Cockroaches are considered one of the more dangerous insects to our health. They have been around for year and are mainly found in restaurants, schools, supermarkets, our homes and most other indoor areas. Roaches are such nasty pests because they carry diseases, spread bacteria and contaminate food. They can also trigger allergic reactions and cause respiratory illnesses such as asthma. Aggressive methods of treating cockroach infestations require potent pesticides which can also pose serious health risks with poor results. The best long term method to get rid of roaches is to prevent them even getting into your house in the first place. One of the best ways to do that is with Boric Acid.
The simplest way to start is with the tried and tested approach of dusting boric acid powder. It's a simple 4 step processes which I'll walk you through now.
What you'll need:
- Kitchen wipes
- 50g of boric acid
- 1 salt/parmesan cheese shaker
Step 1 - Investigate
Start by walking around your home and checking all the tight, dark and moist places where cockroaches can live. The main areas to focus on are the kitchen and bathrooms. Look for signs of cockroaches such as skin shells and droppings. It's best to do this during the day when they're least active. There's less chance of starting and scattering them, which scares the wits out me! The places we normally find evidence of cockroaches are:
Your fridge provides a great home for cockroaches. The compressor provides enough warmth for them to survive and thrive. What's more is that fridges deposit moisture collected from inside the fridge into a small trough at the back. The warmth of the compressor helps evaporate away. This produces a moist micro-climate that the roaches also love.
The dishwasher is quite the "safe haven" for cockroaches because it's usually overlooked. Food scraps falling on the floor, if not cleaned properly, can leave enough residues to attract them. Most dishwashers these days also have a heating element which warms the whole cavity, providing a retreat for the roaches.
In recent year, microwaves have been placed into purpose built cavities, getting them off the bench and out of the way. It's great having all that bench space, but it does provide a nice home for the dreaded cockroach. The combination of an enclosed space, food cooking and moisture and heat from the microwaving process just screams for them.
While not really being a food source, under sinks can be a point of entry. Roaches only need a small gap between a pipe or a drain and the wall to crawl through. There's also a plethora of nooks for them to hide in too.
I had never even thought of looking in the back of my kitchen drawers until I found out about boric acid. The picture below shows a flat base, but some are open and lead to the hollow at back of the entire cabinetry. Modern drawers should be enclosed like this, but older ones will most likely be open.
Beneath stand-alone ovens
It's warm, there's lots of food in the vicinity and a dark space not easily access by us. This is a prime target for roaches. Some ovens even need special power attachments and gas lines which can create avenues for roaches to enter.
Do I even need to explain this one?
Around saucepans or frying pans
This is more about the frying pans or saucepans, rather than the cupboard, shelf or drawer where you store them. Poorly cleaned frying pans especially are a cockroach's delight. They'll get stuck into the left over bits of fat, gristle and gunk in no time. It's just like your outdoor BBQ, roaches LOVE it!
Roaches mainly find themselves here as way of entry into your home. There's not too much there for them other than shelter and warmth. Unless you're eating your breakfast in the bathroom or hiding snacks in the cupboard, this area should be ok.
Just like your bathroom, roaches are mainly found in the laundry as a means of entry to your home. Poorly insulated doors which have small gaps are the biggest culprits for this. You'll hardly see a cockroach by the door, but they'll hide in the cupboard or any space that'll provide them shelter.
Step 2 - Clean
If you see any evidence of cockroaches, clean the area with your kitchen wipes and dispose of them. The best kitchen wipes to use are the disinfectant ones. They will clean the surface as well as sanitising it. Be sure to use the non-scented wipes, you don't want to risk cockroaches being put off by the smell.
Step 3 - Dust boric acid
This is where you prepare your *cockroach killer*. Simply pour the boric acid into the salt shaker and you're good to go.
You need to be very selective in where you dust the Boric Acid. The areas you should be treating are the ones where the cockroaches go but your family can't. Do not spread boric acid where your children or pets can get to. The "behind" and "under" are the ones to focus on. The pantry can be a bit of a challenge because it's the most likely area for cockroaches and also where the food is kept. The cockroaches are getting in somehow; you just need to find where that is and great that area. Do not dust it around food at all.
As a side note: there is a whole backstory around the safety of boric acid which I won't get into. The rule of thumb is: do not directly or indirectly consume large quantities of boric acid. Like dishwashing powder, like rinse agents, like laundry powder, like fly spray, like detergent, like ... you get the point, don’t eat it :)
To apply, just invert the shaker and give it a bit of tap. Our boric acid is a fine powder which helps it easily disperse. You only need to spread very thin film and one tap on the shaker should do.
Step 4 - Check up
Each week, inspect the treated areas for further evidence of cockroaches. Any signs of droppings or discarded skin are a good thing. The roaches are frequenting the treated area. Check that there's still a thin film of Boric Acid and touch up any areas which are bare.
That's it. The treatment takes 4-6 weeks to take full effect and after that you should be roach free!
I hope you find this guide useful. Do you have you own technique to get rid of cockroaches? If so, we'd love to hear about it in the comments section below.