Ask The Bug Doctor About Roaches In Appliances

The majority of pest control customers want very little to do with helping your service. Of course this a bit of a generalization but I don’t think this statement is that far off from the truth. There is however, a very small percentage of my clients that do absolutely anything I recommend and are very proactive with their service. It’s these folks who you just wish you could bottle and replicate. Unfortunately there are so very few of them and all you can do is admire their effort and dream of the day you sign more of this type of client on.

I found one such homeowner or should I say he found me? On my Ask The Bug Doctor tab he sent me a simple question about bugs in appliances and a picture of his refrigerator that all of us exterminators have seen 100 times. What was amazing however, after I sent him a simple reply he wrote back and described the herculean efforts he took to rid himself of german roaches in his appliances and kitchen. Like I said, if I could, I’d bottle this guy but for now- I simply APPLAUD him and urge anyone else who has a roach infestation and is reading this article. Do what Matthew did and you’ll get the results you desire. Great job Matthew! This was what he wrote:

Hello Bug Doctor,

Thanks for the quick reply!  Nice to talk to someone that “get’s it”.  Hands down one of the worst experiences of my life.

I got the keys to my new home on December 8th and didn’t move in until February 18th.  I guess I did a pretty good job in a short period of time, but man did I go “all-in” and I’m still not done with the aftermath.  I decided i wasn’t moving in until the bugs were gone and was paying both my mortgage and rent at the same time, so I had to move fast. Luckily I am single so it made things a bit easier.  To get rid of the bugs I went into what I called “Total Annihilation Mode”.  Basically rolled up my sleeves, did tons of research, got some help and went to war:

• Professional Exterminator (treated 3 times inside, twice in the attic – pretty much had to force him to do the attic space)
• Shrink wrapped  and removed all appliances after the house was treated by the exterminator.
• Had all cabinetry and bathroom vanities removed (which was terrible because it was all new, circa 2009)
• Removed 8 vents for the central A/C system, 53 switch plates, 8 fire alarms, 23 lighting fixtures and recessed lighting covers
• Had A/C system professionally cleaned
• Treated all openings with boric acid, including around the entire floor/baseboards and all of the above mentioned holes (switch plates, lighting fixtures etc..).
• Deep Cleaning of entire house
• Caulked bottoms of baseboard.  Covered the caulk job with 1/4″ bayshoe (actually saw a tiny spider on the floor the other day, try to scurry to the bayshoe and couldn’t even get all the way under it to hide).
• Cleaned all switch plates, lighting covers, and vents with a combination of bleach and a citrus de-greaser.  I cleaned it all, not just the pieces with roach poo.
• Had the house professionally painted, with all walls sanded, and all cracks caulked.
• Purchased styrofoam gaskets for all the switch plates that supposedly help keep critters out and also save on energy costs.
• Professional Exterminator company comes back every month now for an exterior treatment at $40 a visit. Might switch to bi-monthly soon.

So a little background on the house: I literally got my keys as the previous owners are driving away and walked into a freshly bug-bombed new house that I had no idea was plagued with roaches until after it was too late.  The previous night I had done my final walk-through, simply to check that the appliances were still there since we were doing a side deal ($2200 for all four appliances).  The electricity was off in the house at that point and I didn’t bring a flashlight.  It was a grueling process to purchase this house and bugs were the last thing on my mind.  I had visited the house about 5-7 times prior over the course of 8 months, had two inspectors and my real estate agent with me at different times and NOBODY noticed a thing (or at least said something about it).

The best part? The previous home owner was…..a professional cleaning lady by trade.  She was apparently doing such a good job cleaning prior to each visit that no-one had a clue.  However if knew what I now have learned from your site, I would’ve been able to spot it from a mile away.  I spoke to a neighbor last week who told me the previous home owner used to collect recyclables and pile them up outside the kitchen window.  I’m crossing my fingers that that’s how they got in and that they’re not coming from the apartment next door.

As you requested… attached are some pics for you to use.  I even got you one with a bug trapped in the LED screen =).  I will send them across a few emails so you can get the scope of what I dealt with, and hopefully beat.  I am still not ready to put back my kitchen and haven’t had food or water in the kitchen since I got the place.  I am now just getting back to the appliances. I have a company that quoted me about $500-600 to clean all the mechanical parts of the appliances but I still will need to clean everything else. Not very excited to do this, but I’m completely tapped for cash now after doing all of the above.  The one major downside to everything is I will have to live without a kitchen for a very long time now to get to the point of having enough $$ to pay for one.

Above all, thanks for all the help from your site!


About The Bug Doctor

Jerry Schappert is a certified pest control operator and Associate Certified Entomologist with over two and a half decades of experience from birds to termites and everything in between. He started as a route technician and worked his way up to commercial/national accounts representative. Always learning in his craft he is familiar with rural pest services and big city control techniques. Jerry has owned and operated a successful pest control company since 1993 in Ocala,Florida. While his knowledge and practical application has benefitted his community Jerry wanted to impart his wisdom on a broader scale to help many more. was born from that idea in 2007 and has been well received. It is the goal of this site to inform you with his keen insights and safely guide you through your pest control treatment needs.

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  • I’m not sure what to say, except maybe to say WOW!

  • Mel

    Like Keith, I didnt know what to say either but my thoughts ranged from wow to overkill. I could not help to wonder if his infestation was as severe as your worst roach infestation or if he saw five roaches and his ocd caused him to go through these extreme measures. I also wondered if the guy was a dentist or an accountant:) 

    Can you bring him back for pictures or comments?

  • Well put! Actually I have a TON of pics he sent and I did keep his e-mail, so I’ll ask him to comment if he cares to.

  • Dylan

    Jerry, when you find out how to bottle this up, put me down for a few dozen. Awesome job Matthew!

  • Matthew

    Oh boy. Sorry to burst your bubble guys, but…. this is OCD Matthew reporting in 3 years later…. and apparently, these bastards are back =/

    Just sent the bug doctor a new email and this time things are interesting. Long story short, after 3+ years of a clean home I’ve seen 4 new german roaches the past 3 weeks (2 of them tonight). However, this time I’ve checked all the likely places and everything is clean as a whistle. Refridgerator motor, under the sink, microwave, dishwasher, cabinet hinges, stove circuits, pantry, toaster/coffee maker are all clean as a whistle. I’m completely stumped.

    Apparently I don’t have roaches, I have tiny invisible ninjas. Time for a new kitchen?

  • Matthew

    Just saw this blog post for the first time hahaa. To answer your q….. this house took me 8 months to purchase (short sale) and my first encounter with the roaches went like this: I received the keys, gave the owner cash for their appliances ($2200 i believe), then watched them drive away, waving goodbye. I entered the home, it was night time and the power was off, so it was really dark. I proceeded to do the happy dance up and down the hallway, completely stoked on finally ending 8 months of home buying hell. It was a big achievement for me since I don’t come from alot of money and I bought this house all on my own. I then went into the kitchen, stopped, let my eyes focus in the dark, and was greeted by about 50-100 dead/half-dead/scurrying roaches. The previous owner had set off a bug bomb that day, thinking they were helping, when in reality they just scattered roaches to every room in the house. After that I went to war.

    Feel free to ask any more questions. I have a feeling I’ll be on here alot now that they’re back….

  • Matthew

    haha thanks!

  • Matthew

    Just seeing all this for the first time. Thanks for the shout-out Jerry! Hopefully I can get to the bottom of it this time. I’m either unlucky or something really odd is going on.

  • National Sovereignty

    Are they gone yet? Just had an evicted tenant move out. They decided to paint one of the baseboards with chocolate and leave cooked and dry ramen in various places in the kitchen. Roaches everywhere, including the walls.. I saw a giant one run from the stove to the laundry.

    So I’ve put pure boric acid around the baseboards, along with roach gel, and set a bomb off in every room. I’m sure I still need to call an exterminator. I will remove all carpets, spray inch of the home with bleach and tsp, paint every inch with oil based kills.