Diatomaceous Earth (DE) is from a rich deposit, thousands of feet deep, of the shells of tiny Diatoms which flourished in ancient seas. Diatoms are the only algae (micrscopic plants) which make shells around themselves out of the silica they extract from the water.
DE is an abrasive dust commonly used to kill pests in the home and garden. It is unique among the insecticidal dusts, since it works by physical rather than chemical action. The microscopic shells are covered with sharp needlelike projections that penetrate an insect's cuticle, allowing vital liquids to leak out. DE also absorbs the waxy coatings on insects' bodies; both actions cause pests to die of dehydration. It will kill desirable insects; it is nonselective.
- It is strongly suggested that you use a protective mask and goggles when handling this fine powder to guard against respiratory and eye irritations. Don't apply the dust where children are likely to encounter it.