Pest Control: How to Kill Roaches

Published 7/21/08 (Modified 6/17/11)
By MoneyBlueBook

I have a little secret to share. Well it's not really a secret so much as it's a phobia that I've held since I was a little kid. Here's the���� secret - I am deathly afraid of household insects, but in particular - cockroaches. There, I've said it - the cat's out of the bag - go ahead and laugh, but it's not funny (maybe just a little bit). Funny or not, it's something that makes my heart beat fast, makes my pupils dilate like saucers, and summons forth caveman like instincts to grab the nearest bunny slipper or rolled up U.S. News and World Report magazine for some self-preservation-inspired bug pounding.

The mere sight of the creepy crawly legs and wiggling antennas of the common household cockroach jetting out from dark corners and scampering across bathroom counters and kitchen floors utterly freaks me out. While I don't instantly jump onto chairs, call my mommy, or scream at the top of my lungs like a little girl, I do become visibly startled and immediately shift into fight mode whenever I encounter a lost spider or resident evil roach in my apartment. I'm sure you PETA fanatics out there may be turned off by my disdain and opposition to the plight of roaches and other household vermin, but I don't care. Roaches and insects have no place in my home and I'll do whatever it takes to eradicate the pests. I've had too many unfortunate experiences and bad memories of living with roaches during my student years.

Fortunately, I'm currently at a place and time in my life where my financial means now permit me to live in a nicer home far away from roach, rat, and vermin infestation that used to plague the ghetto row houses and low cost apartment rentals where I used to live as a college and graduate student. It's been a while since I've had to deal with the nuisance of roaches or had to arm myself with high caliber anti-roach weaponry to fight off the onslaught of the mighty cockroach horde. But sometimes, scenes on TV and real life will remind me of how things used to be. Right now there's a really fascinating but disgusting show on the Discovery Channel called the Verminators that I absolutely love to watch. The reality TV show follows a crack team of household pest exterminators as they go from problem home to another, wiping out severe rat, roach, ant, maggot, spider, and even pigeon infestations. The reason I love the show is the gleeful delight and absolute warlike approach the personalities on the show exhibit towards their determination to kill off all resident bugs that infest the homes of their desperate clients. The exterminator pros show no mercy and go full out with their armament of sprays, powders, and oxygen masks to combat the invaders. One time they even brought out an actual gun to take out a mega-rat that was hiding in someone's attic. The show, while visually horrendous, brings me back to my graduate school days when I faced a massive roach infestation of my own.

My Failed Battle Against The Impressive Roach Army That Resulted In Eventual Retreat and Surrender

Until recently, I've always had a roach problem wherever I lived. Even though I consider myself relatively clean when it comes keeping my home tidy, roaches always seemed to invade my home. Probably the biggest reason for that was the fact that much of my early life was spent as a financially frugal student. As I was primarily supported by my overseas-living parents during my early years, I made a conscientious decision to live in apartments and neighborhoods that were affordable, to help lessen the financial burden on my parents who had several tuitions and living expenses to pay for. But as a result of my cost saving measures, every place I've lived at was infested with vermin of all types - from rats to roaches. As indicated above, it wasn't until my recent later years in my late 20's that I've been able to move on up the financial ladder to higher class, vermin-free housing.

Probably the absolute worst out-of-control infestation experience occurred during my post law school years when I was still struggling to settle down with my fledgling law career and build a sustainable living. To keep expenses low and save money, I decided to move into a quiet garden apartment community in a suburb of Maryland. The commute was great, proximity to grocery stores was excellent, and the price seemed too good to be true - it was. Months into my lease, the nightmare began. While I maintained a clean apartment, washing my dishes after every meal and storing away all food products into air tight containers, I kept noticing the appearance of roaches. At first it was just one or two encounters a week. I squished the roaches with my shoe and flushed them down the toilet each time and hoped they would go away, but they never did. They simply started appearing in greater and greater numbers. It got to the point where everytime I turned on my bathroom light, I would see two or three small roaches hanging around the ceiling area or visibly trying to scurry into a wall corner. Each time I got chills and sweated profusely at the sight of the nightmarish invaders. Eventually, their presence spread from the bathroom and into the kitchen, and eventually into the living room. In time I started seeing them during the day as well, a warning sign that I had a serious problem. Roaches are biologically night animals. If you see one during the day, it likely indicates that you have a serious infestation as overcrowding under cabinets and refrigerators probably has forced them out into the open. For each single roach you see in the open, it probably represents hundreds more hiding behind your drywall or between your floorboards.

At the time I was busy with work so I had little time to deal with my apartment management and forcefully compel them to eliminate the pests. But in response to a few calls and complaints, my apartment complex hired an exterminator, but the roach baits they set forth were ineffective. Eventually I simply went full out and took matters into my own hands. I headed to Home Depot to arm myself with all that consumer bug fighting technology had to offer. I purchased every single roach bait, egg stopper, roach gels, boric acid powder, and roach spray brand I could find - everything from MaxForce to Raid. I probably purchased more roach motel traps and roach gel bait devices than I needed, but I was determined to eliminate their presence from my home forever. All in all, I probably had more than 60 individual roach bait traps for a small apartment that was only about 700 square feet in all. I lined all corners and walls with multiple roach baits, and inserted gel bait poisons into all cabinet cracks and wall corners. I also dusted hard to reach areas with a layer of boric acid, a white powder that is not grossly toxic to humans or most pets like cats, dogs, and birds, but is supposedly deadly towards insects as it eats away their hard shell skin thereby dehydrating them to death. However, while I started seeing piles of upside down roaches everywhere, indications that my baits were working, the onslaught kept coming. Everyday I would see dead roaches everywhere, but new live ones seemed to keep taking their places, gnawing on the dead roach carcasses for nourishment.

Even my poor pet parrot was not immune to the onslaught. Even though he was never physically harmed, his cage was also slowly invaded by the swarming roaches. To protect my pet parrot to the best of my ability, I made sure to keep his cage clean at all times and placed his cage on a plastic lawn furniture table in my living room. I lined the bottom of the plastic table with a thick coat of boric acid powder to ensure that the only way that roaches could invade the cage was by walking through the white powder of insect death. However, day in and day out, I would look at my parrot's bedding liner to find that the roaches had determinedly strolled through the boric acid powder and made their way into the bottom liner of his cage to seek out food products. When I pulled out the cage's poop tray to clean it one time, I freaked out when more than 15 roaches scurried out from the plate and began crawling the walls, heading to the ceiling to escape like some horror movie. The nightmarish sight sent deathly chills down my back, made me sweat in horror, and even caused me to bleat out a few uncontrollable expletives. Although upon inspection, the bird cage invading roaches were covered with boric acid powder from head to toe, the resilient suckers simply refused to die. While most online commentators generally cheer the beneficial roach killing abilities of boric acid powder, I must point out that the effects are often slow and unpredictable.

Although I was incredibly busy with my job at the time, I eventually found time to storm into my apartment complex manager's office to demand that they hire a competent exterminator to fix this emergency situation. Eventually the management relented and hired a more expensive crew to come in and flush the roaches out. The professionals came in with their roach pesticide sprays and laid down lines of defensive deadly roach pesticide trails designed to kill roaches on contact that trample onto them. Then they used a special roach flushing agent to spray into floorboard cracks and underneath appliances to flush out the roach colonies into the open so that they would walk onto the pesticide laden floors. It worked for a while - as there was a huge spike in dead roach bodies as the flushed out roach families were annihilated. But even with professional baits laid out to control the outbreak, the efforts were ultimately futile. The roaches continued to crawl around my dishes, hide in my television set, relax in my stove, and even find their way into my fridge of all places. The final straw was when friends came over to visit me and one of them sat down on my sofa only to stand up moments later with a squished roach on her butt.

Eventually, I shifted into lawyer mode and sent a very threatening legal letter to my landlord demanding that I be fully released from my apartment lease obligations, citing the management's violation and breach of our contract to keep the premises a safe and reasonably livable place. There was simply nothing else I could do. After talking with the exterminator, I learned that I was fighting a losing cause. Because my discount apartment complex was so old and populated by lower income families that had a habit of illegally stuffing multiple families into one apartment meant for only one, sanitation and cleanliness were major problems. Even though I kept my own apartment clean, massive roach infestations in the adjacent apartments were causing them to spill over into my unit. At the end, I was released from my lease and left my ghetto apartment in a hurry. Ultimately, I had to pay substantially more in monthly rent to live at a new, clean, and higher class apartment complex free of roaches and vermin. My rent soared from $800 a month at my old place to more than $1475 for the new place. While it's a lot more money, I don't regret a single thing about my decision to pay more in rent. Freedom from roach infestations is definitely worth the heavier financial price. Saving money is great, but having that extra few hundred in my account isn't worth the sheer torment of living with roaches invading your life completely and taking over your sanity.

Roach Infestations Are Bad For Your Health and Must Be Eliminated Quickly (Easier Said Than Done)

So other than the scare factor, why are cockroaches and the infestation that they bring to our homes so bad for you and I? First of all, it should be noted that not all insects are inherently bad. Some bugs like spiders and millipedes actually serve useful ecological purposes. Without their presence, our human existence would be inundated with out of control growth populations of pesky critters of all sorts. Most of these utilitarian insects help to control general insect population by building webs to trap, eat, and kill off other insects, helping to keep a lid on spiraling population growth. While I'm generally afraid of insects and roaches in particular, there are bugs that I have friendly, harmonious relationships with. When I see insects like lady bugs or even cicadas, I don't mind picking them up with my bare fingers to inspect them. I see them as friendly insects that help the environment, so I'm not automatically afraid of them. Roaches of all breeds on the other hand are a different story - they are simply vile. While cockroaches live all around the world and come in all shapes and sizes, the breeds I'm most adverse to are the classic American and German cockroach. These two breeds are the most common roach pests found in American homes.

Roaches are the ultimate scavengers and harbingers of disease, germs, and insect fecal wastes. They have no qualms about walking through through poo or other disgusting solids and liquids. Their bodies frequently carry around all sorts of germs and potential infection spreading agents. One huge problem that they cause for inhabitants of homes that they infect is the creation of roach dust that they build up and leave behind. Roach dust is made up of decayed roach body parts and droppings that become airborne, infecting our breathing and embedding itself onto our hairs, clothes, and furniture. Roach dust is a powerful asthmatic agent that has the potential to trigger significant asthma attacks in sensitive people.

Cockroaches will consume almost anything organic and even somethings otherwise inorganic. They'll chew threw paper, cloth, oils, bodily wastes, and any type of food or liquid product you leave behind. These little evil cannibals will even snack on the dead bodies of their fellow roach comrades they come across. Nothing is off limits when it comes to their diets. In their never ending pursuit for food, roaches often follow the footsteps of humans into homes and stay close to sources of water and food - which is why they are often found in bathrooms, kitchens, and places where food is plentiful (like near your dog or cat's food bowl).

The one singular thing that makes them so terrible and deserving of a spot in the Bible as an Old Testament plague is the fact they breed insanely fast and are nearly impossible to get rid of. Female roaches can lay up to 40 eggs at a time, laying up to a 400 evil babies in a lifetime. Their lifespan is a year long and adult roaches can go for a month without food, and even up to an hour without oxygen. They can live off of virtually anything. Even the organic glue compound found on the back of stamps or the nourishment of your dead skin flakes can sustain them for weeks.

Cockroaches are also very difficult to kill. Not only do they run like Olympic track stars, their bodies are extremely well adapted to fend off damage. Because their breathing system is made up of tubes on their bodies called trachea, they can continue to live even after their heads or limbs are chopped off - talk about walking zombies. Also, have you tried to chase down a roach with your shoe before? It's nearly impossible. It's like playing whack a mole on steroids as they dart around so fast, it's scary. They are able to quickly scurry into wall corners and flatten their bodies to avoid your newspaper punishment. They are also primarily nocturnal, preferring to come out at night. When they do, they are very stealthy and experts at staying hidden, invading your cabinets, sinks, toothbrushes, and your food stocks right under your nose. At the mere presence of light, they often smartly run for cover, unlike their more stupid cousin bugs that often sit there, succumbing to flattening attacks by humans.

How Do I Get Rid Of A Mild Cockroach Infestation, and Kill Roaches Using Roach Bait and Roach Traps?

The following words of advice are only suitable for those of you who have mild roach outbreaks in your home. If you only see a lone roach wandering around your home once every year, you probably don't have an infestation as it probably piggybacked into your home via a plastic grocery bag or something like that. However, if you are seeing them every few days, particular during the daytime when they are supposed to be in hiding, you may have a serious problem. If professional treatment and baiting are powerless, your only recourse may be to move out of your home completely like I did and not look back (if that option is available to you). Some things in life are lost causes. In serious infestations, the roaches probably have spread throughout all apartment buildings or all parts of your house. They've probably inhabited your base walls and have set up massive colonies of roach eggs and roach nurseries that are nearly impossible to eliminate completely. Remember, a single female roach once impregnated can continue to lay eggs throughout her entire life, spawning hundreds of hatchlings from just a single individual.

If the roach outbreak is not so dire where moving out is demanded, hiring a professional exterminator might due the trick. Professional exterminators have legal access to much more powerful roach flushing agents and pesticides to kill those little critters. For those who have children and pets in the home and are leery about using toxic pesticides, professional exterminators also have access to potent roach baits and gels that are less toxic for humans and pets. They work by slowly poisoning roaches. Laced with attractive smells to entice a roach, the victim eats the bait and ingests the delayed action poison that will ultimately kill it. When it travels back into the wall boards, it brings some of the poisoned food with it to share with others. In time, roach baits can kill off entire roach populations if the problem has not completely spiraled out of control.

In my opinion, cockroach bombs and roach foggers should be avoided. Not only are they extremely toxic to humans and pets, but their limitations are very well documented and observed. The irritants do drive away roaches temporarily, but they are not effective in killing the populations completely. The roaches will simply run for cover and hide until the toxic plumes have faded. As soon as you move back into your home after the roach bomb has done its work, they will come back out to play. Also, don't waste your money on those pointless electronic pest control repellent scams that you see on TV all the time. Supposedly, simply by plugging the electronic pest control repellent device into your electrical outlet and activating it, the system emits an ultra high frequency wave that irritates and drives away pests like roaches and rodents. These devices are supposed to be safe for both humans and pets. However, they're pure junk and scams in my opinion. Both rats and roaches are extremely durable and hardy animals, conditioned to survive even nuclear devastations if it ever came down to it, so neither of them is likely going to be stopped by some pointless frequency wave. To get rid of them, you're going to have to resort to good old fashioned roach food deprivation and chemical warfare. Ditch the expensive electronic pest control repellent devices and don't waste your money.

For those of you with mild roach infestations, here are some home remedies and homemade solutions to help you kill them, exterminate their colonies, and keep your home free of pesky cockroaches. Much of your efforts will be spent targeting notorious problem areas like the kitchen and bathroom.

Household Solutions To Get Rid Of A Mild To Manageable Roach Problem:

1) Eliminate the Roaches' Source Of Food, Water, Shelter, and Entry - Unless you live in a shared apartment complex that allows roaches to travel freely from one unit until into another, keeping your home clean is the most effective way to get rid of roaches. Cockroaches invade our homes usually to seek out food and water. Wash your dishes immediately after every meal and wipe down kitchen counters frequently, as roaches like to snack on greases and food oils. Vacuum your carpet and wipe down your hardwood floors and tiles as often as you can to ensure no food or liquid particles remain to feed the roaches. Fix leaky faucets as well as they offer roaches a free tasty source of water to drink from. If you have pets like cats, dogs, or even birds, clean the pet living areas frequently and make sure their food bowls are washed and cleaned after use. Dog food sacks are frequently targets of roaches - always seal them in special airtight containers. Also, make sure there are no open canisters of food or liquids anywhere in your home. Roaches can sniff them out and they will find them. Practice throwing out your trash bags on a daily basis. Trash cans contain all sorts of attractive aromas for roaches. Eliminate this prevalent food source if you can.

Finding out how they are getting into your home is easier said than done. Oftentimes roaches found their way into your home via air vents, front doors, or even cracks outside of your home. Oftentimes, telltale signs like roach droppings - tiny brown pellets of slime, indicate the presence of roaches. Frequently, professional help is needed to help you pinpoint the entry way. Finding out where they are living in your home exactly is also difficult without expert help. But once you locate how they enter your home and where they congregate, a liberal application of roach pesticide spray along the access points will provide long lasting walkways of doom for these roaches.

2) Use Non Toxic Boric Acid Or Diatomaceous Earth - While I've personally had limited success with using boric acid or even diatomaceous earth powder to control roach populations, perhaps you'll have more success than I. Borate powders are generally non toxic to humans, pets, and children although you obviously shouldn't intentionally ingest them. Despite prolonged exposure, my parrot, my friend's cat, and myself managed to remain perfectly healthy in the presence of boric dusted rooms. However, these powders are supposedly toxic and deadly against insects. As insects like roaches come into contact with the powder, the powder sticks onto their outer shell, causing gradual roach death. The downside is that boric acid powder kills very slowly and sometimes it may take days before the acid takes effect. But the plus side is that the compound can remain effective for years if the powder remains dry. Boric acid powders also allow you to dust in areas where the roaches are likely to hide and where humans and pets are less likely to come in contact with - such as in the crevices behind your kitchen appliances and spaces underneath your refrigerator.

Boric acid can be purchased at local retail hardware stores and most drug stores. They usually come in a squeeze bottle with a narrow spout that allows easy dusting once cut. Retail boric acid powder is usually white although some brands color the product light blue so you can see the product better. The key is to dust in areas where roaches are likely to walk through. Roach behavior usually dictates that they prefer to walk along edges where their bodies are in constant contact with some type of wall. Thus, remember to dust the boric acid under your stove and refrigerator, along wall edges, around door frames and open spaces inside of cabinets, sinks, and shelves.

Another product that is used by some is a form of illegal insecticide commonly called "Chinese Chalk", because of their sale in many Chinatown locations. However the sale and purchase of Chinese Chalk is illegal due to the many child related poisonings attributed to the product's resemblance to common classroom chalk. Supposedly, one can use the chalk to draw lines of kill zones on the ground to poison any roach or ant that walks across it. It probably works the same way as boric acid, but with substantially greater toxicity and health danger to humans. I don't recommend using it - it's illegal anyway.

3) Use Roach Traps, Roach Bait, and Roach Gels - Roach baits in all forms contain a combination of poison chemical and attractive food lures to entice roaches to eat them. They are actually quite effective if used in large quantities in strategic indoor locations where it's dark and moist. Like boric acid powder, they both kill slowly. However, this slow killing power is actually the most effective form of mild roach infestation control because it allows the poison to be ingested and taken by the roach into the roach lair to kill the population at its source.

The baits can come in the form of a little plastic roach bait station (roach motel) or they can come in gel syringe form. The plastic roach baits are easier to set and tend to last longer in duration, but I think they are slightly less effective than roach gel baits. Gel baits are very effective but they tend to dry out quicker, not to mention the gels are messier and harder to clean up. The gels also need to be re-applied every few weeks for maximum effect. Roach gels should be lightly applied in corners, on plumping fixtures, on interior cabinet edge corners, and under appliances where it's usually dark. Remember not to combine roach bait and roach gels with instant killing pesticide sprays. The objective with baits is not to kill them instantly, but to allow one infected roach to spread the poison love to others. Popular retail roach bait brands include MaxForce, Combat, and Raid. I don't have any preferences or recommendations because they're all about the same in terms of effectiveness. Try buying all three and using them all simultaneously if you have the money to do so - their poison chemical compositions differ somewhat.

4) Use Roach Insecticide Sprays - These aerosol powered spray cans contain a lethal dose of bug killing liquids. By spraying the roach insecticide chemicals along hidden baseboard floors and on dark and hidden areas underneath and inside cabinets where roaches frequent, you provide tremendous roach killing power on contact. The insecticide sprays contain a chemical that instantly starts to kill the roaches on contact should one wander across a sprayed area. While it's great to know that it's lights out for any roach that crosses its path, the sprays do not provide much residual or long lasting roach control. Only roach baits can target the roach nests and hit the source of the spawning problem. However, back when I had a heavy roach problem, I always kept a few bottles around at the ready. Chasing a fast running roach is much easier with a roach spray. It beats having to swing wildly like a drunkard with a shoe or newspaper.

5) Use Water Jars (Vegas Roach Jars) - Another common household remedy to combat mild roach problems is the use of a so-called Las Vegas roach trap jar. It's called that because the practice was recently popularized by a Las Vegas news report of its effectiveness in catching roaches. While I've never tried it out, the concept sounds rather interesting.���� The Vegas���� cockroach trap consists of a glass jar filled with coffee grounds (as bait), and a little bit of water that is placed against a wall. It is important that the roach jar trap is placed against a wall because roaches prefer to travel along edges where their bodies can maintain constant contact with a wall. Some people like to place Scotch masking tape on the outside of the jar to give the roach more traction. However, once they fall into the jar, the slippery glass surface prevents them from being able to climb out. Supposedly, cockroaches are attracted to these water jars. This type of homemade anti-roach remedy if effective, is a wonderful alternative to using toxic insecticides and baits. But frankly, I'm not fully convinced the technique actually works.

I'm sure everyone has their own secrets and methods to killing roaches. Feel free to share your ideas.

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389 Responses to “Pest Control | How To Kill Roaches | Money Blue Book” 

  1. judy says:

    To Erin: They may have come in on paper bags from any store, or boxes that were used to pack something you bought. I think that's how I got them. At any rate, I do believe you can get rid of them. As Cynthia says, sealing up cracks and openings seems to be what made the difference for me. It was work, but I was determined that I was not going to move. Used roach bait traps, boric acid powder, and harris roach tablets, and keep the sink dry. They can't live without water. I still cautiously say, it's been almost 4 months now since any sightings, and I pray that this continues. Good luck to everyone. It is a battle that can be won, but what a fight!

  2. Charlene says:

    Roaches may nest in the home, but their "home" is in the septic tank. Many years ago, I rented a beautiful apartment three blocks up from the beach, but the roaches were so bad that they could drop on you from the ceiling when you opened the front door. I took the apartment because it was affordable and the realty agency told me they were on top of it. After spraying three times, to no avail, they called a plumber.

    The plumber got the septic tank opened. When he did, waves of roaches came flooding out! They live and breed in the septic tank and crawl into the house to get food. He poured straight Lye into the tank. Then the exterminator treated the house again. It made a HUGE difference.

  3. Jane says:

    I have lived in my little old (built in the 30's) house for more than 10 years. I never had a problem w/ roaches until I let a relative stay until their house was ready for them to move in(less than 2 months). I started seeing roaches and having 3 children I freaked. And although I am quite clean it is HARD to keep this little old house squeaky clean w/ a toddler, 5 yr old and a 13 year old all the time. Especially when the dining room is part of the tiny living room and the kitchen is barely big enough for 2 people to walk through at the same time. So, no kitchen table. I am not able to move right now and pest control helped some. As for my own efforts and control; this is my trials,errors, and the little success I have had.
    First method I went with:
    I tried the foggers - big mistake I think it actually made it worse. I heard they hide until the "clouds" clear and even go futher in you walls (making their habitat bigger) then just continue as if nothing hit them.
    Second method:
    Clean, spay, powder,and traps: All some effectivness but because of my kids and my husband and my health) I wasn't as liberal as I probably should have been w/ the poisonous stuff.
    Third method (along w/ the 2nd):
    I read that I needed to not only clean everyday messes but to actually spring clean from top to bottom walls, cabinets, floors, and outside w/ just liquid dish soap and water. Vacuum everything use all the crevice tools just make sure you have a vacuum will a good filter. I use a mask and gloves whenever I deal w/ any place I think they might be. Also, just a tip for a low grade and less toxic spray you can use dih soap and water in spray bottle and it does kill roaches if you spray them but be sure to wipe up the mess.
    Fourth method along w/ the 2nd and 3rd:
    The jars that are mentioned in the article on this page do work. I just used baby food jars the large ones or mason jars put a little vaseline all the way around the top of jar on the inside and placed either a piece of bread and a drop or 2 of water and put them in cabinets next to walls anywhere I had seen them before. It does work. I used it to find out were the roaches were more populated at so I would know where to use the powders, sprays,and motels. The down side is it is so gross when you collect the jars they are usually still alive in the jar. You can kill them in an instant by pouring dishsoap in the jar followed by a small amount of hot water. They are dead in under 30 seconds then just throw the jar away in the outside trash (they must be really nasty creature for antibacterial soap to kill them instantly.YUCK).

    So, far I have had some success. It is taking more time than I would like it to but hopfully it will be over with soon.

  4. pip'd off says:

    I've been plagued with roaches since a previous move into a rundown damp old house which stunk of wet dog and had rubbish strewn around the yard and beneath it. The grounds were covered in leaf litter and overgrown vines. I cleaned up the best I could and did a regular overhaul of house shed and grounds, we lived clean but we had a big INFESTATION of ROACHES and SPIDERS...I HATED IT THERE, the owners were greenies who planted banana trees and refused to do fumigation or repair anything but I couldnt move as it was next door to my mothers and I had to be close to help her after she had a stroke.
    I had to quit work because I kept having respiratory episodes and my lung had already collapsed 3 times due to spontaneous pneumothorax episodes. I was inhaling so much dust and chemical and cockroach faeces that I was physically sick from it. in the end my DOCTOR did allergy tests and found that i was allergic, he told me to MOVE or I would never get well! I moved and somehow took them with me!
    Despite spraying, bombing, setting baits and cleaning thoroughly then getting in professional fumigation teams . I drained my fridge , pulled apart appliances and cleaned them inside out, I even checked boxes and linens for eggs and still they managed to hitch a ride with me. I rent a beautiful home, clean daily to resort standards, freeze and dispose of rubbish frequently bomb spray bait and use exterminaters and still cant get rid of them? I tried the sugar and Boracic acid it seemed to make them multiply even more.
    I've been reading through everyones stories and am going to hunt down the products and
    try them all. The chinese chalk sounds good but I have a baby so it worries me.
    10 years ago if you paid for fumigation you only did it once a year and it worked like it should ..killing EVERY bug or nasty in your home. Your floor would be littered with them now after paying for Exterminators your lucky to see one dead roach. I liked the old ways better. than being left with no choice but to spend money I can't afford and Time I don't have to spare on waging this Slow War. I think pesticide regulations should be reviewed in favour of using products that truly do the job they claim to do.

  5. David Hyac says:

    Don't forget that when you step on cockroachs Or squish them.. there is strong a risk of you spreading eggs around your home causing further contamination . Not sure how to kill the eggs but it definitely worth being aware of .

  6. MercilessMe says:

    i live in alabama in a nice clean trailor...the only problem----ROACHES!!! im terrified of them and not to mention the embarrassment of having company over and the little suckers decide to waltz across my kitchen floor...*sigh* today i've sprinkled a bit of boric acid in a few places around the house and i'm greatly anticipating the sight of the disgusting creatures lying on their backs DEAD!!..aahhh pray for me my fellow warriors of this creepy crawly mini-monster...

  7. Cynthia says:

    Oh and Tiffany, it should be very easy to repair your screen door if the screening is replaceable. Either google it and/or go to You Tube on how to repair or go to any one of the large hardware stores like Lowe's or Home Depot and ask one of the attendants.

    Hardware stores sell screening and it's not very expensive. Just look to see if your screen has rubber that runs all along the edges, this keeps the screen in place. If it doesn't then you might have to do patch work.

    If none of this helps go to your building's management office ask for a replacement. Tell them the same as you told here, that you think this is an entry for roaches and it's to their benefit (less money they spend to get rid of them) to help solve the roach problem and repair the door.

  8. eve says:

    I have just spent the entire night reading every single post. Good to know I can come here for help to eradicate these devilspawn who have taken up residence in my apt. I work out of state--sometimes for a few months @ a time. I just returned 'round 1st of Dec. after 4 months in Illionois to find I had a bug problem. Granted it's a small one @ the moment (sightings confined to kitchen as of now.) but I'm still freaking out. Never had roaches before in ANY apt. I've lived in. I don't know where they came from. I live in the ground level apt of a triplex in a downtown area. I've been here for 1.5 yrs & never so much as a sign of them. I'm deathly afraid of them. Especially the big ones. I can't even finish eating a meal if someone so much as says the "R" word. Anyway, I have questions: 1. Do I have to throw out every single small appliance? 2. Someone mentioned bleach in your drains I think--how much & how often? I'm willing to try anything! 3. I did purchase some Bengal Gold. Will this suffice as I will be on the road a lot over the Holidays. 4. A friend told about a "recipe" involving boric acid, plaster-of-paris, and a third ingredient she coulldn't remember. Has anyone heard of this concoction? I would greatly appreciate any help!! Stayed up all night when I returned from Illinois cleaning apt and have used some raid but that's only killing the ones I see. Thanks so much ya'll.

  9. BG says:

    Pip'd off

    I wouldn't dilute the boric acid with something that only attracts them (sugar). Try the boric acid without anything else. Brush into all the baseboards and especially around water sources, sinks, showers & tubs. If it's really bad you may also want to put in the back of cupboards and under drawer liners. It took two weeks for it to eradicate my roach infestation in the beginning. But since roaches also bring back the stuff on their legs & bodies to their nests and because they cannibalize each other when dead, those that eat the dead ones will also die.

    Good luck.

  10. marie says:

    Lot of good info on this blog, thanks to all! We have horrid infestation and have had the pros come out, bombed, used gentrol (sp), demon, combat, used traps etc. None of them really worked, may have reduced some of the critters but certainly did not get rid of them.

    The worst is bombs/foggers, what a joke! Its like crack for these critters. The gentrol works somewhat but is only a start. Few weeks ago, after we used demon/gentrol we started to put out the boric acid all over. Reduced about 60-70% of the critters.

    The sugar/boric acid mix works great. Have not tried sugar/baking soda yet. Love seeing a pile of the buggers laying dead along side the cracks, baseboards and crevices. Even if it is disgusting to have to clean them up. Still have a big battle ahead but we will win, thanks to so much advice here.

    Never had roaches in my 48 yrs until we moved here, so I had a lot to learn. It is kind of funny that someone mentioned in a post about Boston because that is where we moved from and only saw roaches couple times in my life and not in my homes. Here in Florida they seem to be everywhere and in all sizes.

    I am kind of ocd about cleaning, the few folks who seem to think the bugs come from being dirty are just ignorant. Anyways, will put all of these great ideas to work, thanks!

  11. Terri says:

    We've lived in this apartment for 7 years - never saw a single roach until this Thanksgiving. New neighbors moved in next door, and they backed up their sink into ours. Plumber took 12 hours to get here - with standing disgusting water in the sink. I cleaned up the best I could - but my hands were tied until the plumber came. After he left - I spring-cleaned my kitchen - removing and washing everything near the sink area. The next day saw a single cockroach. I am an obsessive clean freak. I have always been so paranoid about roaches that all my food is double bagged in copntainers and then ziplocks, my pet food is sealed in air tight rubber-sealed containers, I wash my entire kitchen down every night with vinegar and bleach my drain nightly. I vacuum daily. This sighting totally freaked me out. We sprayed everything with insecticide and a little over a week went by - no sightings. Then got up one night for a drink of water - flipped on the kitchen light - and saw 3 large cockroaches. I about flipped. We managed to kill 2 of the three - and did spray the 3rd - but he got away. We again sprayed and sprayed everywhere - twice a day. We have pets, so we were using an all natural pet-friendly insecticide. We told the manager, and they said a couple of cockroaches is not an infestation - so they wouldn't do anything about it. The next night - saw four - in the kitchen. I found this blog that night - and was up all night reading. We went to the store the next day and bought boric acid, combat gel and combat baits, catnip and bay leaves. I cleaned out all of my cabinets in the kitchen - and saw no signs of any cockroaches - no droppings, no dead bodies - nothing! Still paranoid - I made little sachels of catnip using cheese cloth and placed them in all corners and shelves in my closets throughout the whole apartment, even though I only have seen the roaches in the kitchen. I put bay leaves in all my drawers. I have little dishes on bay leaves surrounding my cat food - and the cat food is picked up every night. I used the boric acid powder - dusting it on all the shelves in the kitchen, and in places where I know my cats can't get to. I used the combat gel in all cracks and crevices all over my kitchen. This is an old apartment - so there were a lot of cracks. We put out 24 baits - everywhere we could hide them in the kitchen - under appliances, behind the fridge, etc. I also made a spray bottle full of dish detergent and water just in case. The first two nights I stayed away from the kitchen - as I didn't want to be tempted to kill them where they needed to get the poison back to their nests. The next two nights - I saw nothing. Mind you, I'm paranoid, so I am up 4-5 times a night checking my kitchen. Then, two nights ago - I saw a baby one on the kitchen floor - very tiny. I killed it. Note: Every time I kill one, I throw it away in a zip lock - and spray the inside with dish detergent - just to make sure. Then last night - I saw one again - this was an adult. He came out from under my fridge. I sprayed him with the detergent mixture, he seemed dead, and threw him away in a ziplock baggie with the detergent as well. I fear what I will find tonight. My question is - have I taken all the proper steps to rid our apartment of these critters - and is there anything else I can do to speed up the process? We have already decided that we will be moving when our lease is up in 6 months - It's not worth me having a mental breakdown because of dirty neighbors and a management company who do not care. But in the meantime - I need to rid this place of them the best I can for the next six months. Any suggestions and comments are greatly appreciated.

  12. amanda says:

    Ok i moved into my new house bout 4 months ago after i moved in i found that the house was infested with roaches i went out and bought combat roach traps i put them in kitchen in cabinets under fridge and in the bathroom and one in all bedrooms. I went and brought Home Defense Max at walmart i sprayed my house and havent seen as many as i did when i first moved in. I hope this works foryall as well

  13. christy says:

    I've heard got an old remedy. You put 1/2 Boric Acid and 1/2 Powder Sugar, mix well together the sugar. Put it in a jar top, the sugar attracts them, the Boric Acid kills them....

  14. Absolutely Disgusted says:

    I know. They are putting cockroach eggs in Chinese products. It IS a conspiracy. Everybody knows China wants to knock us all off! Maybe they are doing it with COCKROACHES!!!! :/

  15. Terri says:

    Wanted to update everyone on my progress.... After doing everything I described above, I still see an average of one or two roaches per day. I have also discovered that I have 2 different types of roaches - the German and the Brown Banded. The Brown banded roaches jump when they are startled. About freaked me out the first time it happened. I have seen 98% of the roaches in the kitchen, and one periodically in the dining room - which is next to the kitchen. So I have now expanded my war zone to include the dining room and the hall way.

    I have now put out another 12 baits - and have little dishes of bay leaves sitting out in areas I do not want the roaches to go to - not sure if the dishes really work or not though. I still clean everything known to man every night - and am taking the trash out 2x a day now. Also, if I am throwing food or waste into the trash, I throw it away in a small baggie first, tie it up, then throw it in the trash. I have also now doubled bagged all of my food - thinking that one zip-lock is not enough. I have now begun spraying the walls and baseboards outside of the war zone with the soap/water mixture every night before I go to bed. I do think that has helped contain the roaches keeping them in the kitchen/dining room area.

    I am determined to rid the apartment of these critters. And yes - I am still planning on moving as soon as our lease is up. But in the meantime - this is WAR!

  16. marie says:

    Wanted to give an update on my war on critters. Last post we had killed off about 70% of the buggers. Now we are barely seeing any. Used a lot of JJamiah's ideas, and others.

    I dusted practically the whole house with boric acid, have not used the diatomaceous earth stuff yet. Even dusted my counters. Let it sit overnight and next morning cleaned up all but the cracks, crevices, under cabs etc. Did this for about a week, it may be overkill but sick of the disgusting bugs. Besides, boric acid is cheap.

    Currently we are not seeing them during the day, and I work from home so it is not that I am just missing them. Have not seen any babies in about 2 weeks. Have seen three adults in the last week. Still working on my battle but not giving up. Having a hard time finding the right kind of diatomaceous earth in my area for some reason. May try and find it online.

    For others fighting the roach battle, give JJamiah's tips a try, it has been working for me.

  17. groached out says:

    Absolutely Disgusted ....did you forget to tell us the name of the white stuff? I so laughed when you talked about the chemical trails and the china thing...u never know huh?

  18. Jordan says:

    I used to live in Florida and a roach problem was inevitable. What I did was go out and buy 3 large cameleons. Now I know what your thinking, GROSS. But they are surprisingly sanitary creatures! They use a litter box and eat ALL of the roaches. PROBLEM SOLVED. They're really chill pets and are absolutely no trouble. I find chemicals and pest killers ineffective and messy. These chameleons are a quick and easy solution to a DISGUSTING problem.

  19. Mo says:

    I have lived roach free in my house for 7 years. I work swing shift so I am up and awake at 2AM when they are. I have seen 1 in the living room, one in my bedroom and 2 in the hall near the bathroom. I bought the Combat Source Kill Max traps. I have not seen any in the kitchen so was it wise to but a bait trap under the refrigerator & washer/dryer? I read somewhere to buy a variety of bait traps made by different manufacturers was a good idea. What do you all think of that approach? I have a very old cat and DE or Boric powder won't work for me. Like Natalie, since my cat is old I have to leave her dry food and water out. Would placing her dishes in a pie pan with something in it help? Suggestions? Thanks in advance!

  20. Jennifer says:

    Hello. Hoping for some help with our roach war. We have what's been identified as the German variety, and they jump much like the brown banded these days. We've only been in our home since June, and we were roach free for a solid 3 weeks...until my in-laws came to stay with us & brought their infestation. I specifically told them to pack there things in plastic totes, sealed in packing tape, and to seal the boxes completely on all sides with packing tape, in addition to dropping in moth balls & dryer sheets. Here we are 8 months later and our infestation has got to be one for the record books. Those nasty things are EVERYWHERE day and night. They are in every single room and don't care if it's daytime or not. They're in all the small appliances & they even get into the fridge & freezer now. Did you know a frozen roach is still alive & will run off once thawed?! I've tried everything: moth balls, boric acid & several combinations, bay leaves, bleach washing, gels, bait stations, glue traps, the jars, bombs...you name it I've probably tried it. These things are immune. In fact, they actually EAT everything including the boric acid, moth balls, soaps, bleach, comet cleaner...nothing happens. No dead bodies & a butt load of new babies every day. You can walk across our kitchen floor at night, going from my room to the bathroom, and literally step on at least 10 going through. I was disheartened when I requested a quote from a pest service. $400 a month for 6 months. Twice a week treatment for that period. Twice a week we have to gather the kids & pets & find places for them to stay for 6-8 hours. I can't afford that, nor can I just find places for our family & pets. Help!

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