Flea Control – Diatomatious Earth

Q: Frontline and Advantage aren’t working for my pets’ flea and tick problems this year. I have dusted all the dogs with diatomatious earth as well as all their bedding and my bed. 72 hours later and the fleas are alive and well (haven’t seen any ticks). My husband has dusted the yard as well. Do you have any suggestions?

A: Organic control of fleas takes lots of work and persistence. I think you are too hasty in judging the DE. It only kills flea larvae so you won’t see results after only 72 hours. Use it every week or so on pets (check with a vet to be sure). When you apply the DE, wear a professional dust respirator, not one of the fabric/paper things held on by a rubber band. Continued exposure to DE can harm your lungs, and may hurt your dogs too (check with a vet). Vacuum the house every day and discard the vacuum bag, or put it into a black plastic bag and put it in the sun for 8 hours. I’m doubtful you would get any advantage by dusting DE on your yard.

See Reduced Chemical Management of Fleas

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