I have always been mortified of cockroaches. I think they are the most annoying of all pests ever created. However, my disgust of them was purely on an emotional level- they seemed creepy and disgusting. However, now I petrified of them, because of a bad case of food poisoning one of my kids suffered and I was told it was from the roaches.
Leftover food, or decomposed food, works as a magnet for cockroaches. Once I made sure I had enough time on my hands, I immediately set down to cleaning my kitchen. They must have infiltrated the food cupboard at some point. I was not going to let that happen to my kids again and decided to get rid of them forever.
Groundwork For Killing Roaches
Before you commence your cockroach killing expedition, you need to do some groundwork. Without them, the cockroaches will keep coming back. Not only do you need to ensure that all the existing roaches are killed, but you also have to block their way of return.
Get rid of dark corners
Cockroaches love darkness. The reason I missed out on the infestation was that the roaches hardly ever came out of the darkness. Even if you do your usual kitchen cleaning daily, they remain hidden in the darkest corners of the kitchen where you do not deep clean every day.
Instead, they only came out of their hiding places at night and roamed the kitchen counters, contaminating everything. Any food items or cutlery that I place on it later were contaminated. You should open your kitchen cabinets completely from time to time, and air them to deal with roaches.
Get rid of dampness
You must have noticed cockroaches in the kitchen sink or under them. Sewers and drains are another favorite haunt of cockroaches. This is because they prefer to stay near moisture. Get rid of any leaking pipes or faulty taps in the kitchen. Make sure that the kitchen walls are properly plastered so that damp does not set into the walls.
If you find that the cockroaches are mostly entering your house at night from the outside, then check the pipes in the exterior walls of the house. Make sure there is no stagnant body of water immediately outside the walls. If you have a garden, make sure that the sprinklers are switched off after the job is done. You must also get rid of garbage and weeds from the premises. Overgrown grass, damp soil, and leaking pipes are perfect hideouts for roaches.
Get rid of cracks and crevices
Use adhesives and cardboards to seal all gaps in the kitchen. Apart from manually closing all the gaps and crevices in the house, you can also use caulk to seal the gaps. Use it to fill in the entry points, the gaps where the cabinet meets the walls, holes in kitchen drawers, and any chipped wood in the cabinet or small holes in the kitchen tiles.
You can also seal the cracks between window panes. This is very effective in keeping cockroaches away from the premises. You can also use a mesh on the window which will allow ventilation but will keep out the insects. You can also use mesh on the drains. Or you can cover the drain outlets of the sink or other basins in the house with a lid at night.
How To Kill Cockroaches
To destroy cockroaches quickly enough, you can use an insecticide. This is a time-consuming process because you have to empty all the kitchen cabinets first. As soon as the boxes of cereals were removed and the plates shifted, you will be able to see the other cockroaches scurrying out of their hiding places.
You should not risk spraying bug sprays on food items. You can use a commercial spray to kill the cockroaches. The roaches will immediately scurry and some will drop dead.
The problem is that the ones that do not die will go and hide in some other corner. If you have fixed shelves in the kitchen, it would be difficult to eliminate them completely. The bugs and roaches always find some hard-to-reach corners. Once they lay the eggs, it becomes a vicious cycle which is very difficult to get rid of. The reason for small cockroaches in the kitchen is that this is where the hatchlings get their food from. Make sure you clear out your garbage bin every day and all food items are properly covered at all times.
An effective way to destroy the lifecycle of roaches is to use IGR or insect growth regulator. It destroys the life cycle of the eggs in their initial stages of development. Even if all the cockroaches are not killed, they will not be able to reproduce and lay eggs once this IGR gets into their system. You will notice a massive reduction in the number of baby cockroaches over the course of the next few months.
If you see the roaches returning within a few days, you will need more intensive treatment to remove them.
Using Boric Acid
This is a tried and tested method to eliminate cockroaches. You just have to spread the fine powder in the areas where the roaches mostly hide and the smell will keep them away. In the case of a cockroach infestation, this is the best method that works. Boric acid is also effective in destroying the eggs of roaches and other insects on coming into direct contact.
Another remedy is to use silica powder. This is slightly stronger than boric acid and should be used for serious infestation. However, do not use them around children’s rooms or around those who have asthma or similar other lung issues. This works very well to prevent small cockroaches.
Natural Methods To Get Rid Of Cockroaches
While these are two chemical-laden items to kill cockroaches, you can also try some alternative remedies for cockroach control in the kitchen. These chemical-free methods can be used if you have children or pets in the house.
Sugar and Baking Soda mixture
You can mix equal quantities of sugar and baking soda and spread the mixture in and around the places where cockroaches hide. Consuming the sugar mixed with baking soda will dehydrate them, eventually killing them. I found this very effective.
You can use bay leaves and keep them in the corners of the cabinet. Roaches cannot stand the smell of these pungent leaves and stay away. Moreover, since it is a food item itself, it is perfectly safe to keep them in your kitchen cabinets without any health risks. You can also crush dried bay leaves and sprinkle it on the cabinets. The fine powder will penetrate the cracks more effectively.
Soap and water
Many people do not know about this simple hack to kill roaches. Make a mixture by mixing any dishwashing or detergent soap with water and splash it on the cockroaches. These insects breathe through their skin, and cannot do so with soap on their bodies.
DE is very effective in ridding your home of all kinds of pests. It is chalk-like powder. You can also make a paste by mixing some water on it. Spread it in the places where the roaches hide with a brush. It will puncture their skin, causing dehydration, eventually killing them. However, do not use DE in the house if anyone has a breathing problem.
Borax is easily found in laundry stores. Mix some bait with sugar and put it near the cracks and crevices where the cockroaches hide. It acts like poison for them, destroying their digestive system. However, make sure that it does not get wait because Borax stops being effective when wet.
Mixture of pepper and garlic
Both these pungent and hot items act as a deterrent for cockroaches as they cannot stand the smell. You can crush some garlic and onion with pepper and leave in the roach-infested areas. If you do not have black pepper, you can also use cayenne pepper.
You can also mix the ingredients with water and use a spray bottle to spray right into the hard-to-reach places. You can also use them in the kitchen pantry without resorting to chemical means.
Cucumber trap: For some reason, it is known that cockroaches cannot stand cucumbers. Leave out some cucumber peels in an aluminum container and leave it near the places where the roaches hide. The smell created by aluminum and cucumber is unbearable for cockroaches and it helps remove them naturally.
Water jar trap: This is easy to set up. Get a glass jar and half fill it with water. Then place it where the cockroaches hide. The roaches will climb into the jar but will not be able to climb out and you can carry them right out of the house. I saw dead roaches floating in the water the first time I tried it.
Other kinds of traps could also work for you. For example, you can use a glue board. The cockroaches will stick to the sticky, adhesive like surface once they try to crawl on it. This will also trap other bugs and insects lurking in the vicinity.
Sprinkling cinnamon powder: If you want to use a completely organic method to kill cockroaches, sprinkle some cinnamon powder near their hideouts. Roaches cannot stand the odor of this exotic spice, as much as it is appealing to humans. You will not only get rid of the bugs, but you will enter a fresh-smelling kitchen each morning. The spicy cinnamon not only has a distinct fragrance of its own, but it also curtails other bad odors.
The use of essential oils can remove cockroaches in the kitchen at night. Apply a few drops of essential oils like lavender or eucalyptus, or even peppermint oil over the counter, behind cupboards and the window sills. It is a great natural insecticide. You can easily use them around the house because it is so safe and refreshing for humans.
It is not known whether cockroaches are repelled by citrus fruits but it does work on some species like the German cockroaches. You can plant ugli fruit trees on the window sill. It is a good houseplant to have because it repels a lot of insects and requires very little maintenance.
Using roach bombs
One of the ways to eradicate cockroaches in the kitchen is to use the roach bombs. They are also known as foggers. They work by spreading a high dose of pesticide in a confined space. Little cockroaches die immediately. Read the instructions on the package and place the bomb in the middle of the kitchen, on a chair. The bomb can be activated by removing a tab at the bottom of the can.
The contents are released into the air like an aerosol spray. The particles remain suspended in the air, by which time, you can leave the kitchen. Then, it slowly settles on the kitchen floor, countertops, and tops of cabinets and cupboard. As it circulates in the air, the product also enters cracks and crevices and draws out the roaches. If you have too many cockroaches in the kitchen, you can use this to get rid of them almost all at once.
In case you still feel that the infestation is too strong for you to handle, you can always call an exterminator. However, once you have used some tried and tested methods yourself, you will be able to take care of cockroach problems in the future yourself, without having to rely on professionals all the time.
Once you notice an infestation, use a disinfectant to clean your home every day, rather than only vacuuming. Commercial disinfectants have an odor that keeps away pests and it is very effective in killing cockroach eggs in case they have built a nest.