Killing Cockroaches Part 4 – My Ultimate Strategy For Killing Roaches

Get the blueprint for eradicating cockroaches safely...

BREAKING NEWS:

I have edited everything I previously wrote about eradicating cockroaches (along with some new research) and published it as a FREE online book.

Now, instead of piecing together my advice from the posts and comments on this blog, you can read everything you need to know in one place – a step-by-step plan is included. I call it the “Cockroach Assassin Report.” The book has been published as a stand-alone website with a table of contents and the full text. A print edition is available for people who prefer a physical book over digital books.

Read this Special Report at:
www.CockroachAssassin.com

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

Safe, non-toxic pest control - Eartheasy.comI 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, poisons, and traps 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 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.

Safe, non-toxic pest control - Eartheasy.comThe 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 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.

The Go-To Guy!

P.S. Do you have any tips or techniques for effectively killing roaches and treating an infestation? Leave a comment and let us all know!
[nms:cockroach,3,1]

Andrew Seltz

Andrew was born in Michigan, raised there and in Tennessee, and has since lived outside Orlando, in Chicago, New York City, and now Birmingham, Alabama. He produces videos and websites for a living and is married to a beautiful, generous, loving woman who also happens to be a talented actress and writer - www.ellenseltz.com. They have two daughters.

28 thoughts on “Killing Cockroaches Part 4 – My Ultimate Strategy For Killing Roaches

  • February 11, 2008 at 8:34 pm
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    Oh nasty. Cockroaches. I had a situation with them years ago. Unlike youm, I didn’t face it head on. I called my Bug Man and let him do the dirty work!

  • February 11, 2008 at 10:06 pm
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    June,

    Thanks for the comment. The roaches were very nasty indeed, but I think I may have solved our problem without resorting to lots of chemicals. My wife said she today was a 100% roach free day!

    With a 12 month old daughter in the house, I’ve been very concerned about what products I used to deal with the problem. Over the counter bug sprays and professional chemicals have some pretty nasty ingredients and my daughter gets into everything.

    I now know way more than I ever hoped to know about roaches, but at least have turned that into some useful info for the blog!

    The Go-To Guy!

    P.S. I checked out your blog – very nice! You’ve got some great content and a nice writing style.

  • March 10, 2008 at 8:02 am
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    Yep…Dealing with the nasty buggers as well.
    Also called in the pro. I have been keeping it super clean all year but in an apartment building one can only do so much as you never know how dirty your next door person is
    🙁
    Ended up calling the health department to inspect the place and it forced the landlord to spray and bait the whole building…again.
    Hope I find a better place next year…
    Heres a drain tip though:
    -pour lysol or bleach in the drains and toilet overnight to keep them being able to swim up the drain or drink from the toilet.

  • March 10, 2008 at 12:42 pm
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    Bleach in the drains is a very good way to keep the roaches from entering through the pipes. I also got in the habit of plugging the kitchen drain at night. (You can’t do the same with the bathroom drains because tubs and sinks there have overflow drains an the roaches will just bypass the plug and come out through the hole for the overflow.)

    I’m glad we didn’t have to do anything as drastic as call the health department. The co-op does have regular pest control service in the building, but residents have to sign up for the bug guy to come into their apartment. Our upstairs neighbor won’t let him in!!!

    I hope you get a handle on your infestation.

    The Go-To Guy!

  • April 3, 2008 at 4:59 am
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    Hi, you’re advice sounds very helpful but I was wondering if you could help me alittle more with my dilemma. I have been living in military housing for almost a year now and still have a roach problem. I don’t exactly live in apartment style housing but it is like one building, two houses side by side. They have sent people to come and spray but it doesn’t work. I have a cat that seems to think every powder substance or herb put on the floor is something to play in as if it were catnip, so I’m skeptical about putting the boric acid down in fear it might hurt him. I have three rambunctious children (5,3, and 2yrs) and newborn preemie. I have tried almost everything you can buy at walmart and it doesnt seem to help, and with my children I don’t want to keep spraying poison around them. They are everywhere! They crawl out of my sink, electric sockets, and I even find them in my freezer (husband thinks they could be coming in through pipe for icemaker), and this morning found one crawling in my newborn’s bassinet when I went to get her to feed her. This is driving me absolutely mad, and because of my husbands low rank and our large family I don’t have the money to move off base. I keep my house clean, it’s not perfect (but whose is with small children?) but I don’t understand why it’s still this bad. After the roach in the bassinet this morning I got on here looking for every possible way to get rid of them and stumbled upon this page. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!!

  • April 6, 2008 at 8:19 am
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    Samantha,

    I’m very sorry to hear about your situation. Dealing with a roach infestation along with small children and pets is extremely challenging (I know first hand about the small child part, anyway.)

    There is hope!

    First, the cleanliness of your home has little to do with the problem. Roaches can go 6 months without food. They eat paper and glue (like the kind used to bind books) and many other things besides crumbs in the kitchen, so it’s hard to starve them out.

    Living in a duplex house means that part of the problem can be your neighbors too.

    The first thing you need to do is close up the holes they use to move in and out of your house. This is a tedious job, but you will see dramatic results from doing it. Buy several tubes of clear silicon caulk and a caulk gun from your local home center or hardware store (Walmart should have this too.) You also need to get some plain steel wool and some expanding foam spray (it is commonly used for insulating your home.) Also, look for outlet insulation pads for your electrical outlets and switches. (These are foam pads that go underneath the switch and outlet covers to seal off drafts.)

    Go to the pest control area and load up on glue traps. I cleaned out the local drug store twice when I first began dealing with my problem.

    When you get all of these supplies, here is what you do. Starting with the kitchen and bathrooms, you need to seal every crack and crevice in the walls and cabinets. Roaches only need a tiny opening to get in and out of your home. If you fill them all in, the roaches can’t get into your house to begin with. So, use the caulk to fill cracks and gaps in all of the moldings around the floor. Use the spray foam to fill in gaps around electrical boxes (remove the covers, seal any cracks around the outside of the boxes and place the insulation pads over the outlet before replacing the covers.)

    Spend plenty of time on the spaces under sinks. There are usually large openings around water and drain pipes. Pack large openings with steel wool and then spray in the foam. If your cabinets have backs on them, there is probable a hole cut to allow the pipes to come through. Use the spray foam to fill in the gaps between the backing and the wall.

    Caulk and seal every seam on the insides of your cabinets next.

    Once the kitchen and baths are done, move on to the other rooms and focus on the floor boards and around windows, air conditioners, etc.

    Roaches need water much more than food, so look for leaks when you are under the cabinets and fix any you find.

    This is going to be time consuming and tedious, but the results will be dramatic. We notice a dramatic drop in roach activity overnight and this step was the beginning of the end of our problem.

    Once you are finished sealing up the cracks, place the glue traps along the walls in the kitchen and bath. Put them against the back splash on the counter top at night until you get the infestation under control. This will help you catch the roaches that are still inside after you cut off their travel paths.

    Roaches breed fast, so they can develop immunity to poisons – that’s why the stuff you get at the store loses effectiveness over time. Poisoning alone will not work. The roaches will simple avoid the poisoned areas and return when you stop.

    If you and the kids can get out of the house for a few days, you can also set off a couple of bug bombs before you start with the sealing project. If you choose to do this, follow the instructions on the bombs very carefully to protect the kids.

    After you finish this first step, put boric acid under the fridge and stove for long term control – only in places the kids and pets can’t reach. Boric acid works slowly, but it very effective and has very low toxicity to humans.

    Roaches don’t like moth balls, so you can place one or two behind the stove and in the cabinets under the sinks to deter them from entering. These are toxic, so read the directions and use sparingly.

    One last tip. Roaches in the kitchen drove me and my wife nuts. We discovered a home made spray you can make that deters roaches. You mix 2 tablespoons of Tobasco sauce with 1 quart of water and put it into a spray bottle. At night, we mist down the counter tops, the stove, and the area on the floor around the baby’s high chair. This is pepper spray, so it’ll irritate your nose and throat until the mist completely settles out of the air – that’s why we only do it just before we go to sleep (and why I always end up doing the job!)

    I hope this helps you deal with your problem. Please write back and let me know how things worked for you.

    The Go-To Guy!

  • July 5, 2008 at 9:30 am
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    I need some advice. I am currently living in public housing, but am moving to a house in about a month. There has been a roach problem in my building for over a year. The exterminator came out twice a month, but it only seems to control the population rather than get rid of the problem. I need to know what I can do to not take any with me to the new place….any thoughts would be appreciated! Thanks…

  • July 7, 2008 at 3:21 pm
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    Katie,

    Unless you are planning to get rid of everything you own, there is a good chance that you will end up bringing a few with you. It’s very important that you make your new home as unfriendly to roaches as possible before you move in.

    Clean the new house thoroughly before moving anything in. Focus on kitchen, bathrooms, and any places where food is stored or where the air will be humid (laundry rooms, basements, etc.)

    Next seal every crack and crevice with silicone caulk. Focus on the insides of cabinets around water pipes and drains, and all of the baseboards and moldings in your house. Use steel wool and expanding foam insulation for filling in larger gaps. This will make it hard for roaches to find places to live and move around the new house.

    For the first few weeks in the new place, place glue traps along the baseboards in every room. Any roaches that come in with your belongings will quickly look for a new place to settle in and the traps will catch them before the find a home.

    Now, there are a few things you can do to keep roaches in your existing place from hitching a ride.

    – Wash and dry all of your clothes and immediately place them into sealed plastic bags before packing in boxes. Run heavy coats and blankets through a hot cycle in the dryer to kill roaches that might be living in them (check the labels to see if they can stand the heat.)
    – Roaches don’t like Bay Leaves or Cedar. Get some dried bay leaves from the grocery store or some cedar balls or block from the hardware store. Place them in every box before you seal it up.
    – Get rid of old magazines and books. Roaches love the paper and glue.
    – Inspect your kitchen appliances before packing. Roaches can live in the motor housings. Replace any that you suspect of infestation.
    – Don’t pack the boxes too early. Roaches like boxes and if you leave them laying around they’ll try to get in. Once you get to the new place, unpack boxes quickly and remove the cardboard from the house immediately.

    Good luck with your move and I wish you a roach-free transition.

    The Go-To Guy!

  • July 29, 2008 at 8:25 pm
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    Help! I live in Hawaii where roaches abound (hey they like paradise too). There’s no way to “seal” the house as our construction is way more open. What to do…

  • July 30, 2008 at 10:58 am
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    Judith,

    Roaches love warmth and moisture – so your paradise is theirs as well.

    While you probably can’t seal off your home in the same way I did, it is still important to seal the cracks between walls and cabinets, walls and floors, and round plumbing pipes wherever possible. You want the roaches to have to travel along the outsides of the walls where you can strategically place traps to catch them.

    Another thing you can do is dust Diatomaceous earth along the ground on the outside perimeter of your home and underneath it if you have a crawlspace under the house. This will help to kill roaches (and most anything else) trying to get in. Diatomaceous earth clumps together when when wet, which reduces it effectiveness, so you will need to reapply it from time to time.

    Finally, make your house inhospitable to roaches. A solution of 1 tablespoon of Tobasco sauce and 1 quart of water sprayed on kitchen surfaces at night will deter the roaches from crawling on them. Cedar in drawers and closets will also repel them. Bay leaves have a similar effect so you can spread them around in likely roach hiding spots.

    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. The specific product I am referring to is available through the Cockroach Eradication Center Store.

    I hope these ideas are helpful as you develop a specific pest management strategy for your home.

    The Go-To Guy!

  • July 31, 2008 at 3:45 am
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    Andrew, thank you so much for your blogging! I, too, have been freaked out by seeing roaches in our kitchen lately, and occasionally in the living room (where my 8-y-o son likes to take food) and the bathroom. We also have spiders and hornets sometimes in these areas (oops, forgot the laundry!) and I’m bug-phobic, so this is a BIG HAIRY DEAL! I am printing this off to show my husband, and hopefully we can get started with some of your tips tomorrow (or today, I guess). He is also struggling to get roaches out of his dad’s rent house/duplex. They’ve bug bombed the place at least twice (most recently was at dinner time, and they didn’t think to warn/notify the occupants of the other side of the duplex. OOPS!) and they’re still having problems. I also greatly appreciate your focus on non-toxic methods. My 10-y-o & 8-y-o sons both have autism, and I had Terminix coming monthly when they were little. Coincidence? Hmmm… Worth avoiding the toxins anyway.

    My suggestion to you about dealing with the cat lady is to print copies of this blog series and send them to everyone else in the building (maybe making judicious deletions of the parts regarding your neighbor) with a note that, “If you, too, are struggling to get rid of the bugs, here’s what worked for us”. My guess is that your upstairs neighbor is embarrassed by the untidy state of her apartment and/or afraid that someone will force her to get rid of her cats. I’m glad you’re making progress in your own apartment.

  • July 31, 2008 at 11:51 am
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    Christina,

    Thank you so much for leaving a comment. It’s always encouraging to get feedback and questions. And, it’s really nice to know that what I’ve written is helpful.

    I’m currently in the process of writing an ebook that collects together everything I learned and organizes it into a systematic approach to dealing with roaches that doesn’t involve filling your home with poisons.

    The website is http://www.CockroachAssassin.com and there are a couple SPECIAL REPORTS there that I’m giving away to people who sign up for the announcement list.

    The bug bombs you mentioned are generally counter productive because the roaches just retreat from the area until the dust settles and then move right back in. Over time they will actually develop immunity to the poison as they reproduce.

    The most effective thing you can do is seal off their travel paths so they can’t move through the walls, cut off their food and water sources (water being the most important), and then capture the rest with glue traps and get them out of the house ASAP.

    The problem with my ‘cat lady’ is that she has dementia. She doesn’t have any family to care for her, so it is hard to get any social services intervention. It’s a tough situation, but we are working with the city and the building management to help her get the care she needs (which at this stage is probably a nursing home.) If she were my mother, I wouldn’t let her live the way she is.

    I wish you the best of luck with your own bug control efforts. Please come back and leave a comment to let me know how things worked out for you.

    The Go-To Guy!

  • June 27, 2009 at 6:34 pm
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    Hi Andrew,
    I’m about to begin searching to order some Diatomaceous Earth and wonder if there is a partuiclaur brand or supplier that you prefer using.

  • July 27, 2009 at 9:11 pm
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    Andrew,
    This is the first time I have ever read your “The Go-To Guy” I have really learned alot. We live in a RV full time and are haveing a BIG Roach Problem.
    We just Bombed,we didnt really what to, but just didnt know what else to do. But I dont think it really did anything,(we will know when we get up for that midnight snack). We do not want to use chemicals. We are going to try all the non-toxic way’s. Ceder etc… What about those out side lockers? How would we kill those nasty bugs in there? I know alot of them are coming from those places. Please HELP!! Carole Baxter

  • July 27, 2009 at 10:40 pm
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    Jeff,

    I just bought what I could find on Amazon, because I couldn’t find it locally. The brand shouldn’t make much difference (unless they mix in some other ingredients.)

    Carole,

    An RV is tricky because it’s hard to seal up all the cracks and crevices to keep them from moving around. There is also a chance they could be inside the insulation in the walls which makes it even trickier.

    My first recommendation is to do your absolute best to go through the entire RV and seal every crack and gap you find with silicone caulk. Start with the kitchen and bathroom and then work your way around. Seal the insides of the cabinets and along the ceiling and floor edges.

    Next, make a mixture of 2 tablespoons tobasco sauce and 1 quart of water. Put it in a spray bottle and mist it over the counter top an cook surfaces every night. The roaches don’t like the pepper in the spray and avoid the surfaces. This just reduces the chance of seeing them in the kitchen and gives a little peace of mind.

    Finally, place glue traps all around the RV along the walls. This will help you discover where they are coming in and how they are moving around.

    I really hope this helps you in your situation. Please let me know if you make any progress.

    The Go-To Guy!

  • July 15, 2010 at 3:11 pm
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    Dear amazing brilliant bug guy,

    Help! I have a major infestation of german roaches. My landlord had a fumigator spray twice and ive bug bomed twice but all it did was move them out of the kitchen into my stuff. I am now moving and am scared to dealth of stowaways. I have read quite a bit about preventing this but I am still unclear and any extra advice would be immensely appreciated!!!

    I am already getting rid of my cats since the roaches seem to love their food. I am going to throw away as much as possible including my microwave, toster, couch (they are living inside) extra pillows anything I can spare.

    Dear Amazing one do I need to trash my bed, tv (some web sites say it must go some dont) dvd player, lamps, and how serious is throwing away my books because I have a very large and expensive book collection could I just check them verry carefully? Or do I need to put them in closed plastic bags for 3 months?

    I know to check everything and wash all clothes (is dry cleaning the same?) My other big question is I read something that german roaches are so hard to get rid of because the eggs stay inside the female does this mean I dont have to worry about eggs too?

    I also read that you can get a storage unit or a moving truck put all your stuff inside and bomb the hell out of it. Have you heard anything about this? I just bought boric acid today. Should I also get tape strips and the thing to plug into the wall.

    ps
    if u can answer these questions I will consider you a god! please help.
    also do we think I should send some roaches to my mean lanlord who
    is trying to blame me for the problem so much I already had to retain council.

    THANK YOU TIMES A BILLION!!!

    Brittany

  • October 5, 2011 at 3:30 am
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    we have had luck getting rid of roaches by spraying cypress and peppermint oil mixed with salt water all around our house its safe for kids and pets and smell pretty good

  • October 14, 2011 at 2:09 pm
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    My thoughts on roach control.

    There are a few things that I have not seen on your terrific blog: heat and cold, and some other tricks also. You do not need to throw out small affected appliances… put them in a completely sealed plastic bag and place them in the freezer. It is my understanding that about 5 days will do it. Based upon my microbiological experience, my guess is that temperature cycling, while kept sealed in the bag (most of the day in, a few hours out, continued for a few days, or even two hours in two hours out, cycled a number of times over a period of days) may even be more effective. The freeze-thaw cycle is more effective at rupturing cell walls than is freezing alone. On the other side of the temperature coin, I know heat is effective with bed bugs. At some high temperature (exactly what temp I do not know) it must also kill off the roaches. Sealing in an oven bag with a hair dryer as a source of heat, or sealing in a black plastic bag and placing in direct sunlight for a few days should be effective (it is with bed bugs). For pet food, I place my cat’s food in the freezer every night. I place her water in tall a tall glass vase, not a shallow bowl, on the counter top. The critters cannot get a grip on the glass, and thus cannot get a drink. For a reverse of this, place stale beer in a very clean tall glass container (a jar) with a couple of strips of masking tape up the outside (not the inside). Roaches check-in via the tape but cannot crawl out via the smooth inner surface and thus drown. Some people have placed a thin layer of Vaseline on the inside to make escape even harder. I place 20-Mule Team Borax in the evaporator tray under my refrigerator (about ¼ to ½ cup), spread around evenly. It is sodium borate and is very inhospitable to cockroaches. As an alternative to bleach, for each sink drain in the house, mix about ¼ cup of 20-Mule Team Borax in a cup of hot water, mix it for about a minute (it will not all dissolve) and pour it down each and every drain in the house every night. Pour more in your toilet and mix. I also surround the toilet with a boric acid barrier of dust to prevent access to the toilet water. Also note that, even though you should treat it with respect, as for all chemicals, and minimize exposure, borates (boric acid, sodium borate, etc.) have a toxicity approximating table salt. Best of luck… Dr. Lou

  • January 8, 2012 at 1:47 am
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    Hello Andrew,

    I just bought this product today and used it, Diatomaceous Earth, I layered my entire kitchen floor and under my refrigerator. But before I did that, I cault the open holes ( I thought), I was surprised to see one stumbling out. I cant figure out where they are coming from. I also layered my entire bathroom. Was that too much? I did my kitchen floor the same way…I layered the entire floor? Now I see them running out intomy livingroom. I will take your advice and go by some of those sticky padds to catch them. Do you know how long it will take for the Diatomaceous to start working? I really want toget rid of them permanently. I just moved here four weeks ago (condo apt) and never had any roach issues but my new neighbors are college boys and DJ’s and are filthy. Please answer my questions or tell me if I did anythiing wrong. Thanks

  • January 27, 2012 at 9:59 pm
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    I’m sorry to hear about your new neighbors. My problem came the same way.

    Put plenty of the glue traps along the edges of the walls (roaches mostly travel along the walls.) This will catch them and also help you find out where they are coming from. Then you can focus on finding the cracks and gaps.

    Sounds like you put down a LOT of DE. I just use it under cabinets/stoves/refrigerators and other out-of-the-way places where the roaches might walk through. Since you are seeing a change in the pattern of where the roaches are moving, you are disrupting their ability to survive in your home – that’s good news.

    Spend more time filling cracks and holes. Tiny cracks are enough for them to get through, so caulk everything. Focus first on filling the gaps around water and drain pipes under your sinks and then fill gaps along the baseboards. This can be tough to do if you have carpet, so start with rooms that have tile or wood floors. Then, go to the hardware store and ask for switch plate and wall outlet insulation pads. These go under the covers of your wall outlets and switches to seal up cracks.

    Before you fill in any large gaps or cracks, you can dust a little DE into the wall cavity. This will help to kill the roaches in the wall before the find a way inside.

    Good luck,

    Andrew

  • September 1, 2012 at 1:29 pm
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    My sis died & I was sent her cloth purse, a vest, crochet patterns & a doll & doll clothes. She had cockroaches 1 year ago. I put the crochet patterns (about 9″ of them) in a zip-lock bag, put the doll & clothes in zip lock bag, put purse in zip lock bag and all went into the freezer.
    How long do I keep them in freezer?
    I was also sent a babylock serger (do not want to throw away, it’s expensive to replace) It’s out on back deck in 3 large plastic bags with 3 or 4 roach hotels inside the inner bag. How long do I leave the bags there?
    I’ve never had roaches.
    Thanks so much!

  • September 17, 2012 at 10:00 am
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    Jan Ann,

    Sorry to hear about the loss of your sister. I also appreciate you visiting my site for help with preserving the items you inherited from her.

    According to a Minnesota University Agricultural Extension bulletin, 5 days in the freezer is sufficient for killing roaches. You should be able to take them out now.

    From my research, I found that roaches can only survive about one week without a water source. It can take about 45 days for a baby to hatch from an egg, so you might want to wait out the incubation period so you don’t risk unhatched eggs causing an infestation. If you can leave the serger in the bags for 2 months, that would be safest, but 7-10 days would be sufficient for killing any that were already hatched.

    I hope this has been helpful,

    Andrew

  • January 19, 2015 at 10:57 am
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    Hi there! What did you use to blow the boric acid into your walls? Thanks:), Joanna.

  • March 26, 2015 at 1:03 pm
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    Joanna, I just used the bottle it came in. Most stores sell it in a plastic bottle with a cone-shaped top. I just drilled a small hole in the drywall between 2 wall studs, inserted the tip of the bottle, and squeezed a couple puffs of dust into the wall cavity. You might need to tip the bottle back and forth if too much dust blocks the tip. This works best on interior walls that don’t have insulation. There has to be an open cavity behind the wall for the dust to disperse and settle.

  • July 21, 2015 at 10:20 am
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    Hi Andrew,

    I have come across your blog and I really enjoy reading your thorough descriptions. We bought a 1959 ranch style house that was a fixer upper. The kitchen needs new flooring and new cabinets but we don’t want to spend the money right now. Around Xmas I found a ton of roach leftovers under my Keurig which I then threw away. Everything was okay until about 2 months ago. Infestation is an understatement. I never owned a home before so I didn’t know what extent of cleaning is needed… (yes this is a sad thing).
    Anyways, we are working on caulking and putting DE everywhere we can. I so far do not see an improvement. We also have an infestation of tiny sink bugs that have recently been getting into our fridge…

    Has this ever happened to you?
    And also, I was wondering if sealing inside the cabinets is necessary?

    Thank you very much!

  • July 29, 2015 at 10:22 pm
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    Patty,

    Sorry to hear about your bug problems. I currently live in a similar style/vintage house, but with fewer bug issues.

    I highly recommend sealing the cabinets. It is astonishing how many cracks and crevices there are in cabinetry. If your cabinets are original, they my be custom built (like mine) and have not backs. They just butt up against the walls. Another thing I recommend is to put some roach gel/paste along the bottom edges of your drawers (where the bottom meets the side.) These products usually contain boric acid and come in a large syringe. You can lay a bead along the inside edge like caulk and it will place some poison in a spot that is effective but not visible.

    The only tiny bugs I have had problems with in the recent past were pantry mites – and they were a HUGE effort to get rid off.

    Best of luck,

    Andrew

  • August 14, 2016 at 1:09 pm
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    Hello!

    Thank you for this great advice!

    I have been battling roaches in my new apartment, and finally got the landlord to agree to break my lease and let me move. I do not want these unwanted roommates to move with me, and I’ve been reading as much as possible on how to prevent them from hitching a ride to my new place. However, I’ve found no consistent advice on books. I’m a grad student in literature, and I have a lot of books that I love very much! In your research, have you found anything on how to keep cockroaches out of books? My current plan is to shake the books out and then vacuum-seal them in plastic bags for a month prior to the move. I’m hoping that by doing this, any roaches that may have taken a liking to my copy of Moby Dick will be suffocated by the time I move.

    Any advice? Thank you again!

  • August 26, 2016 at 12:48 pm
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    Sealing up the books before the move is an excellent strategy. Getting a few of those vacuum seal bags should be a relatively inexpensive way to get it done.

    When you get to your new location, set out some glue traps and baits before you unpack. That way, any roaches that might have snuck a ride won’t have a chance to settle in at the new place.

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