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Common Pest Control Myths | Hulett Environmental Services

Sprinkle grits on the counter to provide a barrier against ants.

FICTION. I suppose in the south, where grits are revered, they are considered good for most anything. However, in this case, you are better off saving them for your dining pleasure, as they are NOT a deterrent for ants. In fact, ants may enjoy them as much as you do! This southern staple will ATTRACT pests rather than DETER them.

Bait your mousetrap with cheese.

FICTION. Thanks to television, cheese seems to be the food lure most often thought of for mice. Remember the old cartoon where Tom the Cat frequently tried to attract Jerry the Mouse to mousetraps with cheese treats? Silly Tom. He might have been more successful if he knew that mice prefer peanut butter.

Use bay leaves to keep pests away.

FACT. To protect your cooking supplies, place a bay leaf in or around your flour, rice, and other dried pantry staples. Some people prefer to place the leaves directly in contact with the food, while others favor taping the leaves around the canisters. Caution: While bay leaves are a deterrent, they are not a substitute for properly cleaning the pantry of spilled products.

Put a penny in a bag of water to repel mosquitoes and flies.

FICTION. This notion is so wrong. In fact, it’s actually backwards. Research has shown that shiny pennies might actually do more to attract insects then repel them. Keep your change in your pocket.

Vinegar can eliminate fruit flies.

FACT. Have you heard of the expression “you can catch more flies with sugar than you can with vinegar?” Well, that adage is only half true when it comes to fruit flies! They are frequently attracted to your kitchen by the sweetness of rotting or decaying fruit; however, a cup of vinegar covered with plastic wrap (with a hole in it) is incredibly effective in combatting a fruit fly infestation.

Spraying peppermint oil on webs will eliminate spiders.

FICTION. Generally speaking, spraying anything that isn’t water on a spider web can cause them to abandon it…and construct a new one nearby. That leaves you with increased housing for spiders, which is never a good idea.

I could spend days and days exploring this topic. I will write again soon in the continuing effort to separate pest control fact from fiction. In the meantime, if you have any questions on natural remedies you’ve heard about, I’d love to hear from you.

Protect yourself from stinging insects over the next few months

Here are a few facts to help homeowners protect themselves from stinging insects over the next few months:

  • Stinging insects send more than 500,000 people to the emergency room every year. They can swarm and sting en masse, which can be life threatening especially for anyone who has an allergic reaction.
  • Unlike some stinging insect species, wasps are known for their unprovoked aggression. A single colony of wasps can contain more than 15,000 members, so an infestation should not be taken lightly.
  • Common nesting sites include under eaves, on ceiling beams in attics, garages and sheds and under porches. Some stinging insects can build their nests in the ground, including yellowjackets and velvet ants (which are actually a species of wasps). Over-seeding the yard provides more coverage and discourages these pests from nesting around the property.
  • Painting or staining untreated wood in fences, decks, swing sets and soffits will help keep stinging insects such as carpenter bees out. Carpenter bees create nests by drilling tunnels into soft wood, which can severely compromise the stability of a structure over time.
  • Only female carpenter bees have stingers. Female carpenter bees will only sting if threatened, but reactions to these stings can range from mild irritation to life-threatening respiratory distress.