This guide debunks eight of the most common pest control myths. Whether you’re trying to solve a specific problem or are brushing up on your general pest control knowledge, this article is a good place to start.

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Myth #1: Clean Homes Don’t Have Bug Problems

Pest problems can plague even the tidiest of home keepers. It may be harder to discover a pest infestation in a messy home, but bugs don’t discriminate based on cleanliness. Bugs are looking for food, water, and shelter, and as long as they can gain entry to your home, there’s a chance that they’ll keep on coming.

Call a pest control professional to treat for any existing infestations and ask about any possible entry points. If you want to DIY, don’t underestimate the power of a little caulk and weather stripping. Check around your windows and exterior doors to find possible points of entry, and seal off any holes or gaps.

Myth #2: Stinging Insects Only Attack When Provoked

wasp nestWe grow up being taught that if you don’t bother wasps, bees, yellow jackets, etc., they’ll leave you alone too. The truth is these insects will sting if they feel that they or their colony is being threatened—which could be as easy as walking too close to their nest. If you spot a nest near your home, don’t take any chances. Remove the nest, or call a pro to take care of it.

Stinging insect allergies affect nearly two million Americans, so there’s a chance that someone in your family or friend group is in danger with an active nest nearby. And while it’s true that honey bees can only sting once, wasps and yellow jackets can sting multiple times.

Myth #3: Mosquitoes Only Come Out at Dawn and Dusk

Unless you live in a magical land where mosquitoes don’t exist (and if you do, please let me know so I can head there now), chances are you already know this myth isn’t true. Mosquitoes are out and about at all hours and when food becomes available.

Mosquitoes can carry dangerous viruses that can harm your family (West Nile, Zika) and pets (heartworm). To stop them at the source, turn your yard into a mosquito-free zone. If these efforts are unsuccessful, it might be time to consider mosquito fogging or a mosquito misting system.

Myth #4: Brick and Concrete Slab Homes Are Termite Proof

indoor termite damageTalk to one of the many termite-infested brick homeowners and see what their feelings are on this one. While it’s true that termites don’t eat brick or concrete, they sure can crawl over them to get to their favorite food source: the wooden beams used to construct your home.

Because the cost of repairing termite damage can be so high, many homeowners invest in termite bonds to protect their homes. As part of the contract, a pest control company will come out to inspect and treat your property, usually on an annual basis. If the pest control company misses something, they’ll typically pay for repairs to any termite-related damage.

Myth #5: One Ant Does Not an Ant Problem Make

Seeing one ant doesn’t mean you have an infestation on your hands, but be on the lookout for signs of others following its path. If ants find a reliable food source within your home, an ant colony can develop. Because ants leave a chemical trail that other ants can follow, that single ant could be leading the way for many others.

Most ants are just a nuisance, but stinging fire ants and wood-damaging carpenter ants can pose a larger threat to your family and home.

Bonus myth: Use boiling water to get rid of ant hills

If you find an ant hill in your yard and pour boiling water on it, you will only kill the ants on the surface. Ant hills are usually much larger than they appear on the surface, and boiling water will not reach the underground portion of an ant colony.

Myth #6: Use Cheese to Catch Rodents

mouse and trap with cheeseContrary to what we’ve been always been told, rats and mice actually prefer sweeter foods like peanut butter, cereal, rice, or cookies. Who started this falsehood and how has it lasted so long? It looks like we might have cartoonists to thank for this one.

Myth #7: Cats and Dogs Can Help Keep Your Home Pest-Free

If you’re a pet owner laboring under the illusion that your fur babies are the only pest control you need, think twice. Domesticated cats and dogs don’t have to find their own food source, so they’ll likely be more curious and playful toward any invaders than helpful in their capture.

Myth #8: Only Strong Chemicals Can Treat Pest Infestations

pest control worker spraying for insectsAs we learn more about the dangers of pesticides, pest control professionals are becoming more strategic about the way they treat for bugs. Many companies are using a pest control method referred to as Integrated pest management (IPM), which relies on preventative treatment alongside natural and eco-friendly solutions to tackle pest issues.

With patience and a few extra treatments, your pest control problems can be solved without exposure to harmful chemicals.

Pest Control Truths

Preventative treatment is the most effective way to avoid an infestation. If you’re tempted to cut back on pest control, be aware that efforts to save in the short term might cost you in the long run with larger infestations.

Pest control technicians are experienced and trained to be on the lookout for evidence of infestations that you might not be aware of. They know where to look, and they know what they’re looking for.