Monday, 23 June 2014

Killing cockroaches with boric acid v borax!

We live in Queensland. We have cockroaches. Lots of cockroaches! Why the NSW rugby team is called the Cockroaches is a mystery to me - surely ours are not only bigger but more plentiful??? At any rate, I don't like living with them (and I'm quite sure they  are not so fond of me at the moment!!) and I have been going through the usual gauntlet of sprays, solutions and bombs to get rid of them...

But I'm not so keen on the chemical aspect of all this spraying and bombing. I hate the smell and can almost feel disease and cancer growing in me every time I spray. I'm OK with the resident cockies getting a lungful of chemicals and then keeling over but I feel its impolite (and probably illegal) if my guests and family members do the same thing!!!

We went through a faze of killing them by hand (and flyswatter and rolled up newspaper and underfoot) but its hard and frustrating work and it probably was only culling the dumb and slow ones - leaving the smart fast ones to breed!!!

The Internet has a million suggestions on how to kill roaches -

Here's what I did...

First - we did the dishes EVERY night. And wiped the benches. And generally tried to keep our kitchen gleaming and clean. Cockies hate that! They love damp crumb laden kitchen benches and cupboards.

Then I got onto e-bay and bought 25gm Boric Acid for $5 and then went down to the supermarket and found 500gm Borax on the laundry shelves for $3.50. My research didn't give me a definitive answer as to wether they were the same thing or if they worked the same. So for a few extra dollars, I hedged my bets.

I have since spoken to a friend of mine who works with chemicals for a living and he said they both have Boron in them and that's whats going to kill my wee pests. Boric Acid seems to have a higher concentrate and is finer and so harder for the cockies to step around or even nibble around. He likened the Borax to finding gravel in your food - its easy to spit it out - and that's what the cockroaches will do when they find it in their dinner! However if they walk on Borax and it stick to them, they will "lick" it off.
Borax granules on the left and Boric Acid powder on the right.

I did a few things- again hedging my bets. I sprinkled the Borax in the corners of my cupboards, under the fridge, under the rubbish bin and into every crack and crevice I could find. I also put some under cabinets, under the bathroom sink and every hard to reach place I have chased a cockroach into over the last few years.

When the Boric Acid arrived in the mail. I cleaned up the Borax that was obvious and replaced it with the much finer Boric Acid. Cockroaches groom themselves (that's how they get that dark brown evil looking colour) and if they have fine particles of the Boric Acid on them, they will, just like a cat, lick it off, swallow it and die! Please don't leave this stuff ANYWHERE your children or animals can get to it. It is an ingestant and will make animals and people very sick if they get inside them. Cats are especially vunerable as they will lick any Borax or Boric Acid they get on them off and swallow it. It can kill them. It dries the coackroach out from what I can gather...

Next I made this bait. If the cockies are as smart as they seem to be and walk around my Borax and Boric Acid sprinkles, then I'm hoping to attract them with this mixture.

I put 1 tablespoon of sugar into a small container and mixed in 1 teaspoon of milk. Then I added 1 teaspoon of Boric Acid and mixed it all together.

This makes a paste that I then put onto bits of cut up takeaway container lid.

These I flicked under the fridge, filing cabinet, under some cupboards, behind the loo and anywhere I thought the children wouldn't see it or the cat wouldn't be able to get at it.

This isn't an instant cure. But of all the things I have tried, this has the least impact on my health, is cheap, and best of all seems to be working!!! Most mornings I am finding at least one dead cockie on the floor and this morning when I vacuumed, I unearthed another four that were underneath things I don't look under on a daily basis. I am starting to find them dead in the downstairs laundry and in the kids rooms where I haven't put any baits- just in case.

That tells me that they are getting into the baits and walking over the sprinkles and then running back to their hidey holes to  die. As these cockroaches have been poisoned, I don't give them to our chooks or throw them out into the garden. I don't want to kill any birds or whatever else feasts on dead cockroaches. I put them in the bin or the compost.

I'm pleased with the results but implore you to be very careful with both Borax and Boric Acid if you try it so that no one but them cockies gets hurt!! The instructions that came with the Boric Acid said to replace these baits every 3-4 weeks. I reckon I have seen more dead cockies in four weeks using these baits and the sprinkles than I have with commercial insect killers - Including the Bombs.

Apparently it will deal with ants as well... But that's another post!

June 2013 Update:
Its been a year or so since I wrote this post and it continues to be one of my more popular entries - obviously I'm not the only one with a cockroach problem wanting to resole it naturally!

After about 3 weeks of starting with the baits the cockroach population had dropped dramatically. I changed all the baits - just in case and kept changing them every month religiously for about 6 months and tracked the dates in my diary. And you know what? We simply don't have any cockroaches anymore! The only time I change the baits these days is when I actually see a cockroach which reminds me... But as I'm writing this, I am struggling to remember when that was....

The only real improvement I have made is to use milk bottle lids as sometimes the mixture is runny and runs off the cut up lid making it tricky to transport to the place I want to put it.

Update June 2014:
We have so few cockroaches now that we only remember to make new baits when we actually see a cockroach. I still have the original bag of boric acid as you only need a teaspoon full each time you make it up. I am amazed at how well this works for so little money!

We struggled with cockroaches for so long and now they are simply not an issue in our house! If you have a cockroach problem - try this - it worked for us!

Good luck - let me know how you went! - K xx

Score card:
: 3/5 Its still chemicals that we are spreading around our house...
Frugal-ness: 5/5 Super cheap and this stuff lasts for a long time. I reckon I will get at least a year of cockroach killing out of my $8.50 (or maybe 3 or 4 at the rate I'm going through it! - June 2013)
Time cost: 5 minutes to make up the bait and distribute it and another 10 to sprinkle the Borax and Boric Acid in hard to reach places. Plus another 10 minute to vacuum up what might be walked on by the cat.
Skill level: Easy - just need to be careful you don't inhale or ingest this stuff.
Fun -ness: Not much fun killing things, but I have to admit to a bit of a thrill each time I see a dead cockroach these days...


Lois said...

Kara, I learned the same trick when I lived in Arizona it solved my problem quickly. When I moved into my current apartment I found cockroaches. Knowing my neighbors wouldn't care to have the paste sitting around but wanting to get rid of the roaches I mixed a bit of sugar into the boric acid and handed out a container to each of my neighbors. Within two weeks we were roach free and have been for 3 years now.

Practical Frog said...

Its amazing stuff alright! I bet your neighbours are pleased too! I find that when I put sugar in, I get ants so I leave it out to kill cockroaches! - K x

Ebony Patterson said...

Amazing tips! Thank you for sharing them. I've been trying to get cockroaches off of my back for some time now. I recently moved to a new place and they just keep on coming even though I keep spraying on them. I'm going to try that out and let you know the results. Hopefully, that can finally solve my issue with roaches.

Ebony Patterson

Practical Frog said...

It should do Ebony! It worked well for us and we had a plague of them! Let me know how you go! - K x

Debra Owen said...

Well, that is aces. Glad that you've stomped on that particular problem, and with frugal and fairly earth-friendly means. You shouldn't be afraid of all chemicals, though, since those can be regurgitated by nature in all the cleanest, most organic ways. What matters is that you eliminate the poison, and minimize the stuff that may be deleterious, and modulate it to such a point that it terminates what deserves to be done so. Thanks for sharing that!

Debra Owen @ Invader

Alta Peng said...

That is a very smart way of getting around those strains. Pest control is sometimes the case of the cure, being a bit more problematic than the problem. However, I think it has to do more with its quality. Thanks for sharing that hack! All the best to you!

Alta Peng @ Liberty Pest Inc.

Reese said...

I moved into a virtual pest motel apartment, I'll be trying this now and letting you know how it works for me

Steven Rockafellow said...

Why not just use Advion Roach Bait gel it is what professionals use. You only apply it one time every six months. Roaches love the stuff but it takes a week for it to kill pretty much all of them, don't contaminate the areas around the bait that you put down with other roach sprays. Just give the bait gel time and it will get carried back to all of the nest with the tiny baby roaches and it will kill them to, The whole Roach family will die. You can buy Advion roach gel on ebay and it will be delivered to you. hope this helps somebody.

Ethan | Newham Pest controller said...

Excellent post, Cara. The reason for the views is not only that a lot of people have a cockroach problem - yours really sticks out from the countless materials on the web. I love your style and your creativity (the part with the bait - great thinking!).
Good for you and your household, that the boric acid worked. I can't recommend this to most of my clients, though, because they are mostly family people with children and pets. The risk of getting a cat to inhale or insert some powder is just too high!
Nonetheless, I would always prefer this method of pest control than any of the over-the-counter pest sprays sold nowadays. They are ineffective and just so dangerous!
Keep up the good and creative work, Cara.

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much for the info! Very helpful to a university student, I'm gonna try these things tonight! Greeting from Greece :)

miss_mentor said...

Thank you s much for this healthier option. I had but all given up on what t d. Foggers didn't work, roach sprays, only the very dangerous DDT, which may increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 64 percent, according to a new analysis of 21 studies by researchers in Greece and England. Another investigation reported that women who had elevated blood levels of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) during the first trimester of pregnancy were more than four times more likely than normal to develop gestational diabetes. After reviewing the studies, which included data on nearly 67,000 people, the researchers concluded that the increased risks seen were associated with the organic pollutants DDT, dieldrin, heptachlor, and HCB. Most of the studies included in the review identified pesticide exposure via urine and blood analyses, methods that are considered very accurate.

Charles Clayton said...

It's a great post to help people know how to do cockroach pest control at their own. The step by step explanation with pictures will be very much helpful and help us in executing the process of cockroach extermination in the right manner. Also, this DIY technique of using borax and boric acid will surely make us save money that we might be spending as cockroach extermination cost.

Shahieda Orrie said...

Tnx I'll try the gel. I've got a huge problem now with these pests

Cat Peterson said...

Aloha from Honolulu,

Important question: does your method harm frogs and geckos?

We loathe cockroaches, but love our geckos and frogs.



Anonymous said...

Good to hear about your followup experience with boric acid bait. Theres alot of guides on how to make baits but they don't show the real results or whether the bait works if at all.

Plugging up all the cracks/crevices around the sink, plumbing goes a long way towards keeping the insect population down.

Ashley Labore said...

Can't wait to try this. I seem to get these nasty creatures everytime a neighbor moves out and it's always a fight to get them to leave so I can't wait to try it and hopefully eliminate the issue for good or as long as I continue to lay it down.

Ashley Labore said...

Can't wait to try this. I seem to get these nasty creatures everytime a neighbor moves out and it's always a fight to get them to leave so I can't wait to try it and hopefully eliminate the issue for good or as long as I continue to lay it down.

Richard said...

Due to horse feed in my barn, I would periodically find families of cockroaches. No insecticide would get rid of them until I sprinkled a little boric acid. Two days later, no more roaches. I sprinkle a little periodically for prevention.

Richard said...

Due to horse feed in my barn, I would periodically find families of cockroaches. No insecticide would get rid of them until I sprinkled a little boric acid. Two days later, no more roaches. I sprinkle a little periodically for prevention.

Anonymous said...

Never saw a roach in this house when we moved in (in year 2000) About two years ago, opened the back door and the patio was literally covered in baby roaches (thousands of them??) They started of outside and are now moving into the house. I have used the Raid roach baits and they have worked somewhat in the house, but the back yard is still plagued with them. I feed three feral cats with dry food, which they eat during the night and then the birds finish off the rest during the day. I believe these are "sand roaches" which means they have no fear of humans and will crawl right on you, even in bed. I don't want to poison my cats so I have to be careful where I put any baits. I put the raid baits along the back wall of the house, out of the rain, which helped but there are still enough left to have "waves" of infestation. I also have to spray for black widow spiders. I have read that they hate peppermint, so I am going to spray the inside with peppermint castille soap.

Anonymous said...

Does this work on bed bugs? Please tell me, I should probably call bed bug exterminator but before that I would like to try something by myself.

Mingle Weave said...

A Nuclear War and Life of Cockroaches

Yuck. Cockroaches are dirty, endless hunter which can be unaffected by using radiation. In a post-apocalypti international, it is going to be those grimy little critters that survive. We’d be better off without them.

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for this post. I recently purchased a house, when I went to view this house I seen the cockroaches but I didn't realize how hard it was going to be too get rid of them, so I purchased the house, hired an exterminator, he came out 3 times to spray(couldn't move in because they were so bad) finally I had no choice but to move in because my lease was up on my rental home. I seen them ask the time 50-60 a day until I started googling and this came up, it has worked wonders for me and I'm still seeing an occasional roach but hopefully they will all disappear, it's been four months since I moved in and the roaches are almost history...

Trevor Tutt said...

Thank you for this very useful post! I'm on the lookout for effective cockroach treatment to prevent infestation at home. Though I've also asked some advice from pest control professionals

Manar Koutb said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
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kevin coper said...

Thanks admin,
it's true about roaches and i like your strategy.
By the away, here i have written an article on my blog you can read the whole
cockroach killer thanks

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