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, 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.
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 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!