I have learned to appreciate their incredible skill and beauty the picture above is an Orb Weaver this beauty with her legs stretched out fully would be slightly larger than the palm of my hand, she is completely harmless (to us) and does a marvelous job catching unwanted flies from above our outside garbage.
However several of her less appealing relatives have taken up residence on the ground behind the bin creating their telltale diagonal web tents which are perfect to show off their infamous red hourglass markings. Spraying some nasty chemicals outside to rid ourselves of black widows I have no problem with but I found myself in quite a quandary when a similar web appeared by the fire place in the sitting room, this unwanted visitor had most likely hitchhiked inside a log.
Having children and cats finding something that is both safe and effective is of paramount importance.
Then I discovered diatomaceous earth (DE)
Diatomaceous Earth (DE) is made up of the fossilized remains of plankton; it looks like an off-white talc powder. It can kill any bug with an exoskeleton easily, but is safe for any mammal to eat.
When insects or arachnids, including fleas, centipedes, black widow and brown recluse spiders, come in contact with diatomaceous earth Particles of DE scratch and abrade the spiders’ bodies and the spiders dry out spiders within days after they come into contact with the sharp prehistoric particles.
Keep DE dry before using, as water will make it ineffective. Also make sure you buy food grade DE instead of pool grade DE as the latter contains up to 70% crystalline silica, a substance known to be carcinogenic with sustained use.
DE that ends up in your vacuum cleaner bag may be good, too, in that it will help to kill any live insects present in the bag.
It is recommended to wear a mask as you do not want to breathe in those fine particles.
I used an old bulb syringe to puff dust into crevices and liberally sprinkled it around our outdoor shoe cupboard.
I’ll keep you posted on how my bug battle goes!
Has anyone else tried DE? Any tips? Has it been effective?