The Q&A Archives: Diatomaceous Earth

Question: Is this insecticide harmful to pets if eaten? And does it attract pets like slug bait does? I have 2 dogs and have already experienced visit to vet from slug bait poisoning to dog, so do not and cannot use anything that is harmful to pets. The diatomaceous is new to me and do not know of how it affects animals when ingested.

Answer: You're referring to Diatomaceous Earth, a silica-type product made from the finely ground fossils of aquatic diatoms. It's a long-lasting product that you can safely use in your garden to control snails and slugs. It's not especially attractive to animals, mostly because there's no particular odor. It has a very fine texture, and is sprinkled liberally around plants you want to protect.

Diatomaceous Earth works best when it's dry, so plan on reapplying after a rain. It's available from Gardener's Supply, 128 Intervale Rd., Burlington, VT 05401 (Phone 800-863-1700) or from Gardens Alive, 5100 Schenley Pl., Lawrenceburg, IN 47025. (Phone 812-537-8650)

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