In this article, we break down fact or fiction: pest control edition.

Since the dawn of time people have been looking for ways to deal with pesky critters. Over many generations much advice has been passed down on how to keep annoying vermin at bay. Some of this advice is great and has been used to develop new, better pest control treatments over the years. But some of this advice is just no good and can do more harm than good. Today we are looking at some old pest control wisdom to see what is fact and what is fiction.

Cheese as bait in a mouse trap.

To anyone who grew up watching Tom and Jerry, we hate to spoil your childhood, but this one is fiction. In fact, mice more often prefer sweets to dairy. Your best bet for a mouse trap would be something like peanut butter.

Bay leaves keep pests at bay.

This, incredibly, is a fact. The strong scent of bay leaves is a natural repellant for many pests. In order to keep your pantry staples fresh and secure, add a bay leaf directly into the package or canister. If you do not want the bay leaves to come into direct contact with your food, you can also attach some leaves to the outside of the canister with tape. This is, of course, no substitute for keeping your pantry clean, so if a spill happens you will still need to deal with it promptly to keep pests out.

Peppermint oil on cobwebs will get rid of spiders.

Unfortunately, this is fiction. As a general rule, spraying anything on a spider web other than water will cause the spider to abandon the web. This is not exclusive to peppermint oil. However, what this means is that the spider will then go looking for places nearby to construct a new web. So now you will have two webs in your home and will be constantly on the hunt for an elusive spider.

Use vinegar to get rid of fruit flies.

As unusual as it may sound, this one is quite true. In fact, a good DIY fruit fly trap involves filling a cup with vinegar, covering it with plastic wrap, then poking a hole in the plastic wrap. It seems that the old adage about catching more flies with honey than vinegar was not talking about fruit flies.

A penny in a bag of water will repel mosquitoes.

If you have heard this one before, we are sorry to tell you that it is fiction. In actuality, a shiny penny in a bag of water will make it extra sparkly and is more likely to attract mosquitoes than to repel them. Instead the best way to eliminate mosquitoes is to treat for their eggs, which is best done by eliminating any standing water on your property. If you have a pond, you can stock it with fish that eat mosquitoes to help keep the population under control.