Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Organic Pest Control

Pest control seems to be a topic on many email groups as of late. For this reason, I wanted to share some information that I have found helpful. Having an organic homestead/farm can bring challenges in the area of pest control. Our homestead has lots of wooded area near the house. Between the woods vegetation and animals, we get fleas, ticks and many other natural pests. It is just a part of living in a rural area. The problem though is how to control these pests so that we don't have an infestation. In previous years, my husband has spread a granular product in the yard around the home and in the dog kennel areas to prevent ticks, fleas and other insects from being in the kennel and from coming into the home. Now that we are doing things organically, we cannot use that product.

A solution that we have found is Diatomaceous Earth. Diatomaceous earth is a natural product. It is a sedimentary rock that is soft like a chalk. It is formed from decomposed diatoms, a hard-shelled algae. In powder form, the DE is a white to off white color and similar to pumis.

Farmers that I have met often feed a bit of DE to their animals on a daily basis to cure adn also prevent worms and parasites. It is a food grade material that is safe for humans as well. For feeding to your animals, you can check here for a website that give more detailed information and dosages.

Another use for DE is to spread it around your yard or in areas where you want to control insects. Safe enough to use in the home, you can sprinkle abit of it at the entry points where you have seen insects. It takes about 48 or so to have affect. The insects need to come in contact with it. Outdoors, you spread it in the areas around the home, animal pens, children's play areas, and your BBQ area.

Food grade Diatomaceous earth is available at feed stores or other farm supply stores that sell animal feed. You can find Diatomaceous earth sold as a swimming pool filter product but be aware that the type used in pool filters has chemicals added that are needed for filtering the pool water. The pool filter variety is not organic due to the added chemicals and I don't know what affect it would have if your pet came in contact with it and tried to eat it.


Carrie said...

Do you think this would work for sugar ants...we have that problem where we live.


Oklahoma Prairie Mom said...

I think that it would. The DE works by drying out the natural oils that protect the body of the insect. If it works on the typical ants, I would guess that it is worth trying on sugar ants.