Roaches! Help!

A few weeks ago we discovered we had unexpected…ugh…visitors. We’ve NEVER had roaches but our 21yo ds cleaned out a rental house for us, and for some reason I cannot fathom, brought a few things back that the woman had left…a stack of dishes, a few unopened cans. The house was trashed and badly infested with roaches.

I did some research and read that boric acid will kill them, although it is not highly toxic to humans. I don’t have inside pets or crawling babies/toddlers who will get into it, so I sprinkled it around the edges of the walls, under the sink, etc. I also put sticky boards around. Most web sites said you have to be patient and persistent. You won’t get rid of them all immediately.

I thought we’d got rid of them all, but then we began noticing tiny baby ones. YUCK!!! These things make me shudder. I put out more boric acid and thorougly cleaned out all kitchen cupboards, including under the sink. I don’t notice too many bugs, so I think we must’ve killed a lot of them…only see one once in a while.


The best thing that I have found to eliminate the little pests is a roach paste. It comes in a syringe and you just inject it along baseboards, around the water pipe openings, and similar places.

Combat sells one that works well.

It does take a while to get them killed off because, as you experienced, the adults can lay a lot of eggs before they die. Getting the young ones before they can reproduce will finally kill them off.

I also have found, for packing boxes (roaches love cardboard and of course warm, wet places) cloves excellent. I always sprinkle cloves around the base of any boxes I have in storage or in wardrobes etc and just leave loose cloves about. I am talking about the cloves you would stick into oranges to make a clove orange.

When I moved into current place I opened dishwasher to find scores of them. Albeit I am very sensitive to chemicals we did let off thee roach ‘bombs’ in the place before I moved in. That still didn’t resolve the dishwasher problem so I had to buy a spray with a long thin nozzle and spray between the cupboard door and the dishwasher door (very slim space but this is where cockroaches were residing). I did this twice and ran a rinse through the washer a day after each spray (I did not put dishes in during this time). Since then I have put cloves about and have only come across one cockroach in more than a month. I’ve not had to use chemicals at all since that initial period.

Whatever you use you have to do 2/3 rounds to account for the eggs that would have hatched in the interim. I have used borax too before to effect.

I agree with knitting-guy that going around all the baseboards and between stove and walls etc is really important if you have an infestation. Sounds like you are just getting the usual second round post hatching tho so I wouldn’t panic. Keep at it and be vigilant and they will slowly go.

I recall one apartment my son moved into (with others in a business) that had swarms of them. It was gross. You could not open a cutlery drawer without them scuttling around. We had to have that place professional pest treated. It was the worst I have ever seen and this was a $600 a week plus place!


So there is hope??? That is good to know. I did buy some of that Combat gel but my dh said he did not want me squiriting that stuff anywhere. He was afraid it would be toxic for us. I don’t remember what the label said about what chemicals it contained.

Someone else told me they once used something that was like “birth control for roaches” which somehow made them so they couldn’t reproduce. Don’t know what it’s called. I’m willing to try different things, but I don’t really want toxic sprays. I’ve read they don’t work as well anyway…they don’t kill all the roaches or the eggs. Maybe I will use some of that gel…secretively. We’re not going to be licking it off the floor, after all.

I just hope I don’t start dreaming about the creepy critters.


Thanks for telling me about the cloves! I happen to have a big container of them I got from my mom’s house; not sure why she had so many of them but since she doesn’t cook anymore I took them, thinking I might do the orange & clove thing.

I did try putting a few moth balls in some kitchen cupboards while we were on vacation last week, but PEE-YOO those things stink, and I read that the fumes really are not good for you. I will try the cloves! Thanks again.

I was just sent this link; it’s got stuff on getting rid of roaches (among other things):

[COLOR=#800080]http://www.lowchens australia. com/health/ handyhints. htm[/COLOR]

Seriously, you need to get a handle on those things or they will quickly overtake your house and they are known breeders of disease. I know Ortho makes a good spray that is water based and not harmful to pets or humans or plants called Home Defense. I’m all for the natural way of eliminating things but boric acid is a waste of time and I can’t see any other natural product killing them (moth balls do nothing). Roaches are one of the oldest creatures on earth, they didn’t get that way by dying off easily. For every roach you do see, there are several more you don’t. If you continue to see them and home remedies don’t work, call a professional.

[FONT=Comic Sans MS][SIZE=3][COLOR=darkorchid]Yet one more thing you can do. Mix baking soda with cocoa, and/or flour. Lay it around baseboards, behind applicances, etc. It’s totally safe for everyone except the nasty little bugs.[/COLOR][/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Comic Sans MS][SIZE=3][/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Comic Sans MS][SIZE=3][COLOR=#9932cc]Roaches can’t eliminate gas from either end. So the baking soda reacts with their “stomach” acids just like vinegar and backing soda. They don’t “blow up” they just kinda split open. [/COLOR][/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Comic Sans MS][SIZE=3][/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Comic Sans MS][SIZE=3][COLOR=#9932cc]Cream of Wheat works the same way on ants. Sprinkle it around the ant hill or the entrance to the house and within a week, no more ants.[/COLOR][/SIZE][/FONT]

Bay leaves are also great. I lived above a Chinese restaurant for a few years, and put bay leaves with all my books, and packed some in every box (along with spraying the boxes with roach repellant). I didn’t move a single one with me. In addition to spraying, you can also eliminate food and water sources, just like you would for mice. Don’t leave any food out, vacuum religiously, and take your trash out daily, too.

Think of it as a war.

We experienced a MAJOR infestation of roaches in a previous house, The only way we got rid of ALL of them was to take all of the base cabinets out to our deck and spray them with Warpath and clean them thoroughly before returning them to the kitchen. We could see the nests/eggs in the corners just under where the counter top would rest. What a royal MESS:gah:, but it worked. We also got rid of the dishwasher that was in the house when we moved in.

Boric acid is supposed to be toxic to roaches. They walk across it, then ingest it when they clean themselves. I’ve read this same thing from plenty of sources. Maybe it’s not true, but I think we’d be seeing lots more of them if it had done nothing. We first noticed them about 2 1/2 months ago I think, and then I thought they were gone until we saw baby ones. I only see an occasional one, not hordes.

Yes, I know the moth balls don’t kill the roaches. We were leaving on vacation and I just wanted something to repel them from going into my cabinets. They don’t like the smell.

Thanks everyone for your ideas. Yes, this is a war, and yes, I will call a professional if we can’t eradicate them.

The paste works.

:roflhard: I forget not everyone lives in Florida where we have huge, mutant, dig your eyes out while you sleep roaches. Florida roaches just laugh at the thought of natural remedies. Heck, I think they even like the idea of getting high off of things like Raid. Bug killing is a big business here. :teehee:

Boric acid can work, but if you have a large infestation you need to call out the big guns. I know it absolutely works on fleas. We put it in the carpets and smoosh it in every few years.

We brought one or two roaches back from Hawaii many, many ears ago and to this day we still see one occasionally. :doh: I hadn’t heard about that combat stuff. I don’t like poisons at all…bad for you, bad for the environment… but I think the occasional use won’t kill you unless you’re super sensitive.

My mom has always sworn by this recipe. It works like a charm. We used to have a neighbor who had a horrible infestation. She would come over visit and roaches would crawl out of her coat pockets. :ick:

Roach Killer

16 oz Powdered Boric Acid
1 cup flour
1 small chopped onion
1/2 cup shortening
Add small amounts at a time to form small dough balls
Small into small balls and place around house.

It never failed for her and eventually the neighbor was also able to get rid of them using this recipe.

Thanks, Chel,

I may add that to my arsenal of roach war tactics. I think I read that recipe somewhere during my research; it sounds like the one by Heloise.

Crawled out of her pockets??? Ewwwww…well, if this worked for her then there is hope for us.

Mason (or anyone else who can answer),

I did put down some of that Combat paste…the brown stuff that comes in a squirt tube like a caulking gun. The next day the stuff was pretty hard. Will the roaches still eat it? How often do you re-apply the stuff? Thanks!


One thing I used at a house we lived in before was garlic salt. I just sprinkled it around the inside edges of cabinets, and around the bases of all the sinks. I’ve heard that the salt makes them drink themselves to death. :shrug:

Anyway, it worked at the time.