5 Pest Control “Solutions” that Can Make the Problem Worse

7 min read

Notice all the pest control gimmicks you can buy online? Some work – but many work as well as trying to repel a tiger with a steak. Here are some pest control solutions that can make things worse:

1. Ultrasound mosquito repellers

Insects can hear sound frequencies that we can’t – 15 kHz to be nerdily precise. Because of that, ultrasound repellent makers claim, blasting sounds at that frequency will drive bugs away. There are three problems with this:

First, just because a bug can hear something, that doesn’t mean its default reaction is to run away. In fact, some entomologists think certain bugs – like mosquitoes – are equally likely to buzz toward the sound. You may notice that makes it the exact opposite of being a “repellent”.

Second, if this idea worked, the Singapore government would just blast that sound across the island and dengue would never be a problem again. In fact, they tried that in Brazil – but the only sound that was of note was scientists laughing at them.

5 Pest Control "Solutions" that Can Make the Problem Worse
Sticking this picture on your wall is about as effective as an ultrasound repellent.

Third – and this is the worst thing – people who believe this sometimes forego other mosquito protection. Why smear on stinky repellent or burn a coil, when you can just blast an ultrasound gimmick? There’s no smell, and it’s convenient!

Then they’ll wake up in the middle of the night with mozzie bites, and maybe the gift of zika or dengue.

It’s better to just use the regular, proven repellents or a mosquito net (if you’re worried bout the chemicals). You can also pick out a property that’s less attractive to these bloodsuckers.

2. Purely natural repellent

Beware wary of any repellent products that claim to be “all natural”. One other reason to be insecticide free is that such repellents aren’t as thoroughly tested. There’s no need to license them so stringently, since they don’t contain chemicals like DEET.

But that also means they may not have been tested on actual bugs. For example, in a recent test between citronella candles and gerianol diffusers (both natural repellents), the winner was a table fan.

Yes, just turning on your fan is more effective at driving off the Ades mosquito than either “repellent”.

5 Pest Control "Solutions" that Can Make the Problem Worse
A better natural mosquito repellent – and the manufacturer wasn’t even trying.

The danger here is that a useless repellent gives your pest problem time to grow – especially if you’re facing bedbugs, termites, or cockroaches. Stick to that useless “natural solution” for a week or two, and your pest control costs might grow from a $300 job, to a $1,500 full extermination service.

Incidentally, note that some pests – like cockroaches or bed bugs – are tough enough that even pesticides may not kill them. Using natural repellents on them is like trying to fend of a mugger with some light skin cream.

Just call in pest control early, before the problem gets worse. (Or maybe, get a property on a higher floor).

3. Invite hantavirus with a sticky mouse trap!

Sticky mouse traps are sheets of paper covered in strong glue. When a rat comes into contact with it, the rat gets stuck. It then panics until it (1) dies of a heart attack, (2) gets its nose in the glue and suffocates to death slowly, or (3) literally chews off its limbs to try and escape, defecating and peeing all over your floor as it does so.

Now that you can visualise what you’ve done, a part of your soul has died forever. Blame the sticky paper company.

Anyway, the big issue with this trap – other than it being stomach-churning – is that rat corpses and excrement are not very clean. Shocking, we know.

You think a rat under the sink is bad? Wait till you try a decomposed rat under the sink.

When a rat corpse is chewed apart (or has been left out for a while), it becomes a spawning pit for the hantavirus. It is, of course, also a way for any other nasty diseases in the rat to make its way around your house.

And to get rid of a rat trapped this way, you’ll need to wear rubber gloves, spray the rat corpse with disinfectant or bleach and water, scrub down the surrounding area with the same, let the dead rat soak in the solution, seal it in an airtight bag and…yeah we don’t really believe you’re going to do all that.

Odds are you’ll just sweep it away, or prod it out the door with something – which leaves those nasty germs in your house.

4. Waste money and wreck the environment with a bug zapper!

The bug zapper is an old piece of equipment that gets an update every so often (now the rage is octenol enhanced bug zapping – octenol supposedlyu draws the bugs into the device).

Ask an entomologist or a pest control expert however, and they’ll tell you the bug zapper is the Adam Sandler movie of the pest control world. It’s just low-brow theatrics that ultimately contributes nothing, and costs too much.

Bug zappers make you think they’re working, because you can hear the popping sounds and see the fried bugs. But the ultimate effect it has on pest control is, well, nothing.

5 Pest Control "Solutions" that Can Make the Problem Worse
$30 to $200 to: zap random bugs! Wreck the ecology! Injure children or small pets and get sued!

For starters, insects like mosquitoes don’t just ignore you and head straight for the UV light. Mosquitoes are drawn by the carbon dioxide your  body produces – and they’re wired to after that first. They can see the light, but they’ll still ignore it and bite you first.

In fact, recent studies have show that of all the bugs killed by the zapper, only around 13.5 per cent were actual biting pests or parasites. You’re basically paying money to kill random insects and damage the overall environment, while doing nothing to stop, say, a mosquito problem.

On top of that, the bug zapper is a power drain, a constant sound irritation, and can injure pets or curious children. It’s also unhygienic if not thoroughly cleaned every time its used.

5. Use a Total Release Fogger to poison your house!

Using a Total Release Fogger, especially in an HDB flat, is a great way to learn about lung failure. These things – also called bug bombs – are devices that spew a huge gust of pesticides into the air; kind of like an insect Weapon of Mass Destruction.

The theory is that the pesticide will go everywhere and kill all the cockroaches, or whatever’s bugging you (pun intended).

Problem is, studies have shown that pests – in particular cockroach populations – show no notable decline even after bug bombing. Which shouldn’t be a surprise; if they survived

That’s because the pesticide falls on elevated, flat surfaces like kitchen counters, beds, and chairs. These are areas that cockroaches don’t go to – but you sure do. So the end result of a bug bomb is that you or your family end up rubbing up against toxic residue, while the cockroaches high-five each other and affirm they’re the superior species.

What sort of pest control solutions are nonsense? Voice your thoughts in our comments section or on our Facebook community page.

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