Question about diatomaceous earth in compost

catherinet(5 IN)August 11, 2014

I have chickens and always put their old bedding (wood chips and poo) into the compost. But recently I got to thinking.........I do add diatomaceous earth to the bedding to keep mites and lice down. Would this in the compost kill off any of the good organisms that help decompose the pile?

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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

Since bacteria can reproduce itself over a million times in 24 hours, it is not of concern in any way.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2014 at 6:31AM
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catherinet(5 IN)

Thanks Drew.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2014 at 2:59PM
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daninthedirt(Cent TX; HZ10, Sunset z30, USDA z8a)

I think a better answer is that diatomaceous earth kills insects by acting as a knife in between the cartiliginous plates on their body. It slices them up. Bacteria are small enough that the DE grains can't wedge themselves into, let's say, the underarm of a bacterium. So DE is unlikely to kill them.

The rate of reproduction has little to do with it.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 1:35AM
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There are bigger beasties involved in processing plant material into compost than just microorganisms. Yes, it will harm some of these. No, it doesn't effectively matter much.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 1:45AM
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catherinet(5 IN)

Thanks grubby.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 7:51AM
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