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Mythbusting: DIY Bug Catching/Repelling Traps

Published In: Mythbusting

This month we will be addressing popular home remedies that are utilized to either catch or repel insect pests. These DIY traps can be found on the internet with ease to handle several different pests from mosquitoes to stink bugs. In this blog, we will address some popular DIY traps for flies, fleas, and fruit flies.

Here in the South, I am sure that most everyone has dined at a restaurant that has had bags of water tacked to areas near doors and windows. No one is sure where the idea came from, but some suggest that the light refracted from the water will confuse and deter flies from entering a kitchen or place of dining. So, do bags of water lower the number of houseflies around homes and restaurants? Mike Stringham, professor of entomology at North Carolina State University, investigated the use of clear plastic water bags as a fly deterrent and he concluded that areas equipped with water bags experienced higher levels of housefly activity. Also, in a December 2010 episode of Mythbusters, the hosts found no significant difference between the number of flies attracted to a chamber holding both rotten meat and a plastic bag of water and one which held only rotten meat. These are just a few examples and overall, there is significant evidence that suggests hanging bags of water does not deter flies. Regardless, you can still find water bags hanging near restaurant patios and backyard porches across the globe.

Any pet owners that are reading this might be familiar with this next DIY pest trap. A homemade flea trap is quite simple as it is only a container of water placed beneath a lamp. Adult fleas are positively phototactic, meaning they’re attracted to sources of light. The light attracts the fleas, causing them to jump and land in the water. Adding a few drops of dish soap to the water reduces the surface tension. Thus, the fleas sink and drown. Simply put, flea traps do work but only for removing them in certain areas. Homemade flea traps need to be used as part of an overall flea control plan that involves killing flea eggs, putting preventative measures in place to keep them away and treating your dogs (or cats, etc.) for fleas. So, while these traps will help remove fleas from a particular area, they will not attract any fleas that may be lurking on your pets.

Fruit flies can be a major pest for any kitchen and despite their name, fruit flies aren’t just attracted to fruits. They love wine, alcohol, soda, meats, vegetables, mushrooms, sludge in garbage cans, drain ooze and just about any organic matter that’s decaying. If you have fruit flies buzzing around your house, you can create a simple trap to capture them with a bowl, plastic wrap and apple cider vinegar. Place a small amount of the vinegar in a bowl and cover it tightly with plastic wrap. Using a toothpick, poke several small holes in the top of the bowl and place it near areas where fruit flies are present. They’ll be attracted to the apple cider vinegar smell and make their way inside where they won’t be able to get out. However, trapping alone can only be effective after the source of attraction and breeding has been eliminated.

To conclude, while several of these DIY traps can be effective, they won’t be able to fully eliminate your pest issues. Please keep this in mind as these methods can be useful in some situations, but they will be of little use if you have an infestation.

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