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Using Diatomaceous Earth to Control Fleas

20702424.thbWe’re always looking for non-chemical ways to control fleas in our yard this time of year. One method we use, which is considered one of the safest ways to treat your yard, is the application of Diatomaceous Earth (often just called DE). Diatomaceous earth, which you purchase at garden centers, is basically crushed rock that contains the fossilized remains of diatoms, an algae. (Do NOT purchase the DE that is intended for pools; it is chemically treated and not for use around pets.)

How It Works: To use the DE, you’ll sprinkle areas in the yard where fleas congregate. The hard-shelled algae grates against the fleas and kills them mechanically, not be a chemical means like sprays and pesticides.

How to Apply: Before applying the DE to your yard, you’ll want to get a bandanna or filter mask (like the kind you’d wear to work with sheetrock); the DE is non-toxic but it is a very fine powder that you don’t want to breathe. You can choose to treat your entire yard (plan on about 8 to 16 ounces for every 1,000 square feet of yard) or just spot-treat the areas where your dogs like to lie. (Ours love to lie in the bare dirt beneath some of our trees so we give that area an extra dusting.) Put the DE in a shaker (we used a jar and punched holes in the metal lid) then apply (on a non-windy day).

We’ve had good luck keeping fleas under control with DE. The dogs appreciate the lack of fleas–and we appreciate the absence of fleas and chemicals in our yard!

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