Popular Science

Six pest-removal myths that need to be exterminated

And what you should do instead.
dead cockroach

Dead cockroach

You can defeat insect and animal invaders.

From the beginning, human homes have had pests. And for as long as we’ve attracted fleas, cockroaches, mice, and other beasties, we’ve been trying to get rid of these unwanted roommates. But when it comes to defending our domains, many of us carry a lot of misconceptions.

That’s because our understanding of unwanted visitors has been based on our often-flawed understanding of the world around us. For example, Aristotle argued for “spontaneous generation,” that is, animals just appearing out of certain forms of matter. In this view, if you see a bunch of mice around your pile of wheat, it’s because the grain itself created the rodents.

That theory sounds silly to modern audiences, but it wasn’t definitively debunked until Louis Pasteur disproved it in 1859. While our understanding of pests has advanced considerably, we still believe plenty of pseudoscience. Here are a few

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