Myth Busting – FAQ

Share these dangerously inaccurate urban legends with DIYers(Do It Yourselfers). Setting the record straight will underline your knowledge and experience while revealing the value of the services you provide.


Bed Bugs

Fiction: Bed bugs are easy to eliminate and any chemical will kill them.

Fact: Bed bugs adapt to environments and chemicals. We eliminated bed bugs with DDT because the bed bugs walked flat footed. Since then, the bed bug has adapted and walks on his toenails.

Fiction: Bed bugs can fly and will jump on you.

Fact: Bed bugs are known for hitchhiking but don’t jump or fly onto their hosts. They run fast, hide well and adapt to most environments.

Fiction: Bed bugs always reproduce quickly, no matter where you find them.

Fact: To reproduce quickly, they need a steady blood meal to molt and lay eggs. No meal, no reproduction.

Fiction: Bites aligned three in a row means you have bed bugs.

Fact: “Breakfast, lunch and dinner” is factually untrue. Bed bugs normally bite to obtain a feeding source; therefore, it can be many bites or just one.

Fiction: Bed bugs only bite their host and feed at night.

Fact: Bed bugs can feed at any time but prefer to feed at night. In high levels of infestation, the feeding can be day or night.

Fiction: Bed bugs live only in mattresses and nowhere else in a home or office.

Fact: Bed bugs will live in a mattress, box spring, couches and almost anywhere close to their hosts.

Fiction: Bed bugs are only found in unsanitary conditions, never in clean homes.

Fact: Bed bug infestations aren’t related to living in filthy conditions. Bed bugs don’t discriminate when it comes to harboring and breeding.

Fiction: Bed bugs and their bites transmit disease and cause illness.

Fact: They won’t make you sick, necessarily, unless the bites become infected.

Fiction: Do-it-yourself sprays and foggers for bed bugs work. Don’t hire an exterminator when you can do it yourself.

Fact: When customers don’t have time, knowledge or experience to do the job correctly, and foggers only drive bed bugs deeper into harborages.

Fiction: To stop bed bugs, we need to bring back DDT. The stronger the chemical, the better the solution.

Fact: DDT developed resistance over time, just like pyrethroids. Stronger chemicals aren’t the answer.


Fiction: Only one type of termites exists in the United States.

Fact: While it sounds completely ridiculous to PMPs, many people believe this.

Fiction: Termites are white ants.

Fact: Termites are one species of insect; ants are a different species of insect.

Fiction: Surround your home with wood, and that will keep termites out of your home.

Fact: On the contrary: this will attract more termites that will breed faster and ultimately cause more damage. The more wood available, the faster they build their colonies.

Fiction: Purchasing mulch for your home’s exterior will attract termites.

Fact: Most mulch is pretreated before being sold. As such, the probability of this occurring is extremely low. This was a popular rumor after Hurricane Katrina.

Fiction: My neighbor had a termite treatment, and now I have termites. The termite treatment they had pushed termites onto my property.

Fact: Termite colonies can be enormous, stretching across numerous properties. Modern termite treatments are nonrepellent, so they don’t cause termites to avoid the treatment.

Fiction: Formosan subterranean termites eat only wood and no other form of construction material.

Fact: While Coptotermesformosanusprefer to eat wood, there have been documented accounts of them chewing through copper piping, foam insulation boards, plaster and some plastics.

Fiction: Termites only attack structures in decay. New construction is safe from termites.

Fact: Termites will attach older structures just as they would newer structures. In fact, there have been documented accounts of termite activity in new construction as early as a week old.

Fiction: Steel-framed homes are safe from termite damage. It’s the best way to build.

Fact: Steel-framed homes are no more exempt from or resistant to termite damage than other structures, mainly because these homes are built on slabs and other building materials that can attract termites.


Fiction: Ants and termites live separately and never co-mingle with each other.

Fact: Both species will comingle without interrupting one another’s colonies or nests.

Fiction: Carpenter ants eat wood and process it just like termites.

Fact: Termites eat wood. Carpenter ants build tunnels and use wood to build nests and reproduce.

Fiction: Ants eat leaves and process them to feed their colonies.

Fact: There’s no documented proof that ants eat leaves, but they use leaves within their colonies to create and camouflage their nests.

Fiction: Chlorine, bleach, ammonia, detergents or drain cleaners can be put down a fire ant mound to stop fire ants.

Fact: All methods are dangerous and will only cause fire ants to move away from that area and set up a new colony elsewhere.

Fiction: Draw chalk lines around your windowsill and door. Ants don’t like particles stuck to their feet.

Fact: Ants will walk through chalk lines because it doesn’t affect them or repel them.

Fiction: All ants can be killed by spraying.

Fact: Spraying certain species of ants, such as pharaoh and Argentine, will cause them to repel from the spray and form multiple colonies in a process known as budding.

Fiction: All ant species have one queen and one colony.

Fact: Depending on the species, there might be multiple queens at any given time.

Fiction: Feed ants grains because they can’t process it- it will cause their stomachs to explode.

Fact: The consumption of grains by ants doesn’t adversely affect their stomachs and cause them to explode.

Fiction: Queen ants can live 10 years. Worker ants can live as long as a year.

Fact: Worker ants have a life expectancy of 45 to 60 days. Queen ants can live 30 years, thanks to long naps during her lifetime.


Fiction: Mice and rats have no bones. That’s why they can squeeze into tight spaces.

Facts: Mice and rats are vertebrae rodents but are muscularly flexible as an adaptation that affords them the ability to squeeze into tight spaces. This allows them to harbor and breed effectively.

Fiction: Rats can grow to the size of domestic household cats, especially in urban area where food is abundant.

Fact: Rats can grow abnormally large but not the size of an average household cat, which weighs about 10 lbs.

Fiction: Place peanut butter on a glue board to catch more rodents. Glue traps without something on them don’t work.

Fact: Peanut butter weakens the stickiness of glue boards. It’s best to reserve this tactic for snap traps.

Fiction: For every human in an urban city, there’s one rat.

Fact: Reproduction of rodents doesn’t depend on how many humans exist but on conditions conducive to breeding and harboring.

Fiction: Catching a rat is the solution to a rat problem.

Fact: Rats become pregnant five times a year and average 14 offspring. Catching one rat won’t solve a rat problem.

Fiction: Rodents are a sign of poor sanitation. Rodents will feed only on filth.

Fact: Rodents prefer fresh food and clean surroundings but will infest any place at any time if given the opportunity and the right conditions for them to reproduce.

Fiction: Rats and mice don’t have bladders and are urinating constantly.

Fact: They have bladders. The misconception lies in the fact that they use their urine as a form of communication, which causes them to mark their territory constantly.

Fiction: Mice will become rats; so throw a lot of poison fast before they grow up.

Fact: We’ve all heard this one. Rats and mice are two different species and their control is equally different. The key to effective rodent control is to perform proper inspections and then provide a tailored, integrated treatment plan, not tossing around poison and hoping for the best.

Fiction: Rats are always aggressive, never shy.

Fact: Rats can become aggressive if cornered, but normally they’re very shy and will try to run into an established burrow if they sense danger.


Fiction: Cockroaches are afraid of light.

Fact: Cockroaches will avoid light, but if necessary, they can be active anytime.

Fiction: Cockroaches in a residential, commercial or industrial facility is a sign of poor sanitation.

Fact: Statistically speaking, cockroaches are one of the cleanest pests. They groom themselves much like cats; however, clutter and sanitation can be contributing factors.

Fiction: Cockroaches spread disease.

Fact: Cockroaches don’t spread disease directly, but the surfaces they touch can be infected with pathogens that can cause illness.

Fiction: Cockroaches don’t hibernate. Only mammals do that.

Fact: While this is a controversial issue, some species of cockroaches can enter a suspended state for an extended period.

Fiction: Cockroaches lay several egg sacs per month.

Fact: Gestation varies among cockroach species, but as always, the conditions cockroaches live in dictate how well they reproduce.

Fiction: Cockroaches don’t bite.

Fact: Cockroaches have the ability to bite. In rare and extreme cases, they’ll bite a live human, but they prefer dead animals and plants.

Fiction: Cockroaches don’t fly.

Fact: Many species of cockroaches can fly. In Southeast Asia, for example, Oriental cockroaches (Blattaorientalis) are known for their ability to fly into residences.

Fiction: Cockroaches can live without a head.

Fact: A headless cockroach can live for about a week but will die after that because they need their head to drink water, which is necessary for survival.