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Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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Friday - July 18, 2008

From: Millcove, PE
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Diseases and Disorders
Title: Burning sulfur over coals in the home for insect control.
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

Is burning sulfur(over hot coals) in your home a safe way of getting rid of ants and insects?

ANSWER:

That would be a BAD, BAD, BAD idea!  Burning coals in the home is a deadly endeavor.  Charcoal releases tremendous amounts of carbon monoxide when burned and can quickly poison the air inside a home.

Moreover, sulfur burned in the home would leave a foul stench that would linger for some time and would probably not be very effective against the pests, either. 

Shortly after immigrating to America, Mr. Smarty Plants' grandfather was living in a New York tenement along with 2 or 3 million roaches. One Friday, he left for the weekend to visit his brother in New Jersey. Just before leaving set he off a sulfur bomb in his apartment and locked the place up. Upon his return on Sunday evening he found his neighbors ready to lynch him. My much better educated grandfather found a new place to live the next day. True story.

 

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