Debugging Local Myths: Ask the Experts

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Debugging Local Myths: Ask the Experts

Debugging local myths on topics like do mosquitoes only bite ‘sweet’ people? And can eggshells help repel lizards in your home? Have some of our local myths debugged by our pest experts especially for household pests close to you.

In addition, find answers to some of the frequently-asked-questions for the best pest control methods and learn new ways to control pests at home or at the workplace.

Trained and majoring in biology, management of vectors and parasites, Dr Chan is the in-house Medical Entomologist of Rentokil Initial who can answer all your questions on any pest.  

You are welcome to send in your question to Dr Chan here at

  • Can a cockroach run into your children's ear?

    Dr Chan says: This is possible especially if the person is sleeping in a room with heavy cockroach infestation. Cockroach may move into the ears by chance.

    As cockroaches typically emerge at night time, there is higher chance of risk when sleeping.

  • Does eggshells help to repel home lizards?

    Dr Chan says: It is believed by some that lizard is repelled by the smell of eggshells. And others believed that the lizard is led into thinking that the eggshell is the predator’s egg, which scares them away.

  • Do mosquitoes only bite 'sweet' people?

    Dr Chan says: Certain people are more attractive to mosquitoes due to their odour. Some studies suggested that blood types play a role yet the results are not conclusive and often contradict.

    In general, mosquitoes are attracted to carbon dioxide that we give out, body odour, heat, movement and contrast.

  • Can orange oil kill termites?

    Dr Chan says: In laboratory study, d-limonene, the major component in orange oil extract, is able to kill termites. However, field study shows that orange oil extract has limited efficacy in termite control, potentially due to its short residual effect.

    Do note that orange oil extract is flammable and acidic. It is extracted from the orange peels and should not be confused with orange juice.

  • Can fresh pandan leaves help deter cockroaches?

    Dr Chan says: Placing fresh pandan leaves around is not a "treatment". Cockroaches may avoid it but they are not killed. Moreover should these fresh leaves dry up, they could become a food source for cockroaches.

    Cockroaches are widely known as "Pests of Poor Hygiene." They need food, water and shelter to survive. Keeping your home, office or establishment clean keeps them from finding comfortable places to hide and live in.

  • Can cloves help deter common ants found in homes?

    Based on literature, clove contains active ingredients that can repel insects such as mosquitoes, flies, ants, wasps and mites. If the concentration is high enough, it could kill some insects i.e. ants. Usually effective in the form of essential oil or clove extract. 

    Yet what’s the best way to get rid of ants? ERDM is the best way to get rid of ants in house. 

    • Exclusion, by having proper pest proofing 
    • Restriction, by removing food and harborages 
    • Destruction, through professional ant control 
    • Monitoring, to ensure measures are working

  • Do moth balls prevent moths, cockroaches or rats?

    Dr Chan says: Yes, mothballs are able to repel moths and cockroaches, not rats. Mothballs give out a toxic gas to its surroundings. The dangers of use are that it is flammable and toxic to humans. This DIY method must be handled with care especially when kids at home whom may mistakenly eat it.