DIATOMS are a fire ant pesticide that works mechanically.
Diatoms are an aquatic organism.
Fifteen million years ago there were lakes and seas in western North America. Small creatures with silica shells lived in those waters. The organisms are called diatoms. Through the eons the shells of the diatoms accumulated and today you can use them to kill fire ants.
The shell’s size and material makes them effective. They are microscopic and made of silica. Silica is a molecule that has one silicon atom and two oxygen atoms. SiO2. The silica molecule is abundant in the Earth’s crust as a rock forming mineral. Silica is essential to the growth and structure of many components of the biosphere. The stable and versatile characteristics of the silica molecule have also made it a favored material for human use from early hand tools to current broad industrial applications. Glass is silica. Silica is a molecule worth knowing.
Diatoms are single celled creatures. Silica is excreted by the cell and forms an intricate, durable case for the soft tissues of the cell. Upon death the soft tissue dissolves and the shell settles to the bottom. Through tectonic processes those deposits were preserved and today can be mined. Someday I will get a mine, but for now I purchase the fossilized shells from a reputable distributer of industrial products.
The specific name for the shell of a diatom is frustule and it is in two parts. One is slightly larger than the other and they fit together like a box with a lid. The microscopic fossil frustules in DIATOMS are broken apart and function in the modern environment as tiny shards of glass. When fire ants encounter the broken frustules their activity changes drastically as the shards damage the exoskeleton, antennae, eyes, and internal organs of the ant.
How do DIATOMS work? Simple; fossilized frustules frustrate. Miocene microshells mangle. Silica shards slice.
At Okra Garden Supply, ‘DIATOMS’ is the brand name for our EPA registered Fire Ant Pesticide. Diatoms are the creatures introduced above. Diatomaceous Earth is a topic for another day.
Link: This is another introduction to DIATOMS that you might enjoy. “DIATOMS – How did you hear about them?”