Getting the Bugs out of Seeds: Diatomaceous Earth

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Getting the Bugs out of Seeds

By Xeramtheum
September 22, 2013

When I harvest my seeds, before they are catalogued and logged in, I always sprinkle some Diatomaceous Earth in a small container and add the seeds, then shake to distribute the DE among the seeds. This will take care of any bugs that were harvested along with the seeds, as well as any that may hatch out later.

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Name: Marilyn
Northern KY (Zone 6a)
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Marilyn
Sep 21, 2013 11:35 PM CST
Excellent idea! I tip my hat to you. Thumbs up

Where do you get the DE? What size boxes does it come in? How much does it cost?
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Name: Anne
Summerville, SC (Zone 8a)
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Xeramtheum
Sep 22, 2013 6:42 AM CST
Thanks! I got mine at Ace Hardware .. comes in a bag and if I remember correctly it cost around 9 dollars. A little bit goes a long way.


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Unknown

Baltimore County, MD (Zone 7a)
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bitbit
Sep 22, 2013 7:48 AM CST
I hadn't thought of mixing DE with the seeds.

If I have seeds I worry might be buggy, whether they're purchased/traded or collected, I just pop them in the freezer for a few days. Most seeds, as long as they're dry, aren't bothered by the cold, but it will kill the bugs nicely.
Name: Anne
Summerville, SC (Zone 8a)
Be a voice - not an echo!
Plant and/or Seed Trader Enjoys or suffers cold winters Hybridizer Birds Seed Starter Cat Lover
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Xeramtheum
Sep 22, 2013 9:06 AM CST
That doesn't always work with certain seeds like Hibiscus because beetle larva are actually inside the seed and freezing doesn't kill them. I started using the DE because of that since seeds would look normal and a few days, weeks or months later the larva would hatch out of the seed - that's why you find a lot hibiscus seeds empty with holes in them.
"We were all humans until race disconnected us, religion separated us, politics divided us and wealth classified us."

Unknown

Baltimore County, MD (Zone 7a)
A bit of this and a bit of that
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar Garden Sages The WITWIT Badge Herbs
Composter Container Gardener Seed Starter Vegetable Grower Dog Lover Plant and/or Seed Trader
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bitbit
Sep 22, 2013 9:19 AM CST
Good advice!

I haven't grown a lot of hibiscus. With my edibles, I sometimes find pantry moths in commercial seed packs, and freezing works to get rid of them.

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hazelnut
Sep 22, 2013 10:20 AM CST
Good idea. I use diatomaceous earth to keep the ants out the cat food. You can buy d.e. at Amazon. It is a little expensive, but you don't use much.
If you buy food grade, your pets can eat it with no problem (in small amounts).
Name: Marilyn
Northern KY (Zone 6a)
Laughter is the best medicine!
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Marilyn
Sep 22, 2013 10:41 AM CST
What else can DE be used for?

Thanks Anne for posting the pic. I'll have to look for it at ACE.
Welcome to the Agastache and Salvias Forum!

Hummingbirds are beautiful flying jewels in the garden!


Name: Jim Cook
South Florida
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jimsned2
Sep 22, 2013 1:03 PM CST
Marylin, I've seen it recommended for everything from bed bugs to intestinal parasites! In an add on line a guy mixed a table spoon in a glass of water (the food grade) then he drank it ! I use it to control my Sri Lanken weavel problem.

Name: Anne
Summerville, SC (Zone 8a)
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Xeramtheum
Sep 22, 2013 1:25 PM CST
For internal use you want to make sure you get what is called "food grade". You don't want the DE with a bait in it if you're going to use it on veggie plants or as a wormer. As mentioned it's used to get rid of intestinal parasites in humans and animals .. It's great for inorganic insect control - you need a duster for that .. I've seen it knock down a hopeless infestation of whiteflies on one of my Rothecas in 36 hours where pesticides didn't even phase it. If you use it for insect control you need to dust the plants top and underside with it. Works beautifully. Rain will wash it off though.

DE is the shells of diatoms - tiny little creatures - to insects it's like walking through crushed glass and when they walk across it then groom themselves they end up ingesting it which would be the same as larger animals eating shards of glass.

It's inorganic and Food Grade DE is totally non-toxic to animals and children. The only downside is that you do not want to be inhaling this stuff as it can damage your lungs .. that's why I wear a mask when applying or make darn sure I'm upwind of the "cloud" I make with my "Dustin Mizer" (pricy but the absolute best tool for applying DE to plants).

http://www.amazon.com/Davids-Garden-Seeds-D9474-DUSTIN-MIZER...

Those pump dusters tend to expel large gouts of DE .. the Dustin Mizer makes utterly wonderful clouds of it.
"We were all humans until race disconnected us, religion separated us, politics divided us and wealth classified us."

Unknown

Name: Marilyn
Northern KY (Zone 6a)
Laughter is the best medicine!
Rabbit Keeper Birds Hummingbirder Salvias Xeriscape Organic Gardener
Container Gardener Cottage Gardener Bee Lover Forum moderator Butterflies Apples
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Marilyn
Sep 22, 2013 2:21 PM CST
Thanks y'all for the info! I tip my hat to you.

Couldn't the seeds be placed into a oven on low temp. do the same thing? Seems like a safer solution.
Welcome to the Agastache and Salvias Forum!

Hummingbirds are beautiful flying jewels in the garden!


Name: Anne
Summerville, SC (Zone 8a)
Be a voice - not an echo!
Plant and/or Seed Trader Enjoys or suffers cold winters Hybridizer Birds Seed Starter Cat Lover
Pollen collector Morning Glories Greenhouse Bookworm Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages
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Xeramtheum
Sep 22, 2013 2:28 PM CST
Absolutely NO NO NO NO NO. Heat is the worst thing you can do to seeds to be stored. It would kill the kernel/embryo.
"We were all humans until race disconnected us, religion separated us, politics divided us and wealth classified us."

Unknown

Name: Marilyn
Northern KY (Zone 6a)
Laughter is the best medicine!
Rabbit Keeper Birds Hummingbirder Salvias Xeriscape Organic Gardener
Container Gardener Cottage Gardener Bee Lover Forum moderator Butterflies Apples
Image
Marilyn
Sep 22, 2013 2:54 PM CST
*Blush* I tip my hat to you. Thumbs up

okie dokie! Thanks for letting me know.
Welcome to the Agastache and Salvias Forum!

Hummingbirds are beautiful flying jewels in the garden!


Name: Rick R.
near Minneapolis, MN zone 4a
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages The WITWIT Badge Garden Photography Region: Minnesota Plant Identifier
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Leftwood
Sep 22, 2013 6:59 PM CST
I am a little confused....

In the case of beetle larvae already inside the hibiscus seed, how is DE beneficial? Confused When they "hatch out" and become exposed to DE, haven't they already eaten the seed?

maryann
Sep 28, 2013 12:43 PM CST
I've used DE just as a water enforcer (don't know of a better word to use)...It will hold water to keep your plants from drying out, put some in your containers. If you have a soggy area you can use it to absorb standing water. You can have it injected into your lawn for this purpose. It will keep those slugs away because they don't like to crawl over it and it does contain calcium so it is a good fertilizer for adding calcium in your garden. I didn't know about the anti bug properties. I know the squirrels like it. They chewed a hole in my bag and it leaked all over my potting bench. *&^%$(*
Name: Anne
Summerville, SC (Zone 8a)
Be a voice - not an echo!
Plant and/or Seed Trader Enjoys or suffers cold winters Hybridizer Birds Seed Starter Cat Lover
Pollen collector Morning Glories Greenhouse Bookworm Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages
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Xeramtheum
Sep 28, 2013 2:44 PM CST
Wow .. didn't know it held water. I do mix it in with dry potting mix before I wet it though .. helps with fungus gnats! Thanks for the tips!
"We were all humans until race disconnected us, religion separated us, politics divided us and wealth classified us."

Unknown

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