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Eradicating bed bugs and roaches in residences

Old 07-20-18, 11:31 AM
  #26  
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Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
Yeah, we had that problem for several years at our Texas lake house. Never could figure out whether they were attracted to the electricity or the weather resistant seals, which they'd eat to get inside the switch and outlet boxes.

It started out when we were invaded by fire ants. But over the decades the invasive fire ants interbred with native ants. The results were a sort of bad tempered sugar ant, not quite as aggressive as the original fire ants, but meaner than the once harmless domestic ants.
You folks down Texas way also have "crazy ants." They are identified as very small ants that have an irregular pattern as they move about... they look crazy. Apparently these are quite invasive and have been known to eat wire insulation... Heaven help you.
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Old 07-20-18, 04:33 PM
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Originally Posted by genec View Post
You folks down Texas way also have "crazy ants." They are identified as very small ants that have an irregular pattern as they move about... they look crazy. Apparently these are quite invasive and have been known to eat wire insulation... Heaven help you.
Fascinating! I just read about the Texas Raspberry Crazy Ant, and that certainly does describe the infestation we had in our former rural home. They mostly infested outdoor electrical boxes, sometimes shorting them out and killing hundreds or thousands of the critters.
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Old 07-20-18, 08:18 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
When I was a kid an older guy who lived two doors away intentionally started a fire outside a large apartment building to scare someone who was bugging him for money that he owed. The entire building ended up catching fire. Five people died. The entire building had to be demolished.
I hope he wasn't living two doors away from you at anytime after having set the fire. Arsonists who target occupied buildings should probably not ever walk the streets again in their lifetime.
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Old 07-20-18, 08:42 PM
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i pretty much live in the woods well my home is in the woods pretty much i used to use something called demon to keep roaches out and dead. will it still kill them? or do they get imune
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Old 07-20-18, 08:55 PM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by windhchaser View Post
i pretty much live in the woods well my home is in the woods pretty much i used to use something called demon to keep roaches out and dead. will it still kill them? or do they get imune
Demon WP uses cypermethrin, a concentrated version of the common pyrethroid insecticide that was synthesized from a chemical found in chrysanthemums, probably the oldest known form of insecticide dating back more than 1,000 years.

Demon WP may be concentrated enough to still be effective against resistant bed bugs and roaches. But eventually they may develop a resistance.

The methods I described in my first post to this thread are probably best for long term control in buildings with serious infestations. If your home doesn't have a problem then an occasional application with something like Demon WP may be good enough.
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Old 07-20-18, 09:01 PM
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i only get one roach or so a week but im so afraid of them
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Old 07-20-18, 09:12 PM
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Originally Posted by windhchaser View Post
i only get one roach or so a week but im so afraid of them
thats pretty damn cool makes me want to plant some of them flowers
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Old 07-21-18, 04:33 AM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by Zinger View Post
I hope he wasn't living two doors away from you at anytime after having set the fire. Arsonists who target occupied buildings should probably not ever walk the streets again in their lifetime.
He was, but he was arrested and spent 5 years in jail. I remember my mom and older sister trying to hide the newspaper from me so I wouldn't find out. Many years later he died of a heroine overdose.
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Old 07-21-18, 08:38 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
He was, but he was arrested and spent 5 years in jail. I remember my mom and older sister trying to hide the newspaper from me so I wouldn't find out. Many years later he died of a heroine overdose.
That's a year per murder victim providing a full 5 years is what he spent there. That's an even more inadequate stay in lockup than I ever imagined he would get for such a taking of 5 innocent lives in that torturous manner no matter what they convicted him for. Hell you could have gotten that sentence in a lot of states for killing someone in a bar fight who was trying to kill you first.
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Old 09-24-20, 07:52 AM
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Originally Posted by YvonneAlsop View Post
I am afraid of bugs and roach. I have nightmares, I can wake up in middle of night slapping my arms and just jump out of bed.
meth is an awful drug
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Old 09-24-20, 08:57 AM
  #36  
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I dunno, I hear lots of people really enjoy it. Once you start, you just can't stop
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Old 09-24-20, 09:22 AM
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Call this guy since you are in DFW area
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Old 09-24-20, 10:33 AM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
He was, but he was arrested and spent 5 years in jail. I remember my mom and older sister trying to hide the newspaper from me so I wouldn't find out. Many years later he died of a heroine overdose.
Who was she? I bet it was Wonder Woman. One night with her would kill me.
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Old 09-24-20, 11:07 AM
  #39  
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Tempo Ultra SC mixed in a pump sprayer works for me. Kills most everything.
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Old 09-27-20, 08:59 AM
  #40  
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I use a product from Ortho called Home Defense. It is effective against EVERYTHING (including your pets) so you have to be judicious in it's application and keep your animals and children out of it till dry. It lasts a super long time in areas that don't get wet or mop cleaned. I can apply it around the carpeted areas of my house about twice a year. We SEE bugs, but they are all dead or "sunning"....
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Old 09-27-20, 09:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Juan Foote View Post
I use a product from Ortho called Home Defense. It is effective against EVERYTHING (including your pets) so you have to be judicious in it's application and keep your animals and children out of it till dry. It lasts a super long time in areas that don't get wet or mop cleaned. I can apply it around the carpeted areas of my house about twice a year. We SEE bugs, but they are all dead or "sunning"....
Just checked in my garage, that's the stuff I bought from Home Despot. It did **** all for me
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Old 09-27-20, 10:33 AM
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Originally Posted by RubeRad View Post
Just checked in my garage, that's the stuff I bought from Home Despot. It did **** all for me

Make sure you check the date. It does expire.

I am certainly positive it works. I have an old vet bill to prove it. Our pup went around for a while eating the dead freds....
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Old 09-27-20, 09:04 PM
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I don't talk about my luck with bugs. It's like flat tires.
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Old 09-30-20, 10:37 AM
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Roaches like beer. They like it well enough to climb into open beer cans and bottles to mop up the walls. So if any of you are discarding open beer containers in an open trash container, that is an invitation to roaches for a beer or two on you as you will see when you take the trash out. They will be abandoning that trip to stay on at your place.
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Old 09-30-20, 11:17 AM
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Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
I'm reposting this from a reply I posted to a general forum thread, since it's more of a digression than relevant to the original topic there. There's a lot of misinformation, cargo cult thinking and voodoo in pop culture reports about dealing with bed bugs.

Anyone who's live in an apartment complex has eventually had to deal with pests. It's tougher in the apartment building style common to the east and north -- all apartment doors facing inner common hallways. Pests use those common hallways, including between walls, inside drop ceilings, etc., to migrate around the entire building. Our apartment here in Texas is built that way, unusual for the south, but it's more energy efficient. We have an all-bills-paid apartment for elderly and disabled seniors, so I'm not complaining. It's just a different type of challenge for pest control.

While I've never been a professional pest control operator my background did involve preventive medicine -- which includes pest control -- as a Navy corpsman assigned to the Marines, and my ex in-laws were professional pest control operators. I worked for my ex FIL a couple of summers and picked up a few tips and tricks. And I read various industry journals once in awhile just to see what the current methods are.

Our apartment complex was infested with bed bugs a few years ago. Fortunately my apartment was relatively free of the critters -- I found maybe one or two a year -- but it demanded constant vigilance. Some of my more disabled and immobile neighbors were badly infested, with thousand of the critters, and I helped a couple of them with eradication when the professional treatments failed.

There's a lot of misinformation and cargo cult thinking in approaches to bed bug treatments. For example, "people heard" that diatomaceous earth was effective (it was but is outdated and far surpassed by other treatments). But instead of applying it properly, they'd broadcast the stuff in piles around their apartments and build tiny dams of the stuff in the hallways. It doesn't work that way. It needs to be a fine, thin, almost invisible dusting.

Other neighbors would see piles of white powder outside apartments. Not knowing any better, they'd pour piles of talcum powder, corn starch or any white powder outside their doors. Completely ineffective, of course.

That's cargo cult thinking.

Another example was spread by rumor. "Someone heard" that bed bugs are attracted to feed on humans by our CO2. Sort of true, but it's more complicated than that -- bed bugs zero in on our complex exhalations, body heat, etc. They're not particularly attracted to CO2 unless there's a human body attached.

So neighbors would build homemade CO2 traps using yeast, etc., because they couldn't afford the commercially made CO2 traps. This didn't work. It mainly attracts fruit flies and other critters. The pros tried using CO2 traps just to check for the presence of bed bugs, not to kill them. Just setting a homebrewed yeast CO2 trap in a bowl of water or on top of sticky paper won't lure the bed bugs to their deaths by the hundreds. It just doesn't work. That's more cargo cult thinking.

Best way to check for bed bugs? Examine your bed and surroundings closely. If you have conventional box springs, that's where the bed bugs will be hiding. Get rid of those and get a solid memory foam or other type mattress. Get rid of the places for bed bugs to hide. We use Brentwood Home memory foam mattresses on metal platforms, but you can get as fancy as you like. Just minimize the hidey holes.

Check everywhere near the bed: baseboards; behind dressers and between drawers; even behind artwork hung on the walls. The critters will nest as near as possible to the food -- you.

Next most common hidey holes will be favorite upholstered furniture -- recliners and sofas.

You won't often see bed bugs lurking around bathrooms, kitchens, closets that aren't in bedrooms, etc. An exception might be a storage closet where you keep your luggage between trips. Because that's a common way for bed bugs to hitchhike around the world -- on luggage. But they won't proliferate without a food source -- your blood.

Bed bugs
Bed bugs are unpleasant and difficult to get rid of. Just the thought of bloodsucking freaks puts off most people. And they smell bad, like stink bugs. The babies are almost invisible and the adults are almost paper thin before gorging, so they can sneak through the tiniest cracks. They can hitchhike everywhere unseen, which is why they bed bug population has exploded worldwide. And they're indifferent to hygiene and housekeeping practices. Bed bugs don't care how clean we are. They just want blood.

But believe it or not, roaches are worse in almost every way. Almost as resistant to surface applications of pesticides. They smell even worse to me, and I'm allergic to them. Roaches can carry disease, typically e-coli, salmonella, staph, pretty much anything that can be tracked around through contaminated areas.

Funny thing about bed bugs -- despite gorging on blood, they aren't known to transmit bloodborne pathogens. It isn't clear why. If they did transmit bloodborne diseases the entire global population would be in serious trouble -- they're more prolific than mosquitoes across a broader temperature range.

Living in an apartment complex, especially one built in the typical urban east coast and northern style, with doors facing long continuous common hallways, it's tough to stay bug-free for long.

The most effective treatment for bed bugs is amorphous silica gel, like Cimexa. It's just a desiccant, the same stuff in those little packets of beads in vitamins, electronics and other consumer products. It's milled to a fine powder like powdered sugar. It adheres to the waxy exoskeleton of bed bugs and dries them out within 72 hours. Virtually benign to humans and animals. Not even particularly effective on other insects unless the silica gel powder can stick to their exoskeletons. But for now nothing better exists to control bed bugs.

And Cimexa and other brands of amorphous silica gel powder is fairly easy and safe to apply -- a hand squeeze puffer. All it takes is a light dusting along baseboards, between hollow wall, floor and ceiling spaces, and seams under and behind upholstered furniture and beds.

With fabrics that can't be safely laundered or exposed to heat, apply the silica gel powder, let it work for a week or so, then brush and vacuum the excess.

Another effective method for delicate fabrics, electronics, etc., is dry ice. As it converts to carbon dioxide in an enclosed space it displaces oxygen and asphyxiates the bed bugs. A one or two pound block of dry ice in a large yard sized lawn/leaf bag, or a large trash can, tightly sealed, will treat everything that can be stuffed inside -- computers, TVs, appliances, delicate clothing and fabrics, artwork (because bed bugs will hide behind anything hanging on the wall in bedrooms), etc. There's a research paper on the NCBI/NIH site supporting this.

And, as I mentioned earlier, steam heat for stuff that can withstand that treatment. Labor intensive but very effective.

Skip the whole-building heat treatment. Incredibly expensive and has no residual effect. Unless combined with Cimexa the whole building heat treatment tends to herd the bed bugs to the coolest part of the structure, where they regroup and re-infest rapidly. Careful use of Cimexa will accomplish the same thing, more cost effectively, but will take a little longer - up to a month for a large multi-family residential building, dormitory, barracks, shelter, etc. But a significant impact will occur within 72 hours.

For bed bugs, don't waste time or money on pesticides, alcohol sprays, "CO2 traps" (professionally made or homemade), or substitute powders like diatomaceous earth or boric acid, or talcum powder, laundry softener sheets or any other hocus pocus or voodoo. They don't work.

Summary:
  • Cimexa dust or other brand amorphous silica gel. Use only the minimal application, a fine dusting where bed bugs nest or travel. Near beds. Baseboards. Between walls, in drop ceilings, etc. Don't waste time and money broadcasting the stuff in the middle of a floor, or piled up in tiny mounds outside doors. Read and heed the instructions. The manufacturers know what they're talking about.
  • Steam heat from a clothing wand or a larger portable device that you can rent. For items that can withstand steam heat -- most upholstered furniture, bedding, baseboards (especially carpeted), etc.
  • Dry ice for the CO2 for delicate items -- computers and electronics, fine fabrics, etc. Must be in confined space -- a sealed large plastic bag, sealed trash can, etc. To be safe, keep these outside the home -- in a garage, storage shed, etc. CO2 can displace oxygen, but a huge amount of dry ice would be needed to be dangerous. Mostly it's a respiratory irritant to sensitive people. Even stage fog from dry ice makes me cough like crazy.

Roaches
Roaches are less sensitive to heat, and I can't see that the amorphous silica gel affects them at all. It doesn't adhere to their exoskeletons to cause dehydration.

However boric acid is very effective on roaches. And like Cimexa, it's relatively benign and safe around people and pets. The trick is getting the insects to walk through it or, better still, eat it. The trick? Mix boric acid with powdered sugar. They can't resist. Works on ants too. And it works for weeks or months. Powdered sugar includes an anti-caking ingredient, so it resists getting gooey on most surfaces. And it cleans up fairly easily, so it can be puffed liberally around kitchens and bathrooms, then the excess can be swept and mopped up after a few days.

And some baits and gels work very well. I've tried both the gels (they look like peanut butter in syringes) and, frankly, the commercially made bait traps work better. The gels from syringes dry too quickly, don't really attract adult cockroaches effectively, and needs to be reapplied more often. It's labor intensive.

But the same gels are mixed with food bait, safely tucked inside plastic housings. The type designed specifically for German cockroaches is made with smaller openings to exclude larger cockroaches and other bugs. These usually work within a week. Replace them every month or so until the infestation is gone. Seems more expensive than the gel syringes, but works better.

I've made my own baits mixing gel with dry cat foot -- roaches love cat food -- but, again, it's labor intensive and the ready made bait traps work well with much less effort.

The gels and baits work in an odd way. The kill on adult cockroaches is delayed a few days. This gives them time to revisit their nests and poop. Baby cockroaches eat the now-poisoned poop. Everybody dies.

Skip the pesticide sprays. Research shows it defeats the purpose of using boric acid and gel/baits. The roaches will avoid the surface pesticides, so they don't take the bait. It's like setting a trap for humans and labeling it "WATCH OUT!! TRAP!!!"

More info than you wanted to know, hmm? But useful for folks who live in apartment complexes, especially in urban areas.

Summary:
  • Boric acid (works best mixed with powdered sugar).
  • Commercially made bait traps containing indoxacarb or fipronil.
  • Or syringes of gel based indoxacarb or fipronil -- I've found these work best applied sparingly to dry cat food!

And while bed bugs are indifferent to housekeeping, roaches aren't. Ants and roaches are most attracted to open food, crumbs, etc.

And skip the pesticide sprays. They're expensive and don't work. Bed bugs are almost completely immune. Roaches are highly resistant, and gaining in resistance with every generation.

If you want to spray 'em because it makes you feel better to watch the bastards die, try Clorox foaming bleach spray. It traps the roaches and they die quickly in the small pile of foaming bleach and surfactants. And it'll disinfect whatever germs the roaches are carrying, so cleanup is more effective.
I wonder how fully enclosed mattress covers work at keeping out bedbugs. I bought one with both zipper and velcro over the zipper closings and keep both mattress and memory foam inside it. We've reportedly got bedbugs in the Spokane area of biblical proportions (I assume they had bedbugs). So I already bought a new box spring mattress for a loft bed over a tool storage shed that I built. I worry about bedbugs which I have had the good fortune to not ever have experienced yet.
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Old 09-30-20, 03:49 PM
  #46  
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Originally Posted by Zinger View Post
I wonder how fully enclosed mattress covers work at keeping out bedbugs. I bought one with both zipper and velcro over the zipper closings and keep both mattress and memory foam inside it. We've reportedly got bedbugs in the Spokane area of biblical proportions (I assume they had bedbugs). So I already bought a new box spring mattress for a loft bed over a tool storage shed that I built. I worry about bedbugs which I have had the good fortune to not ever have experienced yet.
Bedbugs don't often burrow deep inside furniture or stray far from a blood supply, so they're usually easy to spot. Often the only areas that need treatment are beds, sofas, favorite chairs, footstools/Ottomans. That's usually good enough to eradicate bedbugs in standalone homes and buildings.

However in a neglected apartment building, hotel, etc., they can spread through walls, ducts, etc. I've seen them nesting in odd places, such as behind wall art across the room from any beds or upholstered furniture. But that apartment was so badly infested with thousands of bedbugs, I suspect the critters had become territorial, with the alpha bugs getting the prime spots nearest the bed. That happened to a neighbor couple, both of whom were disabled and literally could not see or move around well enough to realize how bad the infestation was. I did the pest control for them, since the apartment complex method was ineffective.

In a conventional box spring, platform and mattress, the bugs are most likely to infest the box springs. They'll hide in the mattress edge and corner seams, mostly along the underside in contact with the box springs. But they won't burrow inside a mattress, so as long as the mattress fabric shell is intact there's no need for a mattress cover.

However I would use a zippered cover around the box spring. That's the really tricky problem area. Frankly, I'd dump the conventional mattress with box springs and metal support, and get a memory foam mattress with metal platform. Fewer places for the critters to hide. And more comfortable, to me. I've seen neighbors continually struggle with bedbugs because they insisted on continuing to use the old box springs, which were extremely difficult to eradicate -- too many hidey holes in a box spring.

I'd also pre-treat with Cimexa, the amorphous silica gel dust I mentioned earlier in this thread. It'll last for years. Pre-treat the most likely hidey holes -- mostly under mattresses, sofa cushions, etc, where we won't notice the rosin-like feel of Cimexa -- and it's unlikely any bedbugs that hitchhike on our clothing will live long enough to lay eggs.

I know I've picked up hitchhikers from Ubers and city buses because I always check my clothes in the bathroom when I get home. So if I've found one or two, it's likely another one or two eventually escaped my attention and tried to make themselves at home. But when I vacuumed the sofa and flipped the cushions, or changed sheets on the mattress, I'd find a dead bedbug once or twice a year. That shows the Cimexa is working to kill 'em before they can reproduce.

I've tried to get this across to neighbors but they always want to use aerosol sprays and watch the bugs die. But bedbugs are increasingly resistant to sprays and there's no residual effect. They don't want to put in the work to apply Cimexa properly. And it is a lot of work. It's essential to flip furniture, check with a flashlight and reading glasses or magnifying glasses, etc. It's not easy for older and disabled folks. Hell, at 62 it's harder for me now than it was just a few years ago, after being hit by a car in 2018 and suffering yet another literal pain in the neck.
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Old 09-30-20, 03:59 PM
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Originally Posted by YvonneAlsop View Post
I am afraid of bugs and roach. I have nightmares, I can wake up in middle of night slapping my arms and just jump out of bed.
Are you in the interzone?
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Old 10-07-20, 05:55 PM
  #48  
Lemond1985
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Timely thread for me. The heat, time of year, and messy neighbors have all caused a big German Roach infestation in the old building where I live. Here are some key things I have learned in the past few weeks:

1.) Furniture polish aerosol spray: Works great to immobilize roaches at a distance without leaving poison behind, I have a near 100% success rate with the spray and squash method. It even kills some of them if you get it on their underside. I use "Behold" in the yellow can. Keep spraying until they are covered, then squash, before they can run away.

2.) Netcams: Use them to monitor your kitchen at night, both recording, and looking at in real time from the next room. You will be shocked at what you see. I thought I maybe had 2 or 3 roaches living inside, but I actually had two separate families of 2-3 dozen, total. When I saw that big roach crawling around on my Italian espresso machine, I knew It was going to be war, total war.

3.) Daily Routines: Roaches learn your daily routine. They watch you eat your dinner every single night, safely from some crack or crevice, knowing just what time you’ll go to bed, and when they can come out and eat too. They emulate us.

4.) Sealing up cracks and entrances: Use a calking gun to fill in every crack you can find in your kitchen. And check where water and gas pipes enter through the walls, roaches use these pipes as highways, between houses and apartment units. Filling cracks also pre-eliminates places where they can escape and hide when you are pursuing them.

5.) Mice and Roaches: Mice and roaches will work together symbiotically to invade a dwelling. The mice get in first, and chew holes in cabinets and wall that allow the roaches to enter. It sounds crazy, but they both benefit. Roaches eat the mouse droppings, and the mice, if they get low on food, always have a ready cockroach food supply around. You could call the mice “cockroach ranchers”. So get rid of any mice you have first.

6.) Intelligence: These guys are smart, at least as smart as I am when it comes to survival, do not underestimate them, and how well they know you and your habits. Even knowing everything I know now as a human, if I was put in their place, I could not have been any smarter about what to do, how, and when. Watching them move around the kitchen on video, is like watching a soldier advancing. Especially the fully grown adults. They are professionals at what they do, and when you fight them, they are every bit as determined as you are to survive.

7.) Toughness: I found an entire family that had been living IN MY STOVE. The adults had developed a tough shiny shell that apparently protected them from the heat. Not even having the broiler on full heat for an hour could drive them out.

8.) How Little They Need to Eat: The stove roach family apparently lived on grease drippings and bread crumbs, and got small drops of water off the floor. One drop of water is like a gallon jug to a roach, and one crumb like a loaf of bread. One slice of the kind of toast I make, creates enough crumbs to support a half dozen adults to eat very well for a day.

9.) Family Life: German cockroaches are very social. They can’t survive alone, they need a group of individuals for survival, much like humans. Egg cases hatch in staggered fashion so the babies are not all the same size. I believe the nymphs (which are 2 mm long when they hatch) cannot feed themselves, they rely on pieces of the exoskeleton that are shed by the larger roaches. So that’s why you see the smaller ones following the larger ones around, and it’s important not to ignore the small ones, which can be very easy to miss, especially when they play dead (I have actually seen this).

10.) Poison Resistance: Anything you spray on them will never kill 100% of a roach infestation, and the survivors will all be immune, as well as their offspring. Who will eat the dead roaches and gain even more immunity. Keeping them out is the only permanent solution.

Last edited by Lemond1985; 10-07-20 at 06:14 PM.
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Old 10-07-20, 08:52 PM
  #49  
CliffordK
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Had a roach infestation in the mid 80's in college. One day the apartment kicked everyone out and fumigated the whole apartment complex. I don't know what they used, but it got rid of the problem.

Fumigating a single apartment in a complex won't fix it.

To me, the roaches were more of a curiosity than any real problem. They didn't seem to hurt anything... just annoying to see them.

Obviously electronics have changed over the years, but I don't remember any specific problems with them either.
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Old 10-07-20, 08:57 PM
  #50  
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Originally Posted by Lemond1985 View Post
5.) Mice and Roaches: Mice and roaches will work together symbiotically to invade a dwelling. The mice get in first, and chew holes in cabinets and wall that allow the roaches to enter. It sounds crazy, but they both benefit. Roaches eat the mouse droppings, and the mice, if they get low on food, always have a ready cockroach food supply around. You could call the mice “cockroach ranchers”. So get rid of any mice you have first.
A kitten adopted me a year ago. I thought she was helping with my mice problems. She is an avid hunter, but now I'm not sure she isn't just bringing them into the house from outside and letting them loose.

I bought her an extra tall litter box, and she'll bring the mice to the litter box, then just leave them when she gets tired of them. Although, I'm not sure if some become midnight snacks.
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