Nobody enjoys sharing their living space with unwanted guests, especially when they happen to be the notorious pests we all know and hate, the cockroach. Not only can a small infestation quickly get out of hand, but hiring an exterminator can be costly and still end up being a excruciating process if there has been a significant foothold gained by the little buggers. This guide will describe the methods I myself used in the past when push came to shove and it was time to bring down the hammer on the cockroach empire.
Cockroach Land – The Rise of a civilization.
To give you some background on the last time I performed this task, to give you an idea on the effectiveness of these methods, I will try to explain just what I was dealing with. Now one benefit was the house in question was not lived in at the time, being a second property owned by family members, but had been left in disarray from the previous renters who had lived in it some months past. Their negligence in leaving their trash almost evenly distributed throughout the house managed to lure in what may have started as just a few cockroaches, but quickly became a bustling community of epic proportions.
The Nightmare Begins…
Although mostly unnoticed during the day thanks to their nocturnal nature, I was still finding several of these creatures on various walls and ceilings during the efforts to clean out the debris still left over, repaint walls and replace carpets to bring the house back to a livable condition. Armed with some Raid spray, which can be picked up from most general stores, supermarkets or even hardware stores, I was spraying these buggers left and right, although their numbers barely seemed to diminish.
I decided I would come back later one night around 2am so I could spray down larger groups of them when they should be out in force. When I showed up that night, I thought I was ready to go, face mask to help keep me from breathing fumes, sneakers for dodging the death leaps of cockroaches above and a can of Raid in each hand with extras in my pockets for some John Woo style vengeance.
When I walked in I was horrified. There was an uncountable number of cockroaches anywhere I could see, as though the walls had been repainted in the pattern of a Dalmatian. There was far too many to overcome, thus I was forced to retreat and come up with a new plan of action to put into work the same night, for this could not stand.
Our Hero Returns to Bring the Fall of an Empire
Now luckily in my area, there are several 24 hour grocery stores, one of which a Shoppers from where I was able to pick up several packs of Raid bug bomb cans. Now while their instructions will give you a square foot estimate of how many you need for a house, you need to keep in mind that their directions are on the weak side, definitely doing their job, but won’t cause the end-of-days type of scenario that we are looking for. In addition, after watching an episode of Myth Busters recently where they proved the urban legend of Bug Bombs blowing up your house to be a fake, I planned on upping the ante a bit.
With enough cans to do so, I returned to the house, braving the massive infestation horrors once more while securing my clothes and mask to make sure any falling critters wouldn’t end up in my collar or sleeves and the gas would stay off my skin and I would breath it in as little as possible. My strategy was one can for each sectioned area of the house, being hallway, room, living room kitchen and bathrooms with the coverage being around 1.5 to 2 times recommended per the instructions. In addition, I made sure to place some within the crawlspaces which were easily accessible as to get the toxic gases into the portions between walls that they were residing within while asleep or hidden. Next was to check windows, making sure they were firmly closed to prevent the gases from escaping prematurely. Finally I also made sure any vents were open however the AC, Fridge and other electronic devices were shut off or unplugged for safety purposes.
After placing these cans it was now time to trigger them by pressing down the caps until they make the distinctive click of the mechanism locking in place, starting on the upper floors first then working my way down, running as fast as I could to stay out of the fumes as much as possible, distinguishable by their sickeningly sweet smell. I highly suggest planning a route to take while activating the cans, optimized to leave the house as soon as possible while avoiding having to pass by any currently active ones in the best interest of your personal health. Once they were all active, with the final one triggered, I, being right by the exit, left for the night to let the bug bombs do their work.
The Resistance Holds On, For Now…
Upon my return a day later it was apparent that this was a resounding success. Although the Dalmatian pattern was still present, it now only was so on the floor of the house, resulting from the hundreds if not thousands of corpses that lay strewn across. A short vacuuming afterwards, and things were looking marvelous.
Further inspection still sowed the off one or two resilient cockroaches who were still alive and moderately alert, leading me to suspect that the populace was certainly down, but not out. I was determined to continue my strikes until I laid the final killing blow however, so I would return once more two days later to perform the bug bomb attack once more. Performing the exact same set up I did previously, I once more locked the house down and the cockroaches within while the toxic fumes did their work.
Thus the Enemies Force Lay Shattered
After the second fumigation with Raid bombs, I scoped out the house while airing it out to bring back to a more livable environment for humans. The efforts of my work so far were apparent outright. Not only were there far fewer survivors than before, maybe 3 altogether that could be found, not even in the open. Of those found they also showed obvious signs of imminent demise nonetheless, barely twitching or not responding to my presence or a shined light by scurrying away. All that was done at this point was to take the Raid spray cans and hit some small crevasse such as behind cabinets and cracks in the molding around the floor to take out the refugees who hid in the areas the gas was less able to penetrate. This is actually one of the most critical points, because these last pockets were literally the only places they really had left.
And Stay Out!
From that point on there was never again a serious threat by Cockroaches to the house. To make sure they would never return, even when the spray and gas residues wore off, the final follow-up was to purchase and place bait traps and egg killers (Raid also has an excellent product for this) in the various rooms of the house in corners and by likely points of travel for any new adventurers that might stumble upon this locale in the future. With this final method, the civilization that once existed was reduced to complete ashes and I later would personally live in the house, seeing no more than a handful ever again throughout the many months of my living there, and even then, relegated to one tiny section of the house by the kitchen, and only then due to structural inadequacies with the house itself that may have permitted their entrance through that area. This land was clean.
A Brief Recap
So here I will kind of summarize my methods in a less flagrant form to easily remember and use yourself:
1. The budget for this entire scheme was around 60-80$ maximum with the various sprays and cans to use while the house was a 2 story with about 2,500 square feet to give you an idea of the size.
2. I used 1.5x to 2x the recommended dosage, however more importantly, made sure each significant room had its own can to make sure the gas was evenly distributed. Putting one in the crawlspace underneath the house, thanks to an easily accessible panel under the stairs was incredibly helpful as well, make sure to do this if possible.
3. I planned my route of how I would activate the cans before doing so in order to prevent having to run past an active can and increase my own exposure to the fumes while making the quickest possible route to all cans and out of the house. Wearing a face mask is by no means an end-all , however it is helpful, especially when combined with keeping my exposure as minimal as possible.
4. I activated the bug bombs at night while the cockroaches were out in full force to make sure it was taking them out as effectively as possible, not to mention some survivors exposed to the toxic gas can end up poisoning others still hiding when the “infected” roach makes its way back home, if not taken out during the initial gassing. The second bombing run was essential to land a killing blow on whatever colonies they still had left.
5. Follow-up is important. Using the spray cans on whatever crevasse I could find was imperative to decimating whatever points of safety the roaches had found, especially behind the cabinets in the kitchen. Just look for cracks and spray down them, a successful hit usually triggering a wave of soon to die roaches that quickly run out of the cracks before keeling over moments later. The bait traps and egg killers (not to mention keeping things clean) helped make sure they could never reestablish a foothold in the house again.
Finally, if you feel any guilt or lack of hatred towards these creatures, try to realize that amongst other things, cockroaches have the ability to cause Asthma and other medical conditions among humans thus making it more of an “us or them” type of situation.