Diatomite, Diatomaceous Earth, as insect control...

Jim Croft jrc at ANBG.GOV.AU
Mon May 16 17:05:17 CDT 1994

As part of the integrated pest management practices to be employed in
new extensions to our herbarium storage areas, we are considering the
use of Diatomaceous Earth or Diatomaceous Silica (marketed here as
'Dryacide Sorbtive Dust Insecticide').

The intention is to apply this amorphous silica dust under benches
and in cavities where crawling insects are likely to traverse or
occur, the theory being that the silica abrades their exoskeletons,
clogs their joints, blocks their spiracles and makes life generally
unpleasant, and eventually kills them through dehydration and
suffocation.  Apparently the method is used extensively in stored grain

We would be interested in hearing from any other collecting institutions
who have use used or considered this substance as part of their
insect control policy for their stored collections or office areas.

If you decided not to use it we would like to know why. If you decided
to use it we would like to know if it worked, how well, and for how

The major ingredient is non-toxic and essentially inert, however we
would like to know if there are any adverse effects on the use of this
substance both in relation to people and to mechanical equipment
(microscope mechanisms, computer fans diskette drives, etc.).

I believe Diatomite is registered as an insectide for home garden and
domestic animal use in the US.

Any advice will be appreciated.

-- jim                    URL=
Jim Croft         [Herbarium CANB & CBG]          internet: jrc at anbg.gov.au
Australian National Herbarium &                      voice:  +61-6-2509 490
Australian National Botanic Gardens               faxmodem:  +61-6-2509 484
GPO Box 1777, Canberra, ACT 2601, AUSTRALIA            fax:  +61-6-2509 599
______Biodiversity Directorate, Australian Nature Conservation Agency______
_________________Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research____________________

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