Fact vs. Fiction
Household pests are an age-old problem, yet misinformation still abounds about what attracts them and how to get rid of them. Bugs and rodents can spread disease and worsen symptoms for allergy sufferers, so it’s important to know how to identify an infestation and eradicate the threat. We’re here to debunk some of the most prevalent myths about pests and pest control.
Pests Mean a Dirty Home
Having a pest problem is inconvenient, but it can also be embarrassing if you fear that the presence of bugs or rodents in your space is an indication that your house is unclean. In reality, even the tidiest houses can fall victim to invasion by insects and mice. Don’t take it personally. No amount of cleaning will guarantee that pests won’t find a way inside.
Cheese Attracts Mice
Cartoons are definitely to blame for this one. Cheese has long been thought to be a mouse’s favorite treat, and as a result it’s often used in traps in an attempt to lure them. Tests have shown, however, that mice actually prefer sweeter foods that are high in carbohydrates. So smear your mouse traps with a sugary spread like peanut butter, and save the brie and cheddar for yourself.
If You Have Pets, You Won’t Have Pests
Many people think that cats and dogs serve as natural pest deterrents. The reality is, however, that most domesticated pets are unmotivated to hunt and eradicate bugs and rodents because they’re already well nourished by the kibble you feed them. In fact, having pets can actually attract more pests to your home because they can bring in fleas and other unwanted bugs, and those leftover bits in their food bowls can attract hungry critters.
Club Soda Kills Fire Ants
Wouldn’t it be great if killing fire ants was as easy as pouring carbonated water on their mound? Unfortunately, despite rumors that the carbon dioxide in club soda will cause them to suffocate, this is not, in fact, a viable solution. Neither is sprinkling them with instant grits, vinegar, or plaster of paris. A proper insecticide is the most effective way to get rid of fire ants in your home or garden.
Daddy Longlegs Are Poisonous
While daddy longlegs may be some of the creepiest household pests, they’re almost completely harmless. Rumors have persisted for years that these little critters are poisonous, but their fangs simply aren’t long enough to bite humans. Well, that’s just not the case. There are two arachnids commonly known as “daddy longlegs”: One is from the order Opiliones and the other is from the family Pholcidae, and neither one has any history of causing serious harm to humans. Opiliones don’t even have venom glands or fangs. Still, it’s understandable if you want to get rid of them.
Bedbugs Come Out Only in the Dark
Bedbugs are among the most dreaded pests in part because they’re notoriously difficult to get rid of. One of the common myths surrounding these little bloodsuckers is that they come out only in the dark, so if you keep the lights on, you won’t be bitten. Unfortunately, this is not true. According to the EPA, bedbugs do prefer darkness, but a bright room won’t stop them from biting you.
Once Poisoned, Rodents Are No Longer a Problem
Many people shy away from the messy business of mouse and rat traps, preferring the outwardly simpler solution of rodenticides. The problem is, however, that you can’t simply call it a day after a rodent has eaten the poison. The poisons used in rodenticides typically take several days to take effect after they have been ingested. This means that the critters are likely to die inside your home, leading to unpleasant smells and possibly attracting even more pests if carrion flies come to feast on the remains.
They'll Go Away on Their Own
The bad news is, if you find traces of pests in your house, they’ve probably settled in for the long haul. While it may be tempting to hope for the best and assume that any pests will eventually decide to go away, you should instead take action as soon as possible when you notice signs of mice, cockroaches, bedbugs, or ants to ensure that the problem doesn’t become worse. When in doubt, call an exterminator to assess the situation for you.
Related: 10 Reasons Bugs Love Your Home
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