Will Diatomaceous Earth harm bees?

Discussion in 'Organic Beekeeping' started by kustomizer, May 17, 2010.

  1. kustomizer

    kustomizer New Member

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    My sister uses Diatomaceous Earth to keep some bugs out of her garden, and wants to know if it will harm her bees. Idealy it is around the base of the plants and not the blooms bit I am sure some is everywhere, and the bees like to drink from wet dirt also found around the plant base. I think she dusts with it and it is not in heaps and piles.
    thanks
     
  2. Bitty Bee

    Bitty Bee New Member

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    DE will kill bees just like any other powder designed to kill insects. If the bees get in it, it will stick to them like pollen and be used in the hive with the pollen and kill the bees that are exposed to it.
    Does she have to stop using DE? No, just be careful with it. Only use the DE when necessary and use a pesticide applicator. Don't use it on plants that are blooming unless she is willing to either cover the plants or keep the bees in.
    It would be best if she could use a liquid instead of powder since you have more control over where it lands. But, I don't think that there is a liquid DE.
    If she provides clean drinking water for the bees that is easy for them to get to, they won't drink the water off the dirt .
    Here's some good organic pesticide recipes if she doesn't like to use chemicals:http://mastergardenergirl.wordpress.com/list-of-homemade-organic-recipes/
    You can read about DE here:
    http://www.simplegiftsfarm.com/diatomaceous-earth.html
     

  3. Hobie

    Hobie New Member

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    I'm not so sure about this. I have tried providing a clean water source for my bees, and they always seem to end up drinking out of the slimy puddle in the corner of an old tarp, or something. I wonder if the smell of decaying matter, or perhaps nutrients of some sort, attract them?
     
  4. Bitty Bee

    Bitty Bee New Member

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    That's interesting. Our bees still drink off leaves after a rain but they haven't drank off the ground since I started watering them. Maybe there are some minerals the water leaches from the dirt that attracts the bees.?
     
  5. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    there is salt in the water I suspect.

    and yes most times the girls seem to have a preference (the book states it to be salt in the water that the girls are attracted to) for the nastiest water around.
     
  6. Hobie

    Hobie New Member

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    WBB - Them Southern bees are just more lady-like, I guess!
     
  7. Bitty Bee

    Bitty Bee New Member

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    :lol: that or our water is worse than I thought! :shock:

    Kustomizer was worried about the bees drinking water with DE in it from the base of plants, though. So, I suppose drinking out of an old tarp wouldn't hurt as long as the water hasn't been there for long(in case of nosema).
     
  8. BeeHunter

    BeeHunter New Member

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    There was a recent report I read regarding DE(food grade) being used as a beetle trap ingredient. The "food grade DE" isnt poisonous and actually can be eaten. There is other DE that had insecticide added to it. DONT use that!!!! If I get a chance I'll try and find the Beetle trap report. I personally have dusted my bee's w/ it and powdered sugar and have had no problems. The DE is used in gardens to kill smaller bugs. DE is hard fossilized shells ground to a very fine powder. The bugs go over it and eat it and it cuts them up thus killing them from what I have read. I had it in my duster I used for the garden and just added powder sugar. Its a a very fine powder and I figure it would work like the powdered sugar and knock off the mites and if they run around in it and get killed thats even better. I'm going to try it w/ my next BT frame spraying too to work on the wax worms. I use DE in my chickens, cats, and dogs feed. It kills the bacteria in the feces and knocks the smell of these animals way down!!!! Suppose to prevent worms and other problems also.
     
  9. Bitty Bee

    Bitty Bee New Member

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    Does your DE say on the bag anywhere about how finely it is ground? I find it very interesting that you have powdered your bees with it and it didn't harm them. According to everything I've read, it is not only the insecticide in some brands of DE that kills insects but the DE itself. So, it must be very finely powdered to have not killed your bees.Or, possibly, the powdered sugar coats the edges so it doesn't cut the bees. I even read on bee source of a man who lost a hive due to an accidental spill of DE.
    All the shb trap info I've read that included DE, emphasized keeping the DE in the trap and out of the hive.

    No offense, but actually Diatomaceous earth is the remains of microscopic one-celled plants (phytoplankton) called diatoms that lived in the oceans and lakes which once covered the western part of the US and other parts of the world. These deposits are mined from underwater beds or from ancient dried lake bottoms thousands of years old. Magnified 7000x, diatomaceous earth looks like spiny honeycombs.

    Food grade DE is EPA approved to be mixed with grains to control mealworms and other pests and has been exempted from tolerance requirements as an inert, inactive ingredient in chemical pesticides. DE is EPA approved against indoor and outdoor crawling insects. DE is USDA approved as an anti-caking agent for animal feed. Diatomaceous earth is FDA approved for internal and external use.

    Food grade diatomaceous earth does makes a very effective natural insecticide. The insecticidal quality of diatomaceous earth is due to the razor sharp edges of the diatom remains. When diatomaceous earth comes in contact with the insects, the sharp edges lacerate the bugs waxy exoskeleton and then the powdery diatomaceous earth absorbs the body fluids causing death from dehydration!

    Diatomaceous earth is wonderful for the animals and we use it pretty often. Other people even use it to control slugs, aphids, and other garden pests. They just don't put any where the bees go. It is very interesting that it didn't harm your bees.
     
  10. BeeHunter

    BeeHunter New Member

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    I agree with what you say but the girls are doing fine w/ it!??! More research will have to bee done I guess.
     
  11. kustomizer

    kustomizer New Member

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    Thanks all, I am certain the DE she uses is just DE, no poison, I will pass this on to her. Her girls made a queen and are building like crazy.
    thanks
    mark
     
  12. HoneyBeeMan

    HoneyBeeMan New Member

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    Hi! New to this site. I am a distributor for Perma-Guard DE. A lot of info has already been mentioned above. I take DE myself every day. I have been doing this for around 3 weeks. But I know another beek that has been taking it for years.

    Great for any kind of livestock and pets.

    You can apply DE as a liquid solution. Just mix it with water and then spray it on the plants.

    I can attest to the fact that DE will kill off a colony............but then again I could also say stupidity on my part killed the bees.

    Perma-Guard sells only Food grade DE. But some is not to be ingested as it contains other additives to kill insects. In fact, they have a DE that is sold specifically for fire ants.

    NOTE: DE is also sold in box stores and other places for use in swimming pools. DO NOT ingest or use it for control of insects. It is lethal! This specific DE comes from saltwater DE deposits.

    Go to the //http:www.Perma-Guard.comwebsite for more information. Email or PM me if you have any questions.
     
  13. fatbeeman

    fatbeeman New Member

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    hello
    I have some students here use D E in there beetle traps with screen wire over it#8 keeps the bees out of it,also I got one students that mixes it in water and drinks it every day,I seen this but I'll still vitamins in a bottle.
    Don
     
  14. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I was fortunate not to have shb last year, probably due to the drought. I saw 4 all told, from March thru October, and those 4 were in the hive that "bugged out" at the end of July (absconded I assume, not enough bee bodies for anything else, I had too much real estate, it was my first hive. I sure learned to clean up wax moth larva.)

    But I may not have shb this year either. Every spring I spray beneficial nematodes into the ground to control fire ants and flea larva. Because it only affects burrowing insects, it does nothing about aphids, etc., and I doubt it bothers the bees.

    So far the only thing I use DE for is to dust my hens for mites. My gardens have been organic for years, I use flour sprinkled on the ground for sow bugs. Will be trying out BT for webworms. The right kind is already on my honey comb.

    But I bought the wrong stuff for the bees initially, it will be replacing my dishsoap and water mixture which isn't enormously effective against webworms, and with the drought breaking, we may have a boat load of webworms eating our tree leaves and my swiss chard.

    For SHB I plan on sticking with my screened bottom boards, sticky board coated with olive or grapeseed oil - whatever I've got in the kitchen that day.

    Gypsi
     
  15. Phil Moulton

    Phil Moulton New Member

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    D.e. For bees?

    I went to a bee conference last week for the day and one of the presenters mentioned the use of D.E. For a varroa mote treatment. I could not attend the full seminar so I never heard his results.
    we use D.E. Here on the farm and as it's used to kill pests by cutting them up I am very curious about the use with honeybees spraying it in the hive like powdered sugar.
     
  16. lazy shooter

    lazy shooter New Member

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    Phil and I are on the same page. I have been taught that D.E. cuts the bellies of crawling bugs and worms and allows them to die of infections. It is a health hazard to any organism when ingested. If handling D.E., one should use a dust respirator or at a minimum a dust mask. I would not put it inside a bee hive.

    It is contained is some drilling muds and when we use it, the mud engineer has to use the NIOSH prescribed dust respirator. When using D.E. in even small intervals, be sure to keep up wind at the least.
     
  17. Americasbeekeeper

    Americasbeekeeper New Member

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    There are several insecticides beekeepers put in hives intentionally -- tau-fluvalinate, coumaphos, Amitraz, soap, alcohol, oil, diatomaceous earth, etc. In small doses they are not immediately lethal. However they all are by nature hazardous to all insects. I applaud those that have bees surviving in spite of the beekeepers actions.
     
  18. Santa Walt

    Santa Walt New Member

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    DE will kill almost any insect, including bees, however, it is not because it is poison. It gets into, or on, the insect and both cuts the insides and keeps them from breathing properly. Good food grade DE is great to have around. I use it on the chicken manure to keep the flys from using it reproduce. If you think you might have bedbugs, DE is great to sprinkle on the mattress under the pad and sheets, because it will kill the bedbugs, but is not harmful to humans. You can also give small amount is other animals to kill intestinal worms. I regularly sprinkle small amounts in with the chickens' food. It seems to be great for just about everything but insects.
     
  19. buttsbees

    buttsbees New Member

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    DE will NOT harm your bees if it is placed in a trap such as the Beetle Blaster. We use it regularly to check the SHB load.
    www.buttsbees.blogspot.com