Friday, February 15, 2008
The other night my sister called me as I was cleaning the kitchen. And by cleaning, I mean de-roaching. I will warn you now, that this post is about roaches. I'm writing it to share how to get rid of them, cheer myself on for battling the roaches and spread roach info. If this grosses you out, consider yourself warned.
Anyway, my sister told me that although there is a lot that she would trade with me. She is glad to not have to battle roaches.
We have lived in 5 apartments in almost 6 years in this city and I've noticed some patterns. Some apartments we never saw any bugs or mice. Some apartments were battlegrounds where we daily had to stake our claim to our apartment. What I've noticed is, when we move in things are quiet. The little creatures get stressed out about their new neighbors and stay in hiding for a while. Then. Little by little signs begin to show.
We had mice in this apartment for a little while. I hate mice. I hate them far more than roaches. I think I would pass out if we ever had a rat (though I have friends that had rats, didn't pass out, and got rid of them....still....). But, the trick with mice is to find their holes and plug them up. Sound easy? Nope. If you can squeeze a quarter into the space where your walls and floors meet, a mouse can fit through. Isn't that wild? To block the holes we used caulk and 'quarter rounds' to seal things up. Their hole of preference was behind the stove. Dave nailed boards over it twice. They pried the boards off both times. Then he nailed lots of boards with lots of nails and we have not seen them since.
Once cold weather hit, the roaches came. I'm not really sure why, but they started as little tiny bugs. They don't look like roaches at all. They are almost cute. I don't really think these little guys are 'babies' that grow up into adults. I think that they are adults and the line gets bigger and bigger through the generations. This is merely anecdotal speculation. I'm not sure. But that's my hypothesis. Then the little cute ones disappear and the bugs get bigger and grosser and there are more and more of them.
One night this week I walked into the kitchen and counted 7 large roaches (if you live in Texas, I mean 7 very small roaches. I realize this is all relative. Our large roaches are about an inch long).
After freaking out, I took action.
First I targeted their favorite cabinet. The cabinet where I store my grains. I took everything out and wet a rag. I used borax (a non-toxic laundry detergent) as the 'soap' and scrubbed. There were tons of roach eggs (which I called 'roach dust'...I mean, it really does just look like dust, until I learned better). The reason I use borax is because I am cleaning the place where I store my food. I don't want toxic things in those cabinets...especially with a toddler and preborn. Borax doesn't poison the roaches, it suffocates them. Roaches breath through their legs and the borax is dusty enough that it inhibits their breathing. Also, they track it back into the cracks that they creep from and share it with their buddies.
I also got better about putting away the dishes from the drying rack and putting the rack away. That way there are no inviting puddles of water to quench a roach's thirst. And I sprinkled more borax on the counters.
Now it's rather lonely in my kitchen. No one is waiting for me when I walk in there in the evenings. No one runs around all excited to see me. It feels really great. I always thought that either you had pests or you didn't. That there was very little that you could do about it. But now I feel like a non-toxic roach-fighting superstar.
And good thing, too. My mother is coming tomorrow. She is nervous enough about visiting the city. I can't have little buggies frightening her away.
So let it be said. I have a clean, bug-free, mouse-free, pest-free kitchen.
Posted by Dave at 8:31 PM