We have come across many home pest remedies on the Internet or through people’s recommendations. Some utilise natural ingredients while some rely on mix and match solutions. However, does this home pest control really work? Are there any implications in the long term for infested homes? Let Rentokil Initial debunk some of the top common pest myths adopted by many today.
Top 15 pest myths you may have tried
Getting rid of rats with peppermint oil
A simple way of soaking cotton balls with peppermint oil and putting them at places suspected of rat activities. The only reason why rats dislike peppermint is their strong and distinctive smell that repels rats and derails the scent trails they pave. However, this is just a temporary act and more importantly among places, they lurk around such as drains, refuse and sewage, most likely, this venue will cover peppermint oil totally. Thus, leaving no musking and repelling effect.
Sprucing bed bug hot spots with baking soda
Applying some baking techniques to pest prevention remedies might not equate to a positive outcome in bed bug management. It is said that baking soda dehydrates bed bugs by sucking up all the fluids found on the shell, thus causing internal bleeding eventually. However, it is not well proven and with contact with water that is widely found in homes, the success rate in bed bug control is questionable.
Using chalk to build boundaries around ants
Do you remember trying to do a science experiment around drawing a circle perimeter with chalk to trap ants within? Yes, in some ways, chalk when drawn thickly details a trial especially among ants who rely on scents or their pheromones as a sense of navigation and communication. While it can trap ants within the circle to some extent, we might not be able to draw multiple chalk lines all over the home that is easily smeared washed off.
Warding off mosquitoes with lemongrass or citronella
For a short-term solution to protect ourselves from mosquito bites, using repellents with lemongrass and citronella can help in some way. Mozzies do not like the lemongrass scent and when used extensively, it will musk the carbon dioxide and lactic acid that mosquitoes picked up from hosts. However, to curb the mosquito problem in Singapore, this might not be an effective and productive way in mosquito control. Particularly, if we are not diligently eliminating the ongoing mosquito breeding. Above all, essential oils when used wrongly or incorrectly might bring hazardous safety implications such as skin irritation and combustion.
Placing bags of mothballs to prevent cockroach presence
You can buy them from supermarkets and DIY self-help stores, mothballs are used not just for cockroaches but even moths and rats. Due to its pungent and strong toxic gas released from the balls, it repels away not just pests but even among individuals. For homes with kids and elderly, these mothballs should be avoided as it is flammable, harmful to inhale the toxic vapour and easily mistaken for sweets and ingested by accident.
Hanging shiny and reflective disc above to chase houseflies
Some would mistake those nice looking discs on the ceiling as decorative but some food establishments hang discs above to chase away houseflies. This is because flies are attracted to lights and the reflection that causes refraction to confuses their vision and navigation and unable to approach their target or landing on the food near to it. However, flies have efficient capabilities to overcome pest myth. This results in ineffective efforts to get rid of flies.
Water as the flushing solution to remove all visible pests
One of the no-brainer, easiest and cheapest ways of flushing all pests by washing them down with water. For some, homeowners will use warm or boiling water to eliminate the pests instantly. Water is one way to remove everything from dirt, grime, dust and pest. However, it can serve as a double edge sword. This is because water is also the main food source for pests to survive and breed further. Drips and spills or water that is not cleaned up attracts more pests in return.
Mixing borax with sugar to lure and trap ants
Because ants have a liking for sweet and sugary items, hence mixing their favorites with borax is one way to eliminate ants in a cheap and convenient approach. Borax is actually sodium borate that upon consumption, it damages the digestive system due to its toxicity elements. This also means the potential harm to us individuals especially with kids or pets around that happen to ingest them accidentallyaccidently. It is always important to consider the health and safety of the family before carrying out DIY pest remedies in your home.
Control termite colony with orange oil
Does not sound like a common and obvious choice in controlling termite infestation with orange oil, but it is another pest myth applied by some. Firstly, the killing ingredient or known as d-limonene found in orange oil has not scientifically proven to control termites in an effective and responsive manner. Secondly, as termites work every day chewing off your home. Hence, there is so much of a limitation in pursuing this unique pest myth. Finally, more importantly, it should not be mistaken for use of orange extracts or juices that work the reverse way by attracting ants, cockroaches and flies over. In dealing with a termite problem, due to its complexity and well-hidden nature, a professional and reliable termite control is essential. It helps to avoid damages in your home and compromising the safety of the family.
Steam clean curtains and furniture to remove bed bugs
It is a good housekeeping habit to steam clean your bed, furniture, upholstery and curtain drapes. Not only removing the dust and particles lying on them, but removing any other unwanted items. These includes the pests and their droppings. To deal with a pest that is so flat and tiny and tends to escape from our human eyes, steam cleaning might not work effectively. For example, we may miss steaming over bugs that are hidden among the curtain slit, or at the few millimetre gaps that steaming gadgets are unable to reach. In addition, bed bugs hide very well at all possible gaps and corners. They emerge only at night for blood supply. This could mean missing them during the steam cleaning process, thus allowing them to breed and multiply further. Find out what other potential hideouts you may find bed bugs around.
Repel bed bugs with cinnamons and cloves
Spices used for natural healing or simple health remedies seemed to be used for pest deterrent as well. Cinnamon or cloves sprinkled over locations that they like to visit and because of the smell they resent, bed bugs will avoid crawling to their area. However, many hot spots attract bed bugs so long as there is body heat and hosts availability. It is not as advisable to flood the home with spices that can turn into a pest infestation risk. It merely relocates bed bugs, not eliminating their nesting and soil the home as a result.
Sun furniture and homes to get rid of termites
Exposing furniture and certain parts of the home with sunlight is a common practice in some households. For some pests such as termites that are hiding underground, they are more sensitive to sunlight as such. However, this is not a recommended termite treatment to get rid of termites. It is not as practical and easy to sun every part of the home or furniture that is possible at risk of a termite infestation. Above all, the sunlight is not capable enough to eradicate the entire colony that consists of thousands of members.
Spraying vinegar around the home as pest repellent
Condiments such as vinegar is often used on most common pests. These pests include ants, cockroaches, rats and the list goes on. To even among individuals and many of us, the smell is perhaps not well received and welcomed. Served as a repelling and deterring method, it shifts pests around the home, builds new habitats and while not controlling, the pest infestation that will escalate when untreated. Hence, you may want to consider more in using vinegar as an ant repellent option to manage ant infestation safely and effectively.
Lizards are believed to fear of eggshells
Eggs might emit some unappealing smell especially those rotten eggs and this goes for eggshells that lizards seem to dislike a lot. With their shape and outlook, lizards perceive them as harmful predators or creatures, thus putting lizards in danger. Do be careful with those sharp and cracked eggshells cases especially if you have accidentally stepped upon them. In addition, more items placements harbour pathogens and can increase cross contamination risks.
Placing pandan leaves around to combat roaches
Pandan leaves smell great and in fact used as a culinary enhancement and palette uplift. While there has been a long term and traditional understanding that cockroaches dislike pandan leaves, thus, serve as a repelling effect. However, effects might be minimal and lack residual control to manage cockroach prevention or eliminate cockroach eggs efficiently. More importantly, when using these leaves, do ensure they do not turn into a food source for cockroaches or other pests instead.
Why DIY home remedies do not work
One of the quickest and easiest ways to eliminate pests is by spraying them with an insecticide. It is also one economical way of investing bottles and sticky traps from the retail store. For those who prefer natural ingredients or DIY different items together to substitute as a pest control services alternative, do they really work?
Rentokil’s medical entomologists have explained some ingredients are mythical with no scientific evidence to show efficacy and effectiveness around these remedies. For example, using a commonly believed plant such as pandan leaves to repel cockroaches is just a scent derail effort. There is no control element or studies to show its efficacy in getting rid of cockroaches. Here is a list of reasons why DIY home pest remedies do not work.
It does not eliminate the root cause and source but repels pests from one place to another
Effectiveness in dealing pest infestation through deterring versus removing colony or nests
Risk of worsening the condition by inviting more pests harbourage or an escalation
Health and safety implication at risks particularly at flammable or toxic ingredients
Ineffective towards pests that is beyond sight and reach such as termite colony underground
Which are the challenging pests to eradicate
Do not judge enemies by the looks and size because they can be mighty strong you could imagine.
Ants are small but tougher than just size
On a fair playing field, we easily crushed ants with our thumbs when we saw them crawling in our kitchen. However, they can carry as heavy as 50 times their body weight of food around and have a capable sense of vibration to look for food. What is mightier is their ability to stay underwater for 24 hours with their help of their spiracles they use to breathe. Finally, they work as a team and communicate through pheromones to send out important messages and signals. They can go into hiding once they know they are in danger. This explains why you cannot seem to locate them for that moment.
Cockroaches are survivors in the toughest condition
Roaches have many capabilities and skills to keep surviving around and minimise their risks of elimination. Firstly, an incredible fact that they can carry on living even without their heads on and able to hold their breath underwater for as long as 40 minutes. If you are planning to eliminate them with a flushing approach or damaging their body, you should think twice again. For many pests, they need food to keep on going but cockroaches are toughies that can go without meal for a month. In summary, you should not treat cockroach infestation lightly and proper cockroach control should be in place to manage the roaches’ problem well.
Rats have intelligence we could not keep up
Rats are recognised as the smart and intelligent pest for a reason. Besides their good agility and flexibility in navigating and hiding around impossible spaces and corners, they are a smart pest defence against predators and lures. For example, they are good communicators that send out warning signs to their members in the event of harm and have good memories in the environment they are in. This is especially so under any presence of unfamiliar placement of baiting units. Hence, this might explain why rat control is always ineffective to deal with the ongoing and unresolved rat infestation.
Not keeping up with increasing mosquito population
Encountering one or two mozzies and as and when we engage in activities is acceptable. However, to constantly challenge rising dengue clusters and constantly growing dengue cases in Singapore is worrying. This is because not only mosquitoes have developed their immunity resistance to chemicals, but thrive more efficiently under warm environments like Singapore. Besides their incredible life cycle and reproduction regime, more importantly, mosquitoes can hunt you down efficiently. This is due to their receptors that they use to locate and track hosts like us. In summary, they can follow us very closely and it takes diligent mosquito prevention efforts to get rid of mosquitoes effectively.
What can you do to get rid of pests?
Start to observe for unusual pest signs
This is similar to the analogy of looking out for unusual health signs such as body aches, chills or visible rashes to indicate any potential medical issues. Performing regular home checks and noticing any unusual signs or visuals is one way to get rid of pests. It is helpful to treat early infestations that are usually less serious with minimal impact, or requires any major rectifications. Here are some signs you can refer:
- Are there sudden signs of black dots or “seeds” on kitchen tops or within the cabinet? These can be droppings, poops or egg cases left by pests.
- Have the home gone dustier and grainer with white residues along window sills and frames? They may be signs of a termite infestation.
- Any cracks, splits, lines or tubing found on the wall in your home? They might be damages caused by termite feeding and pathway to travel along
- Does the home smell more unusual lately? Perhaps a sweet, musty or distinctive odour you are unable to relate. Pests do emit certain smells to indicate their presence, depending on species type.
- Do you see more visible pest presence in the home? Especially at hours where they are supposed to be resting? Cockroaches for example are nocturnal and only surface at night.
However, some pest signs may be less obvious to recognise and take notice and specific pest types require professional detection and inspection. Pest control companies are trained to detect pest activities and their locations accurately and identify the specific species. Termites for example, require microwave technology to pick up termite activities and movements with structures or place monitoring units in the soil to spot for termite presence.
Eliminate all food sources for pests
Going on a diet or starving yourself is certainly not a good habit. However, perhaps is a better idea for pest eradication. Firstly, they eat almost anything and everything and largely from every part of our home. Secondly, they can range from tasty organic food and ingredients. These includes starch, fats and protein to the less appealing ones such as waste and garbage. Thirdly, non-edible items in our context are applicable for pests that feed on book glue, cardboard and even wood. Finally, perhaps the most important survival element for everyone including pests is the need for water.
Seek professional pest control help
You see a doctor when unwell or are clueless on what is making you lethargic internally. Same for home maintenance or challenging pest infestation that you are unable to resolve. Struggles arise when there is a sudden increase in crawling pests around, recurring infestation that does not seem to go away, or even impacting health and safety. In severe occasions, physical damages to the home arise such as damaged walls, bitten wires or collapsed ceilings. Leave the guessing and problem solving to the professional pest control specialists.
Minimise pest entries with proper proofing
Not everything is welcome in a home especially pesky pest that disrupts your home rest and family’s safety. You might have kept doors and windows closed but did you overlook any other entries they can find? These entries are tiny holes but gaps, cracks and us that pests are capable of squeezing through. This can be a result of compromised home structure condition, long-term property degeneration or unfixed damages. Pest-proof your home by fixing insect filters and screens or seal those gaps and slits immediately.
Call Rentokil Singapore at 6347 8138 for a pest control solution today.