Simple and effective pest control: Cockroaches

I was once told that Mark Twain professed that the reason he was an atheist was because of the mosquito; how could a loving God create such an awful creature?  After searching at length for these words I can decide he was misquoted, but the expression about sums up my feelings about the cockroach.  I am not an atheist, but sometimes I teeter; most often it is when I have just smashed one under a shoe and am wiping the explosion off whatever surface it had the ill luck to fall upon.

Cockroaches are the one insect that most find impossible to get rid of.  They are remarkable in their durability and propagation; once they get into your house, they are said to be impossible to remove.  In Chicago, we kept them at bay for several months, and then woke one morning to find that they had taken over the kitchen.  I spent a lot of money on organic sprays that were completely ineffective at prevention; to kill the roaches you had to spray them directly for three to five seconds, which also inevitably doused the dishes and utensils in the area as well.  I solved the problem by moving to Montana, where the cold makes it difficult for them to live, but this seemed a rather extreme measure to recommend to others.

Due to their gross-out factor, cockroaches are highly misunderstood; a little education can go a long way when dealing with them.  For example, most of us see them on our counters and floors, but cockroaches love to climb.  Boric acid (which is TOXIC when eaten, and should be kept away from children) sprinkled on TOP of your cupboards can work wonders- the roaches come into contact with it and bring it back home, which subsequently kills the others living with them.  I would recommend this only in extreme cases, and don’t apply it repeatedly; boric acid, when inhaled, can really harm you.

Thankfully, nature has provided a swell and harmless alternative: diatomaceous earth.  This swell powder is a type of rock made from the fossilized shells of diatoms, and can be purchased in a lot of places where regular insecticides are sold.  If you sprinkle it on your counters, in and on top of your cupboards, and places where roaches like to hide (behind appliances or the refrigerator, under the garbage can, behind the toilet), they get coated in it, and the crystals break down their exoskeletons.  You will see more roaches when using this method because, as they die, their dehydration will force them out of hiding to look for water.  Within two weeks, your roach population will decrease dramatically.

Roaches hate cucumber and garlic, and if you find they hang out in a certain place, slices of these will keep them away.  But the best solution to roach problems is prevention- clean your kitchen and bathroom thoroughly, and vacuum every nook and cranny.  If your vacuum has a bag, make sure you get rid of it in a trash outside your house; if it has a plastic container for dust, make sure you’re dumping it in an outside trash or dumpster as well.

Roaches, like all animals, are attracted to water, so fix any water leaks you have around the house and make sure your faucet areas are clean and dry.  Don’t free-feed your pets; rinse and dry their dishes after each use.  If you’re not using a faucet, plug it up.  Caulk cracks and holes where you notice roaches hanging out.  Put screens over your air vents.  Cockroaches want in because they need food and water and can’t find it outside.

Make sure you don’t have extra stores of paper bags or cardboard hanging around; roaches love the glue on paper bags, and cardboard boxes serve as excellent nesting grounds.

As a little bit of humor:



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