In my many years as a hired killer I’ve seen many different formulas when it comes to killing German roaches. Some involve heavy doses of noxious home brew liquids, others are recipe’s of poisons and food. There’s even a few I’ve seen that are very specific procedures and these are usually coupled with some sort of potion or substance that works in combination with the specified steps.
The problem with these is that they seldom seem to work (if at all) and since most are touted as ‘safe for humans and pets’, the human tendency of over kill (use to much) almost always kicks in. This can be down right dangerous or at the very least, counter productive.
Recently I came across an old newspaper clipping taped to the inside of kitchen cabinet with instructions of one such concoction- I was told it was from a New York newspaper of some 25 years ago. It reads;
Way To Kill Roaches–To The Editor (see above pic)
This is for the Very Bugged who said they live in a low income housing project and have a serious problem with roaches. We have found the best roach killer and it is very cheap and harmless to pets and humans. Buy a box of 20 Mule Team Borax and put it in all closets and kitchen cabinets, as well as all along the floor close to the baseboard.
We also sprinkle some on door sill and any place they, the roaches, have a run. This will kill all the roaches in 2-3 weeks, as the roaches walk in the borax, they carry it to their nest on their feet and it kills the young ones.
Tsk Tsk- While in most cases I’m in favor of learning from those who’ve blazed the trail before us, in this instance this kitchen made creation is about as useless as 99% of anything else you’ll hear of and not nearly as safe as the writer suggests.
The Many Ways To Kill Roaches?
Our age old battle with German cockroaches, and the filth we associate with them, has spurred an on going battle that seems to have no end in sight. Still, undaunted and in our never ending search for the cure, we have relentlessly pursued the magic elixir. It seems that there is no end to the things we’ve tried.
There’s mechanical devices, traps, gases, vapors, powders, chalk, paints, baits, sprays, pheromones, electrocution traps, parasitic wasps, heat, cold, starvation, dehydration, vacuuming, exclusions, dusts, integrated growth regulators, bombs, oils and any number of combinations from the list.
Why Haven’t They Worked?
When you think of the German cockroach and ways to kill it, you have to consider what makes it so resilient. Roaches have been one of the most successful creatures on earth.They’ve been able to survive what man and nature has thrown at them for at least 250 million years, the German roach has risen supreme out of all of its relatives. Their natural habits and abilities which to them is nothing special, to the would be killer (us) makes for an almost impossible task.
These Habits Include:
75 – 25: This habit of resting at least 75% of the time and being active only 25 (or less) makes it difficult to locate nests or figure out just where your treatment might be best suited.
Nocturnal: This habit ensures their activity is concealed as much as possible.
Thigmotropic: With this trait roaches hide in some of the most impossible places to see let alone find.
Female German roaches tend to stay secluded: Possibly because they may be slower for escape purposes due to the egg capsule or it may be an instinct to protect her babies. In either case, a hidden female is not one easily killed.
How About Built In Abilities
While their habits may be instinct or built in, they’re different at least in my mind than natural abilities or bodily functions. (also built in but let’s not split that hair)
Their antenna are very adept at detecting chemicals and they easily avoid pesticides.
Their cerci (antennas on their hind end) sense a stomping foot or a sudden movement in a fraction of a second. This allows for easy escape almost as if they have a head start.
Omnivorous– Able to make a meal out of almost any substance, including each other, it’s almost impossible to starve a roach to death. They are also able to go without food for about a month.
Chemical immunity– Often written about and spoken of the German roach can, in just a few generations become ‘immune’ to certain pesticides.
One of the fastest creatures on earth– as if detecting your raised shoe or presence as soon as you enter a room isn’t enough. Roaches are very very fast with a top speed of 2 to 3 mph. Not as fast as a your pup in the yard I grant you but for comparisons sake, if a roach were as big as a median sized dog it would be able to top out at 50 mph. That’s fast!
Reproduction- A female german roach carries her egg case, (ootheca) with her up until it’s close to hatching. This ensures the best chance for a successful birthing of as many as 45 babies. The next capsule begins forming in as little as 2 weeks to repeat the process while the young go through 6 to 7 instars (molting) and can begin breeding as soon as 6 weeks later under optimal conditions. The numbers can get quite staggering.
Things You May Not Know That Kill Your Chances For German Roach Eradication
German roaches may not have the sweet tooth you thought they had- studies show that the german roach may have become averse to sweets containing glucose. Perhaps this is part of their immunity response or just learned behavior. But what it means for the famous ‘cocoa powder or sugar mixed with borax’ recipe is almost guaranteed failure. Professionals use a gel bait specially formulated without glucose or it has been masked so the roach cannot detect it.
Roaches don’t carry food back to their nests- many people may know this already but
they’re at least of the belief that somehow that a roach may take food back to the nest on their bodies where others will feed with grooming. This is not true and this also spells doom for your plans of the ‘shared bait’ strategy.
When you see more babies that means you’ve killed almost all the adults- In actuality, a thriving ‘healthy’ population of German roaches consists mostly of the younger nymphs. It’s about a 75-25 split.
German roaches don’t come from an outside location such as your yard or leaf litter- A German roaches life is almost completely centered around human activity. They spread via ‘hitch hiking’ in our packages, luggage, groceries, boxes or other mode. They are unable to live for very long outside of their human counter part.
Excessive cleaning is the answer to German cockroach control- A catch 22 of sorts because any good exterminator will tell you this is true and he or she is not entirely wrong. The fact is however, the german roach can do quite well in a clean home resorting to cannibalism if need be or even eating roach fecal matter. (both of these things it does anyway)
So What Can I Do?
This has been a rather long and hopefully helpful list of facts about the German roach. I realize of course it’s a list more on the negative side of things that don’t work or factors that are against us. There is a reason I’ve listed this side of the equation rather than a step by step guide of things you can actually do. The fact is that knowing what “not” to do or expect is just as important as knowing “how to kill roaches.” I find that once certain un truths are found out, a person can then proactively go forward with things that actually work and won’t be so tempted lean back on the information that just won’t help.
Now if you’ve made it this far in reading up on your foe, congratulations. I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say you’re serious about getting rid of your German roaches. However, your work is not done, but rather than me doubling or even tripling the length of this article with detailed how to. I have pointed the Way To Kill German Roaches with little blue bread crumbs (links) that you can follow and get all the information you’ll need in order to achieve a roach free home. The “crumbs” are in the form of all the blue links included on this page. They will take you to all the articles I’ve already written that contain all the help you’ll need. I have specially chosen those writings that will assure you of the fastest results.
If at the end of your following the path you still need help, please, feel free to contact me via the Ask The Bug Doctor tab above or simply comment below. I’ll be most happy to help. German roaches can be very frustrating to deal with and almost anyone can kill 95% of a population with just about any approach. It’s that last 5% that’ll quickly build back up and easily re-infest as if you’ve done nothing at all. That is of course unless you arm yourself with the knowledge of how to rid yourself of every last roach long before you even spray a single ounce. It may take a bit of patience and work on your part, but you’ve made it this far and since you did, I’ll say you’re well on your way.