Diatomaceous Earth for Flea Control

I’ve finally come up with a couple of tiny fundraising ideas to help support my  feral cat


cat (Photo credit: Kenny Teo (zoompict))

TNR efforts. The first one is to provide samples of Food Grade – Fresh Water Diatomaceous Earth (DE) to other colony caregivers who would like to try using DE before investing or storing a larger amount. A little bit seems to go a long way. Colony caregivers in areas that have a lot of rain will use more DE than where the weather is dry because this needs to be reapplied once the ground dries.

The way this works on insects.

“Both silica gel and diatomaceous earth are forms of amorphous silica, and they both kill insects by desiccation, not by absorbing water, but by absorbing the oily or waxy outer cuticle layer by direct contact. When the thin (about 1/u) waterproof layer of the epicuticle is lost, the insect loses water, then dies. Abrasive damage to thecuticle also leads to water loss in some cases, but the effectiveness of silica as an insecticide often depends on the amount of oil it can absorb.” (Quarles, W. (1992). Diatomaceous earth for pest control. IPM Practitioner, 14(5/6), 1-11.)


I will gladly send one or two pound samples of Food Grade – Fresh Water Diatomaceous Earth for flea control (Alley Cat Allies reference link) to colony caregivers who would like to try using some (before investing in a greater quantity of it for summer insect control). I will send one pound for an $8 donation or two pounds for a $12 donation postage included. – (US only, nothing international because I don’t know how I could get it to you. )

I’ve applied it to both the inside and outside of my house.

You can use a Dustin Mizer to spread a very fine layer of dust to the area around your feeding stations. I just put two table spoon of dust into a dishcoth and clapped it with my hand to produce a fine mist of dust that I let settle in the room prior to allowing the cats to come in. Outside I used a turkey baster to dust an area about 4′ x 15′.  I’ve read about people using it and the cats getting too much of it in their coat. That sounds like ti could be a problem for your ferals. Very fine dusting is the key to using DE.  Be careful that the cats are not milling about when you choose to dust because it can be very irritating to the eyes and you really don’t want them to inhale it. Be careful that you’re not downwind of your dusting because the dust will irritate you. The dust can also be very drying to your skin, so you might want to wear gloves while handling it, especially if you do not have running water available at your colony site.

If you would like a couple of pounds to try, use my paypal donation button and add your address and request in the notes section.