Last night, I got sucked into watching a few documentaries with overly dramatic titles about insects. I sat in awe for nearly three hours watching ants raise caterpillar larvae as their own, spiders weave thick squares of web to use in a tool-like fashion to capture their prey from the rain-forest floor, and mayflies and cicadas as they shed their skin and emerged from the water and dark underground to start the last and most brief part of their life.
Insects develop complex relationships, care for their young, and work as teams much as we do. When you see a spider or ant running across the floor, it’s likely that they have somewhere important to be in order to complete something that they set out to do that day, just as we run errands and have order in our daily lives. However, often when we see them, we treat their presence as an intrusion, and many people even resort to inhumane methods for dealing with these encounters.
Cockroaches probably bear the brunt of our negative reactions more heavily than most insects. While you certainly don’t want your living space to turn into a cockroach haven, there are humane and affordable methods for discouraging them. Inhumane poisons and traps will do nothing for long-term control and will have you spending more time and money than solving the problem once and for all in an effective and humane manner. With a little time, you can have your environment cockroach-free, and no one has to get hurt. The following is a strategy that I used a couple of years ago, and it worked perfectly.
First and foremost, you must work on prevention. Keep all dishes washed, take trash out frequently, and make sure that unrefrigerated companion animal food is tightly sealed and put away when your animal companion is not eating. Keep countertops wiped down with a vinegar-and-water solution, and sweep, mop, and vacuum regularly. Now for the actual cockroachproofing, you will need the following:
- Non-toxic white glue
- Caulking in either white or clear (available from hardware stores)
- Stoppers for all your drains that do not already have built-in stoppers
- Dried whole bay leaves
Start with one room at a time, and begin with places where you have seen cockroaches. Put stoppers in all your drains—sinks and bathtub?when not in use to prevent roaches from coming in via your drainpipes. Also be sure to repair leaky faucets and pipes, as roaches are attracted to water.
Seal up all gaps between floorboards, under counters, around sink plumbing and windowsills, and near fuse boxes. For larger gaps, use the caulking, and for smaller gaps, use the glue. This will take some time, but if you just work on it for a little while each day, you will have it finished in no time.
Add dried bay leaves to your kitchen drawers and cabinets, too, as they are a great natural repellent and will leave your kitchen smelling wonderful!
P.S. If after your cockroachproofing you find any little guys who got stuck inside, help them out and use something like this to humanely remove them from your living space.