Myths about pest control

There are just about as many myths about pest control as there are pests. Some are funny, some are old and some are a bit dangerous. For all our sakes, just read and enjoy this section.’Don’t try any of these at home’.

* Rats and mice will run to water after eating ‘bait’ and EXPLODE. In 25 years I have yet to find mouse shrapnel pasted all over a basement wall. Truth is most baits are anticoagulants which simply makes them hemorrhage inside or bleed to death if they cut themselves.
* Baiting ants with ‘grits’ works because they eat it and swell up and die. No explosion but no real truth either. Ants can’t eat solid food (ever see how skinny their necks are). Now they might take grits or solids back to the nest but it’s the larvae in the colony that eat the solids and excrete it out as liquid,which is what the ant eats.
* Chlordane last’s for 60 years in the soil. Most reports I’ve seen have at about 30-35 at the longest.
* Mixing ‘Borax’ with sugar or cocoa powder makes a good roach bait. Not really, although roaches may venture close to whiff out the sweets you’ve left, the harsh detergent in the mix will usually keep them from eating any of it.
* Ultra sonic plug in bug device will hurt insects ears and they won’t come in. You might get a better reaction if you play a Barry Manilow song in your stereo. The majority of insects CAN’T hear ultra sonic noise.
* Spiders will nest in your hair. Oh boy, that one made it around the world at least 3 times when I was a kid. A lady apparently liked her hair-do so much that she never washed it. She just kept spraying hairspray on it everyday. Soon a spider moved in and became ‘toxic’ from all the spray, bit her and she died. Maybe that’s where the idea for the Spiderman story came from.
* Carpenter Ants eat wood. Very common thought but totally false. They do excavate wood for nesting purposes. Actually they eat just about anything you and I do.
* Baiting Termites will attract them to your home. That’s a hard one to convince someone otherwise. Termites forage 365 days a year in every direction all day and all night. They were there the whole time and it’s only with a little know how (on where to place the stations) and time that they find the bait. You simply have ‘intercepted’ them in their natural activity.

* It’s a scientific fact that Bumble Bee wings cannot support their size thus they shouldn’t be able to fly. OK this one IS true but they still fly.Why? Well they have four small wings, to small to carry them in flight no matter how hard they beat. However a small hook like feature on the wing allows them to become ‘one’ larger wing and creates more mass which creates more lift, thus fly off at will. PS. ‘don’t tell the Bumble Bees this,they still believe it’s a miracle of faith.
* Formosan Termites can chew through concrete. One of, if not the most destructive termite species known but their tiny jaws can’t cut through bricks. They are able to (so are other species of termites) slip through a crack about 1/64th of an inch thick.
* Roaches become immune to your sprays. Yea it’s true that resistant strains of roaches do develop but not in the way most folks think. Many people feel that if you spray the same pesticide over and over the same roaches become immune and don’t die.It’s more along the lines of say-you are susceptible to Poison Ivy but your good friend not so much. Chances are his kids won’t be either but yours will be scratching. Truth is that your initial spray kills many but a few may be ‘already’ resistant to that product and as a result when they breed they create more of the same genetically resistant babies. So it seems they’ve developed immunity. A good exterminator will change the ‘class’ of his products to prevent this from happening.Spray ‘immunity’ does happen but it takes much more time than what most think.

* Exterminators spray is so toxic you must leave the home when being treated. Truth is that most finished solutions being applied in your home are no more toxic than table salt. On average your ‘professional’ pest technician will only spray 4 or 5 ounces of mixed product in select places (cracks & crevices) within your entire home. It’s how and where it’s placed that makes the difference.

* If it doesn’t smell it doesn’t work. Well this is an oldie but a goodie. Just a few years ago this was the general  assesment. Our manager would always receive angry calls ” your man didn’t spray anything, there’s no smell.”  Around this time exterminators were using Ficam W for flea control. Ficam W is a wettable powder and when mixed has no smell. Everything else at that time did. Dursban LO, Diazonon and many others. A Lot has changed since then and now practically everything is completely odorless. Now when your bug guy happens to use a product that leaves even the slightest smell that poor mgr. gets the same angry call. Only this time it’s, ” your man is trying to kill us, the whole house stinks.”  Smells have nothing to do with a products “toxicity”, just a harmless by product.

* Spraying the baseboards doesn’t help. While true just willy nilly spraying baseboards or ‘mop boards’ isn’t the most effective use of a barrier insecticide. Treating the cracks and crevices behind them is. Also just under the board where the carpet tack holds the carpet is a rather large  ( for a bug or trailing ants ) void that insects use to travel undetected the full length of the room. So baseboard treatments do have their place.

* Only bug guys can buy the good stuff. Sure we get some products you never can buy but the real difference is the training behind our treatments. Look at the ingredients of the sprays you can buy at your local hardware store. Most of the percentages are higher than what we carry of the same thing. The difference is know how. And that can be most valuable.

If you have any more please share them.

About The Bug Doctor

Jerry Schappert is a certified pest control operator and Associate Certified Entomologist with over two and a half decades of experience from birds to termites and everything in between. He started as a route technician and worked his way up to commercial/national accounts representative. Always learning in his craft he is familiar with rural pest services and big city control techniques. Jerry has owned and operated a successful pest control company since 1993 in Ocala,Florida. While his knowledge and practical application has benefitted his community Jerry wanted to impart his wisdom on a broader scale to help many more. was born from that idea in 2007 and has been well received. It is the goal of this site to inform you with his keen insights and safely guide you through your pest control treatment needs.

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  • Bobby

    the one i get quite a lot is, if you stand on a cockroach and its carrying an ootheca/egg case then you will take the eggs home with you and it will infestate your home……

  • or ants on the pant leg or dog…hahaha Hadn’t heard the egg on a shoe one.