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Pest Control Myths

July 5, 2009

I didn't come up with these myself, but wanted to pass them along to you.

1. "Electronic pest control systems actually work". This is one of the biggest myths of the industry and lots of people still believe it without any valid scientific evidence. The only ones that work are the ones that emit a spark, barbequing the unfortunate cockroach. How could you place a solitary ultrasonic device in one room of a house, pointing in one direction and expect it to protect your whole home from pests? Even if it did annoy a rat when it crossed through the rays, wouldn't it just hide somewhere else in the house, close to the food and shelter? Why on Earth would it run outside the house?

I have bought these electronic devices from customers with spiders living around them (theoretically catching other bugs) and one with german roaches nesting inside it! If these devices worked wouldn't ORKIN and Terminex merely buy thousands of them and, instead of paying multiple techs and affording the costs and possible risks of chemical, make a much greater profit? Also most insects do not have ears.

2.. "Make the poison a bit stronger for me so that it will work better." This is just dangerous and a waste of chemical. You can't kill a cockroach twice by doubling the strength or make the residue last longer. All you do is make the residue more dangerous to humans/environment and waste money on something that isn't necessary.

Moreover, many of the products are less efficient at a higher mixture rate. These products only kill if the insect gets into it. At a higher and illegal rate the insects will detect it easier and avoid it.

3. "Black widow spiders eat their male companions after mating." Female black widow spiders rarely eat their male companions after mating. But females are the most treacherous of the black widow spiders. Typically black, the body of female black widows is approximately one and one-half inches long, including the legs. The female back widow spider can be identified by the red hourglass shaped marking on the abdomen. Male back widows are one-half the size of the females and lack the red hourglass marking.

Slight correction, every female attempts to eat her male counterpart after mating, but in the wild the male often predicts this and quickly escapes immediately after copulation...see bugs are not so different from people!

4. "Rat poison is "secret stuff" that keeps rats from smelling in your home." The truth? There is no such rodenticide. If you are baiting rodents, you can rest assured that they will die in areas where they normally frequent: their nesting site, their food source, or in between. Most rat and mouse baits are simply anti-coagulants, blood thinners. Any mammal's blood clots naturally. An anti-coagulant (Talon, Bromakil etc.) stops the clotting to an extreme, causing the rodent to die from internal bleeding. This is why you sometimes find a dead rodent that has blood showing in its nostrils or ears.

The first commercial anti-coagulant rodent baits contained Warfarin, which is still in use today by medical professionals to help prevent unwanted blood clots. Rat and mouse baits being used today are mainly third and fourth generation anti-coagulants. These newer materials kill rodents faster, requiring less bait to kill targeted rodent pests. To lessen the chances (or amount) of odour, incorporate glue traps or snap traps into your baiting program. You will then have dead rodents that can be removed before there is an odour.

5. "If you see one cockroach there are always 100 more where it came from." myth. But it is true sometimes. If you see cockroaches in your kitchen every day, or every night when you turn on the light, you have a real problem.

6. "Cockroaches clean themselves; therefore they are one of the cleanest animals on Earth." Try eating one........only kidding! They inhabit the dirtiest places such as sewers and rubbish bins. They also urinate and defecate on your food. Still think they are clean?

In fact, cockroaches are eaten in many countries and are served, chocolate-covered, by the ORKIN traveling bug museum. Some roaches do inhabit sewers and rubbish, but most don't. Roaches do groom themselves constantly, and they often die of chemicals because they clean it off the hairs on their legs orally. If a cockroach landed on you, it would attempt to get off as soon as possible and clean the human stink off itself.

7. "If your neighbour gets their cockroaches sprayed, they will all run into your house." Cockroaches don't crawl up to an invisible barrier and back up and go elsewhere. They run over it and pick up poison then die.

If they are large outdoor roaches and your nieghbor sees them occasionally, so do you. If they are German roaches that only infest inside homes, they must be carried into your house by people.

8. "Only dirty houses need pest control or being very clean will stop you having pests" Hygiene is a very important factor in pest control as it reduces the food supply of pests and increase the hiding places. Pests can be introduced to your environment via cardboard boxes from stores or by having them fly in on hot days from the street or other buildings close by (especially food preparation sites).

9. "Termites are white-ants" They are more closely related to cockroaches biologically speaking, although they look a little like "white ants." In Australia sometimes they are commonly called "white-ants," but they are really termites.

10. "If you surround your home with timber, termites will eat this and stay out of your home." Termites will love plenty of food supplies if they are stacked around your home and will breed like crazy. This will result in lots of termites and new colonies foraging around the perimeter of your home. Think that they will be satisfied with staying outside?

Outright Pest Control Lies

1. "Without pesticides the world would be a better place." Love the idea, but up to a third of the world's population would starve to death if pesticides didn't exist. Would like pest control managers to be more informed and better trained than what they are now. ALWAYS ask for accreditation and license details before committing to getting any treatment done at your place.


2. "Twelve monthly termite control treatments are necessary to protect my home against termites." This is a con job and used to be a normal practice years ago, before people woke up to the fact that termiticides (insecticides that kill termites) last for years. Twelve to six monthly inspections are necessary in high risk termite areas, but treatments aren't required yearly.

3. "All pest control firms/treatment/protection are the same." Do your homework before committing to a company or treatment and ask for references from happy customers. Remember: "The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of the low price is forgotten."

About The Author

Article written by Bruce Gow. Bruce holds Certificate 1V in Urban Pest Management and holds Termite Specialist Accreditation amongst many other pest control certifications. He owned and managed Best Pest Control (NSW) Pty Ltd, a successful termite and pest control firm for 24 years, and now acts as an internet consultant for the new owner.

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