Diatomaceous earth (DE) is a great tool to use for bed bug control. Diatomaceous earth non-toxic and is a desiccant that works by cutting the waxy outer coating of the exoskeletons of insects with its microscopic sharp edges. This leads to dehydration and death for insects, including bed bugs. Carpets are a great example of a place where DE can really come in handy because it can get deep down into the fibers of the carpet, rather than just treating the surface.
How to Apply Diatomaceous Earth to Carpets
Diatomaceous earth is best used alongside other treatments, like heat. This is a particularly good combination when it comes to carpets. Start by vacuuming thoroughly, and then steam clean the carpets. High temperatures (over about 130 degrees Fahrenheit) will kill the bed bugs. After steam cleaning, sprinkle a thin layer of DE on the perimeters of the carpet. When applying DE, always use a respirator mask and protective eyewear to avoid large amounts of the fine dust particles that can damage the lungs or sensitive eye areas.
Where to Use Diatomaceous Earth on Carpets
Sprinkle diatomaceous earth in areas where it will not blow around and where there is not constant foot traffic. It is best to keep the DE around the edges of the room, but it can be used in larger areas if the carpets aren’t walked on frequently. Pay special attention to areas where the carpet meets the wall or the baseboards. To ensure that you get deep into the carpet, you can use a broom to rub the diatomaceous earth into the fibers, rather than just sitting on top.
How Long to Leave Diatomaceous Earth on Carpets for Bed Bugs
Diatomaceous earth on carpets can be left for quite a long time if undisturbed. It does not stop working unless it gets wet, but it is advisable to vacuum it up occasionally to pick up the dead insects and other dust and dirt that collect in the carpet. There are differing opinions about how often you should vacuum and reapply diatomaceous earth, but many recommend every 3-5 days or so, just to perform regular maintenance cleanings. DE can be tough on filtered vacuums, so unfiltered vacuums or shop vacs are often your best bets. Once you are done vacuuming, remove the bag, seal it, and dispose of it in an outside garbage can.
Bed bug on carpet By Mohamedhp (I took photo) [CC BY 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0) or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Diatomaceous earth may take several weeks to kill all the bed bugs because it does not affect eggs, and the bugs must come in direct contact with the product. When used in addition to other bed bug products, DE can be quite effective. PF Harris carries a full line of home bed bug products that are sure to get rid of the bed bugs that are bothering you. Using Harris Diatomaceous Earth in combination with our aerosols, powders, traps, or mattress protectors can help you eliminate bed bugs while also saving you money on expensive professional treatments.
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