How to solve a roach problem

Getting Rid of Roaches

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She's Bugged

Help, I can't get rid of roaches. I've tried so many chemicals the family and pets should be dead. I can't afford a monthly fee to have someone come in all the time. I've emptied every cupboard and have sprayed, powdered and sealed. Nothing works. They leave during the day but at night are back and it seems they bring more friends. My walls, baseboards and cupboards are being ruined by the constant spraying. Is there any help out there? Thanks
JoAnn W.

Try Combat

We have had great success with "Combat". It looks like a small brown disc that contains one or two holes. Roaches climb in, get the powder on their feet, and take it back to their nests. The powder kills them.

We used them in Oklahoma, Minnesota, and in Kansas. Within a few weeks, the roaches were history. BTW, "Combat" comes in two strengths and can be purchased at Wal-Mart.
Barbara C.

Advice from a Property Manager

I have found through working in the property management business a product that works great. It is called Terro. They have two products, one for roaches, and one for ants. It can be purchased in hardware stores, or a local supercenter. Also, it is very inexpensive.

Getting Rid of Roaches

Homemade Recipe

Since moving to Florida, our home has been infested with roaches. There is an old remedy that the Japanese people use. that includes white flour, boric acid, and powdered sugar.

Mix equal amounts of boric acid and flour. Then add just enough confectioners sugar to attract the roaches. Add just enough water to make a soft dough. Roll the dough into little balls and place in the little candy paper cups (like the cups muffins come in). Place the balls in corners of cupboards and behind fruniture where other animal life cannot reach. The roaches eat this and it causes them to dry out. It takes about two to three weeks before they will be completely gone. Replace the boric acid balls every month to ensure that there is no reinfestation.


My son brought cockroaches home with him from college years ago. It was embarrassing to me because, when my mother-in-law would visit, she thought I must be a lousy housekeeper.

I bought some of those Roach Motels and set them around the kitchen, mostly, and in my son's room. One thing you should do is be sure that the counters and sink in your kitchen are completely dry at night; the roaches LOVE moisture. And never leave food or crumbs anywhere in the open.

If you live in an apartment, as I once did, you may never be rid of them unless the entire building is sprayed at one time. If one person sprays, the roaches will just move on to the next-door neighbor.

When you bring home your groceries, check rolls of toilet paper and any other item where they could be hiding.
Doris N.

Related: What Rights Does a Renter Have to Get Roaches Exterminated?

Bay Leaves

I went to college in Kentucky, and for three years, I lived in a dorm that was (at the time) nearly 100 years old. Let your imagination run wild. After having years to multiply and grow, we had roaches so large that they could not squeeze under door frames or baseboards! Gross! (Having grown up in Colorado, I was totally disgusted by all of this.)

Anyway, we took bay leaves and crumbled them all along the baseboards. Put whole ones in the window sills and made little "bouquet garni" bags stuffed with them and left them sitting out on the kitchen counters and scotch-taped them to the closet walls and doors. We had bay leaves in one form or another everywhere. The roaches seemed to stay away. Roaches are evidently repulsed by the smell of bay leaves and it worked wonders.

Baking Soda and Sugar

We controlled the roach population in our garage with a mixture of baking soda and powdered sugar. The theory is that the sugar attracts the roaches and the baking soda mixes with their stomach acids to explode them.

The total solution came when we adopted a couple of feral cats. It sounds gross but much of their natural diet is roaches and other small insects.

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Control In an Apartment

I lived in an apartment building at one time that had a horrible roach problem. First, I learned to caulk all cracks and openings around baseboards, in cupboards, and even in the medicine cabinet. Just use standard caulk and a caulk gun. Look around for any cracks in the walls, which I patched with grout. I then purchased Raid Max traps. I put at least two per room, and changed them as instructed on the package. It seems expensive, but no more expensive than using spray cans.

Now, the next thing is to put your food in airtight containers. Flimsy cardboard boxes are no match for roaches, and they can smell the food. Put everything in containers or in the refrigerator. I kept bread and cereals in the refrigerator and flour, sugar, rice, etc. in airtight plastic containers. Coffee cans with lids work well too. I would put a layer of plastic wrap over the can, then put the lid on, for some extra insurance. Lastly, I never killed any spiders who lived in my apartment, never. I was told to let them live and they would help keep the roach population down, and it seemed to help. It also helped me overcome my fear of spiders. I was the only apartment in the complex without roaches. It was hard. You have to be vigilant about it, but it is possible to keep them to a minimum.

Treat the Carpets

I have the answer for the roach problem! It also works on fleas and other hard-shell type bugs. And, the solution is CHEAP. This may not solve your problem completely if the roaches are settled into a non-carpeted area, but if you have them near carpeting, this will work for sure. We actually used it for a flea problem, but it also worked on the "palmetto bugs," which were the same as roaches, as far as I could see!

First, vacuum your rugs thoroughly. Then, apply Twenty Mule Team Borax Laundry Booster to your carpets with a broom. (You'll need about two boxes for every 1200 sq. ft.) Break up any clumps and let it sift down into the carpet. Leave it there for seven days, and don't walk barefoot on it. (Skin oil will make it less effective.) After seven days, vacuum again. The Borax dries the bugs out, as well as their eggs.

Be sure to vacuum and apply the Borax to every square inch of carpet, even moving furniture, if you have a severe bug problem. We used this tip when we lived in Orlando, and only had to do this twice in nine month's time. The tip was given to us by an exterminator, after his fourth or fifth visit to our apartment.

Reviewed January 2018

Take the Next Step:

  • Learn about natural ways to get rid of roaches.
  • From bees to fleas and everything in between, The Dollar Stretcher's Frugal Pest Control Guide can help you save money battling bugs and other pests.
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