If you are not familiar with Diatomaceous earth or DE, it is a very fine white powder made up of the fossilized remains of diatoms, a type of hard-shelled algae which was discovered in Germany in 1837. It is used to control parasites (mechanical insecticide) in animals along with about 100 other uses such as a filtration aid, a mild abrasive in toothpaste, absorbent in liquids, reinforcing filler in plastics and rubber, ingredient in cat litter, activator in blood clotting studies etc..
The powder which consists of all these microscopic bits of dead diatoms (ANOTHER great name for a band "The Dead Diatoms") is lethal to parasites, worms, bedbugs, cockroach, ants, fleas and what we see sometimes in our hogs...lice. The fine powder absorbs lipids from the waxy outer layer of insects' exoskeletons, causing them to dehydrate and die. It can be used on animals both internally and externally. Because DE is considered natural it is approved for use by the National Organic Program .
Although you can use your bare hands to spread the powder, our skin is too tough for the little dead diatoms to injure, I like to use a thick sock.
I don't lose as much of the powder to the wind that way. And because our pigs have mud holes which means dried mud on their bods, the sock keeps my paws cleaner as well. I'll grab a handful of DE and rub it on our breeder hogs who because they stay with us several years tend to attract the external parasites. A favorite spot for flies and lice to lay their eggs on hogs is right behind the ear.
For extra measure and to take care of any internals parasites we also shake some of the powder in our animals bedding and in their feed. When coupled with powdered garlic, also added to feed rations we are able to control parasites without using any chemicals.