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Does diatomaceous earth kill termites?



If you suspect termites in your home, it is vital to take action quickly and call professional pest control services. Most homeowners cannot compete with the knowledge, experience, and commercial-grade products a pest control company has.

It pays to be vigilant; the tell-tale signs of hollow wood and mud tubes near wood foundations are an indication of a termite infestation. Termite activity can cause structural damage before you are aware of it. In the U.S. alone, 5 billion dollars is spent by homeowners on killing termites and repairing termite damage.

In this article, we will look at whether DIY methods using food-grade diatomaceous earth kill termites, its drawbacks and effectiveness, how to apply diatomaceous earth products, and how long it takes for food-grade diatomaceous earth to work.

Let’s get started!

How Do You Get Rid Of Termites?

The two most common termites in the U.S. are Drywood termites and Subterranean termites. It is very important to know which species you are dealing with because the two require different types of treatment methods.

Subterranean termites tend to build a termite colony outside in the soil, wood foundations, and decaying wood piles, so a barrier method outside will be required for pest control against them. Drywood termites build termite colonies inside the wood and will need a spot treatment in the termite-infested wood or fumigation.

One of the best ways to get rid of termites is by applying termite-killing products to the exterior of your home, spraying boric acid on floors and walls, and setting up termite baits.

If you want to treat a termite infestation yourself, there are many treatment methods to try, from store-bought chemical termite baits to certified organic products for a natural solution that’s chemical-free to kill and prevent termites.

What are the signs of termite infestations?

  • Wood that sounds hollow when you tap it.

  • Small mud tubes the width of a pencil on exterior walls or wooden beams are used to protect the termites from drying out.

  • Small creamy white worker termites travel through the mud tubes.

  • Winged termites near your home or inside the house trying to escape to mate and create new colonies.

  • Cracked and bubbling paint caused by termites under the surface of the wood.

  • Damaged drywall or wood.

  • Swarm evidence, subterranean termites will swarm to start a new colony and mate, shedding their wings after. Piles of discarded wings are a sign of termites nearby.

How Does Diatomaceous Earth Work As Pesticide?

Diatomaceous earth comes in white powder form and is made up of small decayed organisms and matter known as diatoms. The diatoms will have dried and become razor sharp and will crystalize and damage the outer shell of an insect’s exoskeleton, like termites. This causes rapid dehydration in insects leading to death.

Does food-grade diatomaceous earth for a termite infestation work?

Yes, it works to kill termites and many other pests and can prevent termites from forming future infestations.

Does Diatomaceous Earth Kill Termites? Is it Effective?

People wonder if Diatomaceous earth products kill pests, including termites. If it does, is it an effective method? It is an effective method to kill termites and other crawling insects. It is cost-effective and will work inside and outside of the home.

Many insects can become immune to pesticide chemicals, making them inefficient. Diatomaceous earth, on the other hand, does not contain poisons to kill insects, so it will always be practical.

You can apply Diatomaceous earth to create an invisible layer and barrier in a crawl space to other areas of the home. If the crawl space has no termites, diatomaceous earth can be applied to prevent further infestations.

The downside to Diatomaceous earth is that it is soluble and, therefore, will need to be applied again after rainfall to get rid of termites.

How Long Does it Take for food grade Diatomaceous Earth to Kill Termites?

If DE powder has been applied correctly to get rid of termites, including in hard-to-reach areas, it will kill termites within a few days. If the pests have eaten the Diatomaceous earth, it will take around twelve hours for the insects to die.

How to use Diatomaceous Earth for Subterranean Termite colonies

Firstly before you begin treating pests, check for the following maintenance issues:

Remove moisture from your home. Fix leaking faucets and drips from pipes. Unblock debris from drain pipes and drains.

Use a dehumidifier to dry the water in the atmosphere of the house. Ventilate rooms by opening windows or using fans to circulate the air. Moisture and water will attract all kinds of insects and rodents.

Repair gaps and cracks in walls and basements. Make it very difficult for termites to get into your home.

Wear gloves and goggles for eye protection when you use Diatomaceous Earth. Sprinkle Diatomaceous earth in infested areas. Use a spray bottle filled with DE powder to reach behind baseboards, wires, and pipes.

Carpets and rugs can be sprinkled with DE powder if you suspect termites are in them. Leave for a few days and then vacuum.

A residual insecticide may be required if there is a severe Subterranean termites infestation.

What Is The Best Deterrent For Termites?

The best deterrent for termite infestations is a comprehensive pest management program with a pest control company. The program needs to include regular inspections, baits, and chemical treatments if necessary.

Regular inspections from professional pest control services are essential for detecting termite activity before expensive damage has been caused to the structure of the property.

Baiting systems will eliminate termites and future infestations. Chemical treatments are used in cases of severe infestation and can provide long-term protection against termites.

When these methods are used together, they ensure the best protection against termites.


Termite baits are effective to get rid of termites, and the entire process will kill the colony. Install termite baits around the perimeter of the foundations of the home. This will attract foraging termites. The foraging termites take the bait back to the termite colony, killing the other termites.

The slow-acting toxin affects natural growth, which will kill the termites as they molt and grow. The slow-acting toxin infects other termites in the colony leading to death.

Beneficial nematodes

Beneficial nematodes are microscopic parasitic roundworms that kill pests like termites. They burrow into the hosts releasing gut bacteria that kill the host within a few days. You can purchase Nematodes in stores and online.

How to apply Beneficial nematodes

Mix Beneficial nematodes, soil, and water and apply them to termite-infested areas on the lawn and backyard.


Borax is a DIY treatment method for termites and other pests. Boric acid or any sodium borate product can be effective. Boric acid damages the termites’ nervous system.

Try the following recipe for a paste to be applied to the wood in the home:

Mix one part water with one part Boric acid powder. Use a paintbrush to cover wood throughout your home. You can use the same recipe and make a thinner solution by adding two parts of water. This can be added to a spray bottle and then spray onto the wood in the home. If you want to purchase a pre-made spray or termite pest control product, buy one with Boric acid or Borax as the active ingredient.

Essential oils

Orange oil and Neem oil from an evergreen tree in India can get rid of termites. These essential oils kill insects like termites by preventing and affecting the laying of eggs and molting them. The termites will die after direct contact with the orange oil. Place the oil mix in infested areas such as on wood surfaces.

Mix together two cups of water with ten drops of orange or neem oil and a few drops of dish soap. The dish soap creates a barrier within the water holding the oils together.

Taurus Sc

Taurus sc is water-based and contains 9.1% Fipronil which will kill many species of pests, including termites, effectively. It is nonrepellent and has no scent, so, undetectable to insects. In two weeks, it will kill an ant colony; in two months, it will kill termites.

It can be used as a perimeter spray around the foundation and around the wood of doors, windows, in wall voids, pipes, and vents. It repels termites and other insects for at least six months.

Taurus is for outdoor use only. It will kill ants, wasps, spiders, millipedes, crickets, earwigs, flies, and ticks.

Taurus has limited use; in some states, homeowners are not allowed to purchase it without a license. It is hazardous to humans and pets if swallowed, inhaled, or absorbed through the skin.

Why Don’t pest control companies Use Diatomaceous Earth?

Pest control companies do not use diatomaceous earth because it is ineffective against many pests. Diatomaceous earth, for instance, does not have much effect on killing rats.

What Does Diatomaceous Earth do to Subterranean Termites?

It will kill Subterranean termites when wood and holes are covered with organic matter and insecticidal powder.

Other Insects That You Can Repel With Diatomaceous Earth

You can repel termites and other crawling pests with DE powder; It is non-toxic to fish, birds, and aquatics. It will kill Silverfish, Ants, Cabbage worms, Cockroaches, Earwigs, Bed bugs, Centipedes, Moths, Lice, Aphids, Fruit flies, and many more.

Diatomaceous earth does not kill slugs and snails, but it works as a deterrent as they do not like the feel of moving over it.

Using Diatomaceous earth outdoors

The easiest way to use diatomaceous earth in the backyard is to sprinkle it on the surface of the soil, and anywhere else you have seen pests. Do not use diatomaceous earth near flower pots that pollinators like bees use because Diatomaceous earth can kill beneficial insects.

It is best to apply Diatomaceous earth in the evening when pollinators are less active. Use food grade and ensure the wind has died down to prevent the powder from spreading to other places it is not needed.

Remember, Diatomaceous earth is ineffective if it has just rained or if the plants have just been watered. Wait until things are dry to avoid wasting DE powder. Apply weekly until the infestation has been eliminated.

Does Diatomaceous Earth Kill Fleas?

Yes, it does kill fleas and flea eggs. It does not happen immediately, taking up to ten days to kill them. Diatomaceous earth will need to be used alongside other methods to eliminate fleas completely.

Does Diatomaceous earth kill ants?

The best way to kill ants with Diatomaceous earth is to sprinkle it directly where you have seen the ants. If you find the nest, sprinkle the Diatomaceous earth powder around the entrance of the nest. Foraging worker ants follow pheromone trails which attract other ants to the area ensuring more ants will crawl through it.

If you have ants inside the house, sprinkle DE powder along the ant trails, along baseboards, window sills, and other entry points you have seen. Leave the Diatomaceous earth for at least twenty-four hours and as long as five days if you can.

It will take around sixteen to twenty-four hours to kill the ants with Diatomaceous earth.

Does Diatomaceous Earth Kill Spiders?

Yes, Diatomaceous earth will kill spiders and immature spiders; it should be used in the same way as it is for killing ants.

It can be a little more challenging killing spiders because they tend to spin webs in awkward-to-reach places. However, you can use a wet-spray method to apply Diatomaceous earth onto windowsills, corners of rooms, trees, and walls.

Wear eye protection and sprinkle the DE powder in areas where you have seen spiders.

Is Diatomaceous Earth Safe for Humans and Pets?

Food grade Diatomaceous Earth is non-toxic. Filter-grade Diatomaceous earth is extremely toxic to humans and pets. Diatomaceous earth is used in other ways, like toothpaste, as a nutritional supplement, in kitty litter, and as a detoxifying film in water filters.

The abrasive nature of Diatomaceous earth can cause irritation and damage to the nasal passage and lungs. So it should be used with caution.

Is Diatomaceous Earth Safe for Dogs?

Diatomaceous earth has been used for pest control for many, many years! Sprinkle Diatomaceous earth on your dog’s coat and brush it through the fur. We find it is best to do this before going for a walk or other possible flea exposure.

It can also be used as a dewormer; add one teaspoon of food-grade DE to your dog’s food. This can be done daily.

We recommend Diatomaceous earth. Com, sell a one-liter shaker bottle for $12.99. It is safe for humans and pets, free from additives, certified organic, and they are the only producers officially to meet all requirements for health supplements produced with Diatomaceous earth in the U.S.

Does Diatomaceous earth kill ticks?

Diatomaceous earth is excellent for eliminating and repelling difficult-to-kill ticks. Ticks have a thick outer shell and a waxy outer coating, making it challenging to get rid of them. Diatomaceous earth is one of the only non-chemical natural methods that will work to eliminate them.

Diatomaceous earth can be sprayed around trees in the yard or used directly on your pet’s skin and even your hair. Sprinkle it around your home’s doorways and windows to get rid of ticks.

And finally,

We presented ‘Does diatomaceous earth kill termites’? We hope you have found our article helpful.

Home remedies like Diatomaceous Earth are effective to get rid of a small termite infestation; if you have a severe infestation, call a pest control company urgently.

Diatomaceous earth is easy to use and a natural solution for insects and termite control, especially if you are concerned about using harsh chemicals that are not natural or organic in the garden. Diatomaceous earth is an organic pest control method and is typically safe to use around pets and children, making it a great alternative to chemical pesticides.

When the pests are under control, you can start to take measures to prevent termites and pests from returning.

Prevention is always easier than the cure, as they say. Good household maintenance is the key! Seal all cracks and crevices where a pest can enter your home. Use plants and barriers to deter termites, rodents, and insects.

Good luck!

Ronald has 25 years of pest control experience under his belt. He scrutinizes each control method, product and process to prevent infestations effectively. 

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