Exterminators Share The 10 Worst Pest Control Myths

There are lots of pest control myths and wives tales out there. But which one of these pest control myths are actually true? Was your grandma right about putting chestnuts in every corner of the house to keep spiders out? Or did you just waste money on more unproven Pinterest DIYs. 

We asked some exterminators what some of their favorite pest control myths were, and investigated how effective they really are! Here are 10 pest control myths exterminators hate. 

Irish Spring gets rid of mice

False! In theory, the Irish Spring or soap of choice will deter mice and rats with its strong smell. However, the soap smell isn’t strong enough to deter mice. 

More scientific research is being done on the effectiveness of this method. In fact, researchers from the University of California found an increase in tumors from rats who did eat soap! So maybe the soap method isn’t a lost cause, but waiting for your mouse or rat infestation to develop tumors to get rid of them might not get rid of them very quickly. 

Daddy long legs are dangerous and venomous

False! Daddy long legs or Pholcidae are not dangerous or venomous. In fact, they’re not even spiders! Daddy long legs are arachnids that are much closer to the scorpion family.

These 400 million-year-old bugs don’t produce silk and only have one pair of eyes. As far as the arachnid family goes, daddy longlegs are actually as harmless as it gets. They like to play dead or excrete smells to repel predators. The creepiest thing about them is grooming themselves through a process called “leg threading.” Daddy long legs slide each leg through their mouth to ensure all parasites are off!

Mice will leave your house in the summer

False! Homes can get mice infestations all year round. You might not see as many signs of mice or rats during the summer, but that doesn’t mean they’ve left on summer vacation!

Mice, much like humans, need three things to survive: food, water, and shelter. In winter, the outside world has very little of all these things. This is why most infestations occur in winter. 

However, if your home has proven to be an ideal spot for mice and rats to nest and mate, they’ll still infest your home- regardless of what time of year it is. 

Mothballs can keep mice out of campers and homes

False! The chemical compound in mothballs meant to keep mice away is naphthalene. Mothballs are not EPA approved, and clearly state that using them for mice control is illegal. In fact, the amount of naphthalene you would need to deter a mouse is the same as to deter a human. 

Not only that, but they smell awful! There are much safer and legal alternatives to getting rid of mice without making your home smelly. 

Grits will kill ants- they eat it, swell up, and explode!

False! This is an old southern wives tale that ants can’t properly digest food. While it is true that adult ants can’t digest solid food, ants scavenge for food to feed the entire colony. Solid food is meant for larvae and younger ants, and ants love corn!

If you do see a swollen or bloated ant, it’s not from grits or any solid food they ate. Worker ants actually swell from liquid food or from carrying solid food back to the colony.  

Cheese is best for rat traps

False! Despite what cartoons might tell you, rats and mice aren’t super crazy about cheese. Rats will eat just about anything, but what they love the most are protein and fat. This might be how this rumor started. 

Even though just simply having food out is going to lure rats, there are some other options that are more attractive to rats and not as expensive! Exterminators recommend using SPAM or peanut butter in your traps instead.  

Peeing or pouring gasoline on an ant hill will get rid of it 

False- very false. In fact, it can actually enrage the ants. Ants think collectively so when the colony is threatened or attacked, the entire colony will react. This means that the ants will likely swarm and bite at any oncoming threats or predators.

Generally, you don’t want to put anything in an anthill if you do find one. An anthill is just the main entry of the ant colony, the nest can stretch far beneath the surface. 

Dryer sheets can get rid of bed bugs

True and False! Dryer sheets have been shown to repel bed bug infestations and can help get rid of the smell they leave behind. However, dryer sheets cannot kill or get rid of bed bugs. 

Bed bugs are often brought in from an outside source. Anywhere from a hotel, a friend’s house, or even an uber can have a small infestation that can quickly turn into a problem if undetected right away. The only way to effectively get rid of bed bugs is with chemical treatments or with the help of an exterminator. 

Essential oils are effective for pest control

True and False! Essential oils have been scientifically proven to help repel pests like spiders, mice, and so much more! However, similarly to dryer sheets, you might not have much luck killing them with the essential oils alone. 

Essential oils like lavender, peppermint, or cedarwood can help repel pests, but you may not have much luck at repelling them if an infestation has already occurred!      

Sprinkling salt over the carpets gets rid of fleas

True! Although there is some debate on this method, salt has been used as a natural flea killer for centuries! If you don’t like salt or can’t use it, try baking soda. Salted carpets work in two ways:

  1. Dehydrating the fleas and larvae 
  2. Cutting the exoskeleton of the flea

For this method, you’ll need highly refined salt. Sprinkle the salt evenly over your carpet and rake it through the infected areas. Wait a couple of days for the salt to attract the fleas, then vacuum until all the salt is gone. Check your vacuum’s dust catcher for signs of fleas and larvae, then safely dispose of the remains. 

Some carpet manufacturers don’t recommend salting carpets, so this method isn’t for everyone. If not done properly, you risk inviting other pests inside your home and ruining your carpets! Even if you decide to go ahead with this method, be sure to call an exterminator for advice. 

If you want some more advice or aren’t sure if that home remedy is effective, you can always call Pest Brigade to speak with a qualified partner for free!