A couple of years ago, my girlfriend and I moved into a little studio appartment in a high-rise building. After two days of living there, my girlfriend called to me whilst I was in the shower to say she had found a bug of some sort. I told her not to worry, as I had never thought of finding the odd insect in the home as something to be worried about. That night, they began to appear! About half an inch in lengh, dark drown, long attenae and fast, very fast-they were definitely cockroaches!
So how do you get rid of cockroaches? Well my heart sank when we discovered them because I'd always known that they're notoriously difficult to get rid of. It then sank a little lower when I did a bit of research and found out that the reason cockroaches are so unpopular is that they can carry dangerous diseases such as salmonella and dysentery.
What follows below is the process we went through that eventually led to getting rid of cockroaches in our home entirely.
Clean and Tidy
The first thing we did was to thoroughly clean the appartment. This is always a good place to start when dealing with cockroaches as it makes things less inhabitable for them. So we started vacuming, moping the floor (with a bleach solution), degreasing the hob, sorting food into containers etc.
In an attempt to declutter, we pulled out units and the fridge and cleaned under these too. We also got rid of anything we could, as less things meant less places for them to hide.
Of course, a high level of cleanliness needed to be maintained, vacuuming and moping often and keeping food sufficiently sealed as to cut off their food source. Furthermore, we tried our best to keep our place as dry as possible as, just like humans, roaches need water to survive too.
The next step we took was to purchase some boric acid. This can be purchased from any pharmacy for around £3. We dusted the boric acid in places that we were seeing the most cockroaches, such as under the sink and fridge, and we also put down a thin sprinkle over the kitchen surfaces at night (which is when roaches are most active). The idea is that the roaches get covered in the powder as they crawl through it, and later digest it when grooming. It kills them by drying them out. Boric acid is toxic when ingested by humans too so don't use it around young children and animals.
Baking Powder & Powdered Sugar
We were seeing some dead roaches at this point thanks to the boric acid but live ones were still being seen too so we wanted to try something else to kill them. We mixed together some baking powder and powdered sugar in a shallow saucer and leave it out over night along with a shallow saucer of water. The idea with this is that the baking powder/sugar mixture is consumed by the roach, it then takes a drink from the saucer of water, this causes its stomach to essentially exploded as the water reacts with the the mix thus killing it. This seemed to increase the numbers of dead roaches we were seeing.
Fill the Gaps
Two weeks passed and although we were seeing fewer of them, the infestation hadn't entirely been wiped out. We would still see one or two every evening and would be looking out for them all night. We wondered what there was left for us to do but perhaps pay for an exterminator to fumegate the place. We wanted to try and avoid fumegation, taking the view that releasing poisonous chemicals into our home was perhaps even more dangerous than having cockroaches.
The answer came from a work colleague's reaction to being told we were considering having the place fumegated. He said, that although that might be a short-term solution, it would be unlikely to work due to the fact we lived in a high rise building. He said they would just take refuge with a neighbour until it was safe to come back again.
This then got us thinking about possible entrances in an out of the appartment the cockroaches could be taking. We were fairly sure they weren't coming in through the front door as we had never seen one in the hallway and they were almost exclusively seen around the kitchen area. I looked under the sink and saw that there was plenty of space for cockroaches to be coming up via the gaps around the water a waste pipes.
I instantly knew the sort of stuff that I needed to effectively fill the gaps-expanding foam! It comes in a can, which you shake and attach a tube to. It costs around £6 and can be baught from any DIY shop. Because it expands to twice the size in a few seconds, you are advised not to overfill the holes to avoid the foam coming up out of the wall. However, because the pipes were hidden behind a cupboard, I filled more than adequately filled the gap to make sure there was no space at all around the piping.
The day after we did this didn't see a single cockroach in our appartment ever again!