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Fact or Fiction? The Truth Behind Pest Control Old Wives’ Tales

April 27, 2016

If you’re dealing with pest issues, you’ll likely find no shortage of advice from friends, family members, and even online. Over the years, people have developed numerous solutions for eliminating pests using food, household cleaners, and other readily available products. Some work. Others, not so much.

InsectBelow, we’ve listed some of the more common old wives’ tales regarding pest control. We’ll tell you which ones work and which ones are simply urban legend. In fact, some of the common advice could actually make your problem worse. Before you attempt a do-it-yourself solution, check out the list below to make sure your solution actually works:

Putting grits on the counter will create a barrier for ants.

Not true. This probably started in the south where grits are a common breakfast food. However, ants view grits just as they do almost every other food item. They will happily take your grits back to the colony and send worker ants back for more. Using grits as a barrier could very will make your ant problem worse.

Cheese is the best bait to put in a mousetrap.

Not true. Cheese may play well on old Tom and Jerry cartoons, but it has little practical purpose for catching mice. There’s nothing to suggest that they like cheese more than any other food. In fact, some mice may not be attracted to your cheese at all.

Spraying water is an effective way to get rid of a spider web.

Partially true. If you spray anything on a spider web, you will likely destroy the web and force the spider to relocate. However, the water probably won’t kill the spider. And it will simply build a new web at the first suitable location it finds. Water will take care of that particular web, but it likely won’t end your spider problem.

Boiling water is an effective tool for eliminating an ant hill.

Partially true. You can pour boiling water on an ant hill to kill most of the ants and destroy the hill. However, it’s likely that many of the ants – including the queen – are deep below the surface. The boiling water may never reach them, so you could see another hill popup nearby very soon.

Bay leaves act as a pest repellant.

True! Many insects will avoid going near bay leaves. Keep a container or two in your kitchen and you may reduce the number of pests you have on your counters. However, you can’t use bay leaves to eliminate pests. They won’t eat the leaves or bring them back to the colony. They’re simply turned off by the smell of the leaves.

Soapy water keeps bugs off of plants.

Partially true! A small amount of dish soap mixed into water and then sprayed on your plant leaves may keep small insects from destroying your plants. However, this is not an effective solution to treat for stink bugs. Spraying will only be effective at knocking down stink bugs when they come in direct contact with the dish soap spray but there will be no residual repellant effect.

You catch more flies with honey than vinegar.

Not true. This might be a great saying and pearl of wisdom that applies to many situations in life. However, it has little applicable use in the world of pest control. Flies are attracted to the smell of rotting fruit. However, vinegar is another good option. You can use a cup of vinegar or a vinegar-scented trap to catch and kill many flies.

Often, the only way to truly eliminate your pest problem is to work with a pest control professional. If you have a pest problem in and around your home, contact us today. Scherzinger Termite and Pest Control is a trusted pest control company in the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky areas, including Dayton, OH, and now Columbus, OH. We've been pioneers, engineering new standards for ways of eliminating and controlling bugs and pests. Contact us by phone at 1-877-748-9888 or through our website, Facebook, or Twitter.

Authored By: Eric Scherzinger

Quality ProNational Pest Management AssociationOPMABetter Business Bureau Angies List Super Service Award

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