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Eradicating Cockroaches from Your Home

Part 2 The Eradication Process


Okay, now you’ve made your domicile into an impregnable fortress capable of withstanding the siege of even the most formidable of cockroach armies, it’s time to turn your attention towards the vermin still tucked up safely inside their hidden redoubts. Obviously, before you can exterminate the roaches, you need to figure out where the bugs have set up camp. If you've noticed them in a certain area, such as the kitchen, that's a pretty good clue they're hidden away in there.


For a more precise indicator of where the roaches may be, put out strips of roach traps that are coated with a sticky glue to stop them in their tracks. You can also buy double sided carpet tape, which will do pretty much the same thing. The heavier trafficked strips will likely be closest to the roaches nest. You should probably use the sticky traps throughout your roach eradicating mission to check on your progress and to determine if they've moved to another location.


Roach baits and boric acid are your next line of defense. You can purchase boric acid as a powder and put it into a ketchup-style squeeze bottle and lightly dust it into any cracks you can't seal with caulk. You can also pour a fine line of dust along the interior and exterior perimeter of the kitchen and bath cabinetry, large appliances, large furniture pieces, and along all of your baseboards. If you leave the boric acid in place permanently, it will act as a deterrent to future infestation. You can also remove electrical outlet covers and dust inside the walls, where the roach nests are more likely to be located. In extreme cases you can even drill holes in the walls if there are no outlets handy, then squirt in some boric acid and patch and repaint the hole.


One neat trick is to mix one part powdered (not granular) boric acid, and one part white flour, and one part white sugar with water to form a paste (the sugar acts as bait and the flour makes it sticky). Then you apply the paste like a grout on cracks and problem areas. Make sure you don’t use the boric acid or the paste concoction near food preparation areas or around pet dishes. Also make sure you store it out of reach of children and pets because due to the flour and sugar both children and pets might want to eat this mixture. Boric acid is not highly toxic but it is meant for external use only.


You can also use baited roach traps in places where you don't want to lay out the powder or paste, and in other tricky spaces. Roach bait can also be purchased in gel form and applied as needed. Anything with the name “Roach Bait” contains a slow-working poison mixed in with some tasty roach food. The roaches eat the poison and if it’s not part of a trap, they haul it back to the nest and share it with all the roaches. Place the bait in areas you know the cockroaches will visit frequently.


If you’re lazy, there’s always insecticide sprays. Make sure you use an insecticide that is labeled for cockroaches, and spray wherever you think they may be hiding, or sneaking into your house. Keep pets out of the way when you are spraying, and follow all the safety instructions on the label.


If you feel that the insect spray from the supermarket isn’t strong enough, look for a professional product online. Professional baits, glue traps with pheromones, and sprays are usually much stronger and far more effective than those you get from the supermarket or home center.


As a last resort, call in a professional. If nothing seems to work call a pest-control expert. Exterminators are licensed to use much stronger chemicals.


An alternative to a chemical pesticide is believe it or not, plain old soap and water! Just make a light solution of soap (dish soap is fine) and water, then splash it, spray it, or throw it directly onto the roach. As little as two or three drops can kill, but you need to ensure the solution makes contact with the roach’s head and lower abdomen. It’s effective because the roach breathes through its skin. The soapy water forms a thin film blocking the breathing pores and eventually causes the roach to suffocate.


For an 'instant kill’ a spray of alcohol, either rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle or some sort of aftershave in a spray (as long as it contains alcohol) works very well. Hairspray will also work.


Catnip has proven to be effective as a roach repellent. Researchers have confirmed that placing catnip around the house definitely keep cockroaches away. The American Chemical Society reported that cockroaches are repelled by catnip, or more specifically, by two forms of the chemical called nepetalactone, found in the catnip plant.


Vinegar is another effective roach repellent, it won't kill the roaches, but they seem to be put off by the smell. Unfortunately, you may also find the smell objectionable! Just wipe own your kitchen counters, etc. with plain white vinegar daily, or leave a bowl of vinegar near any problem areas. Mixing the vinegar with boric acid has also proven to be effective.


If you see just one cockroach in your home, you could already have a problem, and if you don’t take action immediately, you may find yourself in the middle of a major infestation. However, by repairing outside walls, sealing cracks, getting rid of clutter, and doing some thorough cleaning (that probably needed to be done anyway); you’ll be well on your way to eradicating cockroaches. Especially when combined with roach traps, sticky tape boric acid and pesticides. Just remember that doing one thing alone will not kick the roaches to the curb. You need a multi-tiered battle plan to achieve total victory.


- Information compiled by Brian S.