No one likes roaches, except maybe roaches themselves. When you find one in your home, you most likely have more making themselves right at home somewhere you can’t see them.
The hard part is that roaches hide during the day, so they can be difficult to find. Considering that roaches need three things to survive – food, shelter and water – you know that they must be living somewhere where these three sources are available. To confirm your suspicions, check for droppings, egg sacs and exoskeletons, and place sticky roach traps around the home.
First Steps – Making Life Difficult for Roaches
While you’re waiting for your results, be sure to do some tidying up. Clean up piled newspapers, cardboard boxes, paper bags and piles of laundry. Remove fresh fruits, veggies and breads from the counter, clean the stove and microwave, and keep all food in sealed containers. Vacuum, sweep and take out the trash regularly. A clean house is not a friend of the roach.
When you have determined where the roaches are hiding, or at least have a good idea, you can administer treatment most effectively. Since you have taken away the roaches’ sources of food, water and shelter by cleaning up the home, your next step is to move the roaches out of their nests. Let’s discuss the various methods for eradicating roaches.
Roach Baits and Boric Acid
Roach baits work by luring in cockroaches and then poisoning them when they come into contact with the chemical. They can be easily applied in cracks and crevices where roaches hide. Roach baits should only be used in areas that are out of reach of children and pets, and never in food preparation areas.
Boric acid can be purchased in its pure form and then lightly dusted in cracks, especially those openings that can’t be sealed with caulk. The advantage to boric acid is that it’s not highly toxic to humans and pets, so it’s a safer alternative to traditional pest control products. Still, boric acid can be toxic if ingested, so you must keep it out of reach of kids and pets.
Boric acid can be mixed with other ingredients such as flour (to make it stick), cocoa (to lure in the roaches) or sugar (lure). The mixture can be placed in the backs of drawers, cabinets or under appliances, and you may need several cycles to eliminate the problem. A fine sweep of boric acid is better than a scoop, so don’t feel that you need to apply generously to see results.
There are many pesticide products on the market, but the EPA recommends using them as a last resort. Pesticides can be purchased at most home improvement stores, but keep in mind that many do not solve roach problems forever. They work by keeping the problem controlled, but roaches often move to another part of the home. Also, read the bottle, because many products are “contact repellents” and must actually be sprayed onto the roach for them to work.
Pesticide products are much more toxic to the environment, children and pets, which is why they are not a first-choice option. Still, there are some pesticides that must be used to take hold of a bad situation. Here are a few of the individual products you can buy:
Desiccants – Used to dry out roaches and kill them.
Insect Growth Inhibitors – Used to inhibit the growth and reproduction of roaches.
Repellents – Premade sprays that repel roaches.
Foggers – Chemicals are released into the air to kill off the roach nests. You must evacuate the home prior to this treatment.
Emulsifiable Concentrates – These concentrated solutions have you add water to use them as insecticides. Good for covering large areas.
When DIY Fails
Despite your best efforts, you still may have roaches in your home or business. After all, roaches can survive just about anything right?
When this happens, you can call in a professional exterminator who can get your home roach free. Still, it’s important that you have a multi-step approach, as not one solution will take care of the problem forever.
For instance, if you’ve successfully removed roaches from the home, you must also do your part by keeping piles of clothes or papers off the floor and sealing up food and fresh produce. Certain areas are more prone to roaches than others, but by keeping a clean home and using boric acid at the start of a problem, you can keep roach infestations under control.