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I was looking through some DIY/Organic gardening ideas, and saw one that mentioned using eggshell powder as an organic pest control. Supposedly grinding dried eggshells with a coffee grinder works to keep beetles away if you sprinkle it on leaves, and slugs away if you sprinkle it around the base of the plant.

I thought eggshells were used for putting calcium in the soil, which I think is why it's used in compost, but does eggshell powder actually work as pest control?

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I'd prefer people answer this from personal experience. There is so much conflicting data online. I personally am going to run an experiment. – J. Musser Aug 23 '14 at 19:12
In terms of eggshells I found a while back but it's not as finely crushed so it's not necessarily conclusive. – Alpar Aug 23 '14 at 19:32
Im told eggshell dust can get rid of cluster flies. Ive paid a lot to have eggshell boxes delivered that stick to the windows and have found them quite full of dead flies. So if I grind my own egg shells to put in the boxes would it be the same or would there be something else I would need to add? Does anyone know? – Wendy Jeffery Jun 17 at 7:46
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Well, after a fashion, yes, it should do. Even crushed rather than ground eggshells deter slugs and snails, the eggshells have sharp edges that they don't like, but in my experience, they're not that effective. If you grind them to a dusty mixture, then that will stick and dry out slugs and snails (they don't really like any surface that's sharp or very, very dry) and I can't see why it wouldn't work on beetles, directly applied. It's quite difficult to breath if you're heavily doused in powder, and in the case of beetles, it will work its way into any gaps between thorax and abdomen. I suspect you'd get the same results if you used talcum powder, which is just magnesium silicate with some perfume added. In other words, it's not the fact they're eggshells that counts, its that they're ground down into a fine and possibly slightly gritty dust, but it is one way of using up an otherwise waste product, unless you're someone who regularly crushes them a bit and puts them on the compost heap anyway. Using them as an organic pesticidal treatment sounds good, so long as you're around most of the time waiting to shower some unsuspecting beetle as soon as you spot one, but it's not going to work when you're not around other than for gastropods, and only then if you've applied a thick enough layer to prevent them reaching particular plants.

If you're trying to be organic and eco friendly, the use of an electric grinder needs to be taken into account - much more ecologically sound to add them to a compost heap.

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Yeah, talcum powder or diatomaceous earth should be effective also in the same way. – J. Musser Aug 23 '14 at 23:27
Pestle and mortar works really well if you don't want to use electric coffee grinder – AvieRose Jun 17 at 12:19

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