How To Use Diatomaceous To Earth Kill Ants?

Hordes of ants invading your house, climbing over your counters and stealing your food is never enjoyable.

And although most ants don’t pose much of a threat to you (outside of ruining your food and the occasional bite), most people still want a natural way to get rid of these pesky creatures.

This is where Diatomaceous earth comes in – it’s a natural ant killer that is harmless to humans and pets. Sounds perfect right? Well almost – for a start it can be quite messy. But, if you follow our instructions and spread your diatomaceous earth the right way – it should be relatively easy to clean up when the ant army is long gone.

So Does Diatomaceous Earth Kill Ants? Yes – it does.

Keep reading to learn why it works and how to use it.

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 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.

Follow this basic procedure to create a natural ant barrier with Diatomaceous Earth:

  1. Identify ant trails – find out where they are and how they are entering your house.
  2. Apply a light layer of diatomaceous earth along the ant trails – paying special attention to where they are getting into your house and near their nest (if you know where it is).
  3. It can help to add a light sprinkling of DE around the entire perimeter of your house if it is practical to do so – this will keep ants (and other bugs) from crossing to enter the home.
  4. After a few days, check to see if the ant problem is gone. If they have created an alternate route, then you will need to apply DE again along the new trail.
  5. When the ant problem is gone, you can wash or sweep away the diatomaceous earth if you wish – it is wise though to leave a barrier of DE around your house to stop any future incursions.

kill ants naturally with diatomaceous earth
Applying DE outdoors

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

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.

Best Choice
Food Grade Diamateous Earth

Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth

  • A natural product composed of ground Diatomaceous Earth (fresh water type) Amorphous Silica – food grade
  • Produced in the USA
  • A natural, organic insect killer, DE kills by physical action and not chemical
  • Use on animals, plants, stored grain & around the house to control household & plant pests

Is Diatomaceous Earth Safe for Humans and Pets?

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.

Related Post: Borax for Ants – How To Use Borax To Kill Ants

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.

Best Choice
Food Grade Diamateous Earth

Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth

  • A natural product composed of ground Diatomaceous Earth (fresh water type) Amorphous Silica – food grade
  • Produced in the USA
  • A natural, organic insect killer, DE kills by physical action and not chemical
  • Use on animals, plants, stored grain & around the house to control household & plant pests
how to get rid of ants naturally
About The Author

Aaron is the founder of and Essential Home and Garden. He likes to spend his spare time with his family, and doing DIY projects in the home and garden.

13 thoughts on “How To Use Diatomaceous To Earth Kill Ants?”

  1. I had some food-grade DE on hand when I discovered ants in our new kitchen, but I’m wondering if they could be too small to be affected(?). I sprinkled it over the countertop where they were but they just continued walking around on it. The other times I’ve used it in my car they’ve shriveled up almost immediately, but those were fire ants or a larger species than what I have now which is tiny. (They don’t even bite me when they get on my hands.) Maybe it will just take longer for these to die; I just wanted to see if there were exceptions to DE being universally effective on insects.

    Reply
  2. Apparently my ant problem includes furniture. How should diatomaceous be applied to fabric surfaces? Considering applying some on mattress, then encasing the mattress in a zippered vinyl cover, for my protection. Had anyone done this?

    Reply
  3. Thank you for this Article! I would like to share some more points
    *Start by identifying areas where you have seen ant trails or groups of ants
    * Follow the ants and try to figure out where they may have entered your home.
    *Apply a thin layer of diatomaceous earth along the ant trails.
    *If you have found a large group of ants, you can spread the powder directly over them and create a perimeter
    around them.

    Reply
  4. Looking to cover a very large grassy area flat grass trimmed, for fire ants! Would you just sprinkle this on the fire ant mounds?

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  5. 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!

    Reply
    • 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?

      Reply
  6. 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?

    Reply

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