There are many strange, silly superstitions out there when it comes to pest control. This month, we want to take a bit of a closer look at some of the kookier ones out there and see if there’s any truth to them.
Very Superstitious (Writings on the Blog)
By definition, a superstition is an irrational belief arising from ignorance or fear, or a belief in a supernatural causality. Even though superstitions are not based on natural events or reason, many reasonably intelligent people still engage in their rituals. Sometimes they have become so commonplace or ingrained into the culture that people don’t even realize the silly little things they do.
Most people still say “bless you” after someone sneezes and some people actually get offended if it is not said. Many people still knock on wood after professing that a particular unlucky event has not happened to them. People readily avoid things that cause “bad luck,” such as picking up pennies that are heads down, walking under ladders (although this is probably good from a safety standpoint), and the number 13. Many high-rise buildings don’t have a 13th floor, at least by name.
Another interesting fact about superstitions is how certain “signs” can mean completely different things from one place to another. Take termite superstitions, for instance: Local lore will tell you coming across one is either good or bad luck, depending on what part of the world you’re in. (Don’t worry if you’re in the latter group, we offer free termite inspections!)
Silly Pest Superstitions (That Aren’t True)
We’ve heard a lot of strange hypotheses about bugs and pests over the years. Here are our favorite untrue beliefs about insects and arthropods, as well as why we’re so certain they aren’t true.
1. Is it bad luck to kill a cricket in your house? What about a spider? Ladybug?
Well, it’s definitely “bad luck” for the cricket, spider, or ladybug being killed. But in reality, there’s no solid scientific basis for the claim that it is bad luck to kill a cricket in the house—or any other bug for that matter!
2. Is it illegal to kill a praying mantis? Is it bad luck to kill a praying mantis?
Our lawyers have assured us there are no laws against killing a praying mantis, and our experience with handling pests tells us there’s no bad luck associated with it either.
3. Daddy long legs are the most poisonous spiders in the world—but they can’t bite because their fangs are too small.
This one is untrue from top to bottom. Daddy long legs—also known as harvestmen—are:
- Not spiders
- Don’t have fangs
- Don’t have poison
Besides, animals are venomous if their bite or sting contains toxins, not poison.
That doesn’t mean daddy long legs aren’t a nuisance, though! If you’re dealing with harvestmen (or looking for other insect and spider exterminator services), you can trust Terminix to help get the situation under control.
4. You can use Listerine, bath oil, fabric softener sheets, vitamins, or other common household items to repel mosquitoes.
Sorry, but this, too, is untrue. There’s research suggesting that certain plants and essential oils give off scents that are repellent to mosquitoes, but the efficacy of these aroma-based barriers is pretty limited.
If you’re looking to keep these blood-suckers off of you, Terminix recommends using mosquito repellent that contains DEET. We also offer mosquito control services during peak season to treat adult mosquitoes and prevent breeding sites.
5. The average person swallows around 8 spiders per year.
Don’t worry, we can assure you that the average person does NOT eat any spiders per year. This completely fabricated internet rumor has been popularized in the last few decades, but doesn’t withstand serious inquiry.
For starters, spiders that live inside your home have much better things to do with their time than explore the mouths of sleeping humans. There are webs to tend, meals to catch, and insects to eat, all of which translate to a pretty packed schedule for Mr. or Mrs. Spider.
What’s more, spiders’ perception of the world is largely predicated on vibrations—a slumbering (possibly snoring) human is simply much too “noisy” for a spider to see it as anything other than a threat.
6. You can use club soda, instant grits, aspartame, baking soda, etc. to kill fire ants.
Sorry to all would-be DIYers out there, but this is just another old wives tale. These home remedies don’t work!
The best way to deal with fire ants is to call up the expert technicians at your local Terminix branch. We’ve been helping homeowners keep fire ants out of yards for over 75 years now, and our pest control services are backed up by the strongest guarantee in the industry (if the pests come back, so do we).
7. Crane flies, also called mosquito hawks, kill and eat mosquitoes.
Sadly for homeowners in the Southeast, this is not true. In fact, many species of crane flies don’t eat anything as adults—their lives in this form are too short to do so. Crane fly larvae feed on decaying plant material.
Dragonflies and damselflies, on the other hand, do eat mosquitos, and are strong allies to homeowners in the fight against skeeters.
8. It is good luck to have a cricket in your house.
Well, it’s certainly not bad luck to have a cricket in the house, and they won’t pose a threat to your home, family, or pets. As long as you don’t mind the annoying chirping, there’s no reason why you couldn’t keep a cricket in your house for good luck.
Still, one cricket can turn into more crickets than you’ve ever seen before pretty quickly if you aren’t careful—and then you might have to start making plans for cricket removal services to come help (like the ones available through Terminix).
9. How many years of bad luck for killing a cricket?
There’s no evidence to suggest you’ll earn any years of bad luck from killing a cricket.
10. If you see your name in a spider’s web, you are going to die.
Despite what E.B. White’s children’s classic Charlotte’s Web might have you believe, notes or words in a spider’s web are random coincidence. After all, spiders can’t spell!
If anything, because of how unlikely it is to happen, seeing your name in a spider’s web should be seen as a lucky occurrence.
11. The only sure-fire way to get rid of bad bug luck is to call in the professionals.
This one is 100% true – Terminix can attest.
Bad Luck with Insects? Trust Terminix
If you’ve found yourself on the receiving end of some bad pest luck—whether that’s a yard overrun by mosquitos or an attic full of roof rats—the friendly, local experts at Terminix are here to help. We’ve been breaking curses and putting things right for over 75 years now, and our services are backed up by the strongest guarantee in the industry.
Worried your luck is running out? Call Terminix to request a free inspection today for total pest peace-of-mind (lucky you!).