Pest Away Tips

5 Effective Ways to Control Cockroaches with Diatomaceous Earth

Introduction to Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous Earth, commonly known as DE, is a natural substance that is formed from the remains of diatoms, ancient microscopic algae that had a hard shell made of silica. This unique composition makes it an effective insecticide, protective barrier, and filtration agent that can be used in various applications.

Uses of Diatomaceous Earth

DE has several uses in different industries. Insecticide is one of the most common applications of DE.

Used as a pesticide, DE disrupts the life cycle of insects such as cockroaches, bed bugs, fleas, and ants. It works by drying out their exoskeleton, ultimately leading to their death.

DE can also be used in personal care products like toothpaste, facial scrubs, and exfoliants because of its mild abrasive properties. Food grade DE is safe for ingestion and is commonly used in food manufacturing processes like filtration and anti-caking agents.

Diatomaceous Earth as a Cockroach Killer

Cockroaches are one of the most challenging pests to control, but diatomaceous earth is an effective solution for cockroach control. It offers several advantages over traditional chemical insecticides.

Effectiveness of Diatomaceous Earth on Cockroaches

The abrasive properties of DE dehydrate the cockroaches exoskeleton, suffocating them and causing them to die of thirst. It is a non-toxic and environmentally friendly option for pest control, making it ideal for homes with children, pets, and those who are chemical-sensitive.

DE does not have any expiration date, making it a cost-effective solution for long-term pest management.

How Diatomaceous Earth Kills Cockroaches

Diatomaceous Earth is effective against cockroaches because of its unique mode of action. The tiny particles of DE bind to the waxy layer that covers the exoskeleton of the cockroach.

As the cockroach walks through the dust, the DE scratches and penetrates the waxy layer, exposing the inner layer to moisture, causing the cockroach to dehydrate and eventually die.

Versatility of Diatomaceous Earth in Cockroach Control

DE is versatile, easy to apply, and can be used in different forms when controlling cockroaches. It can be sprinkled or sprayed in the areas where cockroaches frequent, and it can also be distributed using a duster or homemade shaker.

A vacuum can also be used to remove dust and dead cockroaches. Additionally, diatomaceous earth can be mixed with a small amount of food, like sugar or honey, to attract cockroaches, making them ingest the DE and causing them to die.


Diatomaceous Earth is an effective and non-toxic solution for controlling cockroach infestations. Its abrasive properties dehydrate the cockroaches’ exoskeleton, leading to their eventual death.

DE offers several advantages over traditional chemical insecticides, as it is environmentally friendly and safe for humans and pets. It is also cost-effective, has a long shelf life, and can be distributed in different forms.

Therefore, diatomaceous earth is a versatile and excellent solution for pest control, especially for cockroaches.

Applying Diatomaceous Earth for Cockroach Control

Controlling cockroach infestations with diatomaceous earth offers a safe, effective and non-toxic solution. In this section, we will cover the preparation necessary before applying DE and the various methods of application.

Preparation Before Application

Before applying diatomaceous earth, it is important to prepare the area first. This includes cleaning up any debris, dust, or food crumbs.

Cockroaches require moisture to survive, hence it is crucial to reduce the moisture level in areas where they are known to frequent. Repairing any water leaks or fixing any plumbing issues is essential to achieve an environment that is less conducive to cockroach proliferation.

Applying Diatomaceous Earth

When applying diatomaceous earth, it is important to note that less is more. A thin layer of dust is enough to effectively control cockroaches.

Applying too much DE will only make it harder for the cockroaches to walk through and pick up the particles. One effective way to apply DE is to target entry points, such as cracks and crevices, and any areas where cockroaches are known to travel.

These areas include behind and under appliances in the kitchen, bathrooms, and pipes. Additionally, treating the inside wall voids by drilling holes between the baseboard and wall and dusting the DE inside will also help in the control of cockroaches.

Using Diatomaceous Earth Outside

Cockroaches are not just indoor pests; they can also be found outdoors. To control outdoor infestations, it is best to apply diatomaceous earth around the perimeter of the house, windows, and doors.

Dusting in crawl spaces and applying a dust barrier beneath decks and porches will also help in preventing cockroaches from entering the house.

Refreshing Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous earth is a long-lasting and effective method to control cockroaches, but it is impacted by weather conditions. Rain and high humidity levels can render the diatomaceous earth ineffective.

Therefore, it is important to reapply DE after rainy periods, and refreshing the dust periodically to achieve continued results.

Safety Considerations for Using Diatomaceous Earth

The usage of diatomaceous earth is safe, however, it is important to take note of certain precautions to minimize any risks that may arise.

Health Risks of Using Diatomaceous Earth

Although DE is generally regarded as safe, it contains crystalline silica, which when inhaled can pose health risks. Inhaling the dust can cause lung irritation, and extended exposure to the crystalline silica may even lead to silicosis.

Silicosis is a form of lung disease that can be hazardous to your health.

Safety Precautions

To be safe, keep diatomaceous earth away from children and pets. It is essential to use goggles and a mask when applying diatomaceous earth to prevent inhaling the dust.

Continuously refreshing the dust will help to minimize the risks of inhaling the dust.


Diatomaceous earth is a safe, effective, and non-toxic solution for controlling cockroaches. A thorough cleaning, targeted application, and periodic refreshing will ensure optimum pest control results.

However, it is of utmost importance to take note of the necessary precautions when using DE to minimize the risks of inhaling the dust. With these safety measures in place, the benefits that come with using diatomaceous earth to control cockroaches have the potential to be long-term.

Integrating Diatomaceous Earth into a Total Pest Control Plan

Diatomaceous earth is an effective tool in controlling and preventing cockroach infestations. However, it works best in conjunction with other pest control treatments, natural repellents, and better sanitation habits.

In this section, we will look at integrating DE into a total pest control plan.

Combining Diatomaceous Earth with Other Treatments

By combining DE with other treatments such as gel baits, residual sprays, and boric acid, the control of cockroaches can be significantly enhanced. Gel baits attract cockroaches, and the addition of DE can effectively dehydrate and kill them.

Residual sprays, when sprayed in areas frequented by cockroaches, leave a long-lasting insecticide effect that is not harmful to humans and pets. Adding DE in small amounts will boost the efficiency of residual sprays.

Boric acid is another effective treatment when combined with diatomaceous earth. Boric acid is poisonous to cockroaches when ingested, and DE will help to dehydrate them.

Using Natural Cockroach Repellents

Natural repellents like essential oils, bay leaves, and coffee grounds may help to deter cockroaches from entering your home. Essential oils like peppermint oil, eucalyptus oil, or lemongrass oil can be mixed with water and sprayed in affected areas.

Cockroaches are known to be repelled by the scent of bay leaves. Coffee grounds, when placed in areas where cockroaches frequent, can also repel them.

The combination of diatomaceous earth with natural repellents is an excellent and non-toxic way to keep cockroaches at bay.

Cleaning and Organizational Habits

Good sanitation habits and organization play an essential role in any long-term pest control game plan. Cleaning up food particles, ensuring that areas with moisture are well ventilated, and sealing gaps and cracks where cockroaches could enter are preventative tactics that can make a significant impact.

With these proactive measures, you can diminish the chances of a re-infestation of cockroaches in the future.

FAQ About Using Diatomaceous Earth for Cockroach Control

Using Too Much Diatomaceous Earth

Using excessive amounts of diatomaceous earth may not necessarily lead to a more effective or faster control of cockroaches. Using too much of the dust will only make it difficult for cockroaches to pick up the particles, and a spread of the infestation may occur.

A thin layer of DE applied by dusting or sprinkling is more than enough to control and kill cockroaches effectively.

Time Frame for Diatomaceous Earth to Work

Diatomaceous earth, when applied correctly, can take roughly two weeks to work effectively. During this time, cockroaches that come into contact with the dust will die.

Dead cockroaches may increase in number, indicating the effect of the diatomaceous earth.

Effectiveness on Roach Eggs

Diatomaceous earth works on roach nymphs by killing their waxy layer, which leads to excess moisture loss. Cockroach eggs are not affected by DE because they have not yet developed a waxy layer.

To effectively control cockroach populations, it is recommended to catch cockroach egg hatchlings by reapplying the dust.

Different Considerations for Different Roach Species

Diatomaceous earth may work better on some roach species than others. German roaches are especially tough to control, and the use of DE may not be effective as they tend to avoid areas with dust.

Oriental and American roach species are more susceptible to DE and respond well to dust applications.


Integrating diatomaceous earth into a comprehensive pest control plan for cockroaches can yield long-term results and lead to a pest-free environment. By combining DE with other treatments, using natural repellents, and adapting cleaning habits, cockroach populations can be controlled effectively.

DE should not be solely relied upon, and it should be used alongside other measures to maximize its effectiveness against pests. Finally, it is important to remember that different cockroach species may require different control approaches, and proper identification of the species is crucial to finding an effective solution.

In conclusion, diatomaceous earth is a natural and non-toxic solution to control and prevent cockroach infestations. DE’s abrasive properties dehydrate and kill cockroaches, ultimately leading to a safer and cleaner environment for humans and pets.

By integrating DE into a comprehensive pest control plan with other treatments, natural repellents, and better cleaning and organizational habits, cockroach populations can be successfully managed in the long term. It is important to exercise caution when using DE and follow all safety precautions to minimize any health risks.

With its versatility and effectiveness, diatomaceous earth is an excellent and affordable long-term solution to controlling cockroach infestations.

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