I’ve noticed that a lot of people continue to visit a post I wrote 2 years ago entitled Food Grade vs. Pool Grade Diatomaceous Earth – Possible Confusion. Since then, I have come across an increasing number of DIY (Do-it-Yourselfers) who are irresponsibly using DE, whether Pool Grade or Food Grade.
Let’s assume that DIYers are using the correct stuff – and I’m not sure that is always the case. You must now picture this because no one I inspect will let me take a picture. If they did allow me to take a picture and they looked at themselves and their living environment, they might have to conclude that they have serious emotional issues. That is not to say that they don’t have serious pest problems.
People with alleged symptoms of mite bites, sometimes real, sometimes not, sometimes in the past,… are going to the internet and reading that DE will kill mites. So they buy pounds and pounds of the stuff. They swear that they had to do it. They are convinced of their mite problem yet refuse to see doctors that could help concurr or refute it. They search out only those websites and professionals who will agree with them and the actions they have taken. One of those actions is spreading DE all over their homes. I’m not talking a conservative placement of DE as might be done by a pest control company. What I see more and more is DE CAKED on the couch, beds, rugs, hardwood floors, kitchen table and countertop, bathrooms, mirrors. I recall one woman so angry at her feeling of mite bites that she then threw the DE like a baseball at her mirror. You had to search for a spot that did not have DE on it.
So you have to scratch your head when this type of prospect asks you to find the mites. If they were there, I certainly can’t find them in this mess.
What we need to be doing for these customers, should you ever come across them is similar to what one should do with a hoarder, that is, clean it up! It must be done politely and respectfully, but do not try to treat this type of self-destructive DIYer. First get them to prove, yes prove that they are worthy of your assistance by seeing that they trust you when you say that they must reverse the damage they have done. They must not let the feelings of bites (real or imagined) run their lives. They must make a commitment to never self-treat and to clean up every sign of self-treatment. Oh, and by the way, if they have been doing these self-treatments, you must also ask other questions about self-treatments. Have they purchased pesticides on the internet? How have they used other pesticides (and I classify DE in this case as a pesticide) to fix their problem. In one case I discovered that a customer was purchasing termidor and pyrethroids over the internet and pouring it into their washing machine so that every item they wore was covered in pesticide. One can’t help but think even if they did have mites, what they most likely have now is pesticide induced skin irritation or damage.
Sometimes, even these people can be worked with. But you can’t let them control the equation. Tough love is in order. You must set the guidelines on what, when, how, where and why you will treat after a full inspection. There is a real interaction between the animal kingdom (including vector pets), the world of insect and arachnids, and humans. I am also noticing a high frequency of people calling for pest control questions about bites who have unusual hormone counts. How do I know this? Because I ask. Mostly, I am finding middle age women – who some would say are developing mental defects. But I also have noticed that these people are often on hormone treatments with estrogen. Surprisingly, we had one case involving bites on a teenage boy. After a long discussion it was revealed that the teen was on human growth hormone.
There is much that I don’t understand about mites and bites. But I think I do know more than most all pest control operators. One thing I know for sure is that DE does not solve the problem. It does not address the potential source of mites and creates many distractions from proper, professional treatment.
Keep DE out of the house where it belongs. Personally I find very little good about the use of DE inside the home, as used by homeowners.
Please feel free to agree or disagree. Comments are always welcome.