47 Bugs Diatomaceous Earth Kills (Complete List)

by | Insect Control, Insects, Pest Control

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If you’re here, you want to know what diatomaceous earth kills. In short:

Diatomaceous earth (DE) kills pests, such as ants, fleas, flies, and bed bugs, when they walk or crawl over it. But DE kills good insects that come into contact with it too, like bees, butterflies, and ladybugs.

The full list of 47 bugs is below.

In this article, you’ll get:

  • A list of 47 bugs that DE kills, including the good bugs
  • A few things DE doesn’t kill that you’ll want to know about
  • How diatomaceous earth kills bugs

47 bugs that diatomaceous earth kills

Many pest control products that are registered with the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have diatomaceous earth listed as an ingredient. In fact, the EPA has over 7 000 results for product labels with diatomaceous earth on them. [source]

Diatomaceous earth has been shown to kill the following, in alphabetical order:

  • Ants (except carpenter, fire, harvester, and pharaoh ants)
  • Aphids
  • Army worms
  • Bed bugs (cimexa powder works better than DE)
  • Bees
  • Beetles, such as asparagus beetles, bean beetles, blister beetles, borer beetles
  • Boxelder bugs
  • Butterflies
  • Caterpillars
  • Chinches
  • Cockroaches
  • Crickets
  • Earwigs
  • Fleas
  • Flies, such as blow flies, fruit flies
  • Gnats, including fungus gnats
  • Grasshoppers
  • Green lacewings
  • Katydids
  • Ladybugs
  • Leafhoppers
  • Lice
  • Loopers
  • Maggots
  • Mealybugs
  • Mealworms
  • Millipedes
  • Mites
  • Mosquitoes
  • Moths
  • Plant bugs / leaf bugs / grass bugs
  • Plant lice (psyllids)
  • Scales
  • Silverfish
  • Skippers (part of the moth and butterfly family)
  • Slugs
  • Snails
  • Spiders
  • Stink bugs, including green bugs
  • Termites
  • Thrips
  • Ticks
  • Tomato bugs, fruit worms, hornworms, pinworms and russet mites (click here to find out what’s eating your tomato plants at night)
  • Wasps, including chalcids and yellow jackets
  • Weevils
  • Worms, such as army worms

If good (non-pest) bugs walk or crawl over diatomaceous earth, they die too. This includes bees, butterflies, green lacewings, and ladybugs.

Photo of a hand sprinkling diatomaceous earth on soil as pest control
Sprinkling diatomaceous earth in your yard is an effective pest killer, but DE kills good bugs too.

What diatomaceous earth doesn’t kill

Of course, there are many things that diatomaceous earth doesn’t kill. Here are a few that you might be wondering about…

Diatomaceous earth won’t kill:

  • Carpenter ants
  • Earthworms
  • Fire ants
  • Harvester ants
  • Internal parasitic worms, such as tapeworms (studies have not been able to prove that DE works as a dewormer, even though many people say it does)
  • Pharaoh ants

How diatomaceous earth works

Diatomaceous earth is an inexpensive, chemical-free, non-toxic, natural product made from the shells of fossilized microscopic algae. But it’s deadly to many bugs and can be dangerous to humans and animals if the dust is breathed into the lungs.

Diatomaceous earth doesn’t attract bugs or bring them out of hiding. DE can only harm or kill bugs that come into direct contact with it.

DE is like tiny shards of glass to bugs: When a bug walks or crawls over DE, the DE cuts the bug’s exoskeleton. The bug loses moisture through these cuts, and it dehydrates and dies.

On average, bugs die about a day or two after coming into direct contact with diatomaceous earth. If you use DE as a pesticide, you’ll probably need to leave it out for several days or more, until all the pests have had a chance to come into contact with it.

When choosing diatomaceous earth as a pest control, it’s best to choose a food-grade product (such as this one on Amazon) or a product registered with the EPA. Always follow the instructions on the packaging to avoid harm.

Because diatomaceous earth is a natural mineral, it never expires or goes bad. If you have a bag and you keep it in a dry place, it will last forever.

I'm Monique. I love gardening and spending time in my backyard growing things. Here's where I share what I know about backyard pests and what to do about them, so you can enjoy your yard too.

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Monique loves gardening and spending time in her backyard, where she grows flowers, succulents, herbs, fruits, and vegetables.

Monique spends a lot of time researching how to protect her backyard from harmful pests and trying to attract beneficial insects and animals.

She shares everything that she learns and tests here at Backyard Pests.


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