For a while now we’ve had cockroaches in our house! And I wanted to write up my experiences in case we ever get them again.

The Wikipedia article is pretty good and has been very helpful. My experiences are given below.

Finding them

It started ages ago when I found one in the bath. I then found another, and then we had little baby ones crawling around the bathroom floor at night. We eventually got rid of them from the bathroom but then we started finding them in the kitchen (downstairs) and the hallway of our house.

Finding them is not always easy as they only seem to come out at night. So, you don’t necessarily know you’ve got them until too late. We eventually got rid of ours when we opened the back door late at night and found lots of them scurrying around on the patio. So if you think you have some living nearby, it’s a good idea to go scouting with a torch late at night. Of course, if they’re inside then they’re very good at hiding and you’ll just have to wait until they come out, or get caught somewhere with slippery walls that they can’t escape.

Living with them

They’re pretty harmless, and they don’t like people or light so they’re very scared of you and tend to run away. They’re not aggressive or dnagerous at all, though they can be dirty and spread disease (apparently).

We’ve read that they like warmth and moisture (hence initially finding them in our bathroom). They also like food and we’ve read that recent research has shown that they leave trails of faeces around so that they can follow each other to the food.

We seemed to find that this was the case. We were cleaning the floor of our kitchen a lot but still getting them coming into the kitchen. So, we started cleaning the hallway and other downstairs areas too, that lead from outside doors to the kitchen, and this seemed to reduce their presence in the kitchen.

Dealing with them

As just mentioned, cleanliness helps. Roaches are omnivorous so will eat whatever’s around. Keeping floors clean – not just around where you’re finding them, but generally, and especially near entrances, seems to help.

Roaches are quite easy to catch, but hard to kill. I, personally, don’t like killing big insects…I can do the small ones, but stomping on a 3cm-long, crusty cockroach feels too much like really killing something. Plus, we’re told that they carry their eggs around so, if you do stomp on them, you often just release the eggs and end up with more of a problem than you started with (though this is probably an urban myth). Dropping them down drains in the road got rid of them but didn’t kill them. The most effective non-crunchy method was drowning – catch them in a glass or tub, tip them into the loo and flush. Some of them float, but these can be sent down by placing some toilet paper on top of the roach to make sure it gets dragged down.

In terms of catching them…we did come across a thing called a “Vegas Roach Trap“, which seemed like a good, organic way to catch the beasties. Sadly, despite use of the finest coffee grounds on several occasions, we never caught any this way. Though, this, and other similar methods, are cited in many places.

We ended up going to B&Q and buying some “Ant and Crawling Insect Killer”. This is a bait spray. The cockroaches find it, eat it and it attacks their nervous system. This usually means that they go into spasm, flip onto their backs, and then can’t get up again. It doesn’t take effect immediately, and you won’t get any joy spraying it AT a roach, but if you put it down they’ll find it and eat it. You find them in the morning dead, or mostly dead, ready to be caught and flushed down the loo!

The ultimate plan is thus…

  1. Eradicate them from inside the house: use bait spray (it could take weeks or months to get rid of them)
  2. Stop them coming into the house: again, use bait spray – around doors and entrances to catch them as they come in from outside.
  3. Take the fight to them outside:
  • go out at night and find where they are
  • spray the insecticide bait down outside
  • go to sleep
  • wake up, take your jar or tub outside, and collect up the half-dead critters
  • flush them away!

We successfully removed them from our house, stopped them coming inside and then caught 14 in one day outside doing this and we’ve hardly seen any since!!!

Other interesting facts

Funny what you find when researching these things. Some people are very interested in roaches. Some even seem to keep them as pets!!! One man who knows far too much about them has a Cockroach FAQ which answers more questions than I could think of, from “What are cockroaches good for?” to “What would cockroach vision be like?”