November 16, 2010 6:52 PM   Subscribe

Please help me leave my six-legged roommates behind.

I have cockroaches. Long story short, I learned from the exterminator that my unit (in a building which is already kind of gross) had the worst roach infestation in the whole building, once upon a time. Naturally, the property manager neglected to tell me before I moved in.

They are firmly established in the building and, rather than having the exterminator go to every unit at one time, the property manager only sends him to the ones who complain. As a result, the roaches are never taken care of. I am extremely paranoid about taking them with me when I move at the end of December. I have seen this post, and I have Borax and Raid ready. I plan to get rid of anything I can do without/replace. My plan is to spray the inside of the boxes with Raid, and sprinkle Borax in the bottom and between layers of items. The exterminator was just here, and he squirted some kind of goo into my cupboards and in several nooks and crannies.

Is there anything else I can do? I know there's no magical solution for getting rid of the little bastards (they appear to be German cockroaches, if that makes any difference), but I desperately want to leave them behind when I move. My partner has two bookshelves full of books, and we have several game consoles that we would really hate to throw out. We also have two cats, so we have to be careful about spraying and putting chemicals on the floor.

Any help you can provide would be much appreciated!!
posted by wo to Grab Bag (12 answers total)
Put your things in resealable bins like tupperware. Roaches can't chew through these.
posted by pickypicky at 6:57 PM on November 16, 2010

Don't worry about it too much. Cockroaches like food, they like water, and they like places to hide.

If you have kept your place clean, chances are the roaches that are there have wandered in by accident. Now, if you haven't been vacuuming, have not thrown out the trash, have not washed your dishes and cleaned the kitchen sink each night, if you have left bottles and recycling around, if there are piles of paper and clutter about for them to hide in, etc., then that is why you have roaches.

Anyway, it's pretty unlikely you will take roaches with you. You need to be careful with your television and electronics. Beyond that, pack your stuff in boxes and tape them shut. Pack your clothes in suitcases and zip them shut. Keep clothes/books/sheets separate from food.

It's possible that some roaches may hitch a ride with you to your new place - they may hatch from an egg or something. It's no big deal because in order to reproduce they will need something to eat. If there is nothing to eat, no water to drink, and nowhere dusty and damp to hide, they will stop reproducing.

If you're worried about brining roaches with you in your game console or tv, simply buy some roach motel glue traps. Leave them behind the television, by your front door (try to cover the roach motel up, because roaches are attracted to places where they can hide). Put one behind the toilet, another under the sink, and one in the crack between the fridge and the counter.

The glue traps are great because they always catch roaches if there are any roaches. If there are no roaches in your glue trap, you won't have any.

But relax.
posted by KokuRyu at 7:09 PM on November 16, 2010

To tag on to pickypicky's comment: do not use any cardboard boxes which have been sitting in your current place for moving to your new place. Cardboard's a roach haven.
posted by deludingmyself at 7:11 PM on November 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

Food-grade diatomaceous earth is safe for your pets. It's not a magic solution of course, but sprinkle it wherever the roaches might walk and any roach that walks through it will be dead in a couple of days. At least that's the claim. I don't know how well it works on roaches, but my silverfish were gone in a couple of weeks.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 7:12 PM on November 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

Previously. I will reiterate what I said there: go for the Combat roach traps. The ones which are black, round, and flat. These work remarkably well, in my experience.
posted by UrineSoakedRube at 7:12 PM on November 16, 2010 [2 favorites]

I live in Texas, in a past life I worked in an apartment complex, you wouldn't believe how infested places can get with food out and/or garbage -- whoa! And they can go from unit to unit, too, if you've a neighbor that's not the cleanest you can have trouble too, as you've found out.

IF WE HAD TIME: I don't remember what they're called, these little plastic thingies which the roaches wander inside and eat of The Nectar Of Roach Death that is inside of them, it's not instant satisfaction of Raid or those glue traps where you get to see them and gloat, instead they disappear and croak on their own, a sad, lonesome death, and no one left to visit them as they are dying because all the roaches in the place are also dying; takes a week till you don't see anymore at all, maybe ten days. Combat? Are they called that? Little plastic disk-type things, come like ten to a pack, put them in kitchen and bath cabinets and slide them under fridge and stove and dishwasher, they keep killing forever and ever it seems, or maybe roaches just look and see you've got them and haul butt to another locale.

Put some of these out in your current place and put some in your new place before you even move in, or ask the owner to do it for you if you don't have access until move-in day.

Good luck.
posted by dancestoblue at 7:35 PM on November 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

Ah, urinesoakedrube beat me to it......
posted by dancestoblue at 7:37 PM on November 16, 2010

The only surefire way that I know of is to put everything into a storage place in between moves... i.e.; furniture, electronics, etc.... and then bomb the hell out of your storage unit 3-4 times every 4-5 days, along with setting traps, using poisoned bait paste, etc etc. Prepping all of your boxes as you mentioned is a must as well. I have made a few moves and no matter what I did, I always ended up finding a few after the move. The last time I moved, I did this and none followed me. Impractical for a few weeks, but if you can get by with just your mattress (not your box spring), clothes and other basic living essentials for a few weeks, this is the way to go.
posted by peewinkle at 5:17 AM on November 17, 2010

If you have a dishwasher, run it every night rather than waiting for it to get full. Wipe down your counters and make sure all your food is in the refrigerator or airtight containers.
posted by electroboy at 7:21 AM on November 17, 2010 [1 favorite]

Data point: I recently left a yucky roachy apartment. The only real problem was in the kitchen (where there were also flour moths). I cleaned every kitchen thing before packing. Everything else in the place (including a lot of books that were nowhere near the kitchen), I just packed normally. I haven't discovered any roaches since leaving.
posted by the_blizz at 8:52 AM on November 17, 2010

Pest control tech here. I recommend you call a pro. Have him treat your old place and the new place before you bring all your stuff over. The little suckers are tricky and they like to hide in TVs Video game consoles and radios. Ask around for anybody with a good experience with one of the local companies. It can be a crap-shoot with the bigger companies. One of the smaller companies can probably give you a deal. If that's too expensive for you, you try renting a box truck and fogging it with all your stuff. The regular foggers don't get in the nooks as good as the ones where you add a little water to start a chemical reaction. I can't think of the brand name of those at the moment though.
posted by ambulocetus at 4:04 PM on November 17, 2010

OMG I hate those little fuckers. We just moved out of a similar situation. Looking back, I can't believe I dealt with them that long.

My fiance did a lot of the cleaning/moving, and I know that there were some things that he had to throw out because they were totally infested. Mostly in the kitchen, such as a hook-rack thingie we had on the wall. He tried to clean *Everything* as he packed. Just be warned for the grossness.

A few of them did manage to hitch a ride to the new place. Our new landlord gave us this stuff called MaxForce FC which is apparently the only thing that kills them. We smeared some in the kitchen and bathroom, and I haven't seem 'em since. Just make sure you don't put it where the cats will be able to lick it or step on it.

If you do indeed have German cockroaches (I call them Nazis, and really, they did occupy our apartment!), you have to be really diligent. They're not like your regular run-of-the mill roaches that you see scuttle by once in a while. Regular roaches only come inside occasionally - the Nazi roaches will actually live inside your house. Ugh.
posted by radioamy at 4:07 PM on November 17, 2010 [1 favorite]

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