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Ew. This is not the type of roach I thought you'd be passing.
August 7, 2008 2:58 PM   Subscribe

Joe's-Apartment-Filter: Advice and anecdotes on how to best roach-bomb our place? I'm moving and want to obliterate these monsters!

    We’re moving! After two years of terrible management, university take-over, neighbors predisposed to frat parties, and a slew of other issues, I have finally reached the end of my lease. Praise be! Very recently, I’ve discovered yet another reason why this move is so opportune: roaches. I’ve had the good fortune to have never before lived in a place with roaches. So, when I tell you that one recently crawled over my foot while I was in the bathroom (shudder), you’ll understand that I'm absolutely horrified. Horrified and disgusted and just EW YUCK WTF GROSS GET THE HELL OUTTA MY HOUSE OMG.

    As I’m so totally new to this (horrifying) game, I don’t know where to start when it comes to extermination and prevention. I’ve already bought roach traps, and set them up in various places, and have already reduced the number of roaches encountered to maybe one every two weeks. BUT! I really, really, really, really, reaaaaaaaaaaally don’t want to transport any of these beast during the move and inadvertently introduce them into our shiny new abode.

    Based on advice culled from previous AskMe’s (one, two), I’ve decided that roach bombing our apartment is our best bet for complete roach annihilation. I’m inclined to go with the Raid Fogger, as it’s widely available and not too pricey. I have already purchased a big box of Borax, and have sprinkled it in various spots throughout our current apartment. But this is not enough to soothe my mind and quell my fears that they are still lingering just behind the bookcase, or in the couch, or wherever. I want not to live in fear. I want peace of mind. But most of all, I want to kill with extreme prejudice. So here’s the part where you offer all of your anecdotes and sagely advice!
    1. Do these bombs/foggers actually work?
    2. If I use these foggers, do I need to activate one in each room of our apartment?
    3. How toxic is this stuff? Is it dangerous to humans? (e.g. if there is residue left from it, and it gets on my hands and I rub my eye or pick my teeth, is there a potential for harm?)
    4. What stuff should I move before initiating the fogging mechanism? (Flatware? Kitchen utensils? Sealed food? Electronic equipment? Specific textiles?)
    5. Will food left in the fridge be safe for consumption after the fogging?
    6. How long should we wait after activation to return into the apartment? (Raid suggests 3 hours, but that seems rather short. Is it?)
    Is there anything that I've overlooked? If so, please feel free to supply me with that advice, too. Thank you (seriously).

    posted by numinous to Home & Garden (9 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
     
    As one who used to live in Florida, let me tell you you'd do better to use roach paste. They will take it back to their nest and get rid of the ones you don't see, plus you won't get poison all over your stuff.

    Go ahead and treat your new place while you are at it. This stuff works. When NOTHING ELSE we'd tried did.
    posted by konolia at 3:38 PM on August 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


    A few roaches in your current apartment will not turn into an infestation in your new apartment.

    Every time I've had to quash an aspiring infestation, it could be tied to corrugated cardboard boxes having been brought in from someone else's contaminated apartment.
    posted by StickyCarpet at 3:47 PM on August 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


    Boric acid, there's a commercial product called Roach Prufe, though plain boric acid will work. Nothing else will permanently solve the problem.
    posted by tesseract420 at 3:48 PM on August 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


    Having moved from a roach-infested place to a nicer one when in college (more than once; college towns seem to be notorious for roach infestations), here are a couple things I learned:

    1) The most insidious hiding places for roaches that move with you are paper bags and boxes. They like glue, I've been told. They CAN move from place to place, and while they may not be a big infestation in the short run, if untreated they can become a big infestation.
    2) I found one hiding place for roaches that I ended up not being able to salvage, and I just threw it away. That was a bamboo steamer. Good thing I didn't use it while I was living there.
    3) I had a roommate I was moving in with to the new place who was fanatic about me cleaning all my stuff to prevent roach entry into the new place. (That's how I found out about the bamboo steamer). She wanted me to microwave my sister's wedding bouquet (I caught it and dried it) to try to kill any hiding roaches. The bouquet -- and the microwave -- caught on fire. When I opened the smoldering microwave, a live cockroach strolled out.

    Given 1), how do you keep the infestation from happening in the new place? Unpack the boxes as soon as you can and get rid of them as soon as you do. In the garbage. Outside. Far from the house. And, to be safe, maybe look up Konolia's roach paste. (What IS roach paste, Konolia? Never saw it before.)
    posted by lleachie at 3:49 PM on August 7, 2008


    tesseract420- Worth noting that Boric Acid won't do squat if the air is too humid
    posted by meta_eli at 3:55 PM on August 7, 2008


    One place you might want to check is the microwave. I have been unfortunate enough to live in two apartments with infestations and both times the little fuckers took up residence in the microwave. You can try disassembling it and see what falls out (ew) but if there's any sign of them moving in, it's just easier to throw it out, go to the pawn shop and buy a new one. You will also want to check any plastic bags you're moving with you, as roaches love those.

    But re: foggers, yes they do work. If there's a really bad infestation (which it sounds like you don't have) you might need to do it twice. There should be a square footage on the fogger package. If it's a small abode, one will be enough. You'll want to make sure any pets are out of the apartment (including fish, I think) when you are and flatware and dishes are out of the way. Food in the fridge will be fine. Three hours is enough, as you're basically setting off a big pile of aerosolized poison in your apartment. You'll want to air out the place longer than RAID says is necessary, as that stuff smells nasty.
    posted by calistasm at 4:08 PM on August 7, 2008


    Roach paste is on the shelf next to the foggers and roach motels. It comes in tubes (hence, paste.) I have seen it at Home Depot, fwiw.
    posted by konolia at 4:12 PM on August 7, 2008


    1. Do these bombs/foggers actually work?

    Sort of. They don't completely get rid of an infestation, but they're a nice "pause" button and will halt a small uprising from getting any bigger. I've used them in the last two apartments I've used and have had acceptable results. (Still roaches sometimes, but few and far between.)

    Never used roach paste, but it doesn't hurt to try. Roach motels are useless. Don't forget to also patch up any holes in walls or elsewhere that you think the roaches might be getting through.

    2. If I use these foggers, do I need to activate one in each room of our apartment?

    It depends on the layout of your apartment. The back of bug bomb packages will give you advice on how much area the aerosol covers. I used three for a long one-bedroom apartment (one in living room kitchenette, one in the enclosed bedroom, one in the hallway facing the bathroom. This was more than enough.)

    3. How toxic is this stuff? Is it dangerous to humans? (e.g. if there is residue left from it, and it gets on my hands and I rub my eye or pick my teeth, is there a potential for harm?)

    It's dangerous to us, yes, but you can take minute amounts of it without getting sick. (I accidentally sprayed myself IN THE FACE with one once and was fine.)

    4. What stuff should I move before initiating the fogging mechanism? (Flatware? Kitchen utensils? Sealed food? Electronic equipment? Specific textiles?)

    Cover everything in this order: everything you use to eat or bathe with, electronics, furniture, then everything else. You don't want to get this stuff on your dishes, food, and toiletries. Covering electronics is for their own good, not really yours, and everything else is just being safe. You could feasibly get away with not covering anything without any ill effects EXCEPT food/dishes/etc.

    5. Will food left in the fridge be safe for consumption after the fogging?

    Yep.

    6. How long should we wait after activation to return into the apartment? (Raid suggests 3 hours, but that seems rather short. Is it?)

    No, that's true. The cans only take a few minutes to empty themselves. (The extra hours are to give the poison time to wend its way everywhere possible.) You'll want to get in at the three hour mark anyway to air the place out.

    If you have a gas stove, make sure the pilot light is off or not exposed. Don't use the stove for a time before or after bombing the place.
    posted by greenland at 5:57 PM on August 7, 2008


    I grew up in Houston and have much experience with roaches. Little, big, crawling and flying. The ONLY thing I've ever found to work was Bengal roach spray. Get a can or two and spray around baseboards, under sinks, along the top of the walls, wherever. In about 15 minutes they will start coming out of the woodwork and dying. A sweet, victorious death.
    posted by PossumCupCake at 6:42 PM on August 7, 2008 [3 favorites]


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