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Lots of ants during this season of the year at the finca PermaTree in Amazonas region of Ecuador. We have started to work with “DS” aka Diatomea which are a major group of microalgae, and are among the most common types of phytoplankton. Diatoms are unicellular, although they can form colonies in the shape of filaments or ribbons, fans, zigzags, or stars.

To get rid of the ants in a natural way without pesticides or chemicals. Diatomaceous earth diatoms have sharp edges that cut and kill insects that have exoskeleton body structure like for example the ants.

We have made various experiments on a duration of over 4 month and so far the Diatom-solution was far better than other alternatives. But. It like most organic / natural solutions it takes longer. Which is not a issues per se – you just have to keep that in mind.


Diatoms are producers within the food chain. A unique feature of diatom cells is that they are enclosed within a cell wall made of silica (hydrated silicon dioxide) called a frustule. These frustules show a wide diversity in form, but are usually almost bilaterally symmetrical, hence the group name. The symmetry is not perfect since one of the valves is slightly larger than the other, allowing one valve to fit inside the edge of the other. These shells are used by humans as diatomaceous earth, also known as diatomite. Fossil evidence suggests that they originated during, or before, the early Jurassic period.

Diatomaceous Earth

Diatoms, and their shells (frustules) as diatomite or diatomaceous earth, are important industrial resources used for fine polishing, liquid filtration. The complex structure of their microscopic shells has been proposed as a material for nanotechnology.

Diatomaceous Earth – often referred to as “DE” or “DS” – is an white salt-like powder that is the fossilized remains of marine phytoplankton. When sprinkled on a bug that has an exoskeleton (ants or fleas) it compromises their waxy coating so that their innards turn into teeny tiny bug jerky. But it doesn’t hurt mammals. We can eat it… We do eat it! It’s in lots of grain based foods, because lots of grains are stored with diatomaceous earth to keep the bugs from eating the grain! 🙂 Simply intelligent.

DE is almost pure silica (with some beneficial trace minerals); under a microscope, it looks like shards of glass (glass is made from silica). On any beetle-type insect that has a carapace, like fleas and cockroaches, the DE works under the shell and punctures the body, which then dehydrates and the insect dies. DE is totally nontoxic. There is no buildup of tolerance like there is to poisons because the method of killing is PHYSICAL, not chemical.


Termites eat wood to derive the cellulose and nutrients they need to live. Termites have protozoa and bacteria in their gut that allow them to break down the cellulose fibers in wood, which is difficult for other creatures to digest.


These red ants are termites. Termites are eusocial insects that are classified at the taxonomic rank of infraorder Isoptera, or as epifamily Termitoidae within the cockroach order Blattodea. Termites are among the most successful groups of insects on Earth, colonising most landmasses except Antarctica.

Dead termites. Diatom killed the termites as you can see. But beware this only works in dry environment. We had no success during rainy season outside.


2 thoughts on “Diatom”

  1. Hi from Terra Frutis,
    I saw your post and it got my interest. We would like to use diatom against cockroaches and ants.
    Where do you buy it?
    Did you get results also against leaf-cutter ants “in the field”? We had papaya killed by leaf-cutter ants…

    Best regards

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