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242912 tn?1402543492

Diatomaceous Earth

My poor Jade is OVERWHELMED with fleas and flea dirt...as is our house and yard.  I mean, it is shocking!  She does almost nothing but scratch and lick.  Using the flea comb this morning, each swipe pulled several fleas out along with a ton of flea dirt.  And you can easily see them sitting in the white fur of her forehead.  Because our yard and house is infested, the Frontline is doing Zero.  I even made a mistake and put it on her a week early one week ago (Ugh).  The day after the treatment, the comb caught a flea right in the fur that was still sticky, so looks like treating her while we are infested is useless.    

My question to Furballsmom...or anyone with D. Earth experience, is how much would I order from Amazon to treat a huge backyard, and a small house?  2.5lbs to 10lbs is offered.  And how much do you put down in each area?   If ones yard and home is infested, will this even work?  

Thanks so much for any guidance here.  And Please don't hesitate to go into as much detail as possible as to how to use this product.  

Oh, I feel ill;  like SUCH a bad mom!
21 Responses
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874521 tn?1424116797
COMMUNITY LEADER
aww poor little Jade, you are not a bad mom....pretty tough to control when the yard is infested...I sent furballsmom a pm so she see's your post, she's had experience with this stuff...
good luck
Helpful - 0
242912 tn?1402543492
COMMUNITY LEADER
Thanks, honey.  I started to send her a PM, but thought I would post on the forum for the sake of future members interested in using this product.  
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874521 tn?1424116797
COMMUNITY LEADER
yup....good plan, I hope she will give the reply on this forum as well for that reason...she did a good write up about it earlier this year but I haven't been able to find it, so I hope she will post again...
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681148 tn?1437661591
Thanks Opus, for bringing this one to my attention.  I haven't had to worry about using it in a yard, but I did successfully use it inside of my apartment and never saw another flea again after that.  I just found instructions that include boric acid for the home.  Since boric acid is natural and your problem is as severe as you say it is, I'm sure that including boric acid would be fine.  It also mentions where to use DE in the yard:

http://www.ehow.com/how_4033_rid-home-fleas.html

I have mentioned nematodes when mentioning DE before, and here is more information on nematodes.  Nematodes eat flea larvae.

You also need to clean things around the home much like you would if you were dealing with a lice infestation:

http://www.ehow.com/how_5059781_rid-fleas-naturally-safely.html

Here is a little bit more information that does repeat a lot of the information, but it has a little bit more information included.

http://eartheasy.com/live_natural_flea_control.html

What I do NOT recommend is using the DE directly on the pet itself.  If you do decide you have to, use food grade DE and pay attention to not get any near the cat's head, because you do NOT want DE to get into the pet's respiratory system.  Think about it, if it's recommended that we humans should wear a dust mask when applying this stuff, and if it recommends keeping the pets off of the carpeting while you wait for the stuff to work before vacuuming it up--that doesn't really make me want to use the stuff directly on the pet.

Since you have a house to deal with, I would recommend the larger quantity of DE, because you will need some of it out in your yard.  Here is a list of hose end sprayers for 10 gallon applications.  If you need a 20 gallon application, you can get those on Amazon, too.  It depends on how large your yard is, particularly where the shady areas of your yard are.  Personally, I would consider getting the smaller one, then if you find it's not big enough for the nematodes application, you reserve it for other yard applications.  (Jerry Baker (as seen years ago on PBS) recommends lemon dish detergent in a hose end sprayer to repel mosquitoes out of your yard.  So, you should reserve a separate hose end sprayer for lemon dish detergent for the mosquitoes.)  You should reserve one just for your nematodes application, because you may need to use nematodes again next year, too, and you don't want to ever take a chance on killing the nematodes:  http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_0_26?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=hose+end+sprayer+10+gallon&sprefix=hose+end+sprayer+10+gallon%2Caps%2C218&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Ahose+end+sprayer+10+gallon

Basically, you should just get a separate hose end sprayer for whichever applications you are using them for and just label each one for which use it is being used for.  

I'm sorry I didn't see this until I got the PM.  I've been dealing with some really tough stuff lately, so I haven't been online very much.

I would recommend adding this information to the information page of our forum, too, so it will be easier for everyone to find.
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242912 tn?1402543492
COMMUNITY LEADER
Thank you so much, FM, I appreciate you taking the time to post.  I will read through the links carefully.  

I hope things resolve themselves soon, as we miss you here.  

Big ((Hug)).  Thinking of you...♥
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874521 tn?1424116797
COMMUNITY LEADER
thanks so much for all that info FM....from what I've been reading this am. I DO NOT RECOMMEND ever using DE on a cat or anywhere near a cat!!...in fact after treating a room/carpet area keep the cat out of that room until vacuumed 12-24 hrs later and be very sure you buy FOOD GRADE just incase some of it is ingested.
DE is a very fine powder be sure to use a MASK when sprinkling around the house or the yard best NOT to spray as its so dangerous if inhaled especially for anyone with lung issues such as asthma or COPD...I've also read you can 'cut' it with 1/3 salt to make it easier to SPRINKLE around.
another trick for indoors...
Get a commercial flea trap, or make your own by adding a few drops of dishwashing liquid to water in a pie plate or very shallow bowl. Place under a small lamp or light source. In the morning, you'll see dead fleas in there. Dump the contents and start over. Kitties don't usually bother with these traps but as always if yours are different, you'll have to be creative as to where to place these traps.

Nematodes are tiny insects that EAT larvae and they are very safe to use outdoors...these can be usually found at garden supply stores.

for Jade its best to use natural control such as a flea comb, you can also buy a shampoo by Dr. Bronners...or Black soap/Castile much safer than the topical treatments


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242912 tn?1402543492
COMMUNITY LEADER
Thanks, Opus.  I do Not take using this product lightly.  I bought the Food Grade online yesterday and intend on using only indoors for now...with a mask on, as I have lung issues.  "Cutting" it would make it easier, too...good.  Jade can stay outside all day, that wouldn't be an issue.  I was even thinking of boarding her overnight if we go through with it.  In reading your natural suggestions, I'll go that way first.  I haven't read about the nematoids yet, but I will, that sounds safe too.  I live with someone who thinks using D. Earth is no big deal.  Very stressful and difficult.

I've been using the flea comb every morning.  My vet called back last night, and wanted Jade in this evening.  Wants to give Confortis.  I googled it, and think I'll ask about a flea bath instead.  Informed her of the twice application of Frontline in 30days.  She said no big deal ???  I think it is which is why I'll ask for the bath   Something has to be done though, and quick.  I am exhausted, and have reached my limit.  Please say a prayer for my girl, and thank you again for your added input!    
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242912 tn?1402543492
COMMUNITY LEADER
Ha..in rereading, it sounds like yesterday was the first time I've used the comb.  No, it was the first time I was able to squat to the ground and stay there long enough to comb her long and aggressively.  Usually I can only do that a few seconds; just long enough to get a few swipes in.  If I put her up on the table bench to do this, she panics thinking she is about  to get a flea treatment, eye drops, some kind of 'procedure'.  
Helpful - 0
681148 tn?1437661591
You're very welcome.  That must be very frustrating living with someone who doesn't understand that even though DE is natural that care should still be taken when using it.  I used a dust mask, too, when I applied it in my apartment, because I have some breathing issues, too.  So, it's easy for me to understand why we should protect our pets from having to breathe it.  As you can see, we're in agreement about no applying it to the cat at all.  

I think I'm lucky Akira loves her grooming tool that I refer to as her "brush".  I think because she loves that "brush" so much, she also loves her flea comb.  I have a picture of her posted already with her holding her "brush".  Regardless of which tool I use, she grooms her whiskers herself by brushing up against to tool as I hold it.  It's partly about her marking it with her scent and claiming it as her own.  It's actually pretty cute that she likes her grooming tools so much.  I find the kind of tool I use to "brush" her is super effective on shedding, too.  It helps prevent hairballs.

I agree with you about wanting to try the natural approach to get rid of the fleas first.  That's why I looked into all this myself when I had fleas in this apartment several years ago.  I have health reasons for wanting to do things this way, too.  Plus, I don't want the cat to get sick from flea treatment either.  So, it's a win-win for both of us.  Yes, Jade will be upset about the flea bath at first, but I would think that would still be a lot safer than more of the flea medication.  It will give Jade some more immediate relief from all those horrible fleas and give you more time to work on getting rid of the fleas in your own environment.  

If I lived where there was a lawn to deal with, I would have tried the nematodes already myself.  It sounds exciting that they will eat the nasty flea larvae and help reduce the flea population.  You can buy those in a nursery or you can buy them on Amazon, too.  

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242912 tn?1402543492
COMMUNITY LEADER
FM, that's what I was wondering, how exactly how have YOU applied this stuff?  Due to the consistency of it, do you sprinkle or spread with your hands?  Using this will be the last resort after bowls of soapy water.  Nematodes for outside sounds like the best idea, too.  I will vacuum all rooms again today (I just did on Monday), then throw the bag away.  

Don't get me wrong, Jade doesn't mind the shedding brush and comb at all.  It took a while as I don't think she was never brushed in her life before I started, but it's all good now.  She doesn't love it quite as much as Akira seems to, but generally she's very good about it, and seems to enjoy it.  She even rubs her mouth on both of them like Akira.  Yes, that shedding tool works Super in ridding the loose fur.  I wouldn't use anything else.

I see I didn't say here what happened with the vet (I made a journal).  They didn't give flea baths; too many chemicals my Vet said, so we had to go with the Comfortis.  Only issue was, Jade did vomit 4hrs later (bad chemical odor to it), but I think that was because she was overfed (not by ME) on an already nauseous tummy.  I think she is still nauseous this morning too, as she *wants* to eat, but then walks away.  Fleas dropped off within an hour just like the vet said they would.  She stopped scratching and licking, too.  

This morning I combed her the best I could pulling out dead fleas with each swipe.  I'll get the PC going tonight with some birdie videos to distract her so I can do a good job of it with her here on the desk.  

Thanks again for all your help!  :)
Helpful - 0
4190741 tn?1370177832
I ordered my Diatomaceous Earth directly from the Owner/Web Site that carries it and have had many emails between the owner and myself concerning my cats and fleas and the Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth.  I also have email from Frontline that says they have nothing bad to say about using the Food Grade Earth along with the Frontline.

Having a house full of fleas is no fun at all and I adopted my kits from a Florida shelter and brought home a whole bunch of fleas who really liked my house and my cats.  

There is also a group of health conscious people who actually add the DE Earth Grade to their own food for its properties.  If you google Diatomaceous Earth Food Grade the info you find there is wonderful.

Along with treating my kits with the DE, I also sprinkled the Earth on Rugs and floors and then vacuumed every day without fail, emptying the bags on the vacuum quite a few times to keep from blowing eggs and larva and fleas back into the parts I already vacuumed.  I did apply the DE right to my cats fur, not near the faces or ears at all, when I saw them scratching and the DE does not outright kill the fleas, but dries them up and then they die.  But you must still actively kill the fleas in your house that are either in eggs or in larva form and that is where the DE dries them up and daily cleaning brings the best results.  You must do blankets and bedding and throw rugs and pillows and under furniture and in the corners where the dust bunnies hide along with the egg sacks that the fleas will lay.  I also added DE to my cats litter boxes and clean the pans daily.  

When you add the DE to your cats food, it can end any intestinal illnesses
caused by fleas to your cats.  The DE will kill the worms that arise from the
eggs hatching inside your cats from the fleas.  

The Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth did an awesome job and my house is flea free and I continue with the Frontline on a monthly basis.  I have treated my summer home and my year round home and bought 2 of the 10 pound boxes so I have some just in case this should ever happen again.

Always make sure you order Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth.  I never treated my outdoor area as my cats are strictly indoor cats, but if you have a yard full of fleas, chances of you bringing the fleas into your house via shoes or pants legs is high.

Good luck to you with eradicating these pests

M
Helpful - 0
874521 tn?1424116797
COMMUNITY LEADER
thank you for that informative input....much appreciated!!!!

I hope you are using a dust mask when vacuuming just for your safety..
also I would be concerned abt adding it to the litter boxes/food and applying directly on their fur....but glad to hear you or your cats have had no issues with doing so...

thx again:)
Helpful - 0
242912 tn?1402543492
COMMUNITY LEADER
Yes, thank you very much!!  I don't know why I didn't think of this before, but I went to youtube and watched a few videos on DE.  I see the edges of this stuff is like glass (sounds familiar; someone here likely said that already)..which would be why it would be harmful if inhaled.  

Oh boy, I was afraid everything would need to be washed, etc.  I can't begin to go to that extent, but I did my best today, so fingers crossed. :)  

Helpful - 0
242912 tn?1402543492
COMMUNITY LEADER
I am working on your links.  The first one is good; very simple.  I notice there is a warning for US to wear a mask, but no warning about your pet inhaling it.  It suggests leaving the DE on your carpet for 2days, but if it's cut with salt, leave one week.  Again, what about your pet?  It also talks of humidity...it's been So humid here for the last several months.  We have a humidity reader in the kitchen.  It's read 92% in the morning, but right now at 6pm, it's at 80%.  Jade has never been infested like she was Ever, so the humidity must be a big factor.  

Now the Nemotodes, we can't definitely do!

I'll get to the rest of the links tomorrow.  Thanks again, FM!
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242912 tn?1402543492
COMMUNITY LEADER
Ugh, we CAN do!  lol
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874521 tn?1424116797
COMMUNITY LEADER
good point, I DID read to not allow a pet into the room until after its been vacuumed up....it can definitely affect their lungs just like it can ours. thats why I really kinda don't like the suggestion to put it in the litter box, with them digging and causing it to form dust....same as clay litter, that stuff is murder on their lungs as well as ours...what goes for humans usually holds same for pets>>
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242912 tn?1402543492
COMMUNITY LEADER
Oh, yup, down at the very bottom, I see the warning now.  I didn't read that far earlier; very fatigued from the last few days.  Thanks, honey :)
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740516 tn?1360942486
Oh my , fleas are a real pest.Poor Jade and Jade's mom -I hope the situation get better soon.
Never had read about "flea traps" before - its something I will try someday, its always good to know if we have some around since my neighbor works with pets washing and I'm always afraid of those clients bugs meeting us...
Here is a pretty damm cold winter now, so fleas are not present by now.Humidity is ever present here, unfortunatelly...( I mean at home)
By now I'm facing a fur balls season AND a pet friend acting strange to me without reasons and/or for a silly reason.
4 days of 'furious " combing and malt past produced 1 day and a half without fur balls, them I've got lazy and stop one day - today I 've got my REMINDER, mercifully not soo early in the morning
Blessed cold and rainy days - but Loreena is getting tired of being inside.
Im afraid of her outside in the cold because of her previous problems with hypotermia.She accepts clothes but no way I will let her out with :-)
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242912 tn?1402543492
COMMUNITY LEADER
Hi Apple...that's tough when a friend backs off and you don't know the reason why.  I'm sorry.  The furballs are a continual battle for you and the girls.  You do a Great job in doing your best in keeping that issue under control.  I'm glad you're keeping Loreena in.  Our babies are like kids; we have to ignore what they 'want' sometimes in order to do what's best for them.  

Well oddly enough, the front page of our morning paper is all about the increase in ticks, mosquitoes and FLEAS.  The 'flea index' seems to have doubled since last year...solving the question of how the heck Jade got so overcome.  It's the critters around here...raccoons, Opossums, feral cats.  We have a Lot of opossums running through our yard.  We also used to have several Toms who were clearly homeless, eating Jade's food (I pick it up as soon as I can, but can't always get to it in time).  

Jade comes in at night now...which helps a little with her exposure to fleas, I guess.  With all the critters laden with fleas roaming our yard, I'm not sure treating it would even do any good.  

Comfortis has worked Great with minimal side effects.  Jade has been at peace with no scratching or licking whatsoever since it was administered.  I have worked hard to get the dead fleas and flea dirt out of her fur.  Even the shedding seems to of slowed down to normal.  
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681148 tn?1437661591
When I was applying it in my apartment, I naturally wore my allergy filtration mask, since I already have it for other allergies and it's more effective than an ordinary dust mask.  You can find these on a website called icanbreathe.com.  They even have masks that are specifically WASHABLE dust masks.

I don't have carpeting to worry about like a lot of homeowners have to deal with, but I did still have to use the DE inside the crevices of my stuffed furniture and underneath of furniture that is too low for the cat to get under to be affected by inhaling that stuff.  It is safe for you to apply it with your hands if you need to, which is what I did.  But, because its purpose is to dry out creepy crawlies, it is also drying to our skin.  So, you may want to use nitrile gloves (if you're allergic to latex) when applying.  You can totally get away with just one glove with the hand that is applying the stuff.

What I did with Akira's bedding after I washed everything in hot water was to apply some DE UNDER her bedding in her basket and other places she likes to perch so that she wouldn't be breathing the stuff.  I figured it wouldn't hurt her and it would help kill off any critters or eggs that may have developed.

I believe I did have to apply ONE dose of flea medication to Akira as well, because the idea is to help the cat be as comfortable as possible and start killing off the fleas that are on the cat at present.  The wonderful thing is that I didn't have to keep reapplying that stuff on Akira, because I was able to get the fleas out of our environment.  Once I got rid of the pests out of our apartment, we never had a reinfestation in all the years I've lived here.  So, I know that DE in the home does help get rid of the fleas and other pests.

So, to sum it up, I placed the DE UNDER all the cat's bedding and under furniture too low for the cat to get under.  I even placed some UNDER my shoe rack in my closet (although I'm not sure that was really necessary) simply because it was close to the cat's carrier, which she uses as one of her sleeping perches.  I keep a piece of faux fur on top of the carrier, so that got washed, too, of course.  I placed DE under the faux fur after it was washed and returned it to the top of the cat carrier.  It was placed where Akira wouldn't be breathing it in.

I placed some DE under the apartment sized refrigerator.  It's smaller and easier to move than a full sized refrigerator that would be inside of a house.  I needed to sweep up the debris that accumulates over time underneath of the refrigerator anyway to get the stuff away from the working parts of the refrigerator.  And, since DE is effective on any creepy crawly, I figured it wouldn't hurt and may even prove helpful to guard against other peoples' roaches coming into the apartment.  After some time had passed, I cleaned up the DE at another time.  I didn't re-apply it since I wasn't having any more flea issues.

With all the critters going through your yard, I would think that it would be totally worthwhile to treat your yard with nematodes.  The nematodes will still help reduce the flea population and will still help reduce the chance of Jade getting overwhelmed with the little vampires plaguing her to such a degree that you were describing.  It may even help out the cats that are roaming through your yard.  I would discourage feeding Jade outside, too, since that only encourages the homeless cats to keep coming to your house looking for food.  Other types of animals will eat her food, too.  Opossums and raccoons LOVE cat food.  So do skunks.  Skunks are mainly insectivores, but they are in the weasel family, and they are omnivorous.  You definitely don't want skunks coming around your house.

I would definitely treat the yard with nematodes.  I did enough reading to know that the nematodes population will only increase until there is no longer a food supply source (flea larvae).  You should not need to re-apply the nematodes unless the winter weather kills them off.  Like I said, I don't have a yard to treat, so I don't have sufficient experience with the nematodes.  But, I would be totally willing to try the nematodes if I lived in a house with a yard.  Even if I still didn't let the cat outside, I would still treat the yard, because fleas can still come inside the house on your own clothing without you even so much as being aware of the little pests taking a free ride.  Fleas will still bite people if their intended target (our pets) aren't available.  Even people without pets have been plagued by fleas.

After I read sufficient information about the flea life cycle, I actually know why my cat and I got fleas that first year we moved into this particular apartment.  The person before me spoke English as a second language--and not really very well.  She also had a cat.  She complained about biting insects, but she was sure I was completely WRONG about the insects being fleas.  (She was highly opinionated about everything and if she didn't like you or what you said even if you tried to say it in the sincerest and kindest manner possible--you were automatically WRONG.  That included pretty much everyone she ever came into contact with.)  She would complain that the management was "supposed to" treat her apartment for these insects and wouldn't do so.  There is a sign by the office that states clearly that the management isn't responsible for the fleas.  She clearly didn't do anything about the fleas herself except complain about them and how it was someone else's fault.  Clearly, the fleas were already here lying in dormancy before she moved in, so I would give her that much credit.  Then, when I moved in, as soon as we had the first heat wave of that year, the fleas started coming out of dormancy because they had a viable food source.  Fleas don't always come out of dormancy unless there is a food source available to them.

I didn't bother telling the management about the fleas because I also didn't want a heavy load of chemicals in my apartment, as that would be bad for the cat as well as for me.  I have chemical sensitivities, so I wanted to find a more natural approach.  I did what I described above and I haven't had any fleas in here ever since then.  That was over eight years ago when that flea infestation occurred in this apartment, so I know I completely eradicated the flea issue that was in the apartment when I first moved in here.
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242912 tn?1402543492
COMMUNITY LEADER
Hey Fm, sorry it took so long to reply.  Thank you for the flea education, and for going into so much detail with the D.E..  Really helpful!

"discourage feeding Jade outside"

Yes, well, while I am in Total agreement, there is a lack of cooperation from my husband making this issue frustrating beyond belief...but thanks :)   I hear the dish banging against the concrete when a opossum is out there.  Seems to be less lately...maybe the coyotes got them.    

We will...*I* will have to order the Nemotodes online (which seems strange).  My husband went to the gardening dept at Home Depot, but whoever he spoke to hadn't heard of them.  

Again, thanks so much for your post, this is the second read through tonight.  :)
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