Every time I see a bed bug blog suggest the remedy for bed bugs in your car is to sprinkle diatomaceous earth in it, I kind of want to spontaneously combust.
That is BAD ADVICE and makes it very dangerous for people with bed bugs who are starting out not knowing what to do, which was me in 2009. And I remember how desperate and frantic I was to get them out of my car, but D.E. is not the solution to a bed bug infestation in your car. You probably use air conditioning, heaters or leave the windows open in your car. All of these things blow the air in your car around. You don’t want you or your children to inhale D.E.
When mice were forced to breathe diatomaceous earth for one hour each day for a year, there was an increase in lung cancers. (National Pesticide Information Center. http://npic.orst.edu/factsheets/degen.html)
Diatomaceous earth is a powdery substance made from ground shells and is basically comprised of silica.
Diatomaceous earth consists of fossilized remains of diatoms, a type of hard-shelled algae. It is used as a filtration aid, mild abrasive in products including metal polishes and toothpaste, mechanicalinsecticide, absorbent for liquids, matting agent for coatings, reinforcing filler in plastics and rubber, anti-block in plastic films, porous support for chemical catalysts, cat litter, activator in blood clottingstudies, a stabilizing component of dynamite, and a thermal insulator. wikipedia
It is an excellent piece of your integrated pest management plan (IPM) BUT, it is not a one-step remedy that kills all bed bugs on contact. It will take up to 10 days for D.E. to kill a bed bug that comes in contact with it. In non-sciency terms, it works by drying the insect out and injuring the insects exoskeleton with its sharp knife-like particles, and then they die.
The same knife-like particles you will inhale into your lungs forever if you:
- Put diatomaceous earth in your car where it will blow around
- Put diatomaceous earth in your bed, mattress, sofa, chair or on your carpet
- Put diatomaceous earth anywhere but a crack, inner wall cavity or baseboard
In simple terms do not apply it anywhere it can puff up and be inhaled. Just because it is called food-grade doesn’t mean it is safe to breathe. It is not safe to breathe.
D.E. is great around your baseboards where you don’t walk but bed bugs might. I think a great place for D.E. is behind my cabinets because it also kills cockroaches, fleas and many other crawly bugs. And you only have to apply it once, ever unless you vacuum or wash it up.
So you can see I love diatomaceous earth and it’s an important part of your bed bug killing arsenal, but don’t sprinkle it on your furniture or bed or mattress or car.
There are other ways to treat your car that only require it be left to sit quietly with a Nuvan strip quietly killing each newly hatched and adult bed bug until you can be sure they are all dead. A Nuvan strip will work for weeks and leave no residue or gas in your vehicle. Talk to your pest control professional about Nuvan strips. If you intend to try DIY pest control be sure to read and follow all directions to protect your health. It’s bad enough to have bed bugs, it’s worse to get sick trying to kill them.
It’s bad enough to have bed bugs, it’s worse to get sick trying to kill them. Are you dealing with bed bugs in your car? Have you decided on a course of treatment? Leave a comment below or ask a question using my contact form.