DIY pest control methods have probably been around as long as pests themselves. Thousands of years ago, Egyptians used to smear the fat of a cat on grain sacks to protect against rodents or spread loose ash around a grinding mill to eradicate flour eating insects. Ancient Greek farmers also practiced several folk remedies to eradicate pests around their crops. Hanging a mare’s skull in the garden would discourage caterpillar infestations, while a concoction made from the juices of hemlock, lupin, and squill could kill larvae, insects, and even small animals.
While some man-made pest control methods have proven their effectiveness time and again, there are also plenty of old wives’ tales being perpetuated by homeowners’ eagerness to escape pesky critters. Since telling fact from fiction can be challenging when battling home invasions, we thought we’d explore some of the most prevalent myths when it comes to DIY pest control.
Wouldn’t it be great if all you had to do to get rid of household pests was plug in a $10 device and wait? No need for spraying toxic pesticides or setting up poison traps to drive nuisance animal and insect pests out of your home or garden. This is the appeal of using one of the many ultrasonic pest repellers that have invaded the market over the past decades. But are these seemingly miraculous devices an effective tool to get rid of pests or simply a waste of time and money?
“Turn your home’s wiring into a pest repellent force field. Patented digital technology repels rodents, roaches, ants & spiders.” This is the claim of one popular manufacturer selling electromagnetic and ultrasonic pest control products said to eliminate pests from homes and other structures in 2 to 4 weeks by “sending a pulsating signal through or altering the field around the electrical wiring inside homes and other buildings”.
Throughout time, cats have been taken into homes, as well as barns and even retail stores, for their hunting deftness, and specifically for their mouse-killing abilities. (After all, the cat vs. mouse is probably the most popular predator-prey pairing, immortalized in idioms and cartoons from all over the world.) Tiny in size and lacking flight abilities, which limits the possibility of counterattack or escape, mice are present in cats’ diet simply because they are an easy prey.
The same goes for flies, moths, cockroaches, grasshoppers, spiders, and anything else that happens to wander inside your house. Cats love to chase (and sometimes kill) pretty much anything that creeps, crawls, or scurries before their eyes. They are born with natural hunting instincts, and many homeowners rely on them to chase and catch vermin on their property. However, allowing them to put their natural instincts to use may not only be ineffective at stopping a rodent infestation, but can actually encourage more pests into your home.
Because continuing education and training for both pest management professionals and building managers is essential to protecting against the ever-increasing pest pressures in all building projects, Greenleaf, a leading pest management company serving the Greater Toronto Area and surrounding regions, has developed a new training course, “Integrated Pest Management Plans for All Facilities, Including LEED®,” now available online here.
Ongoing food-poisoning outbreaks and concerns in Canada, occurring at rates higher even than in the U.S., on the one hand, and increased awareness of the adverse effects pesticides have on the environment, on the other hand, has prompted Greenleaf to raise awareness on the importance of establishing Integrated Pest Management (IPM) plans for all facilities, including LEED® building projects. The course, a comprehensive 1-hour program addressing PMPs, developers, building owners, management staff and contractors, provides an overview of how IPM suppresses pest populations in a cost-effectively and environmentally-friendly way for all types of facilities.
The majority of people eating in a restaurant would go back to eating their meal after a fly touched and contaminated it, but almost no one would touch their food after seeing a cockroach crawling on it. The same kind of attitude is seen in staff and managers in the food-processing industry (“It’s just a fly, wave it away”), and it can cost them their business.
When the authorities shut down a local restaurant or a food processing unit, it’s usually because of rodents or cockroaches – seldom is the “innocuous” fly the reason a restaurant goes out of business. And yet, according to entomologists, filth-breeding flies (a term referring to several species of true flies of the order Diptera, including the four subspecies of Musca domestica, the house fly) are at least twice as filthy as cockroaches.
Due to their abundance (uncontrolled, they would cover the whole planet 18 inches deep in just one season), their close association with people, and their ability to transmit disease, filth flies are considered a bigger threat to human welfare than most other household or commercial pests.