Diatomaceous Earth For Ants | Home & Garden

diatomaceous earth for ants

Ants are a huge issue during the summer months. What’s even worse is that if ants get into your garden or kitchen, getting rid of them is even harder. A natural and effective way to get rid of ants is with diatomaceous earth. Diatomaceous earth is a natural insect killer that won’t harm humans or pets in any way. 

This guide shows you how to effectively use diatomaceous earth to get rid of ants in your home and garden. Learn more about how it works and some professional advice on how to apply this product. 

Also Read: How To Use Diatomaceous Earth | Home & Garden

diatomaceous earth for ants

How Diatomaceous Earth Works

Diatomaceous earth is made from fossilized algae. The algae creates a naturally occurring silica compound that kills off the ants. Although it appears and feels like a flour-like dust to humans,  it feels like shards of glass to an ant. The silica grinds away at the ant’s exoskeleton until it dehydrates and dies.     

This is the most natural way to get rid of ants in your home and garden. Diatomaceous earth is not toxic to humans or pets. There are three grades of diatomaceous earth available. The only one you should use around your home is food grade diatomaceous earth

When applying this product, remember to:

  • Wear gloves, as it can dry out skin.
  • Wear a mask, as inhaling any substance can be harmful.
  • Use only food-grade diatomaceous earth.

There are some aerosol cans of diatomaceous earth and products with diatomaceous earth as the main ingredient. However, in our expert opinion, getting the powder is much stronger and cost-effective. 

Using Diatomaceous Earth To Kill Ants

Diatomaceous earth kills ants, aphids, and several other kinds of insects that might be infesting your garden. Basically, any insect with an exoskeleton will feel the effects of this product. You can use diatomaceous earth to kill:

  • Fleas
  • Ticks
  • Fungus gnats
  • Spider mites
  • Spiders
  • Bed bugs
  • Scorpions  

To an insect with an exoskeleton, diatomaceous earth feels like broken glass. However, to a human or an animal, it’s just like flour. 

Diatomaceous earth may take up to a week to fully eradicate an infestation. Monitor the areas you’ve covered with diatomaceous earth for 48 hours. This will take longer if you apply the product wet or if it rains after you apply it. Time to kill off ants may vary depending on the type of infestation you have. Generally, it takes 16 to 24 hours to kill an ant after contact. 

This product only works when dry. You can apply this product while wet, but it will need to dry before it’s effective against ants.  

Also Read: How To Kill Ants

Dry Application

The best way to apply diatomaceous earth is applying the powder directly. To do this, you’ll need some rubber gloves, a mask, and something to apply the product. You can use any of the following items to apply this product:

  • Puffers
  • Turkey basters
  • Paint brushes
  • Flour sifters

This product is quite powdery.

To clean up this product, use a hand-held vacuum or dust buster.  

Wet Application

Experienced gardeners apply this wet formula to coat plant leaves. This allows the plant to absorb the water and later protect against any pest who dare nibble on the leaves. Remember that you will need to wait for the product to dry before it takes effect. 

To make your own wet applicator, mix:

  • ½ cup of diatomaceous earth
  • 2 cups of water

Pour the slurry mixture into a spray bottle and spray onto garden plants. Remember the product will take a few days to be in effect. 

We found that this application was difficult to work with. We would not recommend apply a wet application unless you need protection on hard-to-stick materials like leaves.

Getting Rid of Ant Hills With Diatomaceous Earth

This  product is so powerful that it can eradicate entire anthills with the right know-how. This is super beneficial if you have an ant hill in your garden, as it kills off the colony without damaging your veggies or flowers.

When getting rid of an anthill, you’ll need to break the main entry and find the queen. Use a shovel to remove the top part of the hill. Next, take a stick or broom handle to “stir” the colony around. This breaks down the tunnels and secondary entryways. 

Apply a generous amount of diatomaceous earth to the destroyed tunnels. Continue to stir and break the ant hill while applying more diatomaceous earth. 

Apply more diatomaceous earth in a 1 foot radius around the anthill. Sprinkle more diatomaceous earth around the perimeter of your garden and home. Apply more diatomaceous earth around other places you’ve noticed ants.

Does It hurt Pollinators?

Diatomaceous earth can be harmful to essential pollinators. However, if the product is applied correctly, you won’t have to worry about hurting bees, butterflies, or ladybugs. 

Apply your diatomaceous earth on soil and leaves. Avoid any contact with flowers, especially ones beneficial to the bees. 

Also Read: 5 Natural Pest Control DIYs