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Killing Cockroaches… Ahhhhhhhhhhh!!! (Thanks to Andrew)

 
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PostPosted: Wed May 05, 2010 9:00 am    Post subject: Killing Cockroaches… Ahhhhhhhhhhh!!! (Thanks to Andrew) Reply with quote

What a great article Andrew has done up. Here's part 1 of his journey.

It's that time of year when you may be noticing some new 'critters' coming out. This is a pretty interesting read about a man's journey to rid his family of these pesky intrudants.

My wife and I just moved into a new apartment in Manhattan (new to us, anyway) and discovered a little problem - ROACHES!!! The place isn’t overrun with them, but there are more than enough running around to make us freak out.

I didn’t discover the problem until I was painting the place before we moved in. There wasn’t enough time to bug-bomb the apartment before moving in (I needed every minute to paint and prep to get ready for move-in day.) So, I’ve had to take a multi-prong approach to ending the cockroach problem.

———————————————————————————————

How Would You Like To FIRE YOUR BUG MAN…

———————————————————————————————

The first thing I did was spread Boric Acid along the baseboards, behind the refrigerator and stove, inside the kitchen cabinets and under the radiators. I’ve done this at other apartments and it seems to keep roaches in check. The powder stays active for a good long while, the roaches track it back into the walls (which helps kill them in the nests) and there is no awful chemical smell.

In this case, the Boric Acid wasn’t enough. There were still roaches when the painting was finished and we moved in. So, I moved on to the next step in the plan - seal up cracks and holes and use aggressive poison sprays along the baseboards in select areas (we have a young daughter and don’t want her getting into the poisons and becoming sick so we are spraying in very limited areas.)

I caulked all of the seams inside the kitchen cabinets using clear silicon caulk. I also sealed every wall opening I could find with expanding spray foam. I closed up holes around the drain and water lines in the kitchen and bathroom. I sealed holes around steam pipes and electrical boxes too. Then I sprayed poison along the baseboards in the kitchen and behind furniture in the living room.

For a day or two it seemed like the roach problem was dissipating, but we woke up again to discover several of them crawling around the kitchen and later that morning, one crawled across the baby’s high-chair while she was eating. We may be making progress, but not fast enough. So I went a step further.

I bought a bunch of RAID Double Control roach baits to place all around the kitchen and bathroom. These also came with 3 special egg stoppers as well. The egg-killers involved some kind of liquid in a glass vial and a fabric pad to disperse it. You crack the glass and the liquid soaks into the pad. Whatever is in this liquid is supposed to screw up the roaches ability to reproduce. Once we get a handle on this problem, I’m throwing these out because I don’t want chemicals like that floating around my house any longer than necessary.

I also picked up a jug of bleach and am pouring bleach into the drains at night to keep the roaches from crawling up through the pipes at night. (We’re also regularly mixing a bleach solution in the sink to clean the baby’s toys until we are confident that the roach problem has been resolved!) The bleach stays in the trap in the drain to create a barrier that the roaches cannot cross. It also kills a lot of germs and leaves a stink in the room, so I put the drain plug in after pouring the bleach. I’m hitting the kitchen sink, bathroom sink and tub drains on my evening bleach runs.

My wife had used a device in a previous apartment that is supposed to send a magnetic charge through the wiring in your house which agitates the roaches and drives them out of the walls in search of other nesting spots. We searched around online and found a similar product at Amazon and ordered a couple. You just plug them into an outlet and it does it’s thing. If the device works at all, this will be a non-toxic long-term control tactic for keeping the roaches away. It can’t hurt (although the manufacturer says that the first few days the device is used, there will be more roaches in the house as they are driven out of the walls - I’ll be keeping the roach spray handy!)

While she was searching, my wife came across another product called Diatomaceous Earth, which is a non-toxic powder that kill roaches and other bugs. The powder is actually the fossilized remains of tiny phytoplanktons called diatoms which live in lakes and seas. The microscopic remains of these creatures have a jagged surface that scratches the roaches as they move across it which causes them to dry out and die. They also ingest the powder which does unpleasant things to their insides and kills as well. Like the Boric Acid, this powder is tracked back into the walls by the roaches and kills others in the nest. Unlike Boric Acid, it is safe around pets and humans (including babies) and does not lose potency over time.

I’m looking for a local supplier for the Diatomaceous Earth. If I can’t find one, I know it’s available on Amazon.
My plan is to spread it around on the same places I have used Boric Acid and leave it behind the stove, under the refrigerator, and around the radiators. I’m also considering drilling some small holes in the kitchen walls in each stud cavity and blowing a mix of Boric Acid and Diatomaceous Earth inside to kill of any nesting problems around the kitchen. This is a pretty aggressive step, so I’ll wait and see how the other options work first.

Several non-toxic sprays have come up in my searches for roach killers and I might order some to keep on hand once the war is over. They seem to use either orange oils or mint oils to kill the roaches. Both leave a strong smell, but I think I’d rather smell intense mint than whatever is in a typical can of roach spray.

You can probably tell I REALLY DON’T LIKE ROACHES!!!! I’m on a mission (possibly a fool’s errand) to rid my new apartment of this filthy invasion. I think I’ve covered all my bases (we’re keeping all our food in sealed containers and being aggressively clean in addition to everything else.) If these tactics don’t work, I fear I might start tearing up the walls and floors soon, so wish me luck and leave a comment if you have any solutions I haven’t mentioned here.
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Last edited by couponqueen on Wed May 05, 2010 10:52 am; edited 2 times in total
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PostPosted: Wed May 05, 2010 9:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What a great article Andrew has done up. Here's part 2 of his journey.
Killing Roaches Part 2… The Flowtron Bug Fighter Plus PR-2

My success with banishing cockroaches from our new Manhattan apartment is still modest. We’ve seen some ebb and flow in the total number of sightings in the past week, but we are still finding roaches daily. Many of them are dead or dying, but they are not gone and not all dead either.

In my first post on the subject I mentioned an electronic device that my wife had ordered as a possible long term help with keeping roaches out of the apartment without chemicals. The specific name of the device is the Flowtron Bugfighter Plus model number PR-2. It claims to work by sending a magnetic signal through the wiring in our home which agitates the bugs and drives them away along with an ultrasonic sound that does much the same thing.

Our PR-2 arrived in the mail today!

It may be a longshot that this has any effect, but (for $15US) I’m willing to give it a try. We had a similar device in our last apartment and I never saw a roach there the whole time I lived there. According to what I’ve read, one of the ways you can determine that the device is working is by a temporary increase in roach activity due to them leaving the nests and looking for new nesting places without the irritating magnetic waves and sounds.

I’ll be plugging the Flowtron Bugfighter Plus into the kitchen outlet tonight and watching closely for changes in the roach activity in that room.

Over the weekend I also ordered some Diatomaceous Earth to use as a non-toxic long term solution to the problem as well. I will be opening up holes in the stud cavities in the kitchen walls and blowing in a mixture of this product and Boric Acid. The expectation is that this will create a very hostile environment within the major pathways the roaches are traveling along and kill them before they ever get into our home. Since these products don’t lose potency over time they should help combat future infestations as well. (One of the primary benefits of both of these products is that the roaches track them back into the nests where they kill others.)

If you have an idea I haven’t mentioned, leave a comment and let me know. I’m looking for a long term and non-toxic solution to killing the roaches and keeping them from coming back. Organic is even better. (I also ordered some mint oil based roach spray to replace the chemical sprays I’ve been using.)

PS: The big benefit of Boric Acid as a roach killer is that it is about as toxic to humans as salt, so it is relatively safe (always follow manufacturer instructions) and roaches can’t develop immunity to it like they can with poisons.

Roaches love the very same conditions as people, which is why they exist pretty much everywhere that people do. They can hitch a ride into your home in many ways and, when the weather turns colder, they start showing up inside more.

If you haven’t already done it, the first thing you should do is seal every crack and crevice in your kitchen and bath. Seal around pipes, around electrical boxes and switch/plug covers, along baseboards, and along the joints in cabinets to seal off the roaches pathways from inside the walls into your living spaces.
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Last edited by couponqueen on Wed May 05, 2010 10:53 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Wed May 05, 2010 9:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What a great article Andrew has done up. Here's part 3 of his journey.
Killing Roaches Part 3… Eradicating Roach Colonies With Diatomaceous Earth

In my earlier posts about my roach killing expedition, I mentioned my discovery of Diatomaceous Earth.
This non-toxic powder has the ability to kill roaches (and a whole bunch of other things) without poisoning them. It is microscopically abrasive and cuts and scratches the roaches inside and out. Since it’s not a poison, it doesn’t lose potency over time. So, one good application will last a long time.

With a baby in the house, I was looking for non-toxic options for long-term use. This seemed like a very good product, so I started to hunt around for a local supplier. In New York City this wasn’t readily available (I didn’t have time to search around at gardening centers) so I ended up ordering it from Amazon. They also had a mint oil based non-toxic spray, so I got a couple cans of that as well.

When my 4 pound bag of Diatomaceous Earth arrived from Amazon I immediately set out to using it. I discovered a few things about how to best use Diatomaceous Earth in your roach killing efforts.

The first important thing to note is that, while Diatomaceous Earth is not poisonous to humans, it IS an irritant. It will get on your skin and dry it out like a mudpack. It has a mild, but noticeable, odor and it can irritate your eyes.

The second important thing to note is that Diatomaceous Earth will easily disperse in the air and form a cloud of fine particles that hang there a long time and then settle on everything in the room. This is not necessarily a bad thing!

Where To Apply Diatomaceous Earth For Effective Roach Killing
The goal with a product like Diatomaceous Earth is to get the roaches to track it back into the walls where it kills the roaches in the nest. A common application is to dust it under sink cabinets, stoves, refrigerators, and along baseboards. It is also good to spread it around outside if the roaches are coming from there (the powder in an outdoor application needs to be re-applied after rain.) I wanted to be even more aggressive.

If individual roaches tracking the Diatomaceous Earth into the walls was a good thing, I reasoned that coating the interiors of the wall with the powder would be even better - like a giant roach roadblock in the wall. I decided to drill small holes in the space between the wall studs in my kitchen and bathroom and blow the Diatomaceous Earth inside to coat the interior surfaces. A little drywall patching and paint afterward and I could relax in my own home instead of constantly scanning for roaches.

Applying Diatomaceous Earth For Roach Control
I got a plastic bottle with a cone shaped tip like those used for Boric Acid.
Once filled with Diatomaceous Earth, I set out to dust under the refridgerator, stove, and along the baseboards in the kitchen. I tipped the bottle and squeezed it quickly to ‘puff out’ a little powder.

I was concerned early on that the Diatomaceous Earthh would clog up the bottle, but the fine powder dispersed nicely. However, I got a little aggressive trying to blow the powder back under the fridge and, when I looked up, I noticed the cloud of dust hovering in the kitchen.

Blowing the dust inside the walls turned out to be a much easier task than originally anticipated. Only a small hole was needed to get the Diatomaceous Earth inside and some vigorous work with the bottle created a cloud of dust inside the walls which coated every surface with roach killing powder - sweet!

IMPORTANT NOTE: Wear a mask when applying Diatomaceous Earth.

One nice thing is that the dust clings easily to many surfaces. So, the sides of the stove and lower cabinets are now roach death traps. In fact, the vast majority of the kitchen surfaces are now inhospitable to roaches.

I was pleased to discover that the following day the number of roaches spotted in the kitchen had declined noticeably. And, I saw a couple of them moving slowly with a coating of the Diatomaceous Earth on their bodies. I found a few more in the glue traps around the kitchen coated in dust.

Unfortunately, new horror kicked in when I realized the roaches were moving into the living room looking for new hunting grounds. The bedrooms were sure to follow. This was not good.

New glue traps were quickly placed in the major roach pathways in the living room and Diatomaceous Earth was dusted under some of the larger furniture and along some of the hidden baseboards to keep the roaches contained.

The second day after applying the Diatomaceous Earth, we had almost no roaches in the kitchen at all. I did the usually rattling of dishes and opening of cabinets designed to flush the roaches out of hiding and found nothing. This was all the more shocking given the fact that I had fallen asleep leaving dishes in the sink and before taking out the very full trash. While washing the dishes, one lonely baby roach came out of hiding and I quickly dispatched him with a shot of my mint oil spray!

PS: I encourage you to do 3 things, clean your stove like you’ve never cleaned it before (if it is free standing, pull it out and degrease the back and underneath), get some roach gel (if you can find a place that will sell you professional grade gel - get it) and place a bead of gel along all of the hidden edges of the stove where the roaches might walk (along the bottom edges, corners in the back, door hinges, etc.), and then seal every crack and crevice you find (around water and drain pipes, along trim and mouldings, cracks in the floor, switch plates and electrical covers too.)

Sealing up the pathways where they move is extremely important. I saw the biggest change the day after I caulked all of the walls and cabinets. If you don’t know where they are coming from, place glue traps along the walls in the places you suspect and see where you catch the most.

You can get Plastic Squeeze Bottles at Amazon
Another thing we started doing was spraying the counter tops at night with a mixture of 1 tablespoon of Tabasco sauce in 1 quart of water. Apparently the roaches don’t like the pepper and will avoid surface where it is present. We spray it around pretty generously in the kitchen at night to make the place as unpleasant for the roaches as possible. The spraying can give you a little sneezing fit while the mist is in the air, but the mixture is diluted enough to be unnoticeable once it settles and dries.

Please leave a comment again when you’ve had a chance to test out some of these methods. Field reports are the best information.
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Last edited by couponqueen on Wed May 05, 2010 10:53 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Wed May 05, 2010 9:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What a great article Andrew has done up. Here's part 4 of his journey.
Killing Cockroaches Part 4 - My Ultimate Strategy For Killing Roaches
The roach killing tactics that worked best for me…

When you first see the roaches, your instincts say, “kill, kill, kill!!!” But, the best and least toxic solution comes about after the initial panic ebbs and you can think about the situation a bit more clearly. After I calmed down and stopped spraying RAID everywhere, I did a bunch of research and devised a plan of attack. My goals were to limit the amount of poisons used, make quick improvement in the living conditions in my home, and implement a long-term roach management solution that uses natural, non-toxic materials to keep roaches out of our home for good!

To achieve these goals, here is what needs to be done:

1 - Locate where the roaches are entering your home and cut off their access

2 - Cut off their food supply with a thorough de-greasing and cleaning

3 - Use baits, traps, and other products to kill the roaches back inside the walls as well as remaining roaches already inside the living spaces

4 - Create barriers to roaches coming inside in the future and repel roaches from entering closets and cabinets

I tried so many different tactics and products that it is hard to say if any one is ultimately responsible for ending the infestation. But, I know that I saw dramatic results after thoroughly caulking and sealing every crack and crevice in my kitchen and bath (I had also been using baits, traps and poisons for several weeks, so they contributed as well - just not as dramatically.)

On the same day I caulked and sealed, I also aggressively cleaned the kitchen with a de-greaser. The amount of cooking grease that coats the cabinets, walls, and vent hoods in a kitchen is remarkable. Scrubbing with ordinary cleaners isn’t enough, you have to pull out the heavy guns. Don’t forget to clean out the oven, under the stove top, the back and sides of your stove and the walls and cabinets surrounding the stove. If you have a self-cleaning oven, run it through a cleaning cycle according to the manufacturer’s instructions. The high heat will kill off any eggs or live bugs inside the stove (but you still need to de-grease everything afterward.)

Glue traps were effective in both capturing the roaches that were running around the house and also in helping to identify how and where they were entering the rooms. These clues made it easier to find the spots requiring further treatment.

To keep the bugs out in the long-term, I used several tactics. I placed cedar products in the closets, cabinets and drawers. The natural oils in the wood repel roaches. I’m planning to line all of the closets in cedar eventually, but placed blocks of cedar on hangers there for the time being.

Moth balls are also a good deterrent to keep the roaches out, but they are toxic and smell pretty bad. Your application options are limited. One folk remedy is to drop a couple behind the stove every few months to ward of roaches.

My most aggressive long term tactic was to drill holes in the wall cavities around the kitchen (the source of our worst infestation) and blow a combination of Diatomaceous Earth and Boric Acid into the walls.
Both of these products work together very well to kill the roaches through mechanical means rather than poison.
Neither product loses potency over time and the roaches cannot become immune to it the way they can with many poisons. In my view, the walls are now a highway of roach death which will stop future roaches before the ever manage to get inside. Small amounts of both products were dusted under the stove and refrigerator.

The Diatomaceous Earth is non-toxic and has a very mild ‘earthy’ odor. This is good with a baby around the house (Boric Acid is toxic, but not nearly as bad as the poisons in most roach sprays.) I also added a few cans of a mint oil based bug spray into our cupboard to handle future sitings. Unlike poison based sprays, I’m not scared to use this around the kitchen. It works a little slower than poison sprays, but smells better and won’t hurt you if a little overspray gets on your dinner plate.

I never had to resort to bug bombing. I think I could have handled the situation effectively if I had used nothing more than the Diatomaceous Earth, mint oil based bug spray, glue traps, silicon caulk, expanding foam, and boric acid coupled with a thorough cleaning and degreasing of the entire kitchen.

The roach sightings have dropped dramatically in the past couple days and I’m looking forward to many roach-free days in the near future.

PS: TimeMist makes a product that mists a bug repellant/killer in short bursts at regular intervals like an air freshener. The mist is made from Pyrethrum which is a harmless (to humans) plant derivative that rapidly breaks down in the air but drives bugs away like crazy. It can be place in kitchens or baths or around any places where you are having significant problems. This is a solution used by many commercial food services and restaurants.
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