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Fun with cockroaches

cockroaches
For many years, I lived with thousands and thousands of cockroaches, but I haven't seen one scurry across my counters in a long time, so this report is from memory, but also from certified expertise.

CLEAN

This is the most obvious strategy. Have you seen roaches on the floor where you dropped a frankfurter and didn't clean it up very well? Clean it up. Roaches on the shelf, on the counter? Wipe it with soap and water or something stronger. You'll see fewer roaches if you don't offer them a buffet.

POISON

Forget the store-bought stuff; this works better.

Ingredients: ¼ cup of sugar, ½ cup of shortening, 1 cup of flour, and one pound of boric acid.

Warning: Boric acid can cause nausea, vomiting, stomach aches, diarrhea, and probably death. Don't eat it. Maybe wear gloves. Obviously, don't use this recipe if you have pets or small children. Engage your brain and you'll be OK.

Mix the sugar and shortening in a small bowl.

Mix the flour and boric acid in a larger bowl.

Add the mixed-up contents from the small bowl to the mixed-up contents of the large bowl, and mix it all together with enough water to make it a doughy consistency, as if you're making cookies.

Roll the toxic dough into tiny balls, the size of olive pits or dry pet food.

Don't bake it, just leave the balls wherever you've seen or suspect roaches. If that includes anyplace where food might be prepped or eaten, I'd suggest putting the poison doughballs on a paper plate.

Roaches love eating these doughballs, and you'll soon be sweeping up roach corpses. Even the boric doughballs won't kill all the roaches, though.

SO HOW DO YOU DEFEAT THE ROACHES?

You can pay big bucks for a professional exterminator — that'll work, if you can afford it. Or you can move out — that's what I did — and that'll work, if you're careful to heat-bomb all your possessions and shake out all your clothes as you leave.

If you can't hire a bug-killer or you can't move, my advice is, get used to the roaches. You can't kill them all, so change your perspective. They're sickening and disgusting, sure, but they can also be amusing.

ROACHES AS ENTERTAINMENT

If you've lived with roaches, you know that they'll be there when you turn the light on, so be prepared. Never enter an unlit room, especially the kitchen, without arming yourself with bug spray, or with yesterday's junk mail to squish a few. Think of it as sport. Leisure. Everyone needs a hobby.

For a while I lived in an old building that had concrete walls, and roaches roaches more roaches. It was relaxing, after a hard day's work, to come home and smack roaches with a hammer. If your walls aren't concrete, use a book instead of a hammer. I left hundreds of roach corpses to dry on the wall, as decoration. An artistic statement.

Obviously, yes, I was single at the time, and never had ladyfriends visit the premises.

ROACH TRAPS

Manufactured roach traps will catch some roaches, but not enough to make much difference. Homemade roach traps are cheaper, more fun, and more effective, seriously. Peanut butter traps work better than manufactured traps, and I'm a numbers-geek so I kept a running tally of corpses collected. Nowadays I'd make an Excel spreadsheet. I don't have the data all these years later, but 10-15 roaches was an ordinary catch overnight.

Here's the recipe: Take an almost empty jar of peanut butter, with enough PB remaining that you could make maybe two more sandwiches if you scraped the sides. But don't scrape the sides.

Discard the lid.

Wrap duct-tape around the jar, starting at the midsection and extending beyond the top, so you've made a short duct-tape tunnel leading to the peanut-butter.

Set your trap on the floor, anywhere in roach territory.

Roaches love peanut butter, and they're drawn to it, but roaches do not love duct-tape. They'll smell the PB, walk onto the duct tape, and die there.

When you've collected enough dead and dying roaches, you can just toss your peanut-butter-trap into the trash, but why? It's reusable — all the peanut butter is still there.

Cut off and discard the duct tape and roaches, and microwave the jar of peanut butter. Microwaving will refresh the peanut-butter scent, so the same jar can be re-taped and re-used as a trap several times.

You have to redo the duct tape, because dust and roach bits will make it unsticky and ineffective.

Being young and stupid and obnoxious, sometimes I microwaved the jar before cutting off the tape and cockroaches, but that's something I wouldn't do these days. I've become a better man.

Feeding roaches poison? Sure.

Splattering roaches with a hammer? Delightful!

But microwaving them when they're trapped and can't escape? Nah, that seems unnecessarily mean to me now. It was fun in the 1990s, though.

 

itsdougholland.com 

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