Monday, September 03, 2012

The War of the Roaches

We acquired a few varieties of cockroaches from an apartment that we have come to fondly refer to as the Hell Hole.  When we moved in, we didn't realize just how profoundly they had fumigated it prior to our arrival so as to leave no warning of the tsunami of roaches that was about to fall upon us.  When we left, we attempted to get rid of them by bug-bombing the moving truck (which is not a recommended use of a bug bomb), but they can with us and quickly established themselves in our house.

Of course you know, this means war!

First, we reduced the available food supply as much as possible.  Sweeping after every meal, never leaving dishes in the sink, never leaving food out, etc., etc., etc.

Second, we reduced the available habitat as much as possible.  Roaches love to live in corrugated cardboard, so despite having a few hundred dollars worth of nearly-new cardboard from our move, we recycled almost all of it.  For that cardboard that we didn't want to recycle, we sprayed the inside of a plastic garbage bag with bug spray, put the box inside, and sealed it up.

Third, I got a variety of different roach baits: large and small roach baitsdouble control, and egg stoppers.  I placed these everywhere that the roaches could find food, water, or shelter.  When you consider how little they really need and how low their standards, that's an awful lot of places:
  • Under every sink.
  • By every toilet.
  • By every trashcan (they can eat the mucous on a used tissue).
  • By the diaper pail.
  • Everywhere we eat (I created a perimeter around the dining room).
  • By the showers and bathtubs.
  • On the counters (edges and corners).
  • In the cabinets.
  • Under the fridge.
  • By the cabinet kick plates.
  • In the pantry (on the floor and on the shelves).
  • Under the beds (they seek out the salt your sweat leaves on the sheets).
  • By the laundry baskets (same reason as the bed, and any food crumbs).
  • By the washing machine.
  • Anywhere I saw a roach...
Fourth, I used a roach spray to divide the house into sections (spraying the perimeters and obvious entry and exit points).  If I eradicated them in one part of the house, I didn't want them to repopulate from another part of the house.

Fifth, I used Boric acid anyplace that I couldn't replace traps conveniently:
  • Behind the washing machine.
  • On top of the built-in dishwasher.
  • Behind the fridge.

The above attacks were highly successful, and I had eliminated them in all but one part of the house: inside the dishwasher.  It's a perfect environment for them.  It's warm.  It's moist.  It has sufficient food particles in it even if you load and run it immediately.  I couldn't figure out how to get rid of them.  I couldn't really put poison in the dishwasher, other than putting a bait in hoping I'd remember to take it out before running the dishwasher.

Then one day I noticed that they would go scurrying into the vent in the door when we opened it, so I disassembled the door, added some roach gel to the inside, and put it back together.  I put new roach gel in every month.  The first couple of times all the roach gel disappeared.  When I went back in after the third time, it was still there.

That was in December of 2011, and we haven't seen a roach since.  They estimate that if you've gone six months without seeing one, you're in the clear, since roaches can only live for a few months and roach eggs can only lie dormant for a couple months.  I don't want to go through this again, so I've been putting out roach baits ever since.  It's been almost nine months and the last set of roach baits I put out will stay potent for another three, so I'm declaring victory.


Blogger Yoel Natan said...

A pesticide that's safe for use around kids and really works, at least on ants, is Lemongrass Oil. We don't have any roaches so we can't attest to its effect on roaches, though it is supposed to kill them, too. It does have a strong odor for about half a day

Hot Shot® Natural Ant & Roach Killer (3% Lemongrass Oil):

12:02 AM  
Blogger Noumenon said...

You are a hero of conscientiousness and anti-invasive species defense. Best reason to keep house prices high is to get only neighbors like you. Die, roaches, die!

3:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I did all that PLUS I had to poison the Pakistani students in the flat below mine ...

Anonymous, but you know who I am!

4:30 AM  
Blogger Erika said...

The Terro worked well for our ant problem.
It sounds like you enjoyed your last apartment as well as we enjoyed ours :[ (we hated it for different reasons though).

9:48 AM  
Blogger Hamlette said...

Glad the Terro worked for you, Erika! It's what I remember my grandma always using too.

I'm glad the roaches are gone so I will stop having flashbacks about living on the Hellmouth. I get a creeped-out feeling every time I drive through that part of the city now, like it's trying to suck me back in, or I've only dreamed I've escaped.

5:07 PM  

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