Solutions & Substitutions by Reena: Dealing with Sow Bugs

Solutions & Substitutions by Reena: Dealing with Sow Bugs

By: Reena Nerbas

Sow Bugs

Dear Reena,

We have sow bugs in our house (which are very common in our area). I have heard that keeping moisture out of the basement really helps but is there any other solution to get rid of them? Thank-you, Pat

Dear Jean,

As you mentioned, sow bugs are a real problem in places where moisture and humidity are high. To find out where sow bugs are entering, look near (or in) floor drains or nearby damp wood such as paneling or baseboards. Also, check underneath that cardboard box in the basement you haven’t moved in quite some time. Are you able to caulk openings and put in weather stripping wherever needed? A perimeter pesticide spray may help break the cycle for a short time, but will not eliminate the problem permanently. Remember, if you don’t solve the moisture problem, the bugs will return no matter which chemicals you use. You may reduce the populations by sprinkling a small amount of diatomaceous earth, boric acid or borax and icing sugar around the house and in cracks (toxic for pets and small children). Also, note that damp or wet mulch will encourage insects, especially if it is not kept below the level of the building siding or stucco. Often pest control professionals suggest keeping mulch levels low around foundations. Glue boards work quite well at catching sow bugs, but will also trap other bugs. A dehumidifier and lots of proper ventilation helps.

Feedback from Wise Readers

Re: Filling a bucket

Use a pool noodle to fill a bucket, it works great; slide the noodle over the faucet and run it down to the bucket—allowing it to sit on the floor, no lifting. I enjoy your hints, Ray

Re: Broken key in lock

Your advice regarding using Crazy Glue or Super Glue to reattach the broken key is for the worst possible scenario. Pranksters will tell you what this glue will do to any lockset or cylinder. If any glue is introduced into a lock cylinder you are risk for jamming the spring-loaded pins that align with the cuts on the key itself. Sometimes the lock will operate if the key has broken after positioning all pins in their proper position to operate the cylinder plug (part that rotates when activated by key). Locksmiths use a broken key extractor that they introduce into the plug to catch the first cut of the broken key in the plug without interfering with its movement and simply pull the partial key remaining in the lock. If you can find a small fish hook, you simply straighten it to use it as an extractor. The hook might catch the side of the broken key and hook into the metal by friction or by nicks in the key or by the 1st cut of the key. Paul, Former Federal Gov’t Locksmith

Re: Cleaning an outdoor fountain

You had a reader asking how to clean an outdoor fountain. Simply add about three quarter cup 3% hydrogen peroxide to the water. No need to clean the fountain. Add more peroxide every few weeks. It’s also safe for birds and animals. Donna

Re: Cleaning a brand-new cedar deck

Your advice to use a power washer on a wood deck is 100% risky. Please correct this in your next column so people don’t tear their decks apart. I have been in business as a painter for 44 years and have seen the damage a power washer can do to many surfaces especially wood. Also, never power wash a vinyl deck surface either: it kills the surface very quickly. Mild soap a brush and a hose are the ONLY tools to use. Dan

Re: Dents in stainless steel fridge

There are a couple of ways to fix them, one of which is bizarre, but does work! The first one simply involves a strong magnet. If you put it on the dent, and you have a rod attached to it, you can pull it out. Even strong fingers will work. Second, you can take apart the fridge where it is dented and use a small hammer and a block of wood and just lightly knock it flat! Rober

Note: Every user assumes all risks of injury or damage resulting from the implementation of any suggestions in this column. Test all products on an inconspicuous area first.

Reena Nerbas is a popular motivational presenter for large and small groups; check out her website: Ask a question or share a tip at




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