With the country in lockdown over the past couple of months, people’s movement has been limited and they have been restricted to spending most of their time at home. Pests have had quite the party, and this has led to many of us having to try out DIY pest control tips and tricks at home, that have been shared over the years.
In this blog we will look at some of these pest control “myths” and help you sift the facts from the fiction.
1. Do Mothballs Keep Mice Away?
I know this one well, as my grandmother always had mothballs around the house in an effort to keep mice away.
The question is, was there some truth to this old wive’s tale?
Sadly, no, there isn’t. Mothballs are thought to be a DIY mouse control method because they contain naphthalene - a pungent smelling white, solid substance that when inhaled or consumed can cause blood cells to lose their oxygen-carrying properties. However, the amount of naphthalene needed to deter mice is the same as that needed to deter humans, and therefore the amount in mothballs is ineffective… at best, mice just perceive the smell as a minor annoyance - just like we do.
2. Do Lavender and Lemongrass repel mosquitoes?
We covered this one in one of our previous blogs: Natural Mosquito Control: do lavender and lemongrass work? The simple answer is yes, lavender and lemongrass do repel mosquitoes. I found the reason why quite interesting. In a nutshell, mosquitoes find their human hosts by sensing the carbon dioxide we breathe out. However, when they get close to us they locate sites for feeding by detecting volatile chemicals given off by human skin, and that’s where the lemongrass and lavender comes in. They both contain oils that help mask the scents that are most attractive to mosquitoes (you should really give that blog a read when you have the time, it’s quite insightful!)
3. Can baby powder prevent ants from entering your home?
This is admittedly one of the odder DIY myths that I have come across, however it turns out that it is quite a common DIY solution. Nevertheless, the question remains: is there any merit to it? You can read our previous blog post on this DIY myth here.
In short, I’d recommend you hold off from sprinkling your baby powder all over the floor as we have yet to find any credible evidence to support the adea that ants won’t cross a line of baby powder. In our experience, ants will always find a path into your home, regardless of whether you’ve erected Mount Johnson to block their common route! Prevention is always the best option.
4. Hanging CD’s Can Keep Flies Away
Another odd one to the list, and one which we covered in the interesting article my colleague wrote on this: Fact or fiction? Hanging CD’s can keep flies away. It is said that hanging CD’s on your windows and just outside the house can help deter flies from entering your house. This stems from the idea that reflective objects cause confusion amongst houseflies.
Is there any merit to this myth? Well.. yes and no. House flies are known to have 4000 lenses in each eye that provide them with a mosaic view of the world, therefore when light from the CD reflects and refracts it causes confusion - which may lead them to flying away. However it’s only a temporary solution as flies - much like ants - may find an alternative route in which to avoid the confusing lights.
5. Is Cheese The Best Bait to Catch Mice With?
I’m quite certain that many of us have had this idea before. Looking back at the old Tom & Jerry cartoons and seeing Jerry’s addiction to cheese, one can be forgiven for assuming mice like cheese. However, contrary to common belief it turns out that mice aren't as enamored by cheese as we have been led to believe. Not to say they won’t eat it, but rather that it’s not really their favourite meal. It turns out that peanut butter is your best bet when it comes to DIY mouse bait.
I’d say the best pest prevention method is having a good house keeping system in place, such as ensuring that food is stored in plastic or metal containers, regularly cleaning under stoves, refrigerators and cupboards, keeping bins away from the house, eliminating access to water and eliminating their entrance to the house e.g fill cracks and crevices - and these tips apply to most pests. But if these don’t work and you are struggling with repeated pest infestations, I recommend seeking help from a professional pest control company such as Rentokil. The experts in pest control can help you get rid of existing pest infestations - and prevent new ones - that can pose a threat to your wellbeing and the health and wellbeing of your family.
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