Diatomaceous earth is a versatile and powerful substance that can function as an extremely effective insecticide. One of the major concerns expressed by many diatomaceous earth users that use DE as a pest control agent in their gardens, however, is the interaction between DE and bees.
Bees play an essential role in the ecosystem, pollinating plants, and destroying them can have a negative impact on your garden.
In this article, we’ll provide an answer to the question “can diatomaceous earth harm bees?” and outline some methods for minimizing the impact of your pest control techniques on these helpful insects.
Does Diatomaceous Earth Harm Bees?
The short answer to this question is yes. Diatomaceous earth is composed primarily of very fine silica particles. When insects encounter diatomaceous earth powder, these fine silica particles bind to their exoskeleton and abrade away the waxy outer coating.
Once this coating is gone, the silica particles will absorb the lipid oils and moisture inside the insect, fatally dehydrating it.
As bees are flying insects that possess exoskeletons, if they land on any surface that has been coated in diatomaceous earth they will suffer a similar fate to the insects you are trying to destroy. There are, however, two factors that make it less likely that bees will be affected or killed by diatomaceous earth in your garden.
Firstly, it’s exceptionally difficult to destroy flying insects with diatomaceous earth. Diatomaceous earth typically only harms crawling insects, with flying insects only harmed if they land directly in a surface that has been coated in DE.
Thus, applying diatomaceous earth to flowerbeds, soil, grass, concrete or other garden surfaces won’t harm bees.
Secondly, bees seem to have a number of natural advantages over other insects that help them avoid diatomaceous earth. Bees navigate to flowers using eyes that can discern wavelengths of light that humans cannot see.
Flowers that typically attract bees, when coated with diatomaceous earth, reflect far less of the ultraviolet light the attracts bees. There is evidence to support the fact that bees will actively avoid any plants that have been coated with diatomaceous earth.
Bees are also coated in very fine hairs that they have evolved to help prevent dehydration. By vibrating their wings at high frequencies, bees are able to shake off most of the diatomaceous earth they may encounter while making their way through your garden.
How to Prevent Diatomaceous Earth From Harming Bees in Your Garden
While diatomaceous earth is able to harm bees in your garden if they land on any surface coated in diatomaceous earth, there are a number of strategies you can use to reduce the impact of DE pest control on these insects.
- Never apply diatomaceous earth to blossoming flowers, or any of the foliage in the immediate area.
- If you’re targeting crawling insects with diatomaceous earth, only apply DE to the stems of the plants and avoid the leaves and flowers.
- If you observe bees landing or crawling on surfaces of plants that you’ve applied diatomaceous earth to, rinse this foliage with water to remove any diatomaceous earth that may harm them.
- When applying diatomaceous earth in your garden, do so either early in the morning or at night time, when bees are less likely to be active. Distributing diatomaceous earth throughout a garden will cause large clouds of DE dust to form, which will destroy any bees that fly through them.
Ultimately, while diatomaceous earth does present a small risk to bees, it’s a far superior method of pest control to traditional pesticides and insecticides that rely on toxic chemicals.
By replacing dangerous insecticide chemicals with organic, natural diatomaceous earth, you’re creating a toxin-free environment in your garden that will help bees thrive.
Diatomaceous Earth Information Guide:
We have a wide variety of food grade diatomaceous earth resources for you look through to make your life a little easier and chemical-free. Please check out the other valuable resources and versatile application uses for silica-rich diatomaceous earth below:
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Please reach out regarding any information above. In the future, more share-worthy useful enhancements, experiences and effects of diatomaceous earth will be added as the benefits continue to pile up. Always welcome for more insight and awareness, click the button to see the most recommended beautifully blended product that combines both high quality food grade diatomaceous earth powder and pure organic silica together in one formula.