Does Diatomaceous Earth Kill Mealybugs

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Mealybugs are small, sap-sucking insects that can infest a wide range of plants. Mealybugs are closely related to whiteflies, aphids, and scale insects and are frequently found in the company of ants.

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To combat mealybugs, diatomaceous earth is an excellent insecticide for mealybug control.

Various pest control solutions don’t kill their targets but harm them or knock them off the plant.

So, you may be asking, does diatomaceous earth kill mealybugs, or will this just be a temporary fix?

DE, as it is known, is effective in killing mealybugs. That has also been my experience with it. DE is safe for use on most plants and is effective against a wide range of other pests as well.

In this article, we’ll provide an in-depth look at diatomaceous earth and mealybugs and how does diatomaceous earth work on mealybugs?

Diatomaceous Earth: What Is It And How Does It Work?

This powder-like substance is a natural material made up of diatoms. Diatoms are the fossilized remains of tiny algae.

It is very fine, with a particle size ranging from 2 to 300 microns. This makes it ideal for use as a dusting powder.

Metal scoop in white powder substance.Pin
Photo Credit: Instagram @kromaacrylics

When dusted onto mealybugs, the sharp edges of the diatomaceous earth particles penetrate their waxy coating and cause them to dehydrate and die.

A variety of these pests are soil mealy bugs. To address Soil Mealybugs in your African Violet, you’ll need to re-pot it into soil that has been blended with Diatomaceous Earth.

This process is completely natural and poses no threat to plants or animals.

Why Are Mealybugs Harmful To Plants?

Like thrips and aphids, mealybugs harm plants by sucking plant juices from them. This can cause the following:

  • Stunt plant growth
  • Leaf yellowing
  • Premature leaf drop

In addition, mealybugs secrete a honeydew substance over their bodies, making the host plants develop sooty mold. This substance can also clog pores on leaves, leading to further damage.

Mealybugs are attracted to plants with high nitrogen levels. Try to use non-nitrogen fertilizer if your plant does not need it.

After mating, Adult female mealybugs lay between 100 and 200 eggs in egg sacs in two weeks making it difficult to fully eliminate the threat.

Diatomaceous earth is an effective way to control mealybugs because it penetrates their waxy coating, and diatomaceous earth will kill mealybugs.

The Perfect Solution For Mealybug Control

Food Garde Diatomaceous earth is the perfect solution for mealybug control for indoor plants and outdoor plants because of its safety, effectiveness, and wide range of pests it can kill.

When used as directed, DE can help keep your plants healthy and free of mealybugs.

For best results, apply the powder around the plant’s soil and on any leaves or stems infested with mealybugs.

Fertilizing young plants, gardening conceptPin
Photo Credit: Instagram @digyourfood

As the insects walk through the powder, they will be completely dehydrated. Within a few days, the mealybugs will be dead.

Using diatomaceous earth to kill mealybugs instead of simply knocking them off of the plants is a more sustainable solution to mealybug infestation because it does not require the use of pesticides or other chemicals, and it is more likely your mealybug infestation will not return as quickly.

Additionally, it is safe for use around children and pets. If you have mealybugs on your plants, consider using DE to get rid of them for good.

Here are other advantages besides controlling mealybugs:

An Affordable Option

We recommend diatomaceous earth as a very affordable option for mealybug control.

A 1-pound bag of food-grade DE typically costs less than $10 and will last for several applications, which is an excellent deal for a pest control product.

Potted plant with white residue in soil.Pin
Photo Credit: Instagram @humble_gardening


Diatomaceous earth is one of my favorite pest control products because it is a natural product mined from the Earth. It is then processed and packaged for sale.

Because it is a natural product, it is biodegradable and does not contribute to pollution or climate change.

So I can feel good about what I’m putting back into the Earth when I use it.

Are There Any Risks Associated With Using DE?

There are no known risks associated with using food-grade diatomaceous earth for mealybug control, and I have personally never encountered any issues when using the material in my garden or on plants.

However, as with any substance, it is always best to use caution and consult a professional if you have any concerns.

Spoon with powder near plants in soil.Pin
Photo Credit: Instagram @terracegardenfrance

Additionally, purchase food-grade DE, as this is the only type-safe for use around plants.

Diatomaceous Earth: Pros and Cons


  • Safe for use on most plants
  • Effective against a wide range of other pests
  • Dries out insects, leading to death
  • More sustainable than using pesticides or other chemicals
  • Safe for use around children and pets
  • Biodegradable and does not contribute to pollution or climate change


  • It can be messy to apply
  • It may require multiple applications to achieve the desired results
  • Ladybugs, butterflies, parasitic wasps, and bees are susceptible to harm

Final Thoughts

If you’re looking for an effective, affordable, and sustainable solution to kill mealy bugs, diatomaceous earth is your best option.

This natural product can be found at most gardening stores and can help you get rid of mealybugs for good.

Pepper plants in a garden with support structures.Pin
Photo Credit: Instagram @bbqdrewatx

With regular applications, you can keep your plants healthy and free of mealybugs.

If you are not yet convinced, another method to tackle mealybugs is introducing their natural predators by employing beneficial insects like ladybugs, lacewings, or the renowned Mealybug Destroyer.

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