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.
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 Earth 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!
If you have any tips or special techniques for killing roaches using Diatomaceous Earth, leave a comment below and let everyone know!
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