, as it is mined, DE has an amorph (non-crystalline) structure and considered safe for humans. Filter grade DE has been heated to turn the non-crystalline silica into crystalline silica. The crystalline form is great for industrial uses like catalysts, filters and a number of other applications but not for home use.

Food grade diatomaceous earth is considered safe to use around the house and in the garden. Filter/Pool grade DE must not be used around the home and garden.

Only use Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth!


The tiny exoskeletons of the diatoms are extremely porous. They absorb fats and liquids like a sponge. Diatomaceous earth has excellent filter properties and is inert. These properties and the sharp edges of the microscopic glass-like granules make diatomaceous earth a natural biocide that is valued as an environmentally friendly and non-toxic means of pest control.

How does diatomaceous earth kill ticks and bugs

In comparison to conventional insecticides, diatomaceous earth does not act chemically, but physically. This means without toxic chemical compounds that interfere with the metabolism but through a purely mechanical effect. Examples of mechanical effects are crushing, flattening, freezing, trapping, …

When seen under the microscope, Diatomite resembles microscopic broken glass shards, these tiny granules destroy the exoskeleton of certain insects and spider species. Razor-sharp edges that are invisible to our eyes tear open the protective chitinous exoskeleton of creeping insects and arachnids so that the liquid and fat absorbing properties of diatomaceous earth absorb the protective waxy layer that protects the critter. Without the protective lipid layer, the insect pest loses water, dries out and dies within a short time.

On top of that, the microscopic particles penetrate the joints spaces of the small crawlers and damage the locomotion mechanism and immobilize the vermin.

As a naturally occurring mineral, DE can be used again and again, insects do not develop a resistance to it.

What are the advantages of diatomaceous earth?

Since diatomite acts purely mechanically, it has several advantages:

  • As a naturally occurring product in the environment, it is also environmentally friendly that it does not release any new chemicals into the environment.
  • No side effects: Thanks to its mechanical, non-chemical effect, diatomaceous earth has no side effects for humans or animals.
  • Long-term use: For the same reason, diatomaceous earth can be used again and again, because unlike chemical products, insects and vermin do not develop resistance to it.
  • Broadly applicable: farm animals and bees are also not affected. Diatomaceous earth can be safely used in apartments, houses, stables, and gardens.

Although DE is considered harmless to your health, it is an extremely fine-grained powder and can be very dusty when used. Any kind of dust particles, if inhaled can irritate the respiratory tract and cause long-term lung damage. Take care to avoid inhalation and wear respiratory protection when using.

Is diatomaceous earth environmentally friendly?

Diatomaceous earth is a naturally occurring sedimentary rock found in large deposits worldwide. It can be used around the house, in the yard, and in the garden without any problems. It has no toxic effects on the environment.

Is Diatomaceous earth toxic?

Diatomaceous earth is classified as a natural biocide. In principle, all chemicals, substances, and microorganisms that can be used to control pests are referred to as biocides. This classification is still controversial because DE only works mechanically and not chemically.

Natural diatomaceous earth consisting of amorphous silicon dioxide is inert, it does not react chemically with other substances and does not form any chemical compounds. It is non-toxic.

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More applications

DE is incredibly versatile in applications and one of the world’s most used minerals. Its properties make it an indispensable substance for hundreds of uses from industrial, medicinal, agricultural, construction, road works, etc.

  • In tooths paste as an abrasives
  • Additive in cleaning agents and stain removers
  • Carriers for fertilizers, biocides, insecticides, and catalysts
  • Additives to increase weather resistance of road tar seal
  • Prevents colors pigments in paints from falling out
  • Cement additive makes concrete processing easier
  • Anti cacking agent
  • As oil binders
  • A filter medium for water and beverages
  • Filler in thermal insulation


Diatomaceous earth is completely harmless to humans and pets when used properly. Skin contact is not dangerous, it can easily be washed off with water. Avoid contact with the eyes or mucous membranes. Do not inhale the powder and always keep it out of the reach of children. Always read instructions and use only as recommended!

Using DE is just one of many precautions you can take around your home to reduce the number of ticks and protect your family from the risk of tick-transmitted diseases. It is essential not to neglect other measures, such as the use of personal tick repellents and defensive methods to keep parasites away from your pets.

How to Combat Fleas on Dogs: Signs, Treatment and Prevention

Does just the thought of fleas on your dogs and in your home make you itch? While these stealth bloodsuckers are unpleasant—and potentially dangerous—to live with, there are simple and effective ways to treat as well as prevent an invasion.

First, we must know our enemy.

What Are Fleas on Dogs?

“Fleas are tiny, wingless insects that survive by feeding on blood,” says Christine Cain, DVM, DACVD, assistant professor and section chief, dermatology and allergy at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. “The most common flea in the U.S. that infests both cats and dogs is the cat flea, Ctenocephalides felis.”

These nuisance parasites can consume nearly 15 times their own body weight in blood per day, according to a study. And these prolific pests multiply rapidly, as a single female flea can lay up to 50 eggs per day.

Fleas experience a four-stage life cycle.

  1. Egg Stage: Each flea begins when the female lays white, oval eggs on a host, like a dog, after consuming the animal’s blood. The eggs are extremely tiny and very hard to see. As your dog moves, the eggs drop into his environment, such as the carpet, his bed and your sofa.
  2. Larva Stage: After 2-14 days, the fleas exit the eggs, hatching into worm-like larvae. The larvae eat flea dirt (the blood-filled feces adult fleas leave behind) for about 5-20 days before spinning a silk-like cocoon for their next stage.
  3. Pupa Stage: The pupa stage within the cocoon can take as little as a week or as much as several months, depending on the external conditions.
  4. Adult Stage: Finally, the adult flea emerges. Not wasting any time, fleas find a warm-blooded host, like your pooch, to feed from and the females repeat this cycle.

How to Spot Fleas on Dogs

“Signs that your dogs have fleas are the insects themselves or flea dirt, which is actually the feces of the flea,” says Meghan Solc, DVM, DACVD, a board-certified veterinary dermatologist at Dermatology for Animals in Akron, Ohio.

Flea dirt looks like tiny black flakes or ground pepper-like dots on your pet. You can perform a flea dirt test by applying a wet piece of paper on the suspected flea dirt. If it changes color to red or brown-reddish, it’s usually flea dirt.

“Most often we don’t see any of the signs but see the symptoms of flea allergy,” Solc says.

Common symptoms of any dog with fleas include:

Fleas often hide around your pooch’s tail, rear and belly because they are warm and protected there, Dr. Cain says. Highly sensitive dogs can be disturbed by even a single flea bite.

“Some dogs can have an allergic response to flea saliva, which can result in increased itch with exposure to fleas and subsequent flea bites,” Dr. Cain says. “This can result in self-induced hair loss, redness, crusts (scabs), hot spots and secondary skin infections, particularly around the back half of the body (rump, back of thighs, sometimes inner thighs), since fleas tend to hide in the dense hair coat around the rump of dogs.”

A simple way to check your pet is with a flea comb, like Safari’s flea comb for dogs. Start combing around your pup’s ears and head and move toward the rump and tail. However, it’s common for pet parents to not see adult fleas while combing their dog even when fleas are present, Dr. Cain says. These pests are tiny and move quickly.

How to Get Rid of Fleas on Dogs

Once you find fleas on your dog, act fast. There are plenty of safe and effective products available for dogs of all ages and sizes.

First off, consult with your veterinarian.

“Most of the available products—including topicals, oral products or collars—are quite effective when used according to label instructions,” Dr. Cain says. “But pet parents should always consult their veterinarian before purchasing and using a product. The most effective choice often depends on the lifestyle of the dog, his environment and [any] concurrent health conditions.”

For example, she says if your dog spends a lot of time in the water, it can decrease the effectiveness of topical products. Also, if your household includes other types of pets, like cats, some topical products labeled for dogs might be toxic to them.

It is crucial to use flea control products consistently, as labeled, for the best and safest results, she adds.

“In some dogs, especially those with flea allergy, we may recommend more frequent use of flea control products or combinations of flea control,” Dr. Cain says.

Diatomaceous Earth for Fleas Control in Your Yard

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When fleas invade your home, you should be well-prepared to battle it out because they are often too stubborn to get rid of. But riding your yard of fleas can be challenging sometimes, especially if you are not sure what tools to use or even where to start.

Over the last couple of years, people have been introduced to several flea removal methods, such that it is becoming hard to choose the right one for your needs.

Some believe that only pesticides and flea collars will chase away fleas, while others advocate for a natural approach because the chemicals in the former can harm your family and pets.

While there is no single solution to fight the flea problem, this post will focus on a substance called diatomaceous earth (DE).

What is Diatomaceous Earth?

Diatomaceous earth is a superb insect killer that is both long-lasting and non-toxic. It is a fine powder that comprises of microscopic remains of fossilized algae called diatoms. It is effective because it cuts at the waxy layer that protects fleas.

This substance can also block up and damages the fleas’ respiratory system. In the real sense, diatomaceous earth causes the fleas to die because of lack of air and dehydration.

Diatomaceous earth was discovered back in the 1830s when an old farmer found a hard substance that he initially mistaken it for limestone. The ancestors of today’s diatomaceous earth settled in bed on the floors of ancient but non-existent lakes.

This product can be now mined and used for different purposes. Besides fighting fleas, diatomaceous earth has been used for a variety of industrial, farm, medical, and even food-based situations.

How to Use Diatomaceous Earth in Your Yard?

It is not enough to treat your pets alone, because some fleas could jump into neighboring areas, such as your yard. So, you need to also thoroughly clean your yard. Even before that, you should first prepare it for treatment by picking weeds and mowing grass.

On top of this, check for infected areas and remove other clutter like leaves, wood, and molds of rock. The more clutter you have in your yard, the more place fleas can take refuge.

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Once you have pinpointed all the infested areas in your yard, you can apply diatomaceous earth. The best time to apply this product is during dry weather because they only work effectively in dust form. You can use a dust spreader to sprinkle DE into the infested areas. Alternatively, you can toss handfuls of dust to the infected areas.

If you know the weather will be dry enough for at least weak or so, you can mix the dust with water and sprayed it on your yard. The goal here is to let diatomaceous earth to retune to its dust form, which will be effective in killing fleas.

Is Diatomaceous Earth Safe for Pets?

Generally, diatomaceous earth is harmless for pets. But it is critical that you use food-grade DE for pet applications. When you are shopping in-store or online, read the label carefully or verify the grade with the vendor.

Choosing the wrong grade of DE may compromise the health of your pets. Usually, industrial-grade DE is not safe not only for pets but also for humans. That’s why experts advise that you wear gloves when removing pests from your garden or pets using DE.

Overall, diatomaceous earth is an effective, non-toxic alternative to chemical pesticides. So, if you are worried about using pesticides in and around your home, you are safe dusting your pets with DE. After all, it can control other external parasites besides fleas, including ticks, ants, and flies.

Can You Use Diatomaceous Earth on Your Lawn?

When you sprinkle diatomaceous earth over lawns, the powder will repel and control fleas and other similar pests. To get rid of lawn pests, mix and apply wettable powders in the right proportions. Here are the exact steps:

  • While DE is not poisonous to animals and humans, you should wear protective clothing, such as long pants, gloves, and a face mask. It can cause irritation if it gets into your eyes or nose.
  • Apply the dust on a dry day. You can mix the DE powder with water or dampen the lawn first, then apply the powder. The light misting will help the powder to stick into your grass.
  • Spay the DE into the lawn in a thin and even coat until you cover the entire lawn area, including the surrounding perimeters.
  • You can apply DE once a month or at least after each hard rain

Can You Use Diatomaceous Earth in Your Garden?

Diatomaceous earth is usually categorized as a non-toxic insect repellant and is in fact recognized as a treatment in organic farming. But you should be keen not to overuse it. When used in correct proportions, DE can be foolproof in controlling a variety of destructive pests in your garden.

Because of silica skeletons in DE, fleas and insects get tiny cuts when they crawl over soil treated with DE. And when their bodies get cut, they eventually dehydrate and die. Besides this, DE can also absorb fats from these insects, thus causing dehydration.

How Long it Takes to Kill Fleas with Diatomaceous Earth?

When used appropriately, diatomaceous earth can kill off fleas within a few days. What it does is that it punctures the fleas’ waxy exoskeleton using it sharp particles.

And once it gets inside, the DE powder sucks all the moisture in their bodies, and consequently, dehydrating them to death. On average, it may take up to two days to eradicate the pests entirely. But you may see the first results after 12 hours.

Can Diatomaceous Earth Kill Other Insects Too?

As mentioned before, diatomaceous earth is not only lethal to fleas, but it can also kill a number of pests. Besides fleas, it can kill other hard-shell insects, such as cockroaches, ticks, beetles, and bedbugs.

The product is also effective in controlling soft-bodied insects, too, including aphids, caterpillar, and snugs.


So, there you have it. Hopefully, we have answered all of your questions about diatomaceous earth. It is a great pest control products that are also environmentally friendly. While it is not a harmful substance, try covering your mouth and nose when using diatomaceous earth.

If you inhale large amounts of this substance, it can cause coughing and irritate nasal passages, especially if you are sensitive to dust particles.

Is Diatomaceous Earth Safe For Cats And How Much To Put For Fleas

Approved By: Dr. Sara Ochoa, DVM

Certified Content. This article has been fact checked and verified by our veterinary adviser.

We all hate fleas. And ticks and bedbugs and ants and all the creepy, crawly, bitey things! Your cat hates them too! No one likes the idea of something crawling all over them and drinking their blood.

And your cat does not want ants crawling away with her food.

Poisons are not always effective because the wriggly little beasts evolve immunity to them so fast it would make Darwin weep trying to keep up!

What’s more, the poison may harm your cat more than it does the bugs.

Could there be some way to get rid of insects effectively without handling poison? The answer could be diatomaceous earth.

What is Diatomaceous Earth?

Image of live Diatoms in Antarctica

Sad to say (or happy to say, depending on how you look at it) the events of Jurassic Park are complete science fiction and really could not ever happen. However, there is something useful that fossils can do! Diatomaceous earth is so named because it is made from the fossilized remains of aquatic organisms called diatoms which are extremely tiny.

Over the millennia these organisms gradually built up in the dirt of streams, rivers, lakes, and even the briny oceans. These minute creatures’ skeletons are made out of silica. Upon fossilization, the silica reacted chemically when exposed to oxygen and water to become silicon dioxide. Diatomaceous earth can be mined from beneath lakes or anywhere that water used to be.

Diatomaceous earth (also known as DE) resembles a fine white or off-white powder. It is an inert substance that does not react with many chemicals, though water reduces its effectiveness. It’s available at most pet stores, home improvement and gardening stores and many multipurpose department stores.

There is food grade DE and there is a type that isn’t safe for consumption. Remember to read the label carefully! It is only really dangerous if constantly inhaled so use precautions such as a dust mask around it.

Because DE is non-toxic, the environmentally conscious consumer can rest easy knowing this is a green product. Natural soil, rocks, clay and sand are largely made up of silicon to start with so a little extra is not a problem. It does not emit noxious vapors or harm wildlife in any way.

Diatomaceous Earth Uses for Cats

Sure, this stuff gets rid of all the crawly, bitey things but did you know it can also work on intestinal worms? Some people have found it makes effective kitty litter as well. When taken internally, it has the happy side effect of stronger nails and thicker hair.

How Does Diatomaceous Earth Work?

Let us consult the Book of Armaments, chapter two, verses nine through thirty-one. And Saint Orkon raised the diatomaceous earth up on high, saying “O Lord, bless this Thy pest control that with it, Thou mayest shred the insect to tiny pieces, leaving them to dehydrate in agony in Thy mercy” And the Lord did grin and the cats did feast upon the lamb and chicken and salmon and anchovies….

In all seriousness, what happens is the glasslike silica shards cut through an insect’s waxy exoskeleton. The glass edges are microscopic and thus harmless to anything bigger than a bedbug. Damaging the exoskeleton causes the insect to dry out and being icky in Thy sight, shall snuff it.

How to Use Diatomaceous Earth for Fleas

To start with, only use food grade DE for flea control. There is pool grade DE that is used for charcoal filters and swimming pools but it is not safe for consumption by humans or animals. You should use kitchen or garden gloves while handling it as DE can dry your skin out very quickly. (Not dangerous, just very irritating.)

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Sprinkle the DE liberally on carpets, bedding, soft furniture and anywhere you believe might have fleas. Leave it for three days then vacuum. Repeat this every week for thirty days. This will ensure that the eggs and larvae are destroyed with the adult fleas.

Diatomaceous Earth for Cats Worms

Feeding the DE to a cat will not do anything about external parasites but it may kill the internal parasites. One woman reviewer on Amazon suggests stirring a spoonful into a glass of cranberry juice to clear up a yeast infection. Your cat may not like cranberry juice, so you may have to try their food or a favorite treat.

If Kitty prefers dry food, just shake the DE up inside the bag until it’s evenly coated. Take note of the number of servings in the bag and multiply that by how much of a dosage your cat needs.

Is It Safe For Cats To Eat it?

Yes, for the most part. Kittens that are still nursing or weigh less than two pounds should probably not be exposed to DE. A cat that weighs between two and six and a half pounds can safely eat a half teaspoon of food grade DE with every meal. Cats that weigh more than that but less than thirteen pounds can have a teaspoonful with every meal.

Large cats that weigh over thirteen pounds will find one and a half teaspoon to be the safest and most effective dosage. It should pass through your cat’s system harming nothing but the internal parasites the worms. DE is safe to eat with most supplements but consult with a veterinarian if your cat is on any sort of medication.

Diatomaceous Earth Cat Litter

Some pet parents like to use it as an all-natural cat litter. Cats like the silky soft texture and pet owners like how it absorbs odors. It also clumps up, making cleaning easier. Follow these steps when using diatomaceous earth.

  • After you have cleaned out the litter box add the new kitty litter.
  • For every pound of litter you add to the box you must ad three quarters of a cup of DE. Evenly distribute this throughout the litter.
  • Repeat every time you change the litter.

Please remember that diatomaceous earth can clog your toilet so do not flush it. The only other drawback is Kitty might find it so comfortable she might not want to leave! There is another article on that.

Pros and Cons of Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous earth is non-toxic and when used in conjunction with typical cleaning and yard upkeep makes for effective insect control and flea treatment. It is safe to use on pet bedding. Residual or lingering issues will not be a problem. Insects will never develop immunity to it because it kills physically rather than chemically.

Your cat may like using it as litter as it is a fine and silky powder like talc or flour. However, like talc or flour it can make a bit of a dusty mess that can irritate the eyes and throat.

Though food grade diatomaceous earth is safe to ingest, it is best to wear a mask when using it. It is not dangerous to handle, but it is very drying so you might want to put on some gloves first or have some lotion on stand by.

DE works best when dry. Wetting it down to make a spray nullifies it and it does not work well in humid environments. Use caution when applying it to a pet, keeping it away from the eyes, mouth and nose. Do not use it around open wounds or sores.

The pet should be shampooed within twelve hours followed by a conditioner. Once Kitty is dry, give her a good combing to get rid of dead bugs and eggs. Keep this regimen going for at least two weeks in order to kill all of the bugs and complete the flea treatment.

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Diatomaceous Earth Food Grade Review

Customers who have used this natural remedy seem very happy with it. Diatomaceous earth touts itself as a health supplement, stain remover, exfoliant, deodorizer and food preserver among other uses. This diatomaceous earth was mined from freshwater mines with purity and cleanliness foremost in mind.

  • Diatomaceous earth you can trust — Our obsession to create the purest food Grade diatomaceous earth.
  • The only official supplement — we are the only producers of food grade diatomaceous earth products.
  • 100% organic — all of our products are certified organic by the organic minerals review Institute
  • Nature’s most diverse product — diatomaceous earth is an amazing powder that can be used for a wide.
  • Wholly produced in the USA — our entire process from mining to filtering to packaging is all.

The paper bag it comes in can be folded to keep the product pure. No additives or contaminants are guaranteed.

It has also been certified independently by the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) for utilization in certified organic production, processing and handling.

How to store diatomaceous earth

Diatomaceous Earth does not expire but it does need to be kept in a dry environment to keep its effectiveness. It does not need to be refrigerated, though it can be stored in a refrigerator if kept dry. It may absorb food odors.

It may be stored in a plastic container if it is airtight. As long as the DE is kept free of contaminants it should last indefinitely.


Diatomaceous earth can be used for a lot of handy things. Where your cat is concerned it can destroy and kill both internal and external parasites. It makes a great additive to kitty litter. Plus, the only “side effect” your cat may experience is a fluffier coat and stronger claws.

It doesn’t stain, though vacuuming is the only effective way to clean it up. It is easy to store and as long as it is kept dry it keeps forever. After all, it’s a fossil! What could a year or so more do to it?


  • Kill Bugs With Diatomaceous Earth at
  • Is Diatomaceous Earth a Natural Flea Remedy? at
  • Do diatoms form fossils? at
  • Diatoms: Fossil Record at
  • What Are the Benefits of Diatomaceous Earth? at

Is diatomaceous earth poisonous to cats?

Some products can also be used directly on dogs and cats. Diatomaceous earth products are registered for use against bed bugs, cockroaches, crickets, fleas, ticks, spiders, and many other pests. . The Food & Drug Administration lists diatomaceous earth as Generally Recognized as Safe.

How often should I give my cat diatomaceous earth?

A minimum of 60 days is suggested for most worms, 90 days is advised for lungworms and even sometimes double the recommended dose. Just remember, DE has to come in contact with the worm or parasite to kill it within 24 to 72 hours.

Can I put diatomaceous earth in my cat’s litter box?

Yes you can add diatomaceous earth to the litter box. It also acts as a deodorizer and it can absorb up to twice its weight, which is invaluable in a litter box. There are powdered & cat litter chunk type D.E.

Will diatomaceous earth kill flea eggs?

Mixing diatomaceous earth with water and applying as a spray appears to negate the ability of the dust to be picked up easily by fleas. It can be useful in killing flea larvae, however, when applied as a dust to dry sites, such as pet houses and pet bedding.

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