In the past, I have used the common “Raid” and “Mortein” cockroach baits. The thing that prompted me to start using them was the fact that cockroaches had contaminated and eventually shorted the main circuit board in my washing machine. After I got the machine fixed, I started protecting it with two strategically-placed 3-monthly cockroach baits.
The thing is, I then stopped buying single-use plastic items some years ago, since we have now successfully filled the entire planet with ultra-durable nuisance rubbish. I recently used the final cockroach bait in the pack of 12, so now I’m looking for viable alternatives.
Borax (sodium borate/sodium tetraborate). It used to be available in carboard boxes, but haven’t bought any for years so don’t know if cardboard boxed packaging still exists. Possibly look at nurseries or hardware stores as the supermarkets look like they have it in plastic containers only.
Depending on how your house and nearby yard is set out. Look for where the critters are coming from, or what is attracting them. Also the variety or type of cockroach is important, as some prefer the great outdoors. The outdoor ones come in mostly when looking for water or food. They are attracted to damp cardboard and wet soap as much as they are leaf litter. The immigrant varieties are keen to move in permanently, if the conditions suit.
The outer bowls of washing machines can retain lots of cockroach yummies. Readily accessible in top loaders, not so sure with a front loader.
We relied mostly on the pest professionals surface treatments when we lived in a low set urban block. With young children and a small dog, baits were an unacceptable risk.
The funny thing is, I have about 60L of Boric acid in liquid form for some of the fruit trees in the garden.
I’ll get some in powder form in a little cardboard box. I’m not worried about the eggs, because the cockroaches don’t overrun the place, and don’t bother me. I just need to protect a couple of things from getting damaged.
Hi Mark, I’m wondering why you thought pest professionals’ surface treatments were any safer than baits?
I thought their surface treatments were just as toxic, can I ask what was the active ingredient of the surface treatments you agreed to be used compared to the baits?
If they claimed pyrethrum (chrysanthemum) flower is all natural and that’s the product you agreed they use as a surface treatment instead of baits, did they explain the propellants they use are indeed toxic/carcinogenic but most seem to be completely unaware these ‘natural totally safe’ pyrethrum based products are not 100% safe and natural at all, and of course the companies strive to hide this?
Baits are a physical item that can be picked up and put to the mouth. Anyone who has had children will know that from the moment they can put their hands to mouth, everything is a tasting option. Anyone who has had a puppy will know they are equally adventuresome seeking all that might be worth chewing on. If not the bait itself, the fact that cockroaches have been all over a bait should also be a concern.
We could have used baits, but we chose not to. It’s worth noting home made baits borax based are also toxic if ingested, and can be injurious to the eyes and skin.
Australia has a controlled system of approvals for all pesticides through the APVMA. We are all free to choose how to deal with household pests. The option to choose or not a reliable professional service is one way to ensure any chemicals used are approved and the risks of use minimised.
Thanks for your comment Mark. I asked because of both children and pets and I well know the dangers of baits, and also would never be foolish enough to attempt a home made borax bait - but your comment will be useful for others.
But it appears you haven’t attempted to even investigate the issue re propellants, thus aren’t aware of the dangers of surface sprays I was alerted to: you just trust the APVMA would ensure they don’t allow dangerous products due to their “controlled system of approvals for all pesticides”…
I totally agree you have every right to deal with household pests in any way you choose.
I unfortunately don’t have such trust, having battled with the APVMA in the past over veterinary medicines/other products and their actions proved to me they have no regard for anything but the profits of their agricultural and veterinary chemical producers.
I encourage people to question the APVMA’s evaluations, and do their own research not just blindly trust organisations like the APVMA when choosing pest control products.
For clarity boric acid powder is not made into a bait unless one purposefully decides to do so. It is effective as powder dusted into crevices and walls where roaches frequent, out of touch of humans and pets. Blowing it into walls can be via the ceiling cavity, around powerpoints and light switches, behind a built in dishwasher, dusted under the floorboards, etc.
A caveat is anecdotal advice is not to use too much or the roaches will avoid it. They will walk through a light dusting which is what you want to eradicate them.
The treatments our Pest Control used were mixed with water (ie water soluble), some contain water miscible hydrocarbon solvents to carry the active ingredients. I have not seen them ever spray with a gas propellant mix in a household situation for common pests.
I have seen homeowner usable household “bombs” used that certainly contained propellant and I have seen buildings large scale fumigated but they had to be shrouded to stop the gases leaving the fumigated area.
Any pest control has some hazard re human or pet ingestion, even naturally derived Pyrethrum can cause health issues including exacerbating asthma, runny noses, skin reddening and in high levels is fatal to humans. An exposure limit in an 8 hour period is set in the USA at 5mg/m3. 5g/m3 is immediately dangerous to humans and other mammals.
Natural does not always equate to safe. Nor does synthetic always equate to dangerous. Dosage is important to the equation.
Yeah the propellant is highly flammable, usually propane or similar. A spark in the house at the wrong time and it does become a bomb or a blazing inferno. Hopefully your Christmas Lunch at the alternative was a pleasant time
If someone decides to use a “bomb” then it is best to turn all the household power off at the mains for the few hours needed for the pesticide to work. Also after use it is imperative that the house is left to air (open all windows) for about an hour before re-occupying or there can be unwanted reaction to the pesticide remaining in the air.
Cockroaches love warm places - I left my coffee machine on standby and apparently it died because of infestation of the smallest kind of roaches - so first thing, turn off your appliances at the wall when not in use. If you don’t want to use a roach spray around the appliance try a greasy butter or margarine container with about 3 cms water and 2 teaspoons of sugar. You won’t believe how many you catch that way - great round your rubbish bins too. I have found that method very effective and of course safe.
This is not a theoretical risk. Premises have been gutted and people have died. There are cases of this kind of fire/explosion in Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Sydney that I found in a quick search, there is likely to be many more all over the world.
Once the propellant in pressure can was not flammable, that was typically a CFC, these substances destroyed the ozone layer and were banned. Now the propellants are mainly low boiling point hydrocarbons which are flammable.
I don’t know if its still available but there used to be a Bug Zapper for Cockroaches it looked like a UFO. So I would plug it in near edges of benches where they run. The Lid lifts up and they came with Tablets that fit in circular holes near the centre( you can place dry bread or one other bait). Its essentially an electrified Plate that Zaps the Bug when it enters. So no chemicals and use just dumped them in the bin the next day. Worked well for me. Can’t remember the exact name but it was an Australian Invention https://collection.maas.museum/object/132097