Thursday, July 5, 2012


Ask a Clean Person: Here We Go Again With the Roaches

HELP. After a ridiculous month of a roommate ditching me with a lease I couldn't afford and me subsequently living with my boyfriend for a month in his apartment that's barely big enough for him, I finally moved into a room of my own on June 1. It's close to public transportation, it's pretty, and I have hung things on the walls, and I was oh-so very happy.

Until this morning, when I swung my legs around to get out of bed and I saw a big black thing scurry across the floor under my bed. To make it worse, my college roommate was visiting and she was sleeping on the floor. I saw another a few moments later, and then I saw one of them scurry out of my apartment from the crack under my door.

I suspected a cockroach invasion, though I'd never had them before, and my college roommate confirmed that suspicion. I already called the management company and left them a panicked voicemail, and I am now fleeing to Starbucks seeking asylum from creepy crawly things.

Basically, aside from wanting some sympathy, I want to know if there's anything I need to be doing besides calling the landlord every half hour. I don't usually leave food out, but I did leave two croissants on the kitchen table (in a bag) last night. Could this have attracted them? I have sugar in an open bag in a cabinet, and believe me, I will now be tossing it and getting a sealed container for my new sugar. Actually I'm tossing pretty much everything from the kitchen cabinets. But … I start grad school tomorrow and I am a very big morning tea drinker and I'm wondering about my tea. I promise I'll toss the box and get a new one stat and put it in a sealed plastic container, but how likely is it that the roaches have attacked the tea box? I'd just like to be caffeinated tomorrow morning without shelling out $5 for Starbucks given the ridiculous amount of loans I will be taking out as of tomorrow. Am I going to have to see the cockroaches again? I just moved in a TV I bought used yesterday morning — could they have been hiding in there somehow and then laid siege to my apartment? It's also been super hot lately, so I had all of my windows open (though the screens were down) last night. Is this the source of my problems? Should I always leave windows closed? Should I always leave them open? Is it because we were making paper flowers on the floor last night? Do cockroaches like to eat paper? Why were these wayward creatures in my bedroom and not my kitchen? What did I do to upset the gods of rental housing in the past month, and how can I appease them?

Advice and emotional support would be appreciated. As you can tell, I am a bit undone by this.

You will be okay. I promise! This is not your fault! (Okay fine, the paper flowers are a little suspect.) Roaches happen — especially in the summer months when the windows are open. You asked if it's possible they got in via the TV, and yes that is definitely possible. Though the likely culprit is the window. Either way, though, this is important to remember: it happens to the best of us, and a roach sighting need not be an indictment of your housekeeping skills. (I once lived in a ground-floor apartment where roaches would come to chill with us after a big rain storm. The second time it happened my roommate lost it on our landlord and shouted, "THIS IS NOT ON US. JOLIE IS SO CLEAN, YOU HAVE NO IDEA. YOU CAN COME LOOK UNDERNEATH OUR KITCHEN SINK. IT IS PERFECTLY ORGANIZED UNDER THERE.") 

Right then, there's some emotional support for you! How about some advice? Sure! Well the first piece of advice is to stop calling your landlord every hour. One call will suffice! Because really this is a thing you can take into your own hands, and you should, for two reasons: (1) the swiftest course of action is to get your hands on a few roach repellents, rather than waiting for an exterminator and (2) psychologically, it will make you feel better to take charge rather than fleeing your home in fear.

Now then, I'm not saying you shouldn't call in an exterminator. No no! By all means bring in a professional in addition to taking the following steps — especially to help you identify where the roaches might be coming from — but an exterminator requires waiting. I'm also not going to try to tell you not to be totally freaked by roaches. None of that "You're bigger than they are!" nonsense from me. I mean, I'm deathly afraid of pigeons, I'm not here to judge. But! We're also all grown-ass women (and men!) and, barring the existence of a crippling phobia, none of us need to give into the urge to stand on chair and scream at the sight of an insect or vermin. (Pigeons? Yes. I carry a chair around with me at all times so I have a perch from which to stand and scream during my commute.)

Your first step should be to leave the house. Not because you're fleeing, but because you're going shopping. On your way out do feel free to turn around and tell those roaches that when the going gets tough the tough go shopping. Just so they know who's boss. Get yourself some roach hotels and scatter them about. Another super effective roach slayer is boric acid, which you can find at any hardware or home improvement store, and it’s pretty cheap, too. It sounds scary but it's not — at least not to us. To roaches, however, it's super deadly. To use it, sprinkle a small amount along your baseboards, in crevices where the roaches might be hanging out, under the sink, etc. A thin coating will suffice – less is more with boric acid because if you make piles of it the roaches will just WALK AROUND IT. And you want them to walk through it, because it will stick to their shell and then they'll, like, groom themselves and ingest the stuff and BLAMMO DEAD INVADING INSECTS!

The other thing you should do is execute a hard clean on your kitchen. Would you like some guidance? I have some to offer you!

Unless you've actually found roaches in things, your food — including your tea — will be fine. If you're freaked out, then by all means get rid of whatever you want to, but I don't think it's at all necessary. However, transferring things into sealable plastic or glass containers is a good idea.

Since we're talking about food, you'll want to bear in mind that roaches love coffee, and that if you're dealing with a roach problem you should consider keeping your coffee in the refrigerator or freezer, since even in a sealable container the smell can be powerful. Also, roaches can survive for a long time without food, but they need water, so make sure you wipe up any spills and ensure that the sink is dry before you go to bed at night.

Okay so! I hope you're feeling a little bit better about things. It's never fun to find an uninvited guest in the home, but you will be just fine. And I've had a words with the gods of rental housing and they've agreed to lay off you; they're sorry, they were just having a bit of sport but are duly chagrined that they've taken it too far.

Previously: The War on Bugs.

Jolie Kerr is not paid to endorse any of the products mentioned in this column, but she sure would be very happy to accept any free samples the manufacturers care to send her way! Are you curious to know if she's answered a question you have? Do check out the archives, listed by topic. More importantly: is anything you own dirty?

275 Comments / Post A Comment


I have nothing useful to add, but I feel so sorry for this poor lady! Don't blame yourself! Sometimes bugs just happen!


@SarahP Seconded. It's a fact of urban living, rural living, hot weather living, just living. But you can manage them and also it is OK to freak out. I freak out, it had better be ok.



@SarahP I have to keep reminding myself that roaches happen. My house is very old so there are a lot of ways that bugs find their way inside. It's been over 100 out for a week now and we haven't had rain in a long, long time (but our humidity is still atrocious!?), there are so definitely roaches in my house! My cat kills most of them and I am super crazy about having all food sealed in airtight containers, sink clean, etc, but it's so embarassing when people come over and see a big, nasty roach wander across the ceiling like it owns the place.

Side note: my cat WILL attack you if you take a roach carcass away before she is done with it. She will also drop half alive roaches on your feet while you straighten your hair if you don't properly greet her in the morning.


@SarahP i also live in an ages-old building and we have had every kind of pest (roaches! FLYING ROACHES! f'n centipede horrors! mice that poked their cutie heads up between the floorboards as if we were playing whack-a-mouse!). the best advice i got was from ratso rizzo in midnight cowboy- forgive my foggy memory but they go back to ratso's place and he has a fridge that doesn't work, but he uses it anyway to keep the pests away. GENIUS!!
everything, in the fridge.




They are the worst; when I lived in Hawai'i they used to crawl into my fridge to get at cakes I 'd made and the fridge air would slow them down but NOT ENOUGH


You're amazing<3@t


Good to know that roaches love coffee.


@annejumps@twitter GOOD to know?


@Frisky@twitter USEFUL to know. I haven't seen a roach in a while, knock wood, and I'm still going to re-evaluate my coffee storage methods.


@annejumps@twitter Very useful! Or would have been for when I lived in NY and had a minor roach problem, especially near my coffee grinder. Really should've been able to figure that one out myself!

miss buenos aires

As a slightly roach-phobic person (this can actually come in handy—I once got dinner comped because I saw a roach on the wall of the restaurant and screamed), I just want to thank you, Jolie, from the bottom of my heart for not illustrating this article with a photo of you-know-whats.


@miss buenos aires SECONDED. I probably would have peed.


Here's my recent roach story: I've only ever found a big, dead roaches in the middle of my apartment maybe twice a year, so I usually discard it and ignore the fact that it had to be alive to make it to the middle of the room before it could die there and the fact that it must have friends (many, many friend) somewhere nearby. However, when I took a paper towel to pick up the latest victim two weeks ago, on its back and unmoving, it suddenly sprang to life and I felt a sharp, brief pain on my fingertip...it BIT me! Needless to say, it didn't have the chance to do it again after I pulverized it with my shoe.




@SuperGogo I literally gasped reading this story. I have got to stop reading Hairpin comments at work.


@slough Sorry! If it's any consolation, I freaked out after it happened and googled "cockroach bites" for about 20 minutes before I was reassured that their (very, very rare) bites can't really hurt you. In fact, the teeny, tiny red mark was gone before I could even finish my google quest.


@SuperGogo NOOOOO DON'T SQUISH COCKROACHES!! Sorry, not to scream, but if you squish a pregnant female roach the eggs of the roach will get on your shoes and then be transferred wherever you walk! It's one way to get roaches in your house.
If you see one and haven't got bug spray, hairspray will kill roaches, or any arthropod. The hairspray will clog the pores that the roaches use to breathe, and they will suffocate to death.

I just learned this in Biology class this week! We're studying respiration. The teacher really enjoys grossing us out. Preeetty sure he's a sadist. But an amusing one!


@SuperGogo Why do roaches always fake their own deaths like this? If you were alive, WHAT WERE YOU DOING MOTIONLESS ON YOUR BACK, ROACH?

Anyway, your story completely justifies my horror of cleaning up even dead roaches, so thanks.


@SuperGogo Wow, that's weird! I've picked up many a *sleeping* palmetto bug over the years that suddenly woke up and wriggled like crazy in the paper towel/toilet paper mitt, but have yet to be chomped. I'd probably forgo my habit of taking the little jerk outside if he bit me.


@Bitterblue WHAT???

I am never sleeping again.


@TheBelleWitch Probably they are on the lam from the RBI (Roach Bureau of Investigation). He was probably some kind of rum running gangster roach from the 20's.

You could tell if he left behind a teeeeny tiiiiny Tommy gun and a fedora and was wearing a chalk stripe suit.

Roaches. They are bootleggers.


@SuperGogo First, I think all people should adopt my method of picking up a "dead" roach which not only involves spraying it with Raid before I get near it, but also dish gloves because what if I FEEL the roach THROUGH the paper towel or napkin or tissue I'm using to pick it up? Hmmm? WHAT THEN???

ALSO, while it's totes true that if you squish a pregnant bug it'll get the eggs all over (bio class wouldn't lie!), if you squish it and then disinfect the spot on the floor and whatever you squished it with, you'll probably be fine. Though, this might only be true with german roaches... I don't really know anything about the bigger kind of roach because I would rather kill myself. [NERVOUS LAUGHTER] But also squishing is kind of gross so I'd just avoid it all around if you can anyway.

What I'm saying is, I hate roaches they are disgusting why are they even a thing


@Bitterblue yes! that, or the other ones come out from the wall in order to cannibalize the first one :( :(

A Dolly

@SBGBlogs I had a similar tactic. Spray spray spray and then use duct tape to pick up the dead roachie. Oh god the thought of feeling/crunching one through a paper towel.

Judith Slutler

@harebell EWWW. Couldn't roaches at least have some loyalty to their own kind? They're cannibals too? GROSS.


@SBGBlogs : Yes, but what if the roach manages to get loose from the giant wad of paper towels in your hands and then goes INSIDE ONE OF THE GLOVES, OH MY EFFING GOD I would die instantly.

Also, @Bitterblue -- IOU a gag-reflex trigger. Ugh. UGH.




@Bitterblue See, I've always thought this was a total myth. Have you ever seen roach eggs? They're huge! Like the size of a Tic-Tac. I don't see how that can work.


I found a centipede in my room last night! I did freak out for a while, but then it stopped moving out in the open so I squished it with a shoe. Does finding one mean I should look out for more? Ugh ugh gross.

serpens kaput

@phlox Actually, centipedes EAT roaches! They are their number one enemy. I found this out last night and given my absurd fear of roaches, really wanna know what I can do to attract centipedes to my house.


@phlox I hate, hate, hate the huge house centipedes that show up in my apartment, but I usually just shudder and let them be when I spot them for two reasons 1) like serpens kaput said, I know that they're harmless and are dining on other creepy-crawlies I'd rather not have around, like roaches and silverfish and earwigs and 2) they make such a nasty mess when I smoosh them.


@serpens kaput Yes! I had so many heart attacks and mini-strokes when I first saw a centipede on the ceiling here, but now I just picture them battling roaches with a tiny sword clutched in each of their hundred little hands.


@all You have made me feel better about the gigantic centipede I found on my wall, although marginally less happy that I immediately squooshed it dead.


@queenofbithynia I have a deep-rooted fear of anything long and squishy (worms, caterpillars, centipedes); I think more for the mess they will cause post-squish, but now I will picture centipedes as warriors. Thank you for that.


@SuperGogo God I hate house centipedes. They are my number one most hated bug.


@phlox House centipedes are AWFUL (DO NOT GOOGLE IMAGE SEACH YOU WILL BE SORRY). In college, I was too scared to kill them, so I finally one day I had a very serious talk with them about mutually beneficial living arrangements (I won't kill you, but I DO NOT WANT TO SEE YOU EVER EVER). They magically went away and didn't come back. That I know of. True story!


@lalaland I've never had them make a mess when I smash them. Usually there's just one tiny leg clinging to my shoe - I think the rest of the body just vaporizes because they're made of EVIL.


@Aphrodite Why didn't I take your advice? I did an image search and now I can feel their legs all over meeeee!

so what?

@phlox There have been house centipedes in nearly every apartment I've ever lived in. Those suckers love dank Michigan basements. They are truly terrifying upon first sight, but I always try to remind myself that they are keeping away other nastier bugs. But, dang, something about all those legs and how fast they move and how huge they can get... real freaky.

sudden but inevitable betrayal

I have no roach experience, but it sounds absolutely awful. :( LW, hang in there. Or don't! Stay in Starbucks forever!

I feel like my house is the sort of place where bugs should be hanging out and inviting their friends (old, dark, not kept very clean by the inhabitants, ahem...) but for whatever reason we've lucked out and been issue-free for three years. Now that I've said that, roaches will eat my hair while I sleep.


@sudden but inevitable betrayal Oh c'mon, given their taste for coffee, Starbucks has got to be crawling with roaches.


@laurel Noooooooooooooooooo

Marquise de Morville

@laurel Sometimes it does! I was at a Manhattan Starbucks a while back and a giant roach dropped from the ceiling on my table, and then scuttled around the floor creeping out me and other customers. I complained, was told it was due to the neighboring building having a roach infestation issue, and got a free coffee as an apology.


@Marquise de Morville I'm glad they were nice to you. I had a rat run in and out of my bag at Cafe Lalo, that Upper West Side cafe that is faux-Frenchy and was the site for some of the scenes in the movie You've Got Mail, and the waitress just sneered at me to "get used to living in the city."


Hah, that's awesome! I understand trying to comfort a complaining customer, but if the customer actually thinks the place has a vermin problem, would they really want additional free food? It's like the manager saying "You saw this embarrassing thing, I will ply you with free nutrients and you won't tell your friends."


@Inkcrafter One time I was at this bakery/sandwich shop that made great sandwiches -- I was a regular -- and halfway into my sandwich, I saw it had a dead moth in it. Like, a two-inch moth. I took it back and they didn't even offer me a cookie or my money back for the half I hadn't eaten. THE MOTHY HALF.


I can't be the only person who's amazed that you don't see more pigeons just like, flying into people's faces, right? I don't mean to terrify anyone, but a week doesn't go by when I don't have at least one extremely close call with a pigeon!


@boyofdestiny They are so bold! I work in NYC and they could really give a f*ck about us. All up in the grill. Terrible.


@boyofdestiny Sometimes I think it's just me and birds are attracted to my face. Glad to know I'm not alone!


@boyofdestiny My head got dive-bombed by a pigeon once. It was absolutely surreal. Walking along, minding my own business, then BAM bird to the head. I was totally dumbsquizzled and this homeless lady just started laughing and laughing and laughing. "GIRL a bird just flew into your head!" Yes, thank you for pointing that out.


@boyofdestiny I have almost been hit by a pigeon many times.

That said, I love chasing pigeons around (maybe I'm a dog?) because they are SO LAZY. They'll just walk as fast as possible and end up waddling around because they want to avoid flying if they can help it.


@meetapossum My dog would very much like to go on walks with you.


@beeline96 I prefer to go full-on delusional and imagine the birds that occasionally fly toward my head think I'm a Disney princess, and they're trying to help me get ready for a ball.


@Ophelia Sing me up! meetapossum and Ophelia's dog: pigeon-chasing bffs.


@boyofdestiny I once had a pigeon in Venice land on my shoulder and start flapping its wings like crazy. Not cool, pigeon. Not cool.


@meetapossum *Sign. Argh.


@boyofdestiny I have so many pigeon near-miss horror stories we'd be here all day if I told them. Suffice to say, they are evil and will peck your eyes out given half a chance.


@boyofdestiny My brother told me that a while ago he had a pigeon land on his shoulder, to his delight (he likes them!). Then his girlfriend told him to look at it. It was all diseased and decrepit, and had an eye hanging out. *shudders*


@meetapossum I'm coming too!




Jolie! You are scared of pigeons too? I thought I was the only one. And also, great column this week, all sound advice. I grew up with roaches always (gah, I know) but if my parents had a Jolie in their life maybe it wouldn't have been so ghastly.


@CrescentMelissa Me too on the pigeons, or any bird that congregates in groups. And actually, if we want to play rank-the-bird-phobias, pigeons come in behind seagulls (way aggressive) and grackles (for their tendency to gather in parking lots by the thousands.)

Roaring Girl

@Sorbee I love grackles (so fun to say, come on), but I have a healthy fear of Canadian geese. There are all these lovely landscaped ponds in my area that builders hate to put region-appropriate tall vegetation around, and geese LOVE short grass. In the winter, those ponds are solid masses of surly grey and black feathered beasts. YOU ARE CANADIAN, WHY ARE YOU SO MEAN, HUH?


@Roaring Girl I interned at IBM in upstate New York. They had a beautiful campus with lots of land, and in addition to the deer (pretty!) there were lots and lots of Canada geese. Those f'ers would regularly chase me to and from my car (or maybe they were just walking around? I never stuck around long enough to find out.)


@Sorbee Those birds are nasty. My little brother is like, the animal whisperer, and once, when he was little he was feeding the geese bread or something and one bit him!


@Roaring Girl You should be afraid of geese -they are mean! A group of them once chased my best friend while she was jogging around a reservoir. She thought maybe she was too close to a nest so she ran away from the reservoir AND THEY FOLLOWED HER FOR 2 BLOCKS.


@wrappedupinbooks I was feeding geese bread a few weeks ago and one bit me! I wasn't giving it bread fast enough; first it grabbed the skirt of my dress in its beak, and then pecked my thigh.


@CrescentMelissa Me too!!! Everyone I know makes fun of me because of this, but I am convinced that all birds are evil. They have beady little eyes and are surprisingly smart. Especially Canadian geese (as a Canadian, I see way too many in my yard!), which have excellent memories.


@Verity such mean, ungrateful birds. I hope you/your dress weren't too damaged.


@wrappedupinbooks Both were fine, thank you! Although it was unfortunately the same thigh that had been butted by a goat a few days previously, and which was consequently bruised.


@Roaring Girl They're not "Canadian geese" but a member of the species "Canada goose." Many of these geese have never been to Canada, and few of them are "from" the great nation of Canada. Maybe is seems silly but calling them Canadian is incorrect. Calling them geese is probably the best way to identify the bird.

Same with the German cockroach - there's no connection to the the country.


Ugh. I hate roaches. We occasionally get palmetto bugs in our house and they FREAK ME OUT. I saw one last night and he ran away before I could kill him. I'm going to have to set our house on fire now.

One thing to look out for when you're renting something on the ground floor -- make sure there is no mulch up against the building. Roaches LOVE mulch and it's totally OK for them to live in it outside, but when the mulch is up against the building, they'll find a way inside when they get scared (fireworks, apparently). At least, that's what our exterminator told us.


can I get some clean person-commenter help? I was riding my bike yesterday in the rain and got big black splatters on the back of my beautiful white shirt. I know how to get mud out of things and I know how to get oil out of things, but what to do when they're all mixed together like road mud? make a paste out of oxyclean and dish soap?


I don't know, but do it quick. That's exactly how I ruined an awesome white beaded grandma cardigan I thrifted.

Try whatever you want, just don't put it in the dryer.


@kickupdust And get some fenders for your bike.


@kickupdust I tried EVERYTHING to get bike grease out of my boyfriends pants, and finally succeeded with Fels Naptha laundry soap. It's in the laundry aisle and comes in bar form, wrapped in paper with a ...green and red label? It's very old school, and worked like a charm.


Roaches groom themselves!?!? This is shocking. And disturbing.


@okaycrochet Totally baffling. I mean, you're a roach, you're already one of the lord's most filthy, vile creatures, don't you at some point just say, "ah, eff it" and quit attempting any grooming?


@stonefruit I know it's a joke, but they have to groom themselves to breathe! They haven't got lungs, but take in oxygen through tiny pores in their exoskeletons. If the pores get clogged, they can't take in oxygen properly, and it's not like they can cough. I can't believe this goddamn Biology class is actually coming in useful this week!


@Bitterblue hah! Excellent, a biology gross-out thread. The world, you are a gross, gross place.


Roaches will groom themselves if a human touches them. They come into houses that have ready food, i.e. houses that are messy, but they don't bring the mess with them. They're more of a human mess accessory. Messessory. Messory.


@stonefruit Get rid of your worlds, seriously, they are disgusting.


I had a terrible roach experience last summer, so I really appreciate how calming and level-headed this advice is. I basically flipped my lid and immediately moved out (less than a week after moving in), but I was also dealing with a serious infestation (I am not joking when I say that I was afraid to sleep with the lights out for basically a month after moving) and I work amongst a bunch of entomologists who were all too happy to freak me out with an endless stream of horrifying roach stories.

Anyway, if you have concerns about roaches cozying up in your electronics/appliances (TV, toaster, whatever), put them in a large black trashbag, seal them up, and leave them somewhere (I went with the trunk of my car) to "bake" for awhile.

Don't Panic

I would suggest adding a couple more items to the shopping list – steel wool and expanding foam. Roaches can get into your apartment in all sorts of ways besides the doors and windows and sealing up those means of ingress can help an awful lot. First do a super close inspection of your apartment looking for places the critters could get in. Likely suspects are around the pipes under your kitchen and bathroom sink and your radiators. Gaps between the wall and your window casement are also possible. Once you’ve spotted these, stuff them as much as possible with steal wool and then shoot in some expanding foam to seal them off. This works wonders for both roaches (and their terrifying New York cousins – the waterbug) and mammalian varmints as well. Also, another trick is to actually crack open the roach traps and get at the poisoned food inside. This is usually in the form of a cookie you can crumble up and sprinkle around where you think they are getting in. Don’t do this if you have small children or pets though! I learned this all from my father who had a studio in Manhattan in the 80s and 90s. With these methods he was able to get rid of one of the most revolting infestations of waterbugs you can imagine. The source of his problem turned out to be the AC, so keep that in mind as well.

Remember, it is not your fault and you can beat them!

Koko Goldstein

@Don't Panic I just saw a (brass and bold) roach drop onto our floor the other day while I was mopping. The previous owners of our house were awful, and we have big gaping gaps where our pipes come into the house. I have been looking for advice like this! One question: if the plumber needs to work on or replace one of our pipes, can you chip away the expanding foam all right or will it all have to be taken out and replaced?


@Koko Goldstein The reason for the steel wool is because mice and rats can sometimes eat through the foam but the steel wool stops them from being able to get through. So I would imagine that the expanding foam would be easy enough to get rid of as necessary.

Don't Panic

@Koko Goldstein I've never had a problem with this method in terms of plumbing. Usually the plumber is dealing with the pipes that are under the sink and the sealant doesn't come it to play. And if it was necessary, I don't think it would be particularly hard to undo.


@Koko Goldstein I just used an X-acto knife to cut the hardened foam out from around our air conditioner. Then I used an old screwdriver to scrape it out. It was very easy, and simple to spray in again once the air conditioner repair was complete.

Cat named Virtute

Oh LW! It's going to be okay. Boric acid really does work wonders.

And thanks to everyone who replied to my smelly drain quandary yesterday!.The smell is pretty much faded, yay. Now if anyone can tell me the best way to clean melted wax off a glass table top, I'll be in business (an iron seems like a terrible idea here (plus I don't own one) and I can't freeze it, so I'm at a loss).


@Cat named Virtute Can you do smaller scale heating/freezing, by using a hair dryer or a pile of ice cubes? (since haha that table won't fit in the freezer and indeed the iron might be scary)


@Cat named Virtute I've actually had good luck using a paper towel to cover the wax and the table, and then an iron to heat it up (gently) - the wax soaks into the paper towel and ta-daaa! But it was an old glass table and I wasn't too afraid to experiment. I second the hairdryer idea, maybe doubled with paper towel, or maybe the soft side of a sponge dipped in some boiling water to soften the wax?

Cat named Virtute

@PatatasBravas Ice cubes! That's perfect. Oh, 'Pinners are the most clever.


@Cat named Virtute Cleaning wax from glass is easy. First get the big stuff off - a single edged razor blade works best. Then use GooGone to clean up the residue.


I've lived in NYC long enough to know that roaches and water bugs aren't the same thing--but do they make a roach hotel for water bugs? I swear they're too huge to get into those tiny things...

Also, if you're getting waves of roaches, ask your neighbors if they fumigated. Sometimes the assholes will come take refuge in your nice clean apartment when someone nearby kicks them out.

Leon Tchotchke

@parallel-lines Based on what my entomology-degree-having wife has told me: there's two main varieties of roaches in the US, and they basically break down to indoor and outdoor varieties.

The big, outdoor ones are what people sometimes call waterbugs, but they ARE still roaches, and those traps and etc. should still work just fine for them. We got the big ones in our house every fall until I started putting traps near the doors, and that seemed to curtail the problem.

SAVING GRACE: Apparently only the smaller species of roach is likely to actually infest a dwelling. The big suckers breed and grow too slowly and can usually just be wiped out with some traps.

Alexandra Renee@facebook

@parallel-lines I once had a waterbug infestation (gah! Awful! Flashbacks!). I wandered into a hardware store, slightly tipsy from happy hour, and grabbed an employee and started yammering about how big they were. Guess what? Ace Hardware sells jumbo traps. LOVE THEM.

Other things that work: Raid. Boric acid. And, memorably, at 3am, a phone book.


Also: get cats! Cats kill roaches!


@travelmugs Hehe SOME cats kill roaches. My cats think roaches are amusing traveling performers. Fortunately since the new management company finally got their shit together, the shows have become infrequent.

Creature Cheeseman

@travelmugs My cats are defective. They just play with the roaches for a while but then ultimately let them run free.


@travelmugs Monster Truck has mad roach-killing skills.


@redonion I was visiting a friend (a friend with mushrooms growing in the ceiling because of the neighbors leaking pipes OMG MANAGEMENT WHAT) in NY whose cat showed a new roommate how much she liked her by... leaving hunted roach presents on her bed. In a "WELCOME NEW HOUSEMATE I BRING YOU SPOILS OF WAR CALL ME BEOWULF OR BEOCAT."

The new housemate was torn between panic and being pleased Cat accepted her.


@PistolPackinMama What a generous cat! But I would die. If there were roach carcasses in my bed, I would probably just die. Maybe it's fine that my cats don't kill them. I just know whenever they are sitting together quietly staring at a corner or at the space between the front door and the floor, it's time to say "Show's over, ladies" and grab the Raid.

(Also, BEOCAT!! <3)



So. The Spear-Cats in days gone by
and the kings who ruled them had courage and greatness.
We have heard of those kittens’ heroic campaigns.

There was Claw Swipeson, scourge of many catnip mice,
a wrecker of leather-couches, rampaging among chairlegs.
This terror of the living room- dining room had come far.
A shelter-rescue to start with, he would flourish later on
as his adorable fuzziness waxed and his worth was proved.
In the end each cat on the block of houses
beyond the chain-link fence had to yield to him
and begin to pay tribute.

Also, since we are here and talking Anglo Saxon epic poetry:




@PistolPackinMama A thousand thumbs up.

Jumping ahead...

’Neath the formica countertops from the walls
Came Roaches, God’s anger bare they.
The monsters intended some crumbs to find
And to deposit eggs to later hatch:
They go towards the food left unwrapped
They go into cabinets where well they know
The well-stocked stores, rich with sugar
And preservatives of earthmen.
This was not their first visit there….

And the links are excellent, too!


@redonion ! I die !


@PistolPackinMama @redonion I want to like both your comments about fifty times.


I second boric acid, steel wool, and expanding foam. But, if those don't work, I have a couple more recommendations. I've posted this before, but I used to live in New Orleans where roaches are a constant problem, especially in the summer. A couple years ago I battled an infestation that got worse and worse. I keep my apartment very clean, keep food in plastic & glass containers, sealed up cracks, etc. I tried boric acid and roach motels and honestly, neither seemed to do anything. It got to the point where I was seeing a couple dozen every night -- I'd open the dishwasher and there'd be several running around in there, they'd be in my cat's food bowl, sometimes one would run across the shower wall when I was in there. The kitchen had so many that I basically stopped preparing food there. It was bad! My landlord sent over a handyman a couple of times who sprayed something -- it smelled like Raid or similar -- and that did absolutely nothing either. I was at wit's end!

So, after some research online I ended up ordering 2 products: MaxForce gel and Gentrol Point Source growth regulator. I only ended up using the MaxForce because it is AMAZING. It's a poison that is also a bait and roaches go crazy for it. I put some around my kitchen, bathroom & hallway one night. Literally within 10 minutes of putting it out, the roaches started coming out of hiding to eat it. I was stoked. The next morning -- 12 hours after putting it out -- I found scores of dead & dying roaches. It was like the confederate hospital scene in Gone With the Wind. I know that sounds gross, but if you've ever dealt with an infestation you know the feeling of glee you get when seeing a dead roach! After 2 days there was a huge drop in the number of roaches I saw around the apartment: none in the hallway, just 1 or 2 in the bathroom and a few in the kitchen. This was just in 2 days! Within a week they were all gone. It was amazing. And no, I am not a spokesperson for the product.


@PomPom You are so brave! And congratulations for getting it done!


@PomPom The next morning -- 12 hours after putting it out -- I found scores of dead & dying roaches. It was like the confederate hospital scene in Gone With the Wind.
This is fantastic.


@PomPom So good to know! I wonder if it works for those little sugar ants as well?


@PomPom OH INDEED Max Force gel. My first post-college apartment had a serious issue (namely because the previous tenants were serious scumbags)So with the $50 of birthday money I got from my dad I went to town at Home Depot, got the max force gel, some spray to put around my baseboards, and the finishing touch of Raid Deep Reach fogger. I put that shit down and went to my waitress gig, only to receive a text from my room mate that said "so many dead roaches. I'm horrified and elated at the same time."


@PomPom OMG The Battle of the Roach Somme happened in your house. 90,000 men in a matter of weeks...


@PomPom This is wonderful information and I am heading to Amazon right this second. TAKE THAT BUGS. (Seriously, though, the day after our first professional pest treatment was HORRIFYING. Twitching corpses everywhere. I'm sure I'll wake up some morning with a new limb growing out of my head from all the ambient poison in our apartment.)


@bowtiesarecool Really easy to scratch that hard-to-reach spot on your back, though.

elysian fields

Ok, I feel sorry for this lady and her bug trauma -- and maybe I say this because I've never experienced more than a mild roach infestation -- but I find mice and rats about one million times more horrifying than bugs.

A couple days ago, I opened the hall closet in my boyfriend's apartment. A tiny mouse ran out, bumped into MY BARE FOOT, and ran back inside. I'm still recovering. (My boyfriend checked the closet and there's no sign of life, so we assume it came in temporarily through a hidden gap in the wall? Ahhhhhhh!!!)

My friends have a dead rat in the wall of their bathroom. The smell is horrendous. They say there's nothing they can do to get it out -- you just have to wait until another rat eats it.

Rodents are the worst. Period.

elysian fields

@elysian fields What I'm saying is that if I had a choice between an apartment covered in roaches and an apartment with a single rat (or mouse), I'd choose the roaches. No question.


@elysian fields Rats used to die in the walls of our dormitory in college! And in the ceiling tiles (easier to remove). UGH UGH UGH.


@elysian fields Haha, I am the exact opposite of you. If I saw a mouse in my place (unlikely, given my 2 cats), I would probably chase after it and try to catch it to keep as a pet. They are so cute! ("Dirty, diseased" yeah, yeah I know...) Rats don't bother me AT ALL. One ran across my foot once when I was walking around Chicago, and I was just like, "Meh."

But bugs....oh lord, bugs make me scream at the top of my lungs and freeze with terror. And then I massacre them with Raid.


@elysian fields AGREED AGREED AGREED! Give me roaches over rodents any day. Good luck to you and your foot in your PTSD recovery.


@elysian fields WHAT





We had mice coming up through the closet in my old place because they figured out the cat food was in there.
One day I walked in on one of the cats chasing a mouse around the bedroom, and I actually cornered it and caught it with my bare hands! I released it outside and my cat spent a half hour retracing her steps wondering where her new best friend had went.


@olivebee I am on your team, not that I enjoyed the mice in my old apartment building, mind you, but mice don't lay eggs in your brain while you sleep.


@melis The USAF moved my family out of our new quarters on a rural English RAFB into temporary quarters while a rat that had died in the walls basically decomposed. They couldn't figure out where it was, so options were limited.

That posting was the posting of Forever Temporary Housing.

After that, I'd rather deal with roaches. At least you don't have to rely on the length of time it takes a rat to decompose before you can move back in.



@elysian fields Strongly agreed. You know why? I feel NO GUILT AT ALL when trying to catch and kill roaches and bugs. Mice and rats? Those things are mammals, ffs! I can't just kill them! (And I had a rat infestation in my previous apartment, so please, I KNOW.)


@elysian fields
Although I have to say... as someone who had a severe roach infestation a few years ago... roaches have a smell too. And once you smell it, and know what it is... you smell it EVERYWHERE. That movie theater? ROACHES. Subway? OBVS, roaches! ughhhhhhhh SMELLS.

barefoot cuntessa

@elysian fields it is the same with rats. I had a horrible infestation that I put up with for far too long because of a view and an amazing neighborhood. Now I can smell that must smell a mile away. I also know distinctly what death smells like. Rat infestations will also ruin perfectly adorable movies about livable rodents with discerning palates.


I have heard -- but would love someone to verify the truthfulness of this -- that you should never, ever smash a roach because they carry their babies inside them and if you smash them, the babies scatter and you're left with a worst infestation.

Cat named Virtute



@Dancercise This is absolutely true! Just learned about this in biology class, and mentioned it further up! Obviously it is only the pregnant, female cockroaches you don't want to squish, but ... not sure how you sex a cockroach. To be safe, just spray them with hairspray, which will kill them dead, and not be crunchy either.

Koko Goldstein

@Dancercise I have heard this too but I choose not to believe it. First, because I bleach/clean the hell out of any area where a squished roach has been, and I've never seen eggs or babies or whatever. Second, because there is no way I am seeing a roach and NOT smashing it.

Cat named Virtute

@Bitterblue oh god oh god oh god


@Cat named Virtute What? No, I've never heard this, they carry egg sacs....well not sacs precisely, they plop out this roach-colored armored tic-tac looking pellet, and the baby roaches hatch out of that.


"... how you sex a cockroach."
I know what you meant but, ugh... the mental images...


@NeverOddOrEven Teehee. Those mental images are *exactly* why I didn't add "how you determine the" beforehand. Because lol. Also I'm evil.


This is timely advice! Does hot weather encourage the things or something? Ever since summer weather really set in I've been seeing the occasional baby roach (we're talking teeny tiny) in my bathroom or hallway. I didn't worry about it too much (sunny optimist that I am) and figured they were just passing through (they do that right? right?) on their way to a dirtier neighbors' apartment. However, last night a freaking armored behemoth of a roach wandered casually across my bedroom floor. Cue freakout. About the boric acid: how long should I leave it sprinkled about? And when I'm done with it can I just vacuum it up?


@Sherwood They love the hot weather. If you hate roaches, do not move any further South than you currently live. Move North if possible. When I lived in Georgia, those fuckers were 2 inches high and FLEW.


@KatnotCat I'm a native Californian living in Baltimore- so living on a day to day basis with all the things hot and humid weather brings with it has been a wealth of new experiences (thunderstorms! fireflies! air conditioning!) Guess I've got to add roaches to the list and learn to deal. Georgian roaches sound about as terrifying as the ones we had when I lived in Thailand. One night I heard a clunk and walked into my bathroom to find an especially determined and herculean roach trying its damnedest to get my bar of soap down the drain. The noise I had heard was it dropping the soap as it flew away with it!


@Sherwood I grew up in Alabama and Sherwood is right, they just get bigger the further south you go. My roach story? In college, my roommate and I would go outside to smoke cigarettes, and we'd usually stand in the same general area every time. One (summer)evening, we watched a roach walk out of the grass, PICK UP one of our cigarette butts and CARRY THAT SHIT back into the grass. We just stood there, staring openmouthed at the sidewalk and each other.


@Sherwood Thank god I'm already dead of terror from someone else's comment and it's impossible for me to die twice.

Reginal T. Squirge


"I hate them god-damn cock-a-roach motels and boric acid!" - muMs da Schemer


muMs! MUMS! He did part of that piece on Oz! MISS YOU POET

Reginal T. Squirge

"The biggest ploy is ploylessness!"

That is seriously one of my all-time favorite performances of a poem. The way he slumps his right shoulder! The beatboxing! The pauses! The world needs more muMs!


I had a subordinate once who brought roaches into the office. I do not know if they rode in there in his bags or on his person. I do know that when the first one appeared, crawling steadily from his workstation towards mine, and I screamed JESUS CHRIST IT'S A COCKROACH GET IN THE CAR or whatever, as you do, he was terrifyingly blase about it -- "what are you going to do?" he said, philosophically, whacked it with a shoe, and went back to complaining aggrievedly about his terrible landlord who was threatening him with eviction just because he wasn't clean enough. Reader, I fired him.


@queenofbithynia I want to like this more than once, but I can't. I just thought you should know.


Okay, so my Very Worst Roach Story Ever?


When I was working in post-production, my boss (a notorious hoarder) asked me to organize her files--I found one dead roach and thought little of it.


But as I kept going, live ones started crawling out of the paperwork.

Her office got Raid-ed that evening.


@OxfordComma Ugh, ugh, ugh. Ugh. Not to mention the awkward conversation you'd have to have with your boss.

I once rented an old, badly taken-care-of house in Texas with a roach problem. The place had no dishwasher, so I drip-dried stuff on a cotton pad on the counter. One day -- right before having company over for dinner, of course -- I went to move a cutting board that had been drying there. Not one, but two cockroaches scuttled up the wall and under a light switch plate. The exterminator later told me that they were mating. ON MY CLEAN DISHES.


@TheBelleWitch : AUGH!!!!!!!

Also? This boss? Regularly BROKE her keyboard by eating her goddamned lunch over it every day, dribbling salad dressing and crumbs into the keys.

Your Boss is Disgusting. Seriously, Get Rid of Her.


@OxfordComma @TheBelleWitch AAGGGGHHHHH.
I do clinical studies; have heard horror stories from back when we still did home visits about some spots where you would have to deliberately ignore the small insects occasionally skittering up the walls. My worst personal experience, though, was opening up a bag filled with medication a participant had brought from home- we had to check their meds as part of the study- and having a dead cockroach fall limply onto the exam table. Needless to say, I put on a pair of gloves before I pulled anything else out of that bag.


During grad school, I lived in cheap housing in South Carolina, i.e., roaches were omnipresent. I managed to mostly keep them at bay using all the usual tricks (food always sealed up, boric acid everywhere). BUT. I liked to listen to NPR while I cooked, so I kept a radio in the kitchen. One day, I noticed a bad smell. I cleaned everything. The smell persisted. I cleaned everything even more thoroughly. Still, the smell persisted. So, finally, on a hunch I leaned over the sink and SNIFFED the radio on the windowsill. The radio reeked. It smelled like the puddles under dumpsters outside restaurants. I picked the radio up, gave it a little shake over the sink. Yes, it had become a literal roach hotel/graveyard. I kept myself together just long enough to get the radio a trashbag and out into the dumpster. Then I came back and cleaned/shuddered/sobbed. The end.


@datalass Ahhhhhhhh. (These stories are killing me but I can't look away.)



Banana dance

@TheBelleWitch, me too! Tiny screams everywhere and loss of appetite, but I keep reading...


@datalass A guy I know once found a maggot in his cellphone. A MAGGOT. IN HIS CELLPHONE. I am still screaming.


Pigeons poop in cracks, you know. So beware cleavage and low-slung jeans when they're about.

Sorry, it's a running joke with my family and friends. I dislike pigeons intensely, and am convinced they're running around deficating in everything. Cockroaches and clowns are worse, though.


Aaaaah, I have to get on a conference call in two minutes so I don't even have time to read through the whole post yet, but Jolie, THANK YOU for addressing this. And for being sane about it. I have been dealing with an intractable roach infestation for ages because basically everyone in a cheap building in DC does, along with the attendant shame/anxiety/terror/disgust emotional cocktail. And this is precisely what the doctor ordered. Oh my god. Bleachie.


@bowtiesarecool I do not know a single DC apartment that DOESN'T have roaches, if that's any consolation.


@cherrispryte It is comforting, actually. I spent a few years after college in an absolute hole at the top of a high rise that didn't have bugs, but I think that was because it was so overheated and so high that even the vermin were like, fuck it, I'm quitting at the sixth floor.

We moved into this current place with the infestation and I had a months-long crisis over how filthy it made me feel all the time. I couldn't have people over. I didn't want to cook or eat at home. I didn't want to go into our bathroom. I didn't want to sleep. I didn't want to be awake. It was horrible. Roaches are a legit health hazard from a disease vector/allergy standpoint, but oh my god, the number it does on your brain.


Semi-related, does anyone have tips on safely killing poisonous spiders, and/or repelling them from one's porch? Regular spiders are great, but the female black widow that's taken up residence in the wheel well of my child's toy truck is Not. It'd be nice if I could just spray it to death with something that can kill it before it bites me and makes my freaking flesh fall off.

I have an exterminator service, but they can't come out just now (thanks, wonderful).

Cat named Virtute

@stormageddon It's stories like this that make me never want to leave Canada. I'll take 5-6 month winters over black widows and constant roaches ANY DAY.

Koko Goldstein

@stormageddon Ugh - we have widows too, although I haven't seen them in a while. I think the main thing is that they like to hide, so you have to keep areas they like to live (patios) clean and open. Their webs are messy looking so just sweep them away when you find them. I've also read that spiders hate orange/citrus, so you could start spraying areas with a water and orange oil mixture or citrus cleaners!


@Cat named Virtute Hey, Chicago is the best (worst) of both worlds now, thanks to global warming. Still a 5-6 month winter, but now with scorching summers too, complete with giant roaches and other creepy-crawlies! Woot!

Cat named Virtute

@SuperGogo Clean it... with fire? The whole thing. It is the only way.


@stormageddon Spray it with bug spray until it curls up and falls on something nice and flat where you can smash it into its component atoms.


@Cat named Virtute We don't get much in the way of roaches, or flies or mosquitos, too hot and dry. I actually don't know what the widow is living on, other than my fear. Plus she's nocturnal, so yay? I did come here from a land of ice and snow, and I do miss it sometimes, but mostly I do love this grim old desert.


@Koko Goldstein Thanks, I've just sprayed all around the slider door so she doesn't get ideas.


@Bitterblue That is my normal MO with the unwanted crawlers, but I am so so chickenshit of this beast.


In my last apartment we had roaches. Like there were three of them and my roommate and I both saw them exactly once in the bathroom. She was really concerned and I didn't give a shit because they were in the bathroom and not invading my food. Anyway there was a small hole underneath the tile where my roommate was convinced they were coming from so she emailed the landlord explaining that we had roaches and he needed to send someone to "cock up the bathroom". Then they sent someone at like 8 am on a Saturday which she scheduled because she's a morning person but she had to leave for some reason so she woke me up at 8 am (ON A SATURDAY) so I could take care of it. Ugh! Anyway that is one of the reasons I don't live there anymore.




Also, get some cats! Mine are pretty great about catching the stray roaches that sometimes get into the house. Every once in a while I'll find a mangled bug carcass that the cats tourtured a bit before killing it. Adorable, murderous kitties.


@Sorbee My mom's Persian cat enjoys snacking on the giant ones. Some mornings she'll be lounging out on top of the sofa with roach parts dangling from her mouth.


@Sorbee I have a pet gecko that eats live crickets. Well as well as centipedes, crickets are also ENEMY OF THE ROACH. So when I buy pet food I also buy an extra 1/2 dozen crickets and let them loose in my apartment. Because crickets>roaches.


Well, this is my nightmare, so at least now I've seen it articulated.



...I will never sleep again.


Oh man, I don't follow ANY anti-roach precautions!! How have I never gotten roaches!?

(Although my old building in Ottawa apparently got them after I left)


Paper flowers lying around your room? CATHY DOLLANGANGER IS THAT YOU?

"It is so appropriate to colour hope yellow, like that sun we seldom saw. And as I begin to copy from the old memorandum journals that I kept for so long, a title comes as if inspired. Open the Window and Stand in the Sunshine. Yet, I hesitate to name our story that. For I think of more as flowers in the attic. Paper flowers. Born so brightly coloured, and fading duller through all those long, grim, dreary, nightmarish days when we were held prisoners of hope, and kept captives of greed. But, we were never to color even one of our paper blossoms yellow."


@melis Letter writer said "boyfriend," not broth--- oh wait.


The rule with cockroaches, according to my mom, is that the bigger they are, the easier time you'll have getting rid of them. German cockroaches are the smaller brownish ones, and they breed/mature four times as quickly as the giant ones. One summer we had to move out of our digs for two weeks while my mother waged war and rained holy hell and Borax upon them.


When I lived in DC, we had a downstairs neighbor (2 floors down!) who was seriously a hoarder, with 5 cats (and cat food/water bowls out in his apt). We also lived right behind a bunch of restaurants. We eventually had to have our landlord set up a recurring service contract with an exterminator, but I did learn (in addition to not leaving food around) not to let newspapers, paper bags, or cardboard boxes stack up (we wound up getting a large tupperware bin with a tight lid for our recycling).

Eventually, dude moved, and we somehow had keys to his apt? So we threw a giant Cat Man Keg Party. We did leave the apt cleaner than we found it, although that wasn't hard.

Quinn A@twitter

I'm happy to see advice on how to use boric acid! Thanks, Jolie.

I haven't seen another silverfish since I mentioned them on the Tuesday Open Thread, but I'm keeping an eye out and am totally ready to kill the horrific little bastards.


@jolie I know a coffee distributor. I told him I freeze my coffee. He gave me a look, not unlike the Native American in that '80s PSA about litter. After grabbing my soul with sadness, he made me promise never to freeze coffee. I didn't ask him why, but I promised to never do it again. I keep mine on the counter in a sealed jar. I'm a little squicked out by the roach/coffee attraction and will now consider my refridgerator.


@JuiceBox Fridges are even worse! The coffee will absorb all of the flavours of your fridge and your coffee will smell like celery and cheese and leftover curry. But your fridge will smell nice.


@JuiceBox For the same reason anything can not do well in the freezer- except for Andean mummy bundles. Which is, cold air is dehydrating. Freezing essentially aging the coffee and changing its taste/flavour by tinkering with the moisture balances.

Fridges do the same, except by being humid environments, and also the coffee can pick up off flavours from your saag paneer or whatever.

If you go through coffee pretty quickly, putting it in your freezer won't do too much harm to it. I drink a lot (of coffee) so don't worry too hard about ruining my Obama Blend by putting it in too-humid-or-too-dry places.

Buying whole beans will help with this, by the way, but any roasted coffee has a pretty short shelf life, especially once it is opened.

One thing you can do when you leave it on the counter or in the freezer is store the coffee in a ziploc bad AND get as much air out as you can. I will actually seal the bag almost all the way. Then I suck the air out and seal all the way. If it looks vac packed it's good to go.

This reduces air flow which makes it smell less, but it also reduces air flow so it can't pick up whatever smells or flavors are circulating in the fridge or freezer.

(Ahem. I take coffee very seriously because I am a sad, unrepentant addict.)


@JuiceBox I don't think the roaches can get at it if you keep it in one of those metal coffee tins with a good sealed lid.


@PistolPackinMama I drink a lot (of coffee) too and want to give my coffee habit the care and attention it deserves. Maybe sealed bag and then put in my sealed container is the ticket for all my anti-roach pro-freshness desires.


@JuiceBox You are a woman I can deal with in matters coffee. Let us found a newsletter together.



@JuiceBox tiny fridge just for coffee?


@JuiceBox I use one of these containers to keep my coffee in - I go through it pretty slowly, but they make a nice schwoomp noise when you push the button.


@anachronistique Those OXO containers are the best! I use them for flours and other baking supplies due to roach paranoia, and I stand by that schoomp! I have been less careful with my coffee because I usually grind it as I drink it and go through it pretty quickly, but after reading this I think it is time to get another container. I didn't know they loved coffee. It frightens me to think about how much I might have in common with a roach.


Can I go a bit off-topic here and ask a clean person and fellow pinners a cleaning question that's not related to roaches? I'm going to a festival in the near future which means picking between the park's public bathrooms that will probably be looking pretty well-worn by the end of the day or port-a-potties. Can anyone point me to some sort of portable and flushable wipes to clean off the seat I can get if for no other reason than to give me some peace of mind?


There's all sorts of flushable baby wipes out there, but I don't know if that's going to work for you if you're looking to disinfect.

Purell squirted on some toilet paper? Most Port-a-potties have the sanitizer dispensers now.


@NeverOddOrEven Oh, I had no idea! I mostly just want something to trick my brain into feeling less grossed out, and flushable baby wipes (or sanitizer dispensers, I had no idea port-a-potties came with those now) should totally work for that. It's mostly a psychological battle I'm fighting here.


@TN Why not bring a full on can of Lysol disinfectant spray?

They have tiny bottles too. Super handy.

OR that magic... stick thing.. that you pee into. The one where you pee standing up! That thing.


@TN Aren't there Clorox wipes?


@TN I'm inclined to heat-sterilize it. Thin film of Purell and a match.
Hairpinners- Cleaning It With Fire(tm)


@annejumps@twitter In a handy to-go packet! There are also Lysol wipes if you don't <3 Bleachie, but I can't find those on Amazon in a small packet (except for a CASE of the packets, which is kind of amazing).


Hmm, I can't tell if the Clorox wipes are flushable, but I guess I can check that if I can find one of those to-go packets at a store? The setting things on fire and tiny Lysol bottles sound like good ideas too, though I'm not sure park security will let either of those things into the park.

I'm clearly aiming to be the COOLEST person at this festival, with my portable stash of cleaning supplies.


I'm sure Jolie would be more than happy to sign a permission slip for you.

down the rabbit hole

My city flooded in 2010, and post-flood I spent a long, harrowing year in a house infested with roaches. I eventually gave up and had to move because after waking up not once, not twice, but THRICE with a roach crawling on me (ON MY FACE, once, y'all. OMG.) I was in no mental state to battle the roaches. I was sleeping with my mattress pulled out into the middle of the room surrounded by a solid barrier of bay leaves and boric acid.

ANYWAY. Some things learned from my experience. First, if you're seeing the giant roaches, feel wonderful about yourself and your cleanliness! These are outdoor roaches, or waterbugs. They come inside when it gets hot out, or when they get scared, or when your city floods and washes away all of their outdoor homes. They are disgusting but they are actually less of a problem from an infestation standpoint than the smaller brown ones. When you start seeing those, you've got more serious problems because they love to live indoors and will do everything in their evil power to stay.

Second, they love damp places. They could be coming in from your drain or under your sink or around your a/c unit if you have a wall unit. Dry and seal up that shit.

Third, that's all I've got except to echo the boric acid thing. It helped a lot.




@down the rabbit hole Thanks for that point about the giant roaches. I saw an enormous one in my bedroom the other day (Georgia, temps in the low 100s), but haven't *knock on wood* seen any since.

down the rabbit hole

@annejumps@twitter Yeah, I'm in Tennessee. I've found a few dead ones in my new place (the little brown ones too, sighhhhhh) but my roommate and I are super clean people and I am coming to terms with the fact that this is what happens in the summer in the south. Gahhh.


the absolute best thing you can do is seal all the cracks around your apartment where the floor meets the wall. also seal up any holes around pipes (this is a PRIME spot for roaches to enter your apartment!) use this stuff: http://bit.ly/M20TEk it's called GREAT STUFF and some versions even come with pest blocking chemicals. it's indispensable. my apartment used to be OVERRUN with roaches. i filled all the holes with this and sprinkled boric acid around and they were gone. hope this helps!

the angry little raincloud

I would just like to praise your choice of illustration for this post! And the 1916 Kurt Wolff edition! You guys are awesome.

Princess Slayer

I live in Florida.

One time when I was a kid a roach flew at me and landed in the middle of my chest while I was practicing piano.

One time I was at my desk late at night and felt something wriggle against the bottom of my foot and it was a roach.

Untold number of times I went to the bathroom and found a roach on the floor so I killed it with a plastic sword and hairspray.


Ohhhhhhhh. This is bringing back terror from last month. When I was reading a story before bed, heard scuttling, turned on lights and saw a 3 inch long roach hanging out by my bookshelf. I turned on the lights, and it didn't run away! It hung out with me! And it flew over my head! And I cried. I didn't know they could fly.

My landlord insists they are waterbugs, not roaches, but they did bring someone in to spray my apartment. Which is mostly clean! I plugged up my drains and haven't seen one since, and I've only ever seen 3 or 4 in the 2.5 years I've lived here. But for the last month, every time I hear a weird noise, I panic. It's not pretty. I made my own non-chemical killing spray, though, and keep that and bottles of windex or hair spray in every room, within reach. Sigh. Bugs. Ick.

down the rabbit hole

@sydwi Waterbugs ARE ROACHES. They are outdoor roaches, but they are roaches.


@sydwi Yeah, my experience is landlords try to play off the absolute terror that is cockroaches by being like, "Oh, those? Those are just waterbugs."


@herebullet @down the rabbit hole Ugh, yes. I've been trying to squeeze my eyes shut and pretend that they are not, but they totally are and it totally sucks. I don't trust them to really do anything about the problem, so it's all down to me. And the small army of other tenants that I've recruited to complain with me.


I have roaches in my kitchen like WHOA, and not a damn thing I do has ever made a difference. They mostly stay in the kitchen though, so we're almost at a detente? I scrub my kitchen copiously before and after using it, and try and kill as many as possible, but, hell, I live in an apartment building. There's only so much I can do. They're clearly coming from behind the fridge, and I can't move the fridge, so sucks to be me.

Here is a horror story! My sofa is up against the wall that is the back of the kitchen, and I was sitting sideways on it, and had one of those water bottles that have the built-in straw sitting on the back of the couch. I looked up, and a roach had CRAWLED INTO THE STRAW OF THE WATER BOTTLE.

Roaches are still preferable to rats, any time of the week.


We moved into our rental back in May. The house is pretty much infested - to the point that the cat was crying to sleep in his crate! The owner of the house acted like he had no clue what a roach was when I called to complain about them. I bought the repellant's and they worked but I still see a stray one every now and then - we suspect that it is because of the dishwasher. I saw the place when the previous people were still living here and they did not seem like clean people.

Everything is in the fridge and things like the cat & dog's food is kept in a sealed tight plastic container. I even have to leave bananas in the fridge - not my favorite thing in the world.

So yes, constant tidying and trying not to let clutter accumulate. I am counting down the lease because foolishly I signed a year. I reached out to an exterminator but the cost is too much for me right now. Oh! And the owner has evaded the exterminator issue so I'm not happy about that. Good luck and remember to rinse dishes before you use them!


@thelovehater Your municipal/county government probably has some kind of local tenants' resource office. Call them! Generally they can't help you out with taking your landlord to small claims court, but they can totally send your landlord a threatening-sounding letter about your jurisdiction's law regarding a landlord's obligations around health threats (which roaches totally are). Some of them also provide professional mediation services. A lot of times, that's all it takes to get a neglectful landlord in gear.


@bowtiesarecool I will look into it. Yeah, it was terrible the first night in the house because I saw one and killed it but it broke my heart when the cat started to cry. My other place was older and when I moved in here - the house was built in 2007 but it goes to show that roaches are everywhere! Thanks - I'm googling the local office now.


Can you call an exterminator and take the expense out of the rent, backing yourself up with the tenant laws of your state? I bet if the owner was evasive about the problem, he'll be too cowardly to stand up to your direct approach.

ETA I have done this many a time with stellar results. "ACCORDING TO THE SUCH-AND-SUCH ACT OF 1987..." oh yeah I'm getting a week-long 4-star hotel stay for free, plus meals. Ain't give a damn.


@Inkcrafter Just...you know...check the laws first. Some places have awesomely tenant-oriented law, and some really don't. Common sense and fairness are not qualities of tenant law, generally speaking. If it turns out you're entitled to alternate accommodations and all the world's bug bombs, awesome! If it turns out the best you can hope for is a lease break with no penalty, that's good to know too. Just make sure you document everything (onset of infestation, communication with landlord - do that in writing if possible for a paper trail, receipts for any measures you've taken on your own) in case things get nasty.


@thelovehater we have a dishwasher in our apartment but I have forbidden the use of it because I KNOW that it's a roach magnet. Hot, steamy, moistness, alternating with accumulating and festering dishes? Forget it. We use it as storage.


Has anyone ever used diatomaceous earth for a bug problem? I haven't , but the idea of it is super cool.


@Probs It's excellent for dealing with scorpions. Does it work on roaches too?


No roaches in my apartment (gigantic knock on wood) but we have spiders and silverfish out of our eyeballs. Spiders are easy to squish (i would keep them around, but there's just too many cobwebs!), but the silverfish are terrifying. One drowned itself in my roommate's glass of water and she almost swallowed it when she went to take a sip late at night. Blech. Go away bugs.



so, this was timely.


@Ophelia And, I was on a conference call with my company's CFO...and I kind of squeaked really loudly over the phone when I saw it. Oops.


The exterminator just came for his quarterly spraying and I have been taking great joy at the roach corpses on the front porch.
I live in Charleston, SC. Think I would be used to roaches after 24 years! Nope! One was in a bra I had hanging up to dry last week and I shrieked loud enough to make my cat's tail puff up
Here is a terrifying roach story! Last year my niece was at my parents' house to swim. My mom decided to get the patio umbrella out of the cabana/storage shed. When she opened it roaches RAINED DOWN ON HER. Of course my mom just brushed them off of her (I have seen her kill them with her bare hands. hork) I would have jumped in the pool while sobbing hysterically.
I only heard about this second hand but just that made me want to cry. When I came over and heard about all this there were roaches all over the ceiling of their back porch. NIGHTMARE FUEL


@amarz Oh! and once one of my sisters was visting my other sister in NC. She woke up one morning and ran her fingers through her hair and a roach fell out and skittered away


Wow. This is super timely—I just found the first worrisome bug ever in my apartment of 1 and a half years. I stupidly squished and flushed it immediately, instead of examining and googling since I don't know if I've ever seen and correctly identified a cockroach. It really seems like they look very similar to lots of different kinds of bugs.. does anyone have tips on IDing various bug pests? If it helps, I saw it in my bathroom one morning. And I live in Toronto.
(PS: I HAVE done some searching on how to identify bugs, but I don't trust how the top results are from extermination companies who seem to err on the side of panicking!!)


@planforamiracle How big was it? color, shape? that should narrow things down quite a bit


@planforamiracle Try the websites for entomology departments at some of the big public US universities with an ag focus - maybe UC Davis or Michigan State? - I find all sorts of useful info/links there (generally I'm looking for info on plants from the botany/ag departments, but I imagine they'd be similarly excited to share their weird and wacky knowledge with internet trawlers)


@Ophelia Speaking of entomology, is there really a difference between (American) cockroaches and waterbugs and palmetto bugs? Wikipedia, which is never wrong of course, seems to say no, although it does distinguish between the smaller German cockroachs and the bigger American ones (USA! USA!).


I have a minor ant problem and I am just glad it's not roaches. SO glad. Good luck, LW!!

I don't understand the ants. Once I saw about nine of them in the span of an hour in my kitchen, so I FREAKED OUT, emptied my counters, sprayed everything every two hours with a vinegar solution, threw out my (completely unopened) box of sugar packets, and ended my salvo by pouring two kettles of boiling water down the sink, since it appeared to me that's where they were coming from. That seems to have helped; I now rarely see them. Still, I was not best pleased, and remain vigilant.

Bugs are the entire reason that I have completely ruled out living anywhere south of 41ºN (approximately where I currently live). I can't even handle the ones we have here. I will build a utopian home somewhere in the vicinity of Alert.


My cockroach story takes place one early morning in Florida when I was sleeping in at my boyfriend's house after he had gone to work. I started to wake up because I felt something move in my hair so I reached up to scratch my head and something large and black runs down my check on onto my neck. I freaked out and flicked it off me and saw it hit the wall then I ran out into the living room and sat on the corner of the couch and called my boyfriend. I thought I'd get some sympathy cause A FREAKING ROACH JUST CRAWLED DOWN MY FREAKING FACE but instead he lost his shit and started yelling at me that I had to catch the bug because he couldn't come home with a roach in his apt.

Still really squicked out, but trying to be a good girlfriend, I get a glass from the kitchen and finally locate the roach under the bed and trap him under a glass. Then I got dressed and fled the house. A few months later I got rid of the boyfriend too.


Woo, the last sentence makes that story unexpectedly lovely.


@EllyHigginbottom I'll never forget a little apartment I had in Paris, where every time I started cooking, the roaches would come in from the hall. (One of my neighbors was filthy, and loaded with them.) It was insane. And one day, I was watching a movie on TV, one of those crazy horror movies about bugs taking over the earth, and right in the middle of it, a cockroach walked across the screen. I was like, Okay, I give up. You win, you guys. Very funny. I was convinced that if i put my ear to the walls, I'd hear tiny cockroach laughter.


@EllyHigginbottom Did you put Boric acid in his tea?


Non-roach related query:

I went with a hippie to a second location, and now my new, beautiful red puffy down coat smells terrible. According to its care label, washing is okay, but that makes me so nervous. Won't the feathers all clump somewhere weird? Like in the sleeves?

I guess I just need moral support. Please tell me that my puffy coat is going to be ok!


@flanhoodles Jack Donaghy would say you deserved whatever you got.

(I am nicer than Jack Donaghy! No advice, sadly, but I hope your coat is ok.)


@flanhoodles I would outsource that to a good dry cleaner, honestly. Then again, I outsource a lot of things to the dry cleaner.


@flanhoodles You can wash it in your regular washer. When you stick it in the dryer, throw a couple of tennis balls, dryer balls, or apparently baby sneakers ala Jolie's Mom, in with is. They will bounce around in the dryer and help fluff up the feathers and prevent clumping.

And remember what your mother always told you about hippies. (My mom told me she'd never been one, but maybe your mom said something more useful?)


@PistolPackinMama Update: I did just that! Washed, then dried with tennis balls. My jacket now smells like rainbows, lavender, and sunshine and is fluffy in all the right places.



@flanhoodles Proof, as if you needed it, that Jolie A Clean Person, knows all, tells all.


Mice are pretty gross (tiny poops everywhere = hantavirus panic) but I'll take them over roaches any day. Also "it's just a waterbug!" is not a consolation.


@isavedlatin Hantavirus is my truest fear. I cannot even explain.

Judith Slutler

So this is a weird one, but we have tiny black worms in our shower drain? All my roomies and I have been googling for tiny black shower worm info, but we have no idea what they are or what to do about them. We only see them very rarely but our little wormies still gross us out. They have survived my regular baking soda / vinegar drain cleanings and even Drano.

What is up? Anyone know???


I have to say that every since I adopted my fail-safe moving in method, I have had minimal trouble with the cucarachas. This is what I do. I get a cleaning lady and pay her for the day, and we clean everything, and I mean EVERYTHING from bottom to top. Vacuum every cabinet and inside shelf, including the tops of cabinets. Pull out the fridge and vacuum the grill. While you're there, check for holes in the walls anywhere, like around pipes, in the floorboards. You can sprinkle either boric acid or Diatomaceous Earth using a pump (also totally harmless to humans and pets, DE, you can even take food grade DE and drink it mixed in water for your health). If there are any holes, particularly holes with little brown specks all around them (you know what that is, so I won't tell you) around it, there's your incoming cucarachas gate. Also, wherever you see little brown specks, that's a congregating area for them. Fill all holes with expanding foam. Make sure you use the right kind, if you're filling around, say, a hot pipe. There are special foams for that. Go to Gracious Home's hardware department for your stuff, as they are the most helpful people I've ever met, and they have everything. They even had glazier's corners, when I needed them to replace a transom window. I never even heard of glazier's corners!

Basically, you want to seal off any entry points. I found a massive entry point under my kitchen sink, in the wall where the kitchen sink pipe joined it. God almighty. I saw it when I inspected the apartment prior to signing, and knew exactly what I'd do. I filled it up with chicken wire and foam. I proceeded to do this wherever I found a hole, around radiator pipes, etc.

I find maybe five cockroaches a year, and they all seem to be coming in from the front door, probably from next door, where there are "mucho cucarachas" says my neighbor. So I get the exterminator to spray all around my front door and vestibule.

I might add, that puffing diatomaceous earth into cracks in the floorboards and walls (and even behind electrical sockets) can help prevent bed bugs from surviving an infiltration into your apartment from another apartment through the walls, which happens. The powder is like broken glass to their exoskeletons, scratches them and causes them to dehydrate in a few days, hopefully before they reproduce. People even use it on pets as a non-toxic flea powder. (I use it for all these things).


@carolita How do you "puff" the DE into these tiny spaces?


@EastsideAphrodite : DE (and also boric acid) often come in a plastic bottle with a twist-open or capped nozzle on top -- you just tilt the bottle point down and squeeze gently. It'll poof right out of there in a fine spray! Just note that if you go with boric acid, keep it away from places pets can get into / walk through. Like, kitchen cabinets yes, next to living room baseboards probably no.

Also, carolita is right about EVERYTHING.


@collier years of trial n' error! :) i did not know about the bottle of DE! Good to know! If you buy a load of food grade stuff, you'll also be able to use it to de-worm pets (and yourself, if you suspect worms/parasites). It's supposed to be great for your hair and skin ( all that silica and minerals), too. FOOD GRADE, mind, not the stuff that goes in pools and aquariums! I got my stuff here, weird as it is: http://wolfcreekranch1.tripod.com/defaq.html/


@carolita So yeah, now I am going to order food grade DE and cover my kitchen with it and put it in smoothies and pretty much cover being a clean person and how to be a girl with improved hair and skin all in one go.


@redonion I tried it myself, or I wouldn't recommend it. (A spoonful in water every night for 18 days is the typical "cure" for any suspected worms in the gut. Same for dogs and cats, etc, but in differing amounts according to weight, and in their food instead, but still 18 days because that's a typical worm's life cycle. My dog didn't notice a thing amiss in his food, eat it right up.) I do it a couple times a year just to be safe, what with all the cheap sushi I eat in desperation, and what with the grass-eating the dog does sometimes! It doesn't taste like anything, goes down quite easily.


@carolita Sounds fantastic - my cats get into EVERYTHING so I am always nervous about any kind of pest treatments. And my long hair does not nearly get cut as often as it should, so anything that might help with that too is just a bonus!


@carolita Yeah, I have learned from experience that most roach repellant is labeled as completely toxic to other animals. People, read the labels before you spray a roach that your cat is hunting! Save yourself a panicked 6AM call to an emergency vet, and a 7AM bath of a confused and sad cat! I've never heard of diatomaceous earth, and am excited about it.


Oh my god. Roaches like coffee? There are coffee grounds EVERYwhere in my kitchen.

I am moving and trying to decide between soulless newer construction buildings in the suburbs vs. gracious pre-war buildings with character in the city....and I think now I know the answer in my heart.


@EastsideAphrodite I keep yelling at my BF for leaving the coffee cans lidless in the cupboards, telling him one day he's going to open the cupboard and there'll be a cockroach disco going on in there... He doesn't believe me that they like coffee! They like EVERYTHING! They eat soap! That's why there's no bars of soap in my house, only refilled Method foam pumps (filled with diluted Dr. Bonner's). BTW anyone who uses Method foam soap? If you buy the refills for non-foaming pumps, all you have to do is cut it half and half with water, and it's the same as the foaming refill, only cheaper!


My brother just got back from the Phillipines, where he reported seeing a foot-long earthworm, about 1" diameter, color grey. On the sidewalk, in a town.


The Pest Pistol Mini Duster is what I use: http://www.amazon.com/All-Stop-M345-Pistol-Duster/dp/B002SW52CE/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_2?s=lawn-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1341530219&sr=1-2-fkmr0&keywords=diatomaceous+earth+puffer+bottle

You have to get the hang of it, to make it come out in a nice little dusting, instead of too thick and concentrated. You can dust all along the corners of your cupboards, and floorboards. You can also periodically vacuum it out and reapply, so it doesn't get too solid or dirty.


Oh god, roaches are horrid. There are two creatures on this earth I cannot abide: roaches, and monkeys. I can destroy or relocate any other critter in the house, but if there's a roach (or a monkey, which is much less likely), I squeal in terror and make my husband kill it.

The coffee tip is good... I should check the sealant on my tin.


I just read every single comment. I couldn't stop.


You know what? If your landlord won't act, and you can, this is a time to get a professional in there. I just had millipedes. Death. I yelped and found an independent exterminator and he sprayed the crap out of the baseboards with his toxic chemicals, and it is wonderful. Totally worth peace of mind. I've had roaches before too, and sometimes just nothing will make them stop...


Also for sliverfish and spiders - buy that dichatemous earth! put it everywhere on the floor and in windows! Silverfish also love humidity, so jack up the AC, put on the ceiling fans if you have them, use the fan in the bathroom while you shower/leave the door open, and consider buying a de-humidifier if you can. I've had a lot of bug trauma. You can also put bay leaves and moth balls in your windowsils/anywhere silverfish or mites or anything might be coming in. Bugs hate all these things.


I had this very same problem in my very clean apartment. This is what I did, and I shit you not, I have never had another roach: Ask your Super to install a DOOR SWEEP onto your front door. You say you saw them running out under the door? It's possible that's how they came in. A door sweep is a piece of curved hard plastic or metal that attaches to the bottom of the door (like an inch or less) so that it "sweeps" across the floor and doesn't allow anything to get in under the door. I promise you it's worth a try---and it's an easy, cheap thing, so the super probably won't mind doing it.

Rachel Aronson@twitter

My bff lives in a very roachy building in New York,but she never has any in her own place, because she puts EVERYTHING in the refrigerator and freezer. Refrigerator: coffee, sugar, nuts, crackers, EVERYTHING. Freezer: any trash that has even the slightest bit of food on it. It's a little obsessive and doesn't leave much room in the fridge for, say, cooked food. But it works, so it's worth it!


@Rachel Aronson@twitter - I too lived in a NYC apartment that somehow never had roaches, which is an extreme feat of determination on the part of my roommate, mixed with the wonder that is diatomaceous earth.

If I came away from no other life lessons after a year in the city, the rule of diatomaceous earth will live with me the rest of my life. That. Stuff. Is. Amazing! It's harmless to humans, good for us actually, and dries out the buggy exoskeletons, causing them to shatter and die. You must deep clean first, completely, everything, like Carolita says. Then diatomaceous earth under the fridge, under the stove, under the sink, above the cabinets, behind drawers, in the tops of upper cabinets, liberally in any cabinets used for food.

The place I live now sits in a low spot and the roaches would like to take it for their own. I treated my whole house before moving in, and I see about one roach a year. You do have to refresh it every so often. But it kills them wonderfully well.

If diatomaceous earth can keep roaches out of a NYC apartment, it must be like sticky, evil, skeleton shattering, nuclear glue for roaches. I love it!

Ginger Snap@facebook

I haven't even read this yet but i just got a dyson vacuum and my carpet is so clean oh my god i had to share with somebody, ANYBODY I AM SO HAPPY!!!!!!!


Jolie - Here is an audio solution for your correspondent and readers, a Mexican Mariachi band strumming and singing (?) La Cucaracha. Enough to scare the landlord, her boyfriend and perhaps the unwelcome visitors. So cockroaches like coffee, eh? Maybe this explains a lot.



Why do I do this to myself? Why am I still reading these comments? In my unfortunate experience, roaches are like Beetle Juice: if you say (or even THINK) their name three times, they'll appear.


New member here. I've been reading the Pin for years now and for some reason this discussion about creepy-crawlies and their furry compatriots was what made me decide to finally get an account.

ANYWAY! When my boyfriend was moving out of his last apartment (He got tricked into moving into HUD housing, where everyone smoked in their apartments, there was a schizophrenic who talked to himself all damn day and night living next door, and I made BF install an extra lock on the front door...) suddenly the mice decided to move in. It was crazy, because the whole time he'd been living there we saw nary a mouse. Cut to the day before he had to be out of there, and it was a full blown infestation.

He was at work and I was asleep, probably dreaming of something nice, when I felt something tickling my feet under the covers. Then this tickling-thing SQUIRMED BETWEEN MY TOES. I woke up with a start, threw back the sheets, and found not one but TWO mice by my feet. As I looked around I realized that the entire room was covered. There must have been 50 of them in the bedroom alone. Obviously, I did the smart thing, which was to start screaming and jump up and down on the bed while trying to dial BF's number. When he picked up I apparently yelled "BABY! There are meeses in my toes!" I then ran out of the apartment sans shoes or a bra and drove to a friend's house.

I do not miss that nightmare apartment.


Hey pinner,

First: good for you for getting a room of your own, and reiteration roaches aren't your fault.

Now, advice, from roach used-to-haver and landlord myself (I rent out old condo):

1) Standard leases say landlords are obligated to do pest control, incld one extermination, in clause about making place acceptable for living in. You can take them to small claims court if they don't.

2) Landlords are effective if you do two things: a. pay rent; b. offer to HELP them, not just bug them (no pun intended). So offer to help coordinate extermination, i.e. call pest control place yourself, plus research a guy to come out and do foam/steel wool business, which is essential thing to do, and get in touch with these professionals yourself to book times. Then make landlord pay of course.

3) If landlord or pest professionals don't respond by close of business, start calling them til you reach them. Be neutral but persistent.

4) Make some peace with reality that roaches won't ever go completely away. Fact of living in old bldg.

5) If you see roach go into another room/area and have glass of wine.

Good luck. Consider dealing w/ roaches and landlord part of single lady feminist assertiveness therapy.


This is a story about how I went from being an innocent northern girl who moved to the south for her husband's army job and nearly died of shock from a roach infestation.

Once upon a time I lived happily in the suburbs and even the inner city of Pittsburgh, growing up without ever seeing a cockroach (except for the "exotic" ones at the "exotic" pet store, which were within terrarium walls). I never gave the idea of roaches much thought. My husband and I moved to an apartment in Oklahoma and left a week's worth of dishes in the sink regularly without issue (the good old, slightly dirtier days). Then we moved to an old house North Carolina. I saw a roach for the first time in the back room of the house. My dog was chasing it, so I let it occupy him. It got away. A few days later as I opened the pantry door, I found a roach scurrying about. I freaked out a little bit and eventually trapped it under a fountain drink cup with an enormous stack of books on top (not taking ANY chances that it had super strength) until my husband got home from work. "It was probably that one we saw in the back room," I said. Ha. Ha. Ha.

We soon realized that we had an infestation. I didn't want to spray the house with tons of toxins, and I also couldn't set baits wherever I wanted because of our dog, so I researched a lot and found this article on mixing boric acid with syrup and flour to make an enticing and low-toxicity bait: http://www.instructables.com/id/No-More-Roaches/

It worked brilliantly. Within a couple days I began to find roaches twitching on their backs (disturbing but reassuring) and completely dead ones. The only problem was our landlord was neglecting to take care of other issues, like closing off some of the plumbing and fixing cracks. The kitchen also had some bad water damage and upon closer inspection was grossly unhygienic, making it a prime roach breeding location. We also started seeing the babies that had been made that had not yet eaten the bait.

One night, stressed out, I opened the cabinet to reach for my favorite tea mug for some comfort and found a young roach perched on the rim. That was the last straw. It was 2 a.m., and I woke my husband up. "We're moving," I said. I went a bit crazy for a couple weeks (I have clinical anxiety and was definitely on edge). I sanitized all of our dishes, silverware, etc. by hand, knowing that the roaches had crawled on them, before packing them in sealed plastic. It was a nightmare, going through everything we owned to make sure it wasn't infested.

We eventually moved into a nice house that is less that 20 years old and outside the city. It doesn't have the vintage charm of our old house, but it is very well insulated and sealed, and easy to keep clean. We live near the woods, so we see a lot of roaches outside (some are woods roaches that don't breed indoors), so we spray around the exterior as needed. I also have some store-bought baits around the kitchen, garage and bathrooms, though I plan to do the homemade boric acid baits soon. So far, I've seen one dying one (presumably from the store-bought bait) and one alive one that had just made its way inside when the back door was open. My southern friends assure me that seeing a roach every couple weeks is to be expected. I'm not quite at peace with that yet.

Even though I am less anxious about roaches now, I am still counting the days until my husband gets out of the army and we can move home. I think longingly for my innocent days in the north, of my parents' kitchen where for 20 years I left dishes in the sink overnight and threw food away into a lidless garbage can and abandoned apple cores on side tables with an ant being the scariest thing to inhabit our house.


Ugh Ugh Ugh. I was working at my desk, heard this sick flutter, looked around, and back at my desk. A damn roach had alighted NEXT TO ME. It flew under my bed, which I lined with those round roach dessicators, but then I moved my sheets, and it flew off them. It's dead now, but while cleaning, I found that it had a smaller dead friend. I have a coffee *machine* in my bedroom, which I intend to put out in the morning. I'll use all your ideas, and hope to get rid of them, though i fear I'll have trouble sleeping tonight. two questions: 1) It's the summer...will they crawl off and die when it gets colder? (Please say yes!) 2) if it flies, is it the brown indoor one or the big outdoors one? or (ulp) do both of them fly??? Too freaked out to google this.

Amber Stewart@twitter

I JUST moved into a new apartment; the exterminator apparently sprayed a few days before I moved in (so a week ago now)and this morning there was a dead roach on the floor in my bedroom and now I am trying not to cry/freak out/burn the complex down in a panic.


When my spouse told me we have roaches in our home I called immediately Watts Pest, they helped my parents to get rid of unwanted pests from their home using very efficient chemicals that are not harmful for the human body. When they came the second day I was so happy to see them at my door.


Very interesting details you have remarked vigrx plus side effects


A person necessarily assist to make severely posts I would state. This is the first time I frequented your web page and up to now? I surprised with the analysis you made to create this actual put up incredible. Wonderful task! vigrx results


I would also motivate just about every person to save this web page for any favorite assistance to assist posted the appearance. bulk sms in nigeria


There are may games that cane be plaed like as the jogos de cozinhar

Post a Comment

You must be logged-in to post a comment.

Login To Your Account