Thursday, July 30, 2009

How to Handle a Roach Problem

How to Handle a Cockroach Problem

Today I'd like to discuss a topic no one wants to discuss, and no it's not gay marriage. Roaches! It's an embarrassing subject because people feel it's their fault. While some might say it is your fault, I'm here to tell you, the average man's habits in his home, shouldn't be attracting roaches.

One fact or myth I need to dispel right off the top. Roaches are not super insects. They're not going to survive Armageddon any more than you are. The stuff that kills roaches, kills them.

To get rid of roaches, even if you're in an apartment situation is to not present such a warm and welcoming environment to roaches. Even if you have the filthiest neighbors on the planet, if you follow my instructions, you can live a peaceful, roach-free lifestyle. The list I present is in the order of importance. If you take care of the first things, by the time you get to the last part of the list, they should be gone already anyway. I also present a "drastic meausre". This is for someone that is truly sick and tired of infestations and wants to really declare war. I have lived in situations where the drastic measures were present, so I am not telling you something that is impossible.

Six Things to Get Rid of Roaches

OK here's my list:

1. Roaches need water - did you know roaches drink? I didn't know that. It never dawned on me that they drink water. So, keep your place bone dry. If you spill water, wipe it up. No more soaking dishes in the sink. After washing dishes in the sink, clean the sink and counter and dry it all with a paper towel. Leave no standing water, whatsoever in your home. Fix any leaks in your home, immediately. Roaches can go without food for a long time, but not so much without water. So thirst them out of your home.

Drastic measure: turn off the water to your home, including the toilet. You can pour enough water in your commode to fill the bowl and it will flush by itself, it's a very simple mechanism. [I used to live overseas where we had to do this as a normal day to day thing, there was no running water, we simply got a bucket, went to the toilet, used it, and poured the bucket of water in it.] Stock up on wetnaps to sanitize your hands and face in the morning. Shower at the gym daily. [ and yes I've done this too. ]

2. Roaches need food - everyone knows this one. No more leaving pizza boxes on the floor. As soon as you're done eating, throw the box away and empty the trash so that it's outside of the home: in a dumpster; trash can at least 10 yards away from the house. Wash every dish and fork immediately after eating out of it. And, of course, dry them. No sense in even having a dish wrack to dry them, dry them immediately [see step #1].

Drastic measure: remove all food from your house for 6 months. Eat out all day, everyday for 6 months. [since I am a horrible, know-nothing cook, this is easy for me]

3. Roaches need warmth - this might be hard for some, who can't adjust their thermostat, but for those who can, freeze them out. You can lower the temperature on your thermostat for 6 months, to get rid of a potential health hazard. I say, pay the extra expense on a light bill, instead of hiring an exterminator.

Drastic measure: open all cabinets, stove, drawers and turn the thermostat to the lowest possible and leave the house empty a lot. [I used to go out every night, including going from the club to work, so this would have been easy for me too]

4. Roaches can see what you can't see - make sure you keep your counters clean and your carpet / floor clean. That means: sanitize your counters, including bathroom; vacuum your carpet daily; sanitize your flooring, if you don't have carpet. By sanitize I mean, wipe it down with either a cleaner or dish washing liquid, then go over it with bleach. For carpet, vacuum every day and make sure there are no crumbs whatsoever, move furniture if necessary.

Drastic measure: shampoo your carpet once or twice a month. You can get those shampooers from the grocery store. They're quite cheap.

5. Roaches like the dark - sometimes you might be clean and you still have a roach problem. If you've done 1-4 and still see roaches, it might be simply they are hiding out in your place, from what, I don't know. While for the most part this is impossible to fix, it might be that you have a lot of clutter in your home. Unfortunately, sometimes we have to part with our clutter. Get rid of the clutter in your home and present a nice clean, open area where light can shine on nearly everything.

Another solution is that you have a very dark kitchen that invites roaches. By dark I mean, you have solid wood [or for you cheap people "woodlike"] cabinet doors. This might be the time for you to redecorate your kitchen and get the glass cabinet doors, or even open cabinets. If you've already removed the clutter from your kitchen you might want to go all out and buy new dishes and stemware [glasses for those that don't know what stemware is] and simply remove the cabinet doors and make it look nice and presentable. You might also think about buying a spice rack as well to remove the 1 billion jars of spices you have of all shapes and sizes.

Drastic measure: remove all items from your home and take a month vacation. Or. Only keep one set of dishes and utensils; get rid of all excess items; get rid of excess furniture; get rid of excess junk drawers. [ once i lived with 3 roommates and they refused to clean the kitchen up after themselves, and we had a roach infestation. I threatened to throw away all the dishes, pots and pans. They shaped up quick, and we got rid of the roaches, nearly overnight ] It might be that you're keeping odd mugs, jars, plastic containers, throw them all out.

6. How to kill off Roaches - OK, so far 1-5 has been how to make your home complete roach anathema. That means, should a roach be there, or come there, they would so dislike your home, they would pack their bags and seek somewhere else to live. Be that as it may, there may be some roaches that are just stubborn. First off, understand that roaches don't live that long. If you buy spray, you are simply killing off the roaches you see. You could have thousands in your home that you never see. The best thing to do is to kill off the entire life cycle. This means, instead of buying roach spray, which does nothing [ it's as same as using a shoe to kill them ] you need to purchase roach feeders. Boric acid [boracic acid or orthoboric acid or acidum boricum] is cheap and available at the dollar store. You can use it in a couple of ways. In fact, follow all of these options for optimal roach attack. The boric acid will kill the roach internally. It is not a shoe or a spray, so give it some time to work. When you lay out the boric acid they will ingest it. Also, it will get on their shell and, believe it or not, when they clean themselves, because they are actually clean creatures, they will ingest it. Also they will take the boric acid back to the colony and kill it off. So be patient.

First, use boric acid along known roach trails. You know your home and know where they congregate. Puff the boric acid in that area.

Next, use the boric acid as a dust. Dust gets into cracks and crevices. So dust along base boards, under cabinets, in between kitchen appliances, not on eating or food preparation surfaces.

Lastly, make a boric acid cocktail: boric acid, sugar and water. Place this cocktail in a saucer or container the roach can get to. [ignore this if you have small children (or husbands) that crawl into your cabinets]

The only thing you need an exterminator for would be bed bugs. Bed bugs necessitate the use of DDT. But, since DDT is now outlawed, because environmentalist whined it was killing animals, we can no longer buy it. With DDT, this entire list would be moot. You could spray DDT and be done with the roach problem, bed bugs, and anything else bothering you. With the ban of DDT, the bed bug is now making a resurgence.

Follow those instructions, to the letter, for 6 months before calling an exterminator. I guarantee you will end your roach problem. Keep in mind, if you live in an apartment complex and someone next to you moves out, the apartment manager will have that place sprayed. If that happens, always have them spray your apartment as well. What will happen is, any roaches that apartment had will migrate to yours. Imagine a big empty, sprayed apartment, it's what's roaches hate [ see #1 - #5 ]. They will come over to your nice, warm, cluttered, food, moist apartment. If your apartment is already #1 - #5 then simply have them spray yours as well to insure they don't show up to your apartment.

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Jodi said...

Found this article interesting as I've been noticing roaches out on our deck under my potted plants. I've also found them out by the pond under more potted plants. Did not know they liked being near water. Not sure how I'm gonna fix this problem since I don't want to get rid of my pond or plants. We don't have them all the time though as we live in Arizona where it is mostly hot and dry.

Anonymous said...

Wow I never thought Of that so I basically spend over 500 dollars on spray and pest control ppl and Stell have roches I mean I'm very clean but they just won't leave so I'll try it.

Shakaama said...

The big thing is that sometimes you are just presenting the roaches with an environment they like.

Remember if you live an apartment, and you are very clean, and the pest control person might say, it's not you, it's your neighbor. This means, your neighbor might be dirty, and have food everywhere, but your home is nice and dark. So they hide out in your home, but feed in the neighbors home.

Doing a cheap remodel of the kitchen, with glass plates, pure glasses and glass cabinet doors can go a long way to remove roaches. I lived in a place that no matter how many lights I turned on, the cabinets were still dark.

Making the home bright, and the kitchen bright really helps.

I can't say enough about Bleach though. Bleach really kills a lot of potential food for pests. Pouring bleach in the dishwater, floor mopping water and on top of counters kills not only germs, but food as well.

Anonymous said...

Wow! I thought my cats took care of roaches and I didn't notice any until a niece lived with me for a few months and brought three ferrets into the house. (She told me they were litter-trained. I found out later that if they happened to be in a litter box while scurrying through the house and stopped on top of a litter box, that constituted litter training, according to my niece.)

After she left, I still had the three ferrets. I had my carpet removed and replaced with tile. When the workers pulled out the refrigerator, there was a huge nest of roaches. We all freaked out! I handed over the Dollar Store Roach Spray and they sprayed. The ferrets were in a cage in an adjoining room. My husband moved them out to the porch, but we found out a few hours later that the damage was done. All ferrets were dead. (Warning to everyone with pets.)

I wish I could blame it all on the ferrets, but now that I know about available water, pet food and clutter; I can't blame the ferrets. Clutter is a huge factor. I was working three jobs at the time and things piled up. Now I'm down to one part-time job and I'm ready to attack the roaches. The first attack will be on the clutter.

I watched a youtube video on a hoarder the other night and realized I was doing the same thing on a smaller scale by throwing things into office drawers, etc., etc. etc. I'm creating the environment for roaches, especially with this hot weather. Thanks so much for your information.

Carlana said...

We used to have a roach infestation at our old house and when we moved to our new home we made a point that every box and bag we brought there was roach free. I think one of the things we tend to overlook is the things we bring in that roaches can hitch a ride on. I've seen them come in with bags of veggies from the marketplace or even in a visiting friend's handbag. I absolutely loathe them. Ewww. Great post!

Hailey Andersen said...

Very informative post! Did you know that geckos eat roaches? I've actually read about people bringing a few into their home to eradicate their cockroach problem. I'm not a fan of geckos running around my house either, so when we had a problem we used this kit called Demon WP. Thank goodness it was so effective, roaches really freak me out.

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