How to get rid of cockroaches in apartments begins with DEFENSE. Cockroaches are scavengers. They have adapted to survive without food for long periods of time. But they need water often. Unfortunately for humans, we tend to keep food and water in relatively the same place. And this makes a great opportunity for cockroaches (and they thank you).
“Insecticides are most effective in controlling cockroaches when combined with sanitation and exclusion practices that limit the cockroach’s ability to establish or reinvade; chemical control alone will not solve the problem.” – University of California
Cockroaches are going to be looking everywhere. So everywhere in your home that you bring or have brought food must be cleaned thoroughly. They will find the crumbs. If possible, only eat in one room from now on until you have eliminated the threat. This will make your life easier knowing which rooms you have to pay special cleaning attention to before going to bed every night.
Bathrooms are next. Clean under the sinks. Make sure your pipes are not slowly leaking. Get them fixed if they are because this could be a potential watering hole for those cockroaches. Also, make sure the opening in the wall, if your water pipes go into the wall some go into the vanity, where your pipes enter is sealed properly. There should be no gaps around where the pipe protrudes. If so, get an enclosure piece to put around it or pick up a bottle of insulation spray foam and fill it in.
Next is the kitchen. This is most likely ground zero for cockroach activity. Empty all of your shelves and cabinets. I’m serious. Remove all the food storage items, cans, pots, pans and dishes. Clean and disinfect all shelves and cupboards with a proper detergent solution, I like to use white vinegar (I’m not a big fan of chemicals) but you can get bleach too or whatever else your store has that will do the trick.
Buy shelve or wall liners. I got mine from the clearance bin at the local hardware store for 2 bucks each. And make sure to get only white liners, I’ll tell you why in a minute. After you cleaned thoroughly, lay down your liners. Cut them so that they cover every inch of your shelves. Now you can put everything back. Next, focus your attention to your stove and refrigerator. The crevices underneath, on top and on both sides. If you can, gently move your refrigerator so you can properly clean underneath. Same with the stove or oven. If you have a toaster, clean it and store it somewhere. Don’t use it for a while. Toast is great but the risk of dropping crumbs is not worth it.
Seal your home
Take a walk around the outside of your property. Look at your front door. Take notice of the space at the bottom and sides where it should fit snug against the frame. Are there spaces and gaps? If so, you will need to correct this with weather strips. The weather stripping for the bottom of the door is most important. Making sure the bottom has no gap is essential. You will have to remove the door from the hinge to install the bottom stripping correctly. Remember, cockroaches don’t need more than 1/16 of an inch gap to gain entry so its best to give them no room to enter. That is exactly what I did. The sides and top of the door frame are next. These are easier to do as it’s just a matter of peeling apart the adhesive covering from a rubber strip and pressing onto the door frame.
Next, take a look around your window frames on the ground level. There maybe gaps where the frame meets the house siding. You can also use the spray foam to fill these in or use caulking. Look at the rest of the house and fill in cracks or crevices. If you have water valves on the outside, like for a garden hose, make sure the pipes that lead into the building are sealed also and make sure the garden hose isn’t leaking. If cockroaches can’t get inside, then they will try to stay as close as possible to your home, their main food source. I suggest you replace your mulch, if you have any around your home with gravel.
Cockroaches tend to find harborage, or places to live, at the base of the home or basement but usually in crevices where they can physically feel a material on top of them. They like that snugly feeling I guess. Check the area where you keep the garbage and recycling. Clean these areas frequently with bleach or ammonia or white vinegar. Make a habit of raking the leaves up when they fall. Standing leaves will hold in moisture from the rain and provide a temporary harborage for cockroaches. And last but not least, be careful to watch what you bring into the house. I once picked up the morning paper from the front lawn, went back inside the house, turned the paper and the plastic bag it was held in upside down to release the newspaper and a cockroach fell out. I flipped out!
Now let’s talk OFFENSE
- Boric Acid Powder
- Sugar (powdered or granulated)
- ADVION® or MAXFORCE® bait stations and gels
THE ART OF WAR
Ok, now that we have our weapons, let’s get started. The boric acid powder I recommend comes in an ideal pourable applicator bottle. The bottle will also not be filled to the top when purchased. I want you to fill the rest of the bottle with the sugar, leaving only about an inch or two of empty space. Shake up the bottle. We want to make sure we mix the two contents thoroughly. When the roaches eat the mixture, they will determine if its poison or food. The sugar will assure them its food while the boric acid will kill them.
Walk around the outside of your building pouring a little puff of the powder whenever a potential entrance for roaches maybe be found. Pay attention again to the door entrances, windows and garage doors. Any cracks in outside walls near the ground should get filled with some powder. Around the perimeter of garage doors is a definite entrance for roaches and the powder should be applied on both sides. You should clean up and reapply the powder solution every two to three months. The boric acid solution is effective all by itself. But it takes time. How much time? Well, you will see a reduction in a few weeks or sometimes in a few months. Eventually, as a year or two pass by we will finally feel cockroach free. But we can’t wait months or years now can we?? No!!Now we need introduce our next weapon of mass roach destruction. This will shorten your timeline to being roach free.
I personally used the ADVION® brand of cockroach bait but you can also use the MAXFORCE® brand as well. ADVION® is made by Dupont™. MAXFORCE® is made by Bayer™. They both have as their main ingredient a poison that is similar to each other. They both don’t only kill cockroaches when ingested but it will also kill cockroaches that eat those dead cockroaches or the feces of the cockroaches that ate the poison. These are remarkably effective products exponentially increasing your kill rate. The cockroaches eat this poison and go back to their harborage. They will die about 3-5 hours after ingesting the poison. The other cockroaches will eat him and they will die and the cycle will continue.
“Study shows single insecticide application can kill 3 cockroach generations” – Purdue University
These products are really amazing! Now we can expect to see a major reduction in a few days to a few weeks instead of months and years. First take the bait stations and place them in corners on the inside of your place, around the outside perimeter of the house, under the refrigerator, in the garage and under the kitchen sink. Place a bait station everywhere you think they can enter your place or where you have seen one. Remember, cockroaches travel along where the floor meets the walls. Next let’s apply the gel. The gel comes in a tube that is similar to a calking gun. Point, aim and shoot. This gel should be applied where the cockroaches enter your home and especially in the tight crevices both inside and outside. Apply the gel in a droplet like fashion. Around 3-5 droplets every 6-12 inches apart. I also lightly dusted the gel droplets with powdered sugar but you don’t have to, the gel works great all by itself. I applied it on both sides around the garage door openings and in the weep holes around my property. Clean this up every 2 months and reapply. (Although I doubt you will need to.)
For the cockroaches that won’t eat this poison, the boric acid will work anyway. We just need to make sure the boric acid is applied in the right areas. Because even if the cockroaches don’t directly eat either poison, they will walk through the boric acid and bring it back to the harborage. There they will groom themselves, ingesting the boric acid as they clean it off of themselves. Follow these instructions and you will have peace of mind and be cockroach FREE!! Good Luck!