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  #1  
Old 10-01-2008, 10:48 PM
DLuxN8R-13 DLuxN8R-13 is offline
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Homemade Roach Powder: Do you know its secrets? Can you share them?

Not long ago, I read something somewhere about how you can make bug bait powder that's reliably fatal, safer than the commercial varieties made with unpronounceable synthetic toxins, and specifically effective against the common and contemptible cockaroach. The recipe was real simple: half boric acid powder (the actual roach-death component) and half something else, some powdered food product I think, which was what attracted the loathesome little boogers to eat the stuff.

The problem is, that's all I 've retained. I can't even recall if it was on the SDMB or another online forum, or in a book, or the Bug Man column in the SF Chronicle or elsewhere, much less remember what that vital second ingredient is.

My question, then: what IS that second ingredient? Instant pancakes mix? Dried mashed potato flakes? Flour, or confectionary sugar?

Once one has obtained and blended the two ingredients of homebrewed bugdeath powder, what does one do with it? Lay down trails of it along the bases of walls, or leave little mounds of it in the darkest greasiest roachiest spots in one's area? Burn it like incense while praying to the Mantis Devil? (Okay, I'm sure it's probably not that last one)

C'mon, I know there are Dopers who know all about this, and the information would be incredibly useful to have right now. Once again, I throw my need for specific and peculiar information on the mercy, and at the feet, of the largest collection of well-learned people to whom I have access and who don't mind sharing some of their knowledgeability.
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  #2  
Old 10-01-2008, 10:55 PM
Q.E.D. Q.E.D. is offline
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The Master speaketh.
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  #3  
Old 10-01-2008, 11:29 PM
Kevbo Kevbo is offline
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I've made roach bait by mixing 1# boric acid with 1 can of sweetened condensed milk. This makes a rather firm dough. Roll it into marble sized of smaller balls and place in corners, behind furniture, and other places where roaches hide and pets can't get to. (it is non-toxic, but if the dog eats it, the roaches can't!)
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  #4  
Old 10-02-2008, 08:19 AM
SCSimmons SCSimmons is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Q.E.D. View Post
Bumping to add that this is IMO one of the greatest SD columns of all time. You get the strong impression that Mr Adams has fought this battle more than once ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cecil Adams
Now, you may regard borax as "pansy-ass," my boy, but that is because you are young and ignorant and have not yet grasped the subtleties of Total Insect Warfare, which requires fanatical dedication. You must mix up oodles of this stuff and apply it with the enthusiasm of Robert S. McNamara dumping Agent Orange on the Mekong Delta.
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  #5  
Old 10-02-2008, 08:57 AM
Le Ministre de l'au-delà Le Ministre de l'au-delà is offline
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In my experience and the experience of the contractor currently working on our new house, there's nothing to get rid of bugs like the plaster dust produced by a total gutting of the interior. It may be a little more drastic than you were planning, but it's effective.
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  #6  
Old 10-02-2008, 09:09 AM
WarmNPrickly WarmNPrickly is offline
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I mixed this stuff up years ago. It eliminated all of my uninvited bug pests for sure, but then I found I had a mouse problem. I know that he (or somebody anyway) claimed it would kill mice too. My mice happily ate this powder without consequence.
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  #7  
Old 10-02-2008, 09:27 AM
bordelond bordelond is offline
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Originally Posted by DLuxN8R-13 View Post
The recipe was real simple: half boric acid powder (the actual roach-death component) and half something else, some powdered food product I think ...
DLux, my dad used to make homebrew roach powder with boric acid powder and Nestle's Quick drink mix. I'm sure Ovaltine and any similar store-brand product would work just fine.

IIRC, the sugar in the Quick was the key. Powdered/crystalline sugar would probably work, too.
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Old 10-02-2008, 09:32 AM
bordelond bordelond is offline
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Ah ... hadn't read this column in a while. He recommends mixing plain ol' flour and cocoa powder into the boric acid powder (he calls for borax, actually, but close enough).
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  #9  
Old 10-02-2008, 09:44 AM
Bryan Ekers Bryan Ekers is online now
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That article contains my all-time favourite Cecilism:

Quote:
There are two proven approaches to dealing with la cucaracha: (1) borax, and (2) arson.
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  #10  
Old 10-02-2008, 11:03 AM
SCSimmons SCSimmons is offline
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Originally Posted by WarmNPrickly View Post
I mixed this stuff up years ago. It eliminated all of my uninvited bug pests for sure, but then I found I had a mouse problem. I know that he (or somebody anyway) claimed it would kill mice too. My mice happily ate this powder without consequence.
I don't see that in the column ... He does add a rat-killer at the end of the original published column. (Which, by the way, looks really nasty. Death by constipation. ) But I can't think of any reason that boric acid would be expected to cause a problem for mice, so there you go. (The theories about why it's fatal to cockroaches all center around its effect on their exoskeletons, which leaves out vertebrates in general as potential victims of this concoction. As Kevbo points out, this is not actually a poison.)
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  #11  
Old 10-02-2008, 07:54 PM
WarmNPrickly WarmNPrickly is offline
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What, you think I'm going to actually read the article again to confirm what I vaguely remember somebody mentioning but had always attributed to him? I must've confused the rat poison part with the roach killer part.

Well on the off chance anyone thought this stuff worked as a rodentacide, I have anectotal proof that it doesn't.
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  #12  
Old 10-02-2008, 09:08 PM
DLuxN8R-13 DLuxN8R-13 is offline
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I really want to thank everyone who's offered their thoughts and advice about the topic. I've learned a lot from reading all the replies and right now I'm feeling encouraged to actually whip up a batch of this shit and bring a new weapon into our war with this invading army of uncouth and scuttking arthopods*. You're swell, top-shelf people in my book just now.



*PS: I hope that people haven't gotten the wrong idea about our housekeeping hygiene around here from reading multiple posts by me about our problems with egregious insects making free with our dwelling.

The fact is that we live in an older, somewhat deteriorated building; around here, this practically guarentees that situations involving uninvited rodents and bugs will sometimes arise .

FTR, while I'm assuredly not the clean-fiend type, neither do I lay around eating cookies and net-surfing all day while wallering in squalor At least not more than a couple days a week, maybe three, tops.
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  #13  
Old 10-02-2008, 09:14 PM
DLuxN8R-13 DLuxN8R-13 is offline
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I really want to thank everyone who's offered their thoughts and advice about the topic. I've learned a lot from reading all the replies and right now I'm feeling encouraged to actually whip up a batch of this shit and bring a new weapon into our war with this invading army of uncouth and scuttking arthopods*. You're swell, top-shelf people in my book just now.



*PS: I hope that people haven't gotten the wrong idea about our housekeeping hygiene around here from reading multiple posts by me about our problems with egregious insects making free with our dwelling.

The fact is that we live in an older, somewhat deteriorated building; around here, this practically guarentees that situations involving uninvited rodents and bugs will sometimes arise .

FTR, while I'm assuredly not the clean-fiend type, neither do I lay around eating cookies and net-surfing all day while wallering in squalor At least not more than a couple days a week, maybe three, tops.
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  #14  
Old 10-02-2008, 09:31 PM
WarmNPrickly WarmNPrickly is offline
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Originally Posted by DLuxN8R-13 View Post
*PS: I hope that people haven't gotten the wrong idea about our housekeeping hygiene around here from reading multiple posts by me about our problems with egregious insects making free with our dwelling.
In some parts of the country, roaches are just a fact of life. My wife and I currently find an average of one dead or live roach around our house every two weeks. As long as we don't see a population develop, we're good. Our bigger problem when we bought the place was mice (no this is not the place I used Cecil's formula. That was ten years ago.)
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  #15  
Old 10-02-2008, 10:40 PM
DLuxN8R-13 DLuxN8R-13 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WarmNPrickly View Post
What, you think I'm going to actually read the article again to confirm what I vaguely remember somebody mentioning but had always attributed to him? I must've confused the rat poison part with the roach killer part.

Well on the off chance anyone thought this stuff worked as a rodentacide, I have anectotal proof that it doesn't.
I read the article too, and I'm pretty sure it recommended a mixture of flour and dry cement set out with a pan of water next to it. I've also heard of rat bait made the same way except using plaster of paris powder as the lethal ingredient.

Man, I don't even want to think about those two recipes -- while I will go lethal on rodent type intruders as soon as they become obvious, that particular thing just struck me as an abominable, unnecessarily cruel thing to do to other living creatures -- yeah, all the way down to rats or mice. At our home sweet hovel, when we have to massacree some mousies, we mostly use classic neckbreakers, and lay down a few sticky-deathtrap-trays if the colonization is so egregious and populous that we really have to (I don't like using gluetraps since they, too, strike me as being awfully inhumane -- especially compared to the swift surprising SNAP! of the killbar across the beasty's ratty little neck or cranium -- but sometimes our deeds' thrust can only be as needs must) .
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Old 10-03-2008, 11:31 AM
SCSimmons SCSimmons is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DLuxN8R-13 View Post
Man, I don't even want to think about those two recipes -- while I will go lethal on rodent type intruders as soon as they become obvious, that particular thing just struck me as an abominable, unnecessarily cruel thing to do to other living creatures -- yeah, all the way down to rats or mice.
That was certainly my thought when I read that suggestion. I don't mind dehydrating roaches over the course of days or weeks; but as troublesome and filthy as rats and mice are, I don't like the thought of torturing them to death.

OTOH, my house is efficiently kept free of rodents by my horde of cats, who probably don't concern themselves too much with how humanely they dispatch them. I just call that the 'circle of life' and try not to think about it too much.
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  #17  
Old 10-03-2008, 11:49 AM
Fat Chance Fat Chance is offline
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My experiece when we were overrun by roaches once in an apartment we lived in years ago:

I pretty much covered the kitchen with Borax (10,000 Mule Team). All along the baseboards, cabinates, frig, behind the fridge, etc. Then I mixed up some Borax and powered cocoa mix and left a couple of piles and/or paper cups with that mix to attract them.

couple of other hints:
- if you find a dead one in or near the borax leave him there. Other roaches will come along to eat the dead and go through the borax as well.
- obviously you want to not leave food out, but also don't leave any standing water. No water in the sink, or dishpan, etc. Roaches need water also.


It could still take a few weeks to really get rid of them (in fact you never really get rid of all them), but this worked for me. After, I just made sure to leave some borax in their favorite places (under the sink, fridge, etc.)
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  #18  
Old 10-03-2008, 03:43 PM
WF Tomba WF Tomba is offline
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Perhaps a few huntsman spiders would be an effective way to control a household roach population.
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  #19  
Old 10-05-2008, 12:10 AM
Cornelius Tuggerson Cornelius Tuggerson is offline
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And after the cockroaches are gone you can use centipedes to get rid of the spiders.
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  #20  
Old 10-05-2008, 11:44 AM
MOIDALIZE MOIDALIZE is offline
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And then poison monkeys to get rid of the centipedes.
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  #21  
Old 10-05-2008, 11:52 AM
WhyNot WhyNot is offline
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I've tried Borax in two apartments (one of them mine) and one office with roaches, and it never did a gosh darned thing.

I heart Maxforce roach bait. The first time I tried it, my neighbor - who worked for Orkin - gave it to me and showed me how to use it. You don't need the fancy caulk-gun like applicator, just a tube of the stuff and a magic marker to push the inner plunger in. Then I found out you can buy it as a private citizen and I did a happy dance at work (or maybe I was twitching away from the roaches crawling across my desk, I'm not sure.) This stuff works. Period, end of roaches. Less than a week.
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  #22  
Old 10-06-2008, 05:04 PM
Arglefraster Arglefraster is offline
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Originally Posted by Le Ministre de l'au-delà View Post
In my experience and the experience of the contractor currently working on our new house, there's nothing to get rid of bugs like the plaster dust produced by a total gutting of the interior. It may be a little more drastic than you were planning, but it's effective.
I'm not sure about its effect on roaches, but we had a serious ant problem until we cut a hole in the wall between the kitchen and dining room to make a window/countertop thing. The wall is drywall, and we got drywall dust absolutely everywhere. Never saw another ant in the house after that.
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  #23  
Old 10-08-2008, 03:47 AM
Sunspace Sunspace is offline
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Originally Posted by MOIDALIZE View Post
And then poison monkeys to get rid of the centipedes.
And then wolves to get rid of the poison monkeys.
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  #24  
Old 10-08-2008, 09:23 AM
Pentimental Pentimental is offline
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Palin Comparison

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Originally Posted by Sunspace View Post
And then wolves to get rid of the poison monkeys.
But then you will be burdened with the inexorable buzzing of dimwitted Governesses in helicopters, which are naturally attracted to wolves. The Secret Service would not look kindly at any attempts to rid the enviorment of this pestilence. Hopefully the natural election cycle will send this gnat to the obscurity from whence it came. Wink, wink.
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  #25  
Old 10-15-2008, 12:49 PM
NtropiK NtropiK is offline
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Kills fleas, too.

If you have fleas, and carpeting, boric acid will kill them, too. Just sprinkle generously into the carpet (it's in a powdered form), and don't vacuum for a few weeks. The boric acid dissolves any eggs deposited in the carpet, thus ending the cycle.
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