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True or false? Common facts about pest control

Common facts about pest control

Many South African are still working from home, which is great news for pests such as cockroaches, rats and ants. More time spent at home means more waste is created, which means more food for unwanted pests. Many South Africans may have noticed a surge in pest populations recently, especially in communal areas and apartment blocks.

IWESCO offers long-lasting pest control services using effective methods that are safe for the environment. These services include fumigation and extermination of insects, rodents and other household pests that may have moved in during the lockdown. Many fed-up citizens may resort to trying their own pest control methods, in which case you need to be aware of some facts and myths, such as the following:

1. Is lavender really an effective mosquito repellant?

As we start to move into summer, mosquitoes will become more prevalent. There is a common belief that lavender and some citrus plants can help to ward off mosquitoes. This is true! Lavender, lemongrass and certain citrus leaves will repel these buzzing nuisances. This is why many mozzie repellants, such as citronella candles, smell like citrus. The reason these plants work is due to their fragrances.

Mosquitoes find their hosts by sensing the carbon dioxide exhaled through the lungs. As they get close to the human or animal, they can smell certain chemicals given off by bare skin, which is how they locate a suitable feeding site. Lavender and lemongrass contain natural oils that mask these skin scents and prevent mosquitoes from finding a spot to land on. Try leaving some lavender near your bed at night to get a restful sleep.

2. Does baby powder stop ants in their tracks?

This is a common belief that many people swear by. Sprinkling baby powder on a surface can prevent ants from crossing it. This is partly true - the fact is that it doesn’t necessarily have to be baby powder. Other similar substances can work too, such as cornstarch. However, these powdery methods are not always effective. You may be better off buying powdered ant repellant and using that.

The reason behind these methods is that ants may not like talc - a common ingredient in baby powder, which is why it is sometimes called talcum powder. This method is not 100% effective, but since baby powder is non-toxic, it may be worth a shot if you find yourself stuck at home with an ant infestation. If you can get to a shop, try using other ant repellants, such as ant traps. Some powdered repellents may be poisonous if they come into contact with food and cutlery, so be careful of where you sprinkle it.

3. Are mothballs effective for rodents too?

Mothballs are those peculiar-smelling white balls that look like mints, but they are certainly not edible. These products can be left in cupboards to repel insects such as silverfish and moths; protecting your towels and linen from being nibbled. However, many people believe that they can repel rodents too. This is a myth, unfortunately.

The main chemical in mothballs is naphthalene - the pungent-smelling white substance that gives them their unique odour. This chemical, when inhaled, can cause the red blood cells to lose their ability to carry oxygen. While it is effective for tiny insects, the amount of naphthalene in mothballs is too small to deter rats and mice. In fact, you will need an enormous amount of naphthalene to be effective against rodents.

4. Hanging shiny objects will repel flies

Some South Africans strongly believe in this idea. Hanging shiny objects, such as CDs or plastic bags filled with water, will keep flies away. The idea is that flies can get confused by the light reflected off these objects, so hanging them near windows or on a verandah can keep the buzzing pests away. There is some truth to this belief, but also some myth.

House flies have around 4000 lenses in each eye that give them a detailed mosaic view of the world. When light is reflected off shiny objects, they may perceive it as the sun and get confused - this is the belief but there is no real way to prove it. While bags of water and CDs may keep flies away from the nearby space, they will often find another way around. The most effective way to deal with flies is by using a fly trap or a fly swatter.

These myths and facts may help you to keep your home free from pests going forward. However, prevention is the best cure and the easiest way to tackle pests is to stop them from breeding in the first place. Always ensure that your house is clean and that there are no accessible sources of food for pests. Clean your kitchen thoroughly and take any rubbish outside, away from your home.

Fill any cracks and crevices will foam filler or grout - this will prevent ants and other pests from finding a path indoors. If you believe that a pest infestation is imminent, contact us today and we can send a trained team of pest control experts to your location. IWESCO is a licensed essential service and able to operate countrywide.


IWESCO offers specialised cleaning and waste control services to industrial and commercial customers in South Africa. These services are aimed at minimising our customers’ impact on the environment. Our services also include pest control, garden maintenance, fogging and disinfecting. Our staff are highly trained to offer the most professional services. IWESCO is a Level 2 B-BBEE supplier with ISO 14001 certification for environmental management.


We are a one-stop shop for all your contract cleaning and waste control needs and have a national footprint. Our head office is located in Tshwane but we can provide services to any industrial and commercial client in the major metropolitan areas around South Africa, including Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth, Mbombela and more.


For more information on our offerings and insights into the latest industry news, follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn.


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