Do Not Try This at Home
You’ll see some crazy stuff when you venture into people’s homes that are struggling with pests. As a result, here are our top 5 worst home remedies for pests. Please note that we are an exterminating company. We see homes that fail to control their own pests. There are people that use home remedies successfully. It is unlikely that we will ever be exposed to such a person. Therefore the folowing information is strictly from our viewpoint.
#5 Boric Acid
We use boric acid products in our business to control ants, cockroaches, centipedes, earwigs, and small flies. We use scatter bait granules at nearly every home we service. As much as we love the boric acid products we use, we send caution to the wind. Most of our customers fail to control their ants and cockroaches using boric acid.
Borax and boric acid dust is often misapplied. Boric acid dusts should be only applied to cracks and crevices. It should not be left on surfaces. General rule of thumb: If you can’t see the color of the surface below, you put it on way too thick.
Another way to use boric acid is in bait. You can even mix some up yourself with proper proportions of sugar, water, and borax. Homeowners commonly use a brand of boric acid bait called Terro. Sugar feeding ants devour this bait.
It seems like every home is using Terro ant bait when we arrive. Our opinion of this bait is that it gives moderate results. While ants are attracted to the bait and feed on it; it often fails to eliminate the colony.
Why is this?
The main reason that boric acid fails to control ants is that it does not work fast enough. Boric acid bait cannot keep up with the growth of many ant colonies.
It is best utilized in early spring while ant colonies are still small. Your sugar and borax concoction will probably not control a multi queen colony of ants with thousands of workers.
Another reason boric acid baits fail is that ants often drown in liquid baits. Once this happens, most liquid baits will turn rancid. Ants will stop feeding on them. Always provide fresh bait until control is declared. Also keep in mind that most ants change their diets throughout the year. A sugar bait will not always be effective.
#4 Diatomaceous Earth
Diatomaceous Earth is a great product to control soft bodied insects. It slices into the exoskeleton of insects, yet has little negative impact on the health of humans and pets.
Like a witch that is being attacked by zombies; people draw a circle of protection around walls, bed and furniture with diatomaceous earth. Just like zombies, pests crawl right over what seems like certain death by D.E.
What went wrong?
Okay so they sell large bags of diatomaceous earth at the store. Where do they sell the dusters? Applying dust formulations of pesticides is a skill. Even exterminators struggle to get it just right. So how is the consumer expected use it effectively without an application tool? Its like buying bulk ink without a pen; then expecting to write.
Dust needs to be applied so lightly that it can barely be seen. Imagine a snowflake. You want to apply diatomaceous earth across an area at the depth of one snowflake. Not an easy task to accomplish; especially when stores do not sell dust applicators. Therefore we are left dumping excessive amounts of D.E. around our homes.
#3 Dryer Sheets, #2 Mint Leaves
So yes people actually use dryer sheets to repel pests. This is a thing with bed bugs. People place dryer sheets under couch cushions and under their bed. Desperate people place them nearly everywhere. What would you do if something smelled badly, but you could not clean it up? You would probably just go far enough away to not let it bother you. But if you were hungry, you would force yourself to walk through it. Same thing with pests.
If you want to deter pests, then waste your time with dryer sheets and mint leaves. A better idea to deter pests naturally is to remove their food water and shelter. Instead of placing mint leaves under your sink for mice, clean the cookie crumbs from under your fridge.
People use nontoxic smelly things to deter pests. Okay, not much harm in that. Putting your clothes in a cedar chest is a great example. This keeps stored clothes safe from clothing moths and other damaging pests. But if you do end up getting clothes moths, you can use mothballs. To treat infested clothing; you place the clothing in airtight containers with mothballs. Mothballs are a pesticide that slowly turns from a solid to a gas. The gas is toxic and will kill any clothes moths trapped inside the treated container. Mothballs are not intended to be used out in the open. Doing so can be very harmful to those exposed to the toxic gas.
Perhaps people think mothballs are harmless because they are such a time tested product. Not many people see mothballs as a pesticide. Most people see mothballs more as a home remedy. I would be willing to bet that the majority of mothballs sold in Cleveland, OH are not used to control moths. People think that throwing mothballs under their porch will get rid of their unwanted wildlife. This is not a labeled use of this pesticide. If a pesticide does not say you can use it against a certain pest in a certain area; then you cannot use it that way. You are breaking federal law by doing so. Use mothballs only as directed.