Termites can be a big problem for homes, and they get everywhere. Once they are in a home, they are very difficult to remove. Diatomaceous earth, or DE, is an all-natural product that can be used to eliminate many types of insects, including termites. Made from various components such as silicon, calcium, magnesium, sodium, iron and others, it is quite easy to use. Although this is a high-quality natural substance, you should still avoid breathing it in on a continual basis. Other than this caution, diatomaceous earth has no common toxic effect and is an effective means for removing termites.
Whether you are experiencing termite infestations already or are trying to prevent them, you can use diatomaceous earth underneath the home to keep the insects from getting in. You need to spread a 2-inch layer under or around the house. This goes for any part of the home, including balconies and anywhere else that a termite may go. Soil tends to move up and down between seasons and the shifting makes it harder for termite-infested wood to keep its strength under these conditions, so spreading DE is important. Fifty pounds of DE at 2-inches deep will cover 13 square feet.
Diatomaceous earth can safely be spread around different areas inside of the home as well. There are certain places where termites tend to be found so you may need to locate these first. Put only small amounts around corners and in all the crevices. You can use a spray bottle to get the DE behind baseboards, piping and wires.
If you are concerned about termites being in rugs or carpets, lightly cover them with DE. The diatomaceous earth should be left for a few days before vacuuming. It is a lesser known fact that termites feed on carpeting. They can do extensive damage, and taking this action will kill any other insects that may be there as well. Termites also feed on clothes, paper and other such items, so keep this in mind when thinking about where to place the DE. Search in various places around the home for these creatures; in many cases you may not know they are there.
Diatomaceous earth is so safe that it can actually be put into food, especially grains when they are being stored. This will keep termites or any other insect from getting into it. The DE can be removed from the grain before using it, but it doesn't have to be.
One cup of DE is needed to protect a 50-pound bag of grain and after 12 months is still protecting it from thousands of insects. Although termites feed more on wood and other building materials, they can get into food stocks as well.
Wirnani Garner holds a Bachelor of Science degree in physical therapy and works in the medical profession. Her articles focus on health-related subjects, though Garner is proficient in researching and writing about a diverse range of topics.