Diatomaceous Earth Vs Boric Acid: Which Is Best For Pest Control? Our Expert Weighs In

Boric acid and diatomaceous earth are both commonly used to treat pest problems. They're affordable and simple to use, so many people opt for these solutions before calling an exterminator. Both boric acid and diatomaceous earth kill various types of bugs, but they work differently from one another. This might leave you wondering which is best for pest control. John D'Abruzzo, Truly Nolen Pest Control Area Manager for Florida locations in Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, and Treasure Coast, exclusively revealed to House Digest that both substances are beneficial in their own way.

"Boric acid tends to work better against insects such as: Termites, ants, roaches, and bed bugs because it is a non-repellent powder and acts as a stomach poison," D'Abruzzo explained. "The insects named are social insects and groom one another. Diatomaceous earth (DE) is known as a Dessicant, which means that the insects must travel through the material thereby drying out their cuticles." Diatomaceous earth's sharp edges cut through insects, dehydrating them, which is what ultimately kills critters that come into contact with it, according to D'Abruzzo.

Things to keep in mind before using boric acid or diatomaceous earth

By now, you know that boric acid and diatomaceous earth can both be equally beneficial for keeping insects out of your house. Before you use either of these substances, though, there are a few things you should know to help maximize effectiveness. "If DE gets wet, it will become non-irritating and essentially ineffective," D'Abruzzo explained exclusively to House Digest. So if your powder does get wet, you'll need to clean it up and replace it.

The pest control expert also provided insight into where boric acid and diatomaceous earth should be applied throughout your home, stating that they should be distributed in cracks and crevices. When applying these powders, make sure that they are not accessible to children and pets. Boric acid can be toxic and even deadly to children and infants who are exposed to it. Inhaling diatomaceous earth can also lead to health issues, such as shortness of breath and nasal irritation. Long-term exposure by inhalation has even been connected to more severe conditions, so it's important to follow precautions when using either of these substances.

Can boric acid or diatomaceous earth be used long-term?

Some DIY pest control methods only work as a temporary solution until professionals can take care of the problem. However, this often isn't the case for boric acid or diatomaceous earth. "Both materials will be effective long-term, provided that they are not disturbed," D'Abruzzo explained in an exclusive interview with House Digest. "If either material becomes compromised by water, wind, etc. they will cease to work. If insect infestation is severe, baits should also be used at the same time but in different locations. If the problem persists, calling a professional would be the next step."

With this in mind, it might be worth trying out boric acid or diatomaceous earth around your home if you have a minor pest issue. Consider giving these substances a shot if you would like to save money and attempt to treat the problem yourself. Remember, you may need to contact a professional pest control service if this DIY remedy is not enough to solve the problem. Depending on the severity of your infestation, your home might require a different solution.