Diatomite is used as an insecticide, due to its abrasive and physico-sorptive properties. The fine powder absorbs lipids from the waxy outer layer of insects' exoskeletons. By cracking open their joints and by rubbing holes through their outer shellsm the bugs die quickly, since the holes let air in and let out moisture from the insects’ bodies causing them to dehydrate. Arthropods die as a result of the water pressure deficiency, based on Fick's law of diffusion. This also works against gastropods and is commonly employed in gardening to defeat insects. There is no build up or chemical residues, and insects will not become tolerant or build up immunity.
As this process is mechanical, there is no plant or livestock with-holding period for human consumption.
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