Bed bugs under sole of shoe

Diatomaceous Earth: Does it Get Rid of Bed Bugs?

The trending product to remove bed bugs from your home yourself is Diatomaceous Earth. Many people swear by it and have evidence that it completely removed their bed bug problem. But are there consequences to using this in your home? Is it safe around your children or those with illness? Does it really work?

Let’s get to the bottom of it.

What is Diatomaceous Earth?

Diatomaceous Earth (DE) is made up of fossilized remains of marine phytoplankton and the skeletons of tiny, aquatic organisms called diatoms. Their skeletons are made of a substance called silica. Silica makes up 26% of the earth’s crust by weight and comes in many forms. Various forms include sand, quartz, emerald, mica, feldspar, asbestos, and even glass. Silicon, is a component of silica and does not exist naturally in its pure form. It reacts with oxygen and water to form silicon dioxide and it comes into two natural forms, crystalline and amorphous. Diatomaceous Earth is frequent made of amorphous silicon dioxide and was registered in 1960 to kill insects and is in the form of an off-white talc-like powder.  

How does it exterminate bed bugs?

After spreading Diatomaceous Earth across infested areas, the bed bugs will walk across the particles. It then absorbs the oils and fats from the cuticle of a bed bugs exoskeleton. This will cause the bed bug to dry out and die. Since some of its composition are sharp minerals and glass, depending on the grade of Diatomaceous Earth it can be a slow or quick process. It continues to be effective after it is spread as long as it’s kept dry and uninterrupted.

Will it remove all bed bugs?

In order for Diatomaceous Earth to be effective, bed bugs need to be able to walk across it. As soon as it walks across the particles, their exoskeleton will shred and thus dry out. Since bed bug eggs are not yet moving and are unable to come in contact with Diatomaceous Earth until they are alive, it will not remove them right away. Which is why many people claim that it takes a minimum of  7-15 days for it to be truly effective.

Will it cause any harm to myself or family?

It is vital to ensure that the grade of DE that is purchased for bed bug removal is pesticide or food grade. Other grades, such as Pool grade DE, have larger particulates and can do serious damage to your respiratory system. All grades of Diatomaceous Earth are made from silica and although it seems harmless, when it is inhaled it can cause damage to you nose, sinus, bronchi, and throat. Those that have small children in their home or family member that have a respiratory illness should not use Diatomaceous Earth for bed bug removal.

The irritation caused by DE can be dangerous and precautions should be taken to ensure it is not inhaled. Using a mask and making sure the particles are not disturbed are only some of precautions you should use if you decide to use this product.

How does this compare to a Bed Bug Heat Treatment?

A Bed Bug Heat Treatment involves a Pest Management Professional bringing specialized equipment to raise the temperature of your home to kill bed bugs. Eggs, nymphs, and adult bed bugs die within 90 minutes of being exposed at 118°F (48°C) or immediately at 122°F (50°C). To ensure all bed bugs are dead, many companies, including ourselves raise the temperature typically between 130°F and 145°F for several hours. By placing thermometers throughout a home, we can monitor the temperature to make sure it is hot enough to kill all bed bugs.


This method removes all bed bugs (eggs and all) in one day and is non-chemical!


Although many sources have stated that a heat treatment should be use complimentary to using Diatomaceous Earth, it can also cause DE to be disturbed and blown around the entire home. Causing it to land in places it does not belong and making it easier to inhale.

Here at Bed Bug BBQ, experts in bed bug removal and extermination, we will not put a property under a bed bug heat treatment until ALL Diatomaceous Earth has been swept up and removed. Yours, your family members, and our team members safety is our #1 priority.


If you are looking for a way to remove all your bed bugs without concern for your yourself, family, or pets, a bed bug heat treatment is the way to go. If you are considering a Bed Bug Heat Treatment for your home, call Bed Bug BBQ for a FREE inspection: (216) 232-2762. Get rid of all bed bugs in just one day!

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