Diatom (Diatomaceous Earth/DE)
Diatomaceous earth is 100% natural product which is prepared from the fossilised remains of ancient shell creatures/plankton or Diatoms, so it is totally inert, and is safe to humans and animals.
Diatom works mechanically, not chemically, so the pests cannot become immune to it. Microscopically it is made up of millions of tiny tiny skeletons of plankton which are sharp and abrasive to anything with an exoskeleton such as insects. This sharp substance scratches their outer covering and causes the insect to dry out and it dies.
Can be used to good effect as a residual Red Mite control by puffing into your chicken coop into all the nooks and crannies. You would normally leave it in situ rather than cleaning it off. The coop will look like Miss Havershams house but the dusty surface is something which is going to form a killing barrier between the Mite and your hens. As it works on the outer covering of all insects it can be used around the house to kill ants, silverfish, woodlice, chicken body lice, bedbugs. A duster such as a Bobby duster is the very best way to get a fine cloud of dust to settle everywhere it’s needed. It is also the most economical way of using it so your Diatom will go much further.
Add handfuls of Diatom to your chickens dustbath so they can self medicate to help them get rid of body lice and other passengers they may pick up on the way.
Diatom can also be added to the food as it is rich in silica. It is commonly added to human food and helps to rid grain of weevils and other pests in grain silos.
When using Diatom you should always use a mask, preferably an FFP3 rated one, as breathing in Diatom is not advisable.