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

  1. Cynthia says:

    Hi all,

    OH HAPPY DAY!!!!

    I won the roach battle and war! I have no more roaches! Well maybe one or two seen many days apart when most days I don't see not a one. I figure since it's only been 2 or 3 weeks after closing off the holes in the closet and getting that roach bait a few may have been in some hiding places. I thought I'd see more but I haven't. :) My apartment has also been painted and the place looks much brighter. I no longer have to buy raid or any other pesticide, the roach bait I have I was told would last up to 4 years and that stuff is working. I saw one roach that was a couple of feet from the bait belly up so it's fast working. Now my only pain in the butt is that mouse and I've cooked up something special for him. (insert diabolical laugh here)


    It's hard work but you can do it. You've gotten off to a great start. Those Combat Platinum Bait stations really work. I put one once behind the fridge after seeing multitudes of roaches, less than a week they were all dead. Change them every six months although I do think they last longer but probably not as affective. I've heard that Hot Shot is really good also, I don't know I've never used it.

    Well to you and others keep working at it and you'll find you'll get rid of them too but you also got to make sure you stop their entry way(s).

    Best to you all.

  2. Judy says:

    Jaime - I don't know what state you live in, but check renter's rights for your state. In California, having roaches by law makes the place 'uninhabitable.' You can stop paying your rent, and get out with a full security deposit. I would document with pictures, witnesses, and letters, but this is true. If they come back to my apt, I will move. I have thrown out so much stuff, it's unbelievable and have not used my kitchen in 2 months!

    Everyone else, where do you get the caulking stuff and steel wool?? How do you seal up the holes? I already have the tablets for the little bastards. Thanks!!!

  3. BG says:

    Judy -
    You can get steel wool at a hardware store. Caulking comes in many forms. There are several silicone types that comes in tubes for spaces that are not deep. You'll need a caulking gun to apply this. This stuff wears well & comes pretty cheap. There are the foam types for deeper spaces, usually polyurethane foam which can be gotten in maximum expansion or in minimal expansion types. There is also a latex foam which expands well & is easy to use & clean-up although less resilient than the polyurethane foam if it is to be exposed to vacuuming & washing. (make sure the can of foam caulking comes with a straw that fits in the nozzle or you won't be able to use it.) I usually use the expanding foam types for inside the walls & woodwork & finish off the outside with a waterproof, silicone type of caulking.

  4. BG says:


    Good for you! The roach bait traps stopped working in my building because so many people were using them that the roaches became immune to the poison but were still attracted to the bait. That's when I switched to boric acid. I don't trust what the exterminators do because if they really got rid of roaches, they'd be out of business in a New York minute.

  5. cindy says:

    I have a sure fire way of getting ride of them, They love potatoes cut up potatoes put them in a paper plate. set in kitchen turn all lights off let them lilttles boogers come out and then spray the kill on contact spray around the plate then hit the plate it self killing them lil peast this will work in any area of ur house, so set it up anywhere to get them pests, They also like cat food cans after you open them to feed the cat, leave that on the floor and do it the same way in time you will get them but that kill on contact spray i live by it, and keep it around.

  6. I can love animals and hate roaches says:

    Hey PETA,

    Do us a favor and leave your address so we can FED-EX you the roaches that we trap. You can live in harmony with the nasty creatures and leave us alone.

    It's morons like you who make people think all PETA members are idiots.

    Isn't there a BP Station in your area you can protest?

  7. Cynthia says:

    FYI: Young roaches feed on the fecal matter of adult roaches so you have to clean any area where you see roach poop then wipe it down w/ bleach to discourage their return. This is according to Billy the Exterminator on A&E.

    Poker5lut, those things you mentioned like the Eugentol oil, pesticide soaps and Abamectin Gel just aren't readily available. Most people are just so frustrated by the situation they want immediate action and will drive to their local store to grab any repellent on the shelf where there's unfortunately not many choices. In the beginning I looked online for things mentioned on shows like The Exterminator and such but didn't find those products offered. Then I just wanted a strong exterminator grade roach poison offered but some products offered in other parts of the country can't be sold in my area, New York, where it's badly needed.

    I think these pesticide companies along with some of these exterminating businesses have a tight hold on this industry. How else would you explain something like chinese chalk being illegal to sale but rat poison isn't. Any child getting a hold of rat poison and ingesting it would die also. This is were parental responsibility comes into play to prevent that as with all other threats.


  8. wendy says:

    Help! I have a terrible roach infestation problem in my efficiency apartment. And I can't use anything like Boric Acid because I have a cat. I have had an exterminator in here twice -- did nothing. Now I'm using my apt. building's exterminator -- he's better, but they're still here.

    Besides the fact they are gross beyond words, I am worried about my cat. They climb into her food (and no, it doesn't help if the food is higher.) I am worried the exterminator will poison my cat (even though he knows she's here.)

    Help me, somebody! Help me!


  9. BG says:


    I've used boric acid for 25 years and haven't had roaches for 25 years. At first I had to put it in the baseboards every time I cleaned. Now I do the rooms 4 x a year and only have to replenish the boric acid by the sinks & tub after cleaning. I've always had cats too, my last two lived to be 19 & 14 y/o respectively. As long as you brush the boric acid into the baseboards and not around where they can get it on them, you'll have no problem. Exterminators always tell people boric acid doesn't work or it's terrible poison, both quite untrue. It's not in their interest to have people using it and taking away from their business.

  10. Mary says:

    OMG this site is cracking me up and inspiring me at the same time! We are having the strangest "outburst" of cockroaches ever! And they are practicing aerial offensives! I was telling my DH that my son and I are having PTSD from the roaches (just over the last week or so) but he didn't believe me. Then I read the comment about the natural remedy for stress from fighting these roaches! It is like everyone is experiencing the same bizarre nightmare in their own way! WOW. Well, yes, they have been popping up at this time of the night and a bit earlier for the last week or so. We have done the typical things in the past to maintain a roach-free home in Texas, including not leaving the doors open! I read somewhere that May and June is flying time for them in our area. Yep, it is...and they have somehow gotten everywhere. So...last night, going to get my brush out of my bathroom drawer before finally going to be (after being charged and flown at 2X and making DH come kill them) - and there is a big'ole antennae-waving roach in the drawer under the brush. I scream (of course and go hide under the covers. DH gets up to get THIS one also.

    Today I bought the Roach Tablet with the lure, and my son and I placed them strategically around the places they have been coming from. I will also be moving a very small woodpile near the back-door as a precaution. We've also not yet put down our annual ant-bait outside, that also takes care of the critters out side.

    I don't like sprays or foggers. They don't really work for any kind of pest. I very much agree with the DE and Boric acid practices as well as the growth regulators. That is next if these tabs don't do the trick. I did look up the chalk that is so controversial. I don't want to hurt the beneficials (spiders mostly).

    I will say that tonight, as of 12:20am I have only seen 1 roach, which is an 80% reduction from just last night. I of course hear them first, then see them. Ray I think said something about that it was unusual to hear them, must be very large...well, heck yeah! These are big-a** Texas Treeroaches I'm dealing with : )

    Seriously, I've enjoyed reading all these posts and feel a strange sense of camaraderie with all of you who are fighting the battle of they who are eternal. The only things I can help with are these: 1. apartments have roaches, period. They wax and wane in their activity. Keep things wiped down, vacuum, use DE or Boric acid/tablets and Roach bait especially in the entryways and water areas. Clean often, to get ride of the excrement. If you have allergies, you can get shots for cockroach allergies (yes I am allergic!) I love the ideas about communication with the management co/landlord. 2. Homes go through periods of no sign to ridiculousness. A barrier around the outside of the home in the form of a spray or granules/bait as well as limiting lots of piles of paper and damp areas has helped us stay fairly roach-free for a while. I think this crazy weather over the past 8 months has altered our normal insect patterns. (mosquitoes are unusually active right now).

    I will be sharing this crazy, helpful blog with any who are interested. Thanks everyone for being so REAL! It is refreshing! : )

    oh, and to the "Animal lover" - aren't we humans animals? Technically a cockroach isn't an animal. As someone else pointed out, it is a leftover scourge of Biblical proportions. I somehow can't believe that you really believe the stuff you were dishing out up there. Instead of putting folks down, I for one would love to hear some well-thought up suggestion to be more "humane" and not be bothered with these nasties. I don't like dung beetles either, but I get there reason. And earwigs, and other creep-crawlies. I really can't think of one thing positive about a cockroach.


  11. Lindsay says:

    I am still battling some roaches at my apartment. I am very clean but sharing most of your walls with others makes it hard to ensure cleanliness. My complex sprayed the whole building a few weeks ago. There was some improvement but I still have roaches. I've set out traps and see the occasional upside down roach. I'm going to try boric acid and the complex is spraying twice over the next month. I wanted to recommend Raid's roach spray in the yellow can. Mine happens to be lemon scented. It works great for on-the-spot kills. Once it hits the roach, they twitch a little and then flip on their backs.

  12. Cynthia says:


    Please disregard the last paragraph in my reply, I only copied it. This was originally written by Poker5lut (just scan up to the April 30, 2010 entry). I only copied it to respond to what she'd written to make sure I included all the names of the insecticides she mentioned but I forgot to delete before posting my message. I don't type in caps. Sorry for the misunderstanding and I understand it very clearly your stance on this blog.

  13. Cynthia says:


    Those are good tips.

    I just wanted add something that might help then I'll only resort to reading the blog and not messaging anymore since I believe I've solved my own problem.

    I want to recommend the use of Twin Draft Guards. This kept a lot of roaches and mice from getting into my bedroom along with the cold air. Under my door was enough space for a mouse or roaches to get through but once I started using these things nothing could pass through unless I left the door open in which I forgetfully did sometimes. You can use them also on top of doors and these can be used for windows also.

  14. GaggingByTheMinute says:

    It is 8:16 in the morning. I have been up all night reading this, AND cleaning my entire kitchen. I wiped everything, and i do mean everything, down and put down boric acid. I have done the bathroom, the hall, and the living room (even the crevises of the couch and chair). It was disgusting what I found in the cabinets. I swept them all up into a little box (the dead ones, of course) to show the maintenance man. I live in low-income apartments, and I think the new neighbor brought them with her. Most of my building tennants have them at various levels. The exterminator comes, but doesnt do all of the apartments and outside, so stay they do. But after reading this---It is war. Our complex is famous for pussy footing around, but currently unemployed, money is tight. Im starting with the cheapest ideas (love the catnip spray idea!) and will go from there. Thanks. You guys are wonderful. AND to the PETA lover, you can have mine. Give me you address. Any I find with eggs, I'm sending to you. Go google roaches and health issues. You will be amazed at how nasty these mf'ers are.

  15. Lida says:

    First of all thank you all for the useful tips.
    I first moved from Europe to Cambridge MA in August 2008 and I didn't see any roach in my apartment until July 2009. I found out that Boston and Cambridge are famous for being infested with roaches. I was really surprised by the size of these roaches. I was used to smaller ones. So i moved out of my apartment. Now we live in a new apartment since Sept 2009 that seemed very clean at the beginning ("luxury" like it was mentioned before). This morning we found two huuuuge roaches crawling from under the fridge. It's weird that until today we han't seen any at all, but suddendly there are two! I am extremely horrified and disgusted- I sprayed the whole apartment before leaving for work so a the end I couldn't breathe I felt intoxicated, but now I'am afraid to go back. I want to do something NOW to prevent total infestation. Do you think I can use all of the products you recommend at the same time?

  16. Paul says:

    Thanks all for your suggestions - very helpful.

    I've never had roaches, but I went camping last weekend and a friend came to visit (she's very clean, but lives in the projects so I'm wondering how the evil demon arrived). Anyway, I was on my computer and saw a black silhouette jet by behind the monitor. Having had a few beers after a long day at work, I thought to myself "maybe it was just an illusion".

    Later that night in my bed, a creature jumped onto my back, which sent me darting for the light as I shouted. What I thought may have been a large spider turned out to be none other than an evil roach. I tried to capture him unsuccessfully and had trouble falling back asleep.

    One day later . . . I saw the silhouette behind my computer again. It's very strange since I've never had roaches, and then in two days, I saw the little bastard. I'm really hoping it's just one male lone roach that piggybacked into my room somehow, and has no females to make "disgusting roach love" to.

    Do you think it's possible that there's only one?

  17. Paranoid says:

    I don't know what to do...

    I just moved into a new place, rented: part of an old mansion with a huge scary basement. I've been worried about bugs ever since arriving. It seems like my worst fear has been coming true because on two separate nights I've seen big American cockroaches camping out on the outside of our building. One was an adult female doing what I think was a mating ritual (lifting her backside, vibrating her wings). The one several nights later was a lone male. Curiously, he didn't run from the light so he was easy prey for my rock.

    I haven't seen a cockroach or any evidence of them within my actual place. However, I'm at ground level and keep cat food out. I feel like I'm doomed to get an uninvited guest.

    I plan to patch the openings around my pipes. Sealing the old doors might be a problem, since the building is "historic" and I doubt they would allowed to be replaced.

    I've asked all the neighbors if they have any roaches. Literally everyone says they not only don't have roaches, but they scarcely get any bugs except for the occasional fly. I know what I saw though.

    Maybe these two were travelers. We live near a river and plenty of downtown buildings. But that sounds hopelessly optimistic. I have no idea what to think or do. I don't know if I have any right to lodge a complaint since I have nothing in my living space. But now I'm almost terrified to go outdoors at night.

    What would you do in my situation?

  18. Tereese says:

    Lots of people are having trouble with these creatures - including me. Must be the year of the Roach. I am going to look for the Chinese Chalk and the Harris Tablets. But a quick and environmentally safe way to zap roaches and kill them almost instantly is Simple Green. I'm not sure how it works, but if you spray it on a roach some of them try to scamper off and a few make a break and get just so far before they flip over and click out a fast death dance. And when you clean them up you disinfect everything. Its good stuff but it doesn't eliminate the problem.

  19. Pat says:

    I had to move out from my old house because of the mice and roaches!

  20. Patty says:

    First of all I don't agree with not getting rid of them with something thats just going to make them leave my home and probably go to my neighbors house.
    And i don't know what kind of person will want to keep them if they're a bunch of walking germs. I had a very bad expirience with them roaches and mice...

    Like I said I had to move out because I just couldn't take it anymore. So i moved to my parents house, but before putting in all my stuff I sprayed every single thing I had, but it didn't work. I also called a pest control but all they know how to do is keep your money. They told me I had a "six month warranty" but I called them back and they sd I had to wait. I waited and after a month or two seen the results, it was working. FOR 2MONTHS, and here we go again.I spent money on Gel baits and Raid Spray. Put gel bait all over the place $$$, and sprayed raid every night. and it works!

    Now! Mice is not a problem anymore, because we keep our garage door closed when we are not around and all other doors as well. WHY! because u probably think they won't fit through a hole, but you'll be surprised by the way they shrink to get into a place, BELIEVE ME (I seen it and I regret for not recording it).
    Soif u hear mice noices do something before they reproduce in your house. I tryed the glue tramps and work perfectly, once they fall on it they'll start making their help me noise! (u can find them at a Family Dollar store $1)

    Anyway, I was reading all this comments about roaches and is kind of funny because I never thought I would be writting this. But be serious about it! when you see one, don't be lazy to kill it, because that one you see is going to produce a bunch of friends to live in your home. And be real careful with all these products when using them if you have kids! Oh and my cousin had a bunch of German roaches in her house but she started using that baking soda with sugar and it worked for her.
    Good luck to all of u!

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