Kill Ants Naturally with Diatomaceous Earth

Whether you’re sitting outside having a picnic or hanging around the house, few things are more unnerving than the feeling of a bug crawling on you. In this case, ants are usually the culprits because they’re attracted to food and other certain smells – things bound to be at your picnic or in your kitchen.

Most ants don’t pose much of a threat to you (outside of ruining your food), but they can still be annoying when they invade your home. To get rid of them, you’ll want to find a safe & natural ant killer that can go around your house or outdoor area without putting pets or children in danger.

Lucky for you, diatomaceous earth does kill ants, and it is totally natural!

does diatomaceous earth kill ants

Using Diatomaceous Earth Earth To Kill Ants

Diatomaceous earth kills many different insects but in this article we will go over its effectiveness for getting rid of ants naturally.

Got a spider problem? Learn how to kill spiders with diatomaceous earth here.

How Diatomaceous Earth Kills Ants

Diatomaceous earth is made by extracting silica from the skeletons of diatoms – small sea creatures – which creates a white powder. On a microscopic level, this powder looks like millions of small glass shards. Despite this, the particles are so small that they feel soft to humans in the same way that sand is smooth to the touch. However, it is sharp & dangerous to the much smaller ants (and other small insects) in the same way broken glass can cut us.

These sharp particles get into the joints of the ants, disabling them and causing physical damage that can kill them outright.  Diatomaceous earth can also puncture through their protective skin, absorbing protective oils & fats on the exoskeleton which causes them to dehydrate until they die. This physical effect kills them safely without side effects or chemicals.

How to Use Diatomaceous Earth to Kill Ants

As a simple, fine powder, diatomaceous earth can be sprinkled by hand (or really any other way you’d like) in any problematic areas where you want to kill ants and prevent them from going in the future. This can be doorways, holes in the baseboards, in front of the pantry, or just about anywhere else indoors. It can also be used outdoors as a barrier on the outside of your door to stop ants from coming in or sprinkled around your garden to keep unwanted visitors out.

kill ants naturally with diatomaceous earth
Applying DE outdoors

Generally, you want to avoid any areas that are currently damp as the water can dilute the diatomaceous earth. You’ll also need to reapply it to any outdoor locations after wind or rain to ensure your protection stays up.

For a more in-depth guide on applying diatomaceous earth, check out our guide.

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Is Diatomaceous Earth Safe?

Diatomaceous earth is very safe to use either outdoors or inside your home. While it’ll cause a bit of a mess if you’re not careful when spreading it, many food-grade diatomaceous earth products are safe to eat for people and pets. As a matter of fact, diatomaceous earth is present in many farm-raised crops like grain, where it is used to protect them from insects. Chances are that you’ve already consumed some – you just didn’t know it!

Rather than killing ants with chemicals, it kills them physically the same way stepping on them would, preventing any ingestion dangers a chemical killer would pose. This makes diatomaceous earth a much safer alternative to ant sprays or chemical traps with very few downsides.

diatomaceous earth safety

However, as with any powdery substance, diatomaceous earth can cause respiratory discomfort when inhaled so be sure to wear a mask or ensure you have proper ventilation while spreading it out. It may also help to use gloves if spreading by hand, as the substance is incredibly dry and can irritate your skin.

how to get rid of ants naturally

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8 thoughts on “Kill Ants Naturally with Diatomaceous Earth”

    • Hi Russ, No it doesnt do that – unless the ants happen to pass the dust onto the queen which I believe would be extremely unlikely. It is more of a barrier protection product.

  1. I need to know if this will stop the many varieties of ant species including the huge monster ants we get here in Spain. We have so many ants here it seems like a biblical plague. I have to wear high socks in the garden because they viciously bite me constantly. We have dogs so we don’t want to use poison. I’m hoping this will work!

    • I havent tested on the larger ant species myself, but it theoretically should work. Although I think you would have to use a lot more of it as these ants are higher off the ground. Give it a go and let me know what you find?

  2. I am interested in your article of Diatomaceous Earth usage. “It may also help to use gloves if spreading by hand, as the substance is incredibly dry and can irritate your skin.” Does
    Diatomaceous Earth irritate our skin?

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