Pest Control Blog

Common Home Pest Control Remedies Debunked

October 26th, 2015 by niftyadmin in Minnesota

Home remedies have been around since cavemen learned to communicate. The oldest home remedy is likely the stick for beating off the pesky saber tooth tigers. As times have evolved, the things we consider pests have evolved as the remedies seem to expand at an even faster rate. When evaluating control methods, it is important to calculate not just the cost of the device, but also consider the cost of damage it will cause to your, the cost of your time in implementing and following up on the device or method, and the costs associated with risk of the population expanding even more. Some common devices that should not be taken at face value are as follows:

Ultrasonic Devices

These seem like a simple fix for unwanted pests. Developed for both rodents and insects, many swear by their effectiveness. The most common report is stated as, “I plugged it in and haven’t seen one since.” I do not want to argue with people on luck they are having, but there are a few simple explanations for this. Often times when we put money into something, we become myopic in our observations and subconsciously force ourselves to see solutions that may not have actually occurred. From a scientific standpoint, yes, there are certain pests who dislike certain frequencies, but it is not universal. Even for the pests that do dislike them, they simply avoid those areas for a while and find other parts of the home to live in. Once someone purchases enough to fill their entire house, the pests learn to adapt. If there is food and shelter around, they can learn to live with anything. We have been called out on countless occasions for pests that disappeared for a while, built their populations out of site in wall voids and unused spaces, and then came out in full force. If a baby pest is born into that environment, it may never know that it is not supposed to like that sound.

Vibration Devices

These are extremely common for sticking in the ground to control moles, voles, gophers etc. In some cases if there is a low enough population, the rodents of concern will simply move to another area which is hopefully not in your yard but is in your neighbors yard (we will not get into the questionable ethics of this tactic). Interestingly we visit hundreds of homes each year where moles are tunneling within inches of the vibration devices. The pests are typically there for a myriad of reasons and simply adding a level of discomfort is likely going to have minimal to no results. If you have specific areas to keep them out of, it may be worth a try, but the devices are not free so solving the issue at its source over repelling it is a much more appealing option.

Buy a Cat

Cats are not just purchased to control mice, but are also recommended for bugs. The caveat to this approach is you must be slightly inhumane to the cat. If you feed it, it will become dependent upon you providing nutrition and deliciousness and will be less motivated to hunt. If you don’t feed it and expect it to live off of a mouse or two a year, you will have a very unhealthy and unhappy cat. Cat owners who do not get the mix just right tend to lean toward not being cruel and feed the cat too much and end up having chewed up mouse presents left at the foot of their bed. Yes, cats love to show off their trophies. The other side of this to consider is if you are allowing rodents and bugs into your living space where the cat can get them, they are still bringing in their disease into that space as well.

Keep it Clean

One of the best ways to keep many pests out is to remove hiding places from them and also remove food sources aka keep the home clean. Unfortunately, this does not apply to all pests. Pests such as bed bugs, carpenter ants, termites, etc. are not dependent upon left behind grease, crumbs etc. These insects do not discriminate between clean and dirty when choosing which place to invade.

Garlic Spray

Let’s keep this short and simple. Unless the pest is a hoard of vampires, the smell of this is not worth the benefits. Even if you have no family or friends, don’t’ do this to yourself.

Spray it in the Face With….X

I’m always amazed at the myriad of products recommended for killing insects. Yes, thousands of chemicals are lethal to bugs if they have direct contact with them, but this does not make it a valid option. Many of the substances are more expensive than pesticides. When it comes to healthier options, pesticide advances over the last decade have been incredible. Many over the counter cleaners provide greater health risks than your average pesticide. In addition, you can travel so far along the safety sliding scale in pesticide choosing that you can get to effective products that are edible. Other risks to spraying other chemicals not designed for bugs are corrosiveness, staining, and bad smells. Finally, just because it kills it right now does not mean it will do anything to keep its friends away in the future.

Apple Cider Vinegar Fruit Fly Trap

Fruit flies do not spawn out of thin air. They come from rotting and fermenting food. Catching the adults after they have had time to lay their eggs and continue the life cycle will not work. Period. Many justify it by saying, “It took a while, but eventually it worked.” Sure! Only after the fruit flies devoured the food source entirely. Spend the extra time finding the rotten potato, old banana peel, or cleaning out the garbage disposal and solve the issue.

In summary, don’t over complicate the issue. Just go with the tried and true products and trust the scientists who have dedicated their lives to figuring this stuff out. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to contact a professional, we are happy to provide guidance where we can.