People Are Hanging Bags Of Pennies From Their Porches, And We May Start Doing The Same

The South has many traditions that don’t make all that much sense to outsiders. They run the gamut from unique events (such as purity balls) to engrained behavioral norms (looking at Southern hospitality). However, walking down the streets of Georgia or Kentucky during the summertime would provide an even more perplexing sight for someone from out of town: Ziploc bags full of pennies and water, hanging from people’s porches. Why on Earth would people do this? When we finally found out, it all made total sense.

Two female friends were chatting over a nice meal in the patio of one of their favorite restaurants when they noticed something strange that caught their eye: “zip-lock baggies pinned to a post and a wall.” Immediately this peculiar sight piqued their interest.

“The bags were half-filled with water, each contained four coins, and they were zipped shut,” the woman recalled, going on to admit that “Naturally, we were curious.” So, they decided to ask their waiter what the deal was.

YouTube – Visit Kilkeny

What the friends didn’t know at this point was that this phenomenon is actually an extremely common one, at least in the Southern United States. Such adornments can be found not only at restaurants and stores, but also hanging from residential windows and door frames, porches, and even trees.

Daily Mail

To the uninformed, this trend might seem pretty bizarre. What in the world could the purpose be? At first glance, it may appear to be a practice born out of superstition. After all, coins submerged in water have a long and storied history within many cultures.

Pixabay

In ancient Europe, pious people used to make a habit out of offering up tributes to their gods when they believed that the deities were displeased with them. The most common location for these gifts? Wells. And even today the action continues, with people across the world making wishes by throwing coins into fountains.

Of course, while we all like to think that the pennies we throw into fountains are sacred (come on, we spent our one wish on that!), it turns out that these tossed coins can actually serve as huge money-makers. Just take the Trevi Fountain in Rome!

CNN

This popular tourist destination accumulates up to $4,500 worth of coins a day. Talk about a piggy bank! And in 2007, those in charge of the site decided to do something worthwhile with the money, donating the funds to worthy charities. Still, the explanation for the mysterious bags is more involved than mere superstition…

Golden Eagle Coin

It turns out the odd fad came into widespread use after a single Facebook post on a group known as “Hinch Army Cleaning Tips,” full of followers devoted to an Instagram star named Sophie Hinchcliffe. The guru shares hacks for maintaining an organized home.

Instagram – MrsHinchHome

But what could these bags filled with pennies and water possibly have to do with cleanliness? Well it all goes back to a problem that isn’t unique to the South per se, but one that occurs there at an alarming rate.

The Seattle School

Anyone who’s spent even one summer day south of the Mason-Dixon line knows that the weather can be pretty punishing at times. Especially in Southeastern states such as Georgia or Florida, the days can run extremely hot and, even worse, very humid. Naturally, then, cracking a window to let the breeze in seems like an obvious step…

Nothing wrong with that, right? Well, unfortunately for those in the know, there actually is. You see, while cooling down from the heat is necessary, even the simple act of opening a window can come with unwanted consequences. Specifically, flies — and lots of them.

JAPCO Pest Control

Nobody likes house flies, but they’re more than merely inconvenient or annoying; they can also carry a variety of diseases, some of which (like cholera or tuberculosis) are potentially lethal. Flies are also pretty gross. They thrive in disgusting environments like garbage, feces, and rotten food. And the worst part?

Public Domain Pictures

Given that these pesky bugs are only ⅓ of an inch large on average, they are also incredibly skilled at getting into places they shouldn’t — like window screens and cabinets. We don’t have to tell you why this isn’t ideal. Luckily, this is where the penny and water-filled bags come in.

Pikist

You see, the answer that woman and her friend got from the waiter when they asked about the bags was actually quite simple: “The owner told us that these baggies kept the flies away naturally.” The perplexed customer thought it was too good to be true, so she stayed around to watch for herself.

YouTube – FlipKart

Sure enough, the bag seemed to work like a charm! “We actually watched some flies come in the open window, stand around on the windowsill and then fly out again. And there were no flies in the eating area!” the satisfied diner raved. But how does the weird trick really work?

Chris Maggio – New Yorker

According to the user who originally posted the hack online, “Flies don’t like water, and they don’t like the colors given off from the pennies. Flies have compound eyes so the bags look like a giant body of water to them. Therefore, they leave.” But is that truly the whole story?

The science behind it is that flies have very big eyes compared to their bodies, making the pennies appear far, far larger than they are in reality when placed in water. This is repellent to the flies because their vision is extremely sensitive. Evolutionarily, this serves an interesting purpose.

Wikimedia Commons

“Given that flies have a lot of eyes, to them it’s like a zillion disco balls reflecting light, colors and movement in a dizzying manner. When you figure that flies are prey for many other bugs, animals, birds, et cetera, they simply won’t take the risk of being around that much-perceived action,” explained one internet commenter.

AMC – Breaking Bad

Many people across the South, and even in other similarly toasty climates like Australia, swear up and down that the trick works like a charm. “The flies were bad while I was camping,” recalled one horse trailer owner. “I put the baggies with pennies above the door. Not one fly came into the trailer.”

YouTube – Old Man Steve

This is certainly a genius hack for weathering the hot, buggy, summer months. But what about when winter rolls around? One way to keep the heat inside your home is to use a low-cost insulator. Bubblewrap is inexpensive and can be placed over non-insulated areas like windows and door frames. But, even tried and true bubblewrap can’t keep out one type of pest.

Mpsportfolio / YouTube

Andrea and Justin Isabell learned this the hard way. They live a happy, quaint life in their 100-year-old house in the Perkasie borough of Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Aside from a few minor repairs, their five-year stay in the home had been a breeze… until July 2020 rolled around.

Andrea Isabell / Facebook

It all started when Tropical Storm Fay hit their neighborhood. The Isabells were lucky enough to only endure some heavy rainfall, but with a ferocious rainstorm often comes pesky water damage.

Zeke Orzech

Shortly afterwards, the couple noticed dark streaks on the walls of their mudroom. Andrea and Justin assumed it was just water damage from the storm. Then, they took a closer look.

Justin Isabell / Facebook

Justin and Andrea noticed the streams of fluid running down the walls had a golden brown hue. This, the couple knew, was not water, but what exactly it was was unclear. Determined to find answers, Justin ran his finger through the oozing fluid.

“My husband felt this really sticky, syrupy stuff,” Andrea later told the news. “We were brave and smelled it,” Andrea told WPVI-TV. It had a familiar, sweet smell… so, Justin made another bold move.

Andrea Isabell / Facebook

“We noticed these streaks coming down our wall, and we could not figure out what it was,” Justin said. “So, with a very careful lick,” he found answers. The taste was a familar one.

It was honey dripping from their walls. But this made very little sense to the family. “We’ve never heard any buzzing or anything,” Andrea said. There were no bees circling the premises. Where had all the honey come from?

Kelley Beekeeping

Andrea traveled up to her bedroom window, looking out to witness honeybees entering and exiting from a hole alongside her roof. “And I thought there we go, there’s their front door,” she stated. She never could’ve guessed what was in their “living room.”

Justin Isabell / Facebook

The honey was dripping from the attic, all the way down to the basement. Once the Isabells realized their little visitors were turning their home into a beehive, it was time to contact a professional.

Justin Isabell / Facebook

But first, Justin made a lighthearted video on Facebook, which involved him licking the wall, to show his Facebook friends his family’s predicament. He captioned the video “PSA for Homeowners. How to tell if you have a bee issue!”

The Family Handyman

He went on to say, “In all seriousness, if any of my contacts know a beekeeper that will safely remove the hive/queen intact and relocate, please message me.” Someone likely had a resident beekeeper’s number stored in their contacts, because the Isabells soon sought out help.

Michael Gäbler / Wikimedia Commons

They contacted Allan Lattanzi, a general contractor and beekeeper, to check out their home. Allan has worked with bees for over eight years, earning himself the nickname “The Bee Man” of Yerkes Honey Farms in Collegeville.

6abc Philadelphia

With his eight years of experience, Allan estimated the colony held anywhere from 20,000 to 30,000 bees. Along with the queen bee, there are typically hundreds of of male drones and 20,000 to 80,000 female worker bees per colony.

Jeff Hagan

Allan had a theory as to why the honey suddenly started running. “I think water got into the colony and washed the nectar out of the comb and made it more liquified and that’s what was running down the wall,” he told CNN.

The Isabells’ kids were fascinated by the bees, and their dog didn’t mind licking the sweet stuff from the walls. “I have three boys and they were wondering if we could set a tap up so we could just pour honey on our yogurt and granola in the morning,” Andrea said.

“I wish we could. I wish we could share it, but they need a better home where they’re safe and happy and not living with us,” she continued. Andrea was aware that bees were dying out, and that her buzzing visitors had to be safely transported.

Andrea Isabell / Facebook

But there was one obstacle standing in their way. “We know bees are endangered. We want to be able to save the colony and rehome them appropriately and carefully, but the damage done to the house to extract it was concerning,” Andrea said.

Andrea Isabell

After the assessment of the not-so sweet situation, Allan estimated the repairs will cost a whopping $3,000. And unfortunately, Andrea doesn’t believe homeowner’s insurance will cover it. Yikes.

The Bartlett Bee Whisperer David Glover / YouTube

“Right now, I feel mostly safe because the bees haven’t gained access inside so they’re just doing their thing and they’re high up on the roof,” Andrea explained. These bees chose a wildly inconvenient place to worship their queen.

savannah_panorama / Reddit

“No one has been stung, so I guess that’s why I feel confident and calm,” Andrea continued. All the Isabell family could do for the time being was reluctantly shell out the three grand and observe Mother Nature’s pesky little miracles.

Andrea Isabell / Facebook

It turns out that bees often deem people’s homes to be the best place to start a colony, completely refusing to pay rent! Certain homeowners have found there to be certain risks from welcoming bees into your home, however.

Hinterland Bees

At first, married couple Bob and Linda van der Herchen weren’t bothered by the curious sounds they occasionally heard coming from their attic. Believe it or not, the sounds went on for years.

Mogaznews En

Now, upon hearing a bizarre noise coming from the vacant space just above your head, you’d think you’d be racing to get the house checked out. But Bob van der Herchen isn’t like most people.

Curiouzly

Considering Bob is in the removal business, he’s not skeeved out to get down and dirty with nature’s little pests. He just wasn’t motivated to get down and dirty with the one not paying rent in his attic. He usually works with bees, but Bob’s no exterminator.

Bob owns the Bob van der Herchen Bee Removal & Rescue company, which aims to humanely remove honey bees from people’s properties and relocate them to a safer space. It’s an important job since bees play a vital role in our ecosystem.

Giphy

In fact, Bob cares so deeply about respecting bees that he’s visited schools to share the story of his company and the importance of bees with eager children. Bob knows bees, and he knew there weren’t any queens or trusty drone bees infesting his attic.

New Ravel

“I didn’t think much of it. I thought maybe it was rats,” the bee expert said when asked about why he never thought to go up into the attic and see for himself. Luckily, there was someone else who was a bit more curious.

Facebook

Bob and Linda’s son, Adam, was a real worrywart. While his parents leisurely ignored the rustling above their noggins, Adam himself couldn’t take it anymore; especially considering his bedroom was directly underneath the attic.

Giphy

Tired of letting his own imagination run away with him, Adam knew it was time to get to work on solving this problem. He went to investigate the repetitive commotion, which led him to the utility room. Dun, dun, dun!

VideoBlocks

While in the utility room, Adam looked above him, having witnessed blurred movement through the old slats of the ceiling. He got a quick peek at the dreaded infiltrator and was shocked. He sure wasn’t expecting a guest of this caliber.

Miami Herald

Adam rushed to tell his mother what he saw in the attic, which led her to take the frightening matter to Facebook. Linda posted a status that exclaimed “Home alone? Maybe, maybe not!”

Giphy

When Bob finally decided to involve himself in this game of Clue, he witnessed the squatter as well, but this time on camera. Needless to say, the footage would’ve given Andrea and Justin Isabell a run for their money.

Mother Nature Network

The van der Herchen family eventually resorted to calling animal control, but by the time an officer arrived to their home, the creature had already ventured far away from the ceiling opening, making the officer’s attempts to retrieve the invader a failure.

Absolute History

Despite the failed capture mission, the Sarasota Animal Control officer saw enough to relay to the van der Herchens that their uninvited guest was, in fact, a giant, potentially dangerous snake. Gasp!

WNEP-TV

The officer identified the slithering serpent as a diamondback rattlesnake, whose venom packs an often fatal punch. In the eloquent words of this animal control officer, “That’s a big old boy right there; that guy will kill you.” We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

National Geographic

If animal control couldn’t snatch the deadly snake, then who could? The van der Herchens even contacted their fearless, daredevil nephew to put him up to the challenge, but his attempts led to defeat as well. That’s when the family had one last idea.

Absolute History

They contacted Mark Lampart, a friend of a friend, via Facebook. Mark is no stranger to fearsome predators, as he’s posed with some of the world’s most dangerous specimens on multiple occasions, making him the right guy for this job!

New Ravel

He took on the mission with full force, dedicating several hours to finding the pesky viper. When he discovered a large piece of dry, shed skin lying around the attic, Mark concluded that the snake was living with the van der Herchens for quite some time.

New Ravel

After what felt like a never-ending battle of Mammalia versus Reptilia, Mark, the snake whisperer, nabbed the snake’s tail and yanked it from the ceiling’s insulation. It turns out that the animal control officer wrongfully identified the culprit.

New Ravel

It was just a Colombian red-tailed boa constrictor. While the reptile is still considered dangerous, it’s not venomous. Boas have sharp fangs, but it’s their bodies that pose a danger. They use their muscles to restrict oxygen intake and blood circulation of other animals.

WPTV

So how did this big boy get in the van der Herchen attic? Well, younger boas are semi-arboreal, meaning they can climb trees. “Animal control said it got on the roof from tree branches,” Linda disclosed to her Facebook friends.

Yahoo

Thankfully, no one was wounded by the likely escaped exotic pet. If we have anything to say, it’s that the van der Herchens should demand that boa hand over years’ worth of rent! Snakes all over Florida are getting bolder.

ABC4 News

In the Sunshine State, they’ve made their homes where they shouldn’t, and none more so than the Burmese Python. They will eat anything from mice to adult deer, and as of a couple of decades ago, nobody in Florida even knew about them.

RT

As their name suggests, the reptiles are native to Asia’s tropics, but they were now running wild all over the Everglades. Scientists theorize that following the destruction of Hurricane Andrew, pythons escaped from a zoo and bred like wildfire.

Frank Mazzotti didn’t know quite where the snakes came from, but he was determined to stop them from spreading into densely populated areas, like Miami. The biologist swore to throw everything and the kitchen sink at them. But would that be enough?

NPR

Everglades locals tried all kinds of tricks to root out the serpents. They put snake-sniffing dogs out in the marshes and even set loose radio-equipped “Judas snakes” to hopefully reveal their home base. The pythons only continued to grow.

FL Keys News

Word got around that the reptiles took over an abandoned Nike missile site. While that in and of itself didn’t threaten anyone, Floridians feared that if left unchecked, the pythons would breed at an incredible rate.

The Bohemian Blog

Who knew — it could’ve only been a matter of time until the snakes expanded beyond the missile base and started showing up in places that were more…personal. The stakes were dire, but Frank learned of one group that could help.

Rex Features

Deep in the forests of southern India, the Irula people have mastered snake catching. They see it as an art and take the practice incredibly seriously, even after India has slapped strict regulations on snake trading.

Deccan Chronicle

In recent years, the Irulas have captured poisonous reptiles for the purpose of producing antivenoms. Clearly, there was nobody on Earth more qualified. But how could Floridians convince this tribe to help a community on the other side of the world?

Frank and his herpetologist pals managed to make contact with the Irulas, and to their surprise, the snake-catchers showed interest in helping them. Granted, the Floridians would have to shell out thousands of dollars and agree to some unusual methods.

Miami Herald

Hard as it was to believe, the Irulas didn’t use any state-of-the-art tools for finding and capturing snakes. Instead, their weapon of choice was something found in any garage: a tire iron.

Video Blocks

Contrary to what you might think, they didn’t intend these tire irons for a Simpsons-style Whacking Day. The Irula used them to clear a path through the brush and pick up snakes, but ultimately they tried to capture the reptiles alive when possible.

Simpsons World

So, Frank welcomed the best Irula hunters, Masi Sadaiyan and Vadivel Gopal, to the Everglades. While both men were in their 50s, they were at the top of their game. But the Floridians got nervous when the Irulas said they’d never before hunted snakes so large.

However, Masi and Vadivel smiled when they shared this fact. They were eager for the challenge, the chance to put their skills to the ultimate test. Granted, their brand of animal control was not without its risks.

From the start, the Irula’s tactics puzzled Frank and his friends. They insisted on marching blindly through the thickest part of the swamp. When a snake’s trail ended, Masi and Vadivel made everyone sit down, pray, and smoke a cigarette.

Frank’s hopes began to wane until one of the Irula’s pointed to a shimmer in the mud. Brandishing their trusty tire irons, Masi and Vadivel scooped up a fully-grown python! That was only the beginning.

Mother Nature Network

With a few more captures under their belts, the Irulas fearlessly plunged into an old missile shaft where herpetologists spotted a nest. The sharp-eyed hunters grasped a muscled python tail and spent hours wrestling it out of tree roots.

Miami Herald

In that one afternoon, the hunters pulled out four monstrous pythons from the overgrown missile shaft. They soon brought their total up to 14 over their first two weeks. While the Irulas couldn’t stay in the Everglades forever, they did the next best thing.

Masi and Vadivel shared their wisdom with the local wildlife management team, which never could’ve located these pythons with conventional techniques. The Irula knowledge could stem the invasion, so the Floridians wanted to give them something in return.

Besides paying the Irulas over $4,000 per python, the Floridians wanted to give them the real American experience. In between expeditions, they watched NFL games and ate hot dogs at Arbetter’s, their favorite greasy spoon.

Roadfood Forums

After a month, the Irulas returned to India feeling invigorated by the hunt of their lives. The Floridians knew they were quite fortunate to find experts to turn back the snake invasion, but of course, it wasn’t always possible to have heroes on hand.

Sometimes, everyday people have to use their wits to survive a deadly animal encounter. In the spring of 2017, a mother of four named Bianca Dickinson drove her youngest child, Molly, to the end of the long driveway cutting through her ranch in Victoria, Australia. There, she’d meet a snake.

Bianca Dickinson / Facebook

But first, to pass the time while waiting for the school bus to drop off her older kids, Bianca had two-year-old Molly pose for a few photographs. For 15 minutes, the duo played and snapped silly pictures — until the fun came to an abrupt halt.

Bianca Dickinson / Daily Mail

With the school bus in view down the road, Molly posed for one last photo beside a wire fence. She wore a huge grin and pointed behind herself, towards the grass blowing in the wind. It was the perfect photo… or was it?

Bianca Dickinson / Facebook

“I was looking through my camera lens and was looking at my daughter,” Bianca told ABC Australia. “I saw something move in the corner of my eye and actually thought it was bark coming off the tree.” But it wasn’t bark.

Doug Hyland / Purdue

What Bianca first assumed to be tree bark was actually an eastern brown snake, aka the second-most venomous snake in the entire world. And it was slithering right behind her little girl!

Bianca Dickinson / Facebook

Venom from the eastern brown snake can paralyze victims and make their blood so thin that it seeps through their pores. Without immediate treatment, a single bite from this critter can send you to an early grave — and it has enough venom to kill 20 adults.

Sky News

So it was no surprise Bianca’s insides twisted into a cold heap when she saw one of these snakes just inches away from her baby girl. “I think [the snake] was touching her boots,” Bianca said. “It was that close.” But what could she do?

Bianca Dickinson / Facebook

“All my instincts wanted to run and pick her up and scream and run away,” Bianca said. However, that move, she knew, could’ve had deadly repercussions. If she did that, there was a chance the snake would feel threatened — and strike.

The Sydney Morning Herald / YouTube

Complicating the situation, Bianca had to convey to her daughter that there was a big, deadly snake behind her and not to make any sudden movements or take any violent steps backward…

Bianca Dickinson / Facebook

So what did the mother do? She just froze. In doing so, she communicated non-verbally to Molly that she should do the same. “Luckily,” Bianca said, “she copied me.” And the snake?

Bianca Dickinson / Daily Mail

Much to Bianca’s relief, the eastern brown snake slithered away, leaving Molly unharmed. As it disappeared into the tall grass, the school bus dropped off her three older children. But Bianca’s panic hadn’t subsided yet…

Bianca Dickinson / Daily Mail

“I just started yelling at my other three kids to get in the car,” she said. “I got in the car and I was shaking.” And who could blame her? Her kids immediately noticed she wasn’t quite right.

Bianca Dickinson / Facebook

While on the drive back up the driveway, her 13-year-old daughter, Imogen (far left), asked, “What happened? Did you see a snake, mum?” Bianca nodded. “Yes,” she told the kids, and “it was at least two meters.” Her kids didn’t buy it.

Bianca Dickinson / Facebook

“Oh mum, it wasn’t that big!” Imogen said. But naturally, mother knew best. Back at home, she pulled out her camera and showed her kids the venomous reptile that’d come within inches of their little sister. And it shook them all.

Bianca Dickinson / Facebook

After seeing just how close Molly had come to the wrong end of a snake, Bianca’s older three kids didn’t want to go outside anymore. Worse, in showing the kids the photos, Bianca uncovered another nasty shock…

Bianca Dickinson / Daily Mail

She’d been taking pictures of Molly for a while before the school bus showed up, and when she reviewed those photos, she learned just how long the snake had been in striking distance. The eastern brown snake posed beside Molly in three photos!

Bianca Dickinson / Daily Mail

In the aftermath, Bianca couldn’t look at those now-infamous photos and didn’t sleep well for weeks. “Every time I shut my eyes I see that big snake and what could have happened,” she said. “I see Molly being taken away in an ambulance.”

But how did the two-year-old react to her brush with death? Well, when Bianca showed her daughter the photo, the toddler considered it for a moment. And then she said the funniest thing…

Bianca Dickinson / Daily Mail

“That’s me!” Molly said gleefully, pointing at herself, blissfully unaware of the snake in the photo. Bianca couldn’t help but laugh. At least one of her kids wouldn’t end up scarred by the moment!

Bianca Dickinson / Daily Mail

Recommended From Honest To Paws

Stay up to date on the
latest trending stories!

like our facebook page!