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Have you ever opened up your mailbox and found a dryer sheet in it? You throw it away but find another one lying in the same place the next morning. How come? Who does this? Is it just a prank or for a particular purpose? The real reason will surely ease your mood.
The mysterious dryer sheets have long confused the residents. Until 2021, the culprit finally showed up. Mailman Chris Strickley revealed in Reddit that he and his colleagues were consistently placing dryer sheets in mailboxes, and they had to do it for their own safety.
However, it wasn't Strickley who started the trend. On NBC's Today in the same year, he talked about his experience as a new mailman, "I began to see dryer sheets in people's mailboxes at the start of spring. At first, I was confused but just left them in there. Later on, I noticed my supervisor had a box of them on their desk and would see other carriers taking handfuls out."
Some Reddit posters questioned the truth of his claim and pointed out that the dryer sheets in mailboxes were more likely to be a gang's mark for a home invasion. Nevertheless, Strickley insisted that many mail carriers did this as a life hack.
Strickley referred to his own story, "I can't tell you how many times, especially during this part of the year, where I've opened up a box to see a little nest with three to five yellowjackets just chilling." More horribly, these insects often go nuts when mailmen intrude.
Strickley added, "So, I wind up sticking my hand in not knowing they are there. We all know how temperamental these little douchebags are. And merely existing in their presence is enough to [annoy them]. Last year alone I was stung ten times on ten separate occasions."
Letter carriers began to use dryer sheets to prevent the wasps from resting or even nesting in mailboxes. That's because the critters hate the distinct odor. Strickley recommended swapping out the sheets from time to time to keep the fragrance strong enough. The trick can also solve other problems.
As early as 2019, a Facebook user Staci has revealed that a dryer sheet can deal with an ant problem in her mailbox. Moreover, she surprisingly noticed that other bugs also disappeared from the mailbox after using the trick. But does the hack have any scientific proof?
Though many have found the tip useful, the academic world is still uncertain about its effectiveness. Texas A&M University's Sonja L. Swiger said to Today, "The science does not add up, and it would seem that if this was a viable option, there would be more discussion on it."
Well, Swiger may have been dismissive, but an entomology specialist had a more open mind, "Now this does not mean that [the dryer sheet method] has not deterred wasps or yellowjackets at some point. It just means that research has not been able to definitively rule it as effective." Anyway, Strickley also expressed his concern from a practical aspect.
Even though some may not believe in the hack, he begged the local people to allow his endeavor. He said in Reddit, "So please, if you one day randomly see a dryer sheet at the back of your mailbox, just know that your carrier more than likely put it there to deter these Satanic creatures from building their home in it."
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