Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Diatomaceous Earth

We are currently living in an apartment, and every three months I have to stay home an entire day just to make sure that the pest control company doesn't enter the apartment unauthorized and spray pesticides under the cabinets and wherever else they think they might need to spray. The last time I refused this "service" I was told that I would be held responsible for any pest problems that might arise in the apartment. What pest problems!? Termites are the only pests that I can think of that could cause damage to the structure, and that has nothing to do with applying pesticides inside my apartment. If this shoddily built apartment has termites my guess would be the result of poor construction. Plus, the last time I checked, termite companies spray once a year, and they have never entered my house, so I don't see why it would be necessary for them to enter my apartment to spray for termites. I think the pest control people are just trying to scare me so they keep their job.

Anyway, we did have an ant problem right when the weather started warming up this year. I immediately got out the diatomaceous earth and liberally applied it to the grout in the kitchen and all around the hot water heater in the pantry where it seemed like the ants were somehow getting in. By the next afternoon there was not a sign of even a single ant. They absolutely hate the stuff!

When we lived at the house, we had an ant infestation in our mailbox. It was awful pulling out mail and knocking off little ants that had annoyingly attached themselves to our mail. So in went the DE and out went the ants.

A few tips:
-You can feed it to your pets.
-Be sure to buy food grade DE. I got mine at a health food store and they buy theirs in huge bags from a local oranic gardening store.
-Rain (or water) washes it away and then it needs to be reapplied.
-Don't breathe it in when applying. Be sure to wear a face mask or be very careful not to stand in the dust because it can irritate or hurt your lungs.
-Safest form of pest control, especially if you have babies or pets that come in close contact with the floor.

Now what does this have to do with mold? Not a whole lot but I can at least try to tie it together :) Mold affects indoor air quality as do harmful pesticides that many people use to eliminate ants. Also, an industrial hygienist once told me that if you have an ant problem then it is possible that you have a moisture problem as well. I don't know whether or not that theory is true, but definitely something to consider because moisture leads to mold. So if you have ants, it might just be worth your time to figure out why they have invaded your house. That's just my $.02.

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad you posted this! We always have ants come in the office in the Spring and though I have DE, I never thought of using it for the ants. I'd been spraying a natural enzyme cleaner on them; it kills them, but they keep coming back!