what's the best way to both kill and repel cockroaches?

Dear Cecil,

In one of your other posts you said to mix borax, flour and cocoa powder to get rid of roaches, is there a different agent i could use other than cocoa powder so that its not so noticable?


LINK TO COLUMN: http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/20/whats-the-best-way-to-kill-cockroaches

a. More borax
b. leave a dead one lying around (unless you are having guests). It repels them (both the roaches and the guests).

You need a pest control company. Yeah, yeah, not earth-friendly, blah blah…for really effective roach control, you really, really need a professional company. When I found roaches in my home, I would have offered any freaky thing the pest control guy wanted to get rid of them, but all he wanted was a body of the roach (Um, yeah, smashed into atoms, sorry), or a good description. Never saw any after that. Worth every penny.

I assume he also wanted said pennies, then, not just a corpse?
Powers &8^]

Heh…yes, he did want those. Although, not as many as I orginally thought, nor would have been willing to pay, honestly.

I’m surprised nobody mentioned pandan leaves. People leave them everywhere here balconies, bathrooms, car boots.

I moved from the 20th floor to the 3rd floor a few years back, and evidently that was close enough to the ground for the buggers to get in, because I had them walk in and fly in way too regularly to my taste.

However, ever since I put a pandan plant on my balcony and pandan leaves on my window ledge, the numbers have gone down to maybe 1 cockroach per several months.

Then again, I have a cicak behind the fridge that’s twice the size of any normal cicak…

diatomaceous earth is a good substance to have around the house. It’s ground up diatom shells and they’re wickedly sharp on a microscopic level. It works into the carapaces of insects and kills them by cutting them to death.

I understand it can also cut up your lungs if you get the wrong kind.


Well duh, just don’t get any under your carapace and you’ll be fine :eyeroll: The kind used for gardens available by the bag in gardening sections is safe for us to use.

Take your boric acid/borax/Roach Prufe and mix it with corn syrup (3 tbsp of syrup to 1 tbsp of powder), mix it up and put it in or on a disposable surface (piece of cardboard, Styrofoam bowl, etc). Make sure there’s no other food or water around. You don’t need more than a spoonful or so, this stuff will last for a few weeks. Roaches will flock to it like candy, attracted by the corn syrup. Eventually the liquid will evaporate and it will harden, but you can keep adding small parts of corn syrup to keep it fresh if necessary.

That’s a great idea ! ! ! I’m going to go try it. Thanks

Cecil’s column (which he just published on the Straight Dope Facebook page which is what brought it to my attention) is literally from over a third of a century ago! Surely in all that time we have developed new roach-busting technology that puts goopy borax paste to shame.

Cleanliness is the only way. No standing water, no food stuffs, Including pet food left out. We have a bug man who sprays a barrier outside the house and close outbuildings. My house is a log cabin. A magnet for all critters. The best thing I have going is NO neighbors.
My biggest problem is centipedes. I really hate, hate those things. Eeecckk.

This is now the title of the front page column, but the link leads to the column https://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/120/the-millennium-approacheth-will-it-start-jan-1-2000-or-jan-1-2001/

I assume that the main link originally worked since this got bumped, but apparently the link was updated for a different column but the graphic and text were not.

They’re probably feeding on something worse. It’s a conundrum.

Ho-ly crap, now I have to look for other critters! Thx so much, I kinda hate you;)
My cats are good at letting me know when something is moving about. They were fixated on a window sill the other day. I went with flyswatter and paper towel in hand to find a tiny little, sweet red and black spotted lady bug. I was gonna ease it out the window and wish it well when the bastard flew up in my face. I proceeded to kill it, forthwith. Dead, I tell you. All. Gone.

A tiny coding error … called for #120 inistead of #20. Fixed now. Sorry about that.

your humble TubaDiva

Don’t use just Borax as it is sold. The issue, I believe, is that the way it is sold, it’s not a very fine powder, but that’s what you need so that the insects can’t avoid it. I assume that’s part of the reason for mixing it with something. So if someone just buys Borax and uses it as is, it might not have much effect.

There are products which are versions of boric acid in a fine powdered form, which–for me at least–have worked well. One was the “Miraculous Insecticide Chalk,” which was outlawed by the EPA. It was powdered boric acid (Borax) compressed into a chalk stick. You could draw lines of it on floors, walls, etc., so that you could make inescapable perimeters for the roaches. In other words, you could apply it strategically and not have to get all over the place. The EPA outlawed it solely because it resembled chalk, and the assumption was that children would therefore eat it.

However, there are many other products which are fine powder versions of Borax, which you just squirt or dust. It’s not as convenient as the “Miraculous Insecticide Chalk,” but has the same effect.

Cecil mentions that Borax works by:

Sure sounds to me like how diatomaceous earth works so why not just use that? If you get the food quality DE (which is what you want) it is so safe you can eat it with no ill effect (just do not inhale it…it is fine lying around but don’t snort it). Basically it is made of the ground up shells of diatoms and it scrapes the hell out of insect exoskeletons. It takes some time to work compared to poisons but it is not poison so for a long term solution it is a good bet.

Cheap too. Most gardening centers will sell it.

Yeah, I never contradicted that. To repeat–the problem is that Borax is not a finely ground powder, so it’s easier for the roaches to avoid the particles. Other forms of boric acid which are more powdery work better. That’s the point.

That’s fine, too. Boric acid is even cheaper, though, if you know where to buy it. Both substances do more or less the same thing.