Re: WATER BUGS IN MY KITCHEN

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Posted by bugman on March 22, 2003 at 22:39:12:

In Reply to: Re: WATER BUGS IN MY KITCHEN posted by P. Gary Murdzia on February 02, 2003 at 18:45:20:

What folks refer to as "waterbugs" are, in fact, Oriental Cockroaches. Ovoid...deep dark brownish...usually basement to 1st floor...rarely above 1st floor.

While we're on the subject... the other roaches that are pests in dwellings in the US are:

American Cockroach - the monster of all roaches here...also usually not above the 2nd floor. Adults fly readily.

German Cockroaches - small...less than .5 inches. The squarish area behind the head (when viewed from above) is called the pronotum. In this speciaes there are usually 2 small parallel bands...one on each side. These guys are the real dispersers! You can see them walking in streets/sidewalks/bewteen buildings in summer. High-rises won't help you with them...they're often found up in higher floors. Tough to keep controlled.

"Palmetto bugs" - another roach found along gulf coast areas of the us.

That said...control? You can spray...but you'll do it the rest of your life...each time they return. You can also pay people to poison you and your house. With pest control compaies though...the name of the game is to generate repeat business. So they pay unskilled people very little (usually) who hose down very visible areas where they can generate some casualties. Why? Because if you see dead bodies, you know the applicators delivered as promised. But it really isn't in their best interest to give you any sort of permanent help.

First... it is a LOT of work to war with pests...what you put into it, you get returned to you. The #1 best thing you can do? First, survey all entry points...where gas/water/cable lines come into the house are easy. Then there are areas behind cabinets in the kitchen, poorly closing windows, old fireplaces (if they're no longer used), etc. You'll need a cauk gun, plenty of tubes of clear drying (non-shrink) silicone cauk, and some copper wool (steel wool if you're on a budget...but it will rust and eventually you'll be replacing it). In lieu of the wools... you can use hardware cloth (thick metal screening with .25 inch square holes). You'll have to cut it to fill areas around where pipes enter the house...and also where they run from basement/crawlspaces to house. You'll need to cover the holes and leave room to shove in a mess of filler compound (a compound you can paint over). The purpose for the metal wool/scrrening is that just in case you have mice, they won't be so eager to chew their way through a patch over their old entry hole. The cauk is used around all wall cracks, window seams, cabinet/wall seams, etc. Be a detective...if you can slip a quarter in the crack (by thickness), a roach can slip into it. It's a lot of cauking. Just use a tube or 2 a day/week/whatever, and eventually you'll get there. Don't rush it...do it right. If done right, you'll not have to redo the job down the road. Also, you're better off removing molding at the bottoms of the walls, cauking the wall/floor cracks, then reinstalling the molding.

Now...in the case of "waterbugs" a.k.a. Oriental cockroaches... you see them usually in areas like garages, basements, kitchens and sinks...places with drains. After you cauk these areas you limit pathways. Don't forget to unscrew basement and garage floor drain covers and liberally sprinkle in some boric acid powder. Then screw the cover back on. Make sure you don't spill any that pets or kids can get to.

For other roaches...especially the German cockroaches... you need to go postal. Visualize being a roach. No...I'm not daft. you need to think about where a roach could go, and how one might get a meal. Look at places you've never thought about. First, seal ALL foodstuffs in plastic/metal/glass containers. Make sure no food is smeared on the outside. A little smudge is a meal. Clean out the condensation/drip tray under your fridge. Clean out the crumbs that fall in your regular oven and ESPECIALLY the toaster oven. Want another check? Wait until night time, get a flashlight, and shine it UNDER your toaster while you look under it with eyes at cabinet level. Each of those little crumbs is a meal. Meals translates to health translates to breeding...and these guys breed QUICKLY. Females carry around an egg case on their abdomen. When the eggs are ready to hatch inside, she deposits them in a crack, under an overhang, etc. Shortly, the case will split and out come the newborn. Roaches are VERY well adapted to hiding and eating. They've been known even to feed on soap scum when nothing else was available.

A few drops of sugar water or other suitable food on a kitchen counter and surprise raids pulled on the baited roaches can also be successful. however you can not be bashful. Learn the open handed slap technique or you'll kill few that way. They're FAST. Remember...you can wash your hands immediately thereafter...but each roach you nail is one less breeder.

Now...the best for last... an old professor of mine showed me the gallon jar traps. I still use them to survey roach problems. You basically get a 1 gallon wide-mouthed jar (like the ones pickles come in). Get some vaseline and smear a thin coating about 2 inches high starting .5 inches above just where the shoulder meets the vertical wall and down about 1.5 inches. Stay with me...it's not as weird as it sounds. Then...go eat a bananna...or two. Place the peels in a flat layer on the bottom of the jar. Bananna peels give off ethylene gas (among others) and smell sweet. ...just like a big wad of roach candy. So...place the jar behind your stove/fridge/against a basement/garage wall. Roaches pick up the scent...crawl up the wall and/or glass...jump in from the lip, and fall inside. Once there...they stay there. The little claws on their feet can't get any traction on the vasile layer. So even if the jar maybe has enough dust to allow traction, they get to the vaseline band on the inside of the jar and can't get across it. You can get a good idea of populations with these. Use multiples. The other good thing is that after a week or two (shorter time period if you have a lot), bring some water to heat on the stove. Don't let it boil. You don't want to have it break the glass jar. Then squirt in a healthy squirt of dishwashing liquid. You pour the hot water/soapy mix in the jar. The soap prevents the waxy layer from keeping the bugs afloat and help the water get into their spiracles (breathing holes). Let it sit a while...then let it sit a while longer (in case you underestimate the time needed for actual death). Once done, you can flush them and the soap, sans peels, down the toilet. Cheap and effective. Remember...in order for all this to work, you need to seal the living quarters as mentioned before. you'll never totally stop them (they can walk...come in on a bag...etc)...but you can make it extremely difficult for them to be able to persist if a couple get in. Also, DO NOT use the traps where kids/pets will or can mess with them.

Anyway, I've seen places with so many roaches they walked around brazenly by day. They were treated as above and after a while, none were left.

I'm going to post about fruit flies next...

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