Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

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.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

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

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

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!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
2 ratings

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.

 

More Diseases and Disorders Questions

Keeping dogs and cats out of flower gardens
March 02, 2009 - Do you have any suggestions to keep the cats and dogs out of my flower garden? They either just walk through it, and trample everything, or sleep on the soft blooms and squish everything. I am despe...
view the full question and answer

Mutation in bluebonnets from Elgin TX
April 16, 2013 - What causes bluebonnets to mutate..grow as if three or four are combined into one flower on one very flat, wide stem. I have these in my yard; they are beautiful! I have taken several pictures.
view the full question and answer

Oak Wilt in Georgetown, TX
November 17, 2014 - We have lost several live oaks to oak wilt. Another couple are dying but still have some green leaves. Is it OK to cut down these trees now or should we wait until they are entirely dead? I've heard ...
view the full question and answer

Why is my Ash drooping?
June 22, 2009 - Last spring, I bought a house in Austin, TX with a large Ash tree in the front yard. It looked fine last year, but has been looking funny since it leafed out this spring. It's as if the leaves are we...
view the full question and answer

Diseased cypress trees in Connecticut
June 09, 2009 - Cypress trees in Connecticut browning on interior. Tips of longer limbs completely brown, single limbs dying one at a time, sap oozing out of mainstem underneath dying limb. I do not see any canker...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.