What do stock tips and pest control have in common?

For some reason people can be pretty good at tuning conversations out that aren’t real high on the ‘important right now’ meter. We are able to half listen, nod at the right times and an occasional “uh huh” can go along way to pass as an engaged dialogue. There are however certain subjects that supersede our feigned attention span and our ears perk up, we lean forward to catch every word and for some unexplainable reason we give our speaker instant credibility even though they may have absolutely no expertise in the subject matter.

Two such topics are undeniably attention grabbers. Stock tips cause instant arousal even for the casual listener and it doesn’t matter who’s giving the tip. It could be your barber making light talk as he cuts your hair, the painter you hired who is bragging about the cool $500.00 he made on a hunch or any such person who crosses your path and claims to have ‘inside’ information. The other hot tip that’s simply irresistible is pest control recipes that are guaranteed to work and NEVER fail. Just like the stock tipper, the person giving this information usually has had no training in the field of pest control but because of the lure of a secret tip, we give an attentive ear.

The inside scoops you get from folks like this aren’t mean spirited or said in a manner to mislead. On the contrary the tipper is convinced of their information and the tippe can’t help but be somewhat convinced because of the sincerity of their words. The problem is that these ‘fail safe’ techniques, mixtures or methods are almost always based on anecdotal evidence or here-say information at best. Most times these vaunted concoctions or methods come with a story of insurmountable stories of infestations.

“Oh back in my youth we had so many roaches it sounded like rain when we sprayed. What we did was put cocoa powder mixed with borax all over the house and it killed every single one of them.” OR: “We had so many fleas in our home you couldn’t step inside, just throw salt all over the floors and coat your pets in used motor oil and you’ll get rid of your fleas.” and the ever popular, “ My brother just taped 3 bombs together for the kitchen and one or two in every other room and set em off all at the same time. You won’t have one living thing in your house after that!”

Are you sure you don’t want to hear what a PRO has to say?”

There are so many pest control ‘hot tips’ that spread like gospel and while some are harmless others can be dangerous for the person applying the mix or others who live in or around the area of treatment. Recipes abound on the intranet and fancy looking web sites lend credence to an already willing recipient. Old time brews handed down over the years are also a powerful lure but thankfully many of the mixtures used back then aren’t available now for the inexperienced to use.

Even the advice that involves today’s chemicals can be unnerving to the professional as they hear stories of how the modern products are used. (or misused) The power of todays insecticides aren’t any less than those of yesteryear but just because they are less toxic to non target species and their application is more specific shouldn’t be an excuse to liberally throw them around or stray from the label and then tout your new found toxic technique as the next ‘Pulitzer Prize Winning’ pest control method.

While I’m all for a quick tip to make some money in the market it’s rare that I’ll ever follow up on one. I guess when it’s time to pull the trigger and place my order the common sense or cautious side of me comes out and I begin to question. “Is this real? What if my barber is wrong? I don’t want to loose my money.” While I would hope the same cautious side might rear it’s watchful head when it comes to pest control I just don’t think people have the same concern for an activity that could be at its worst, more costly.

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. Pestcemetery.com 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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  • Keith

    What, do you mean to tell me that grits won’t kill Fire Ants – arrrrrgh! Back to square one!

  • Mel

    Keith, Grits will work for Fire ants provided the grit temperture is high enough to kill and the viscosity low enough to penetrate deep into the nest. if you add soap to grits they poop themselves to death. My grandbrothers cousins fathers inlaws neighbor does it all the time!

    Jerry, I share your pain with all the misinformation lately from the antipesticide lobby, and others selling their junk products. Good new occured this week though. The EPA finally fined a store for selling unregistered or mislabeled pesticides. “What you don’t know really can hurt you. You can’t take precautions and you can end up using products in very harmful ways,” said Jared Blumenfeld, the agency’s regional administrator for the Pacific Southwest “The cost of the product doesn’t relate to the magnitude of the problem or the dose of the toxicity of the ingredients.” Its a step in the right direction. Now nail the rest of the junk peddlers.

    Now to contradict myself. If something works and has low, minimal, or no toxicity, I would be in favor of using over a traditional product as long as it works. If its “green” and effective the industry would add it to our arsenal. It simply needs to be tried and proven. However, as you said ultimately most people dont care as long as their problem is eliminated.