A Roach-Free Apartment (for at least one night)
December 7, 2011 8:20 PM   Subscribe

Help! I'm having a large-ish Christmas party in three days and my apartment's roach problem has unfortunately gotten worse. I'm currently freaking out. What can I do to minimize the chance of a cockroach popping out and grossing out my friends and coworkers this Saturday?

My apartment's cockroach problem has gotten noticeably worse over the past few weeks. Unfortunately, this coincides with a rather large holiday party that I'm throwing this Saturday (in exactly three days).

I was using Combat Roach Gel to great effect, but threw out all of the strips I recently laid down when cleaning for the party. The next day I started seeing roaches again and I'm freaking out that, despite my fervent cleaning, they may come out during my party this weekend and cause me great embarrassment.

Tonight I saw four (three in the kitchen and one on the hallway).

Is there anything I can do to ensure that they'll stay put in their dark lairs for at least one night? I have a tub of Roach Prufe that I just sprinkled around my kitchen, but I fear that it may not start working quickly enough. Should I just blanket my kitchen floor with it and then vacuum it up before the party?
posted by wondrous strange snow to Home & Garden (8 answers total)
They're probably coming inside because of the cold. The various powders and gels are not an immediate fix; indeed, keeping your apartment spotless and free of clutter and dust (even behind the couch or the fridge) is key.

In the short term, why not try glue traps? Put one in your entry hall area, and others under the sink, between the fridge and the wall, under the couch, in your bedroom, in drawers, where you keep your trash...

Fundamentally, the best thing you can do is remove and all clutter from the floor, including piles of clothes, magazines, paper, whatever. And wash your dishes. And keep food in the fridge. And keep things dry. And close windows.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:29 PM on December 7, 2011

Go to one of the big box stores and get some "inside" pest control spray. Odorless. Spray every baseboard along the floor. It does not stain but it does keep bugs away. Even spiders.
posted by JayRwv at 8:37 PM on December 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

Seal the ways that they're getting from their dark lairs to inside your place. If you want to be as roach free as humanly possible do the following: Seal all the cracks along your baseboards. Seal any cracks in the walls and ceiling and around electrical fixtures and inside and around cupboards. Make sure your windows shut tightly with no openings. If there's a gap between the bottom of your doors and the floor get a rubber thing to stick on the bottom that will fill the gap. Look at all the different places water gets into your place (pipes, drains, around the tub, around your sinks) and seal up anything that's larger than the width of a sheet of paper. Get screen covers for all your drains.

It won't matter as much if your building is infested, even if the walls are full of them which they probably are, if they can't get from inside the walls to actually inside your place.

Then the killing of what's already in your place. If I were you I would check under all your sinks, inside all the cupboards, and I would check inside all the appliances (fridge, toaster, dishwasher), maybe even take the backs off of them and check inside their inner workings. Clear up all clutter, especially piles of papers. Clean up any food and trash.

After that I would coat the perimeter of all the rooms with boric acid.

This sounds like a ton of work, but it takes maybe a couple hours.
posted by cairdeas at 9:17 PM on December 7, 2011 [2 favorites]

One thing I forgot to add is to completely seal around all your cupboards where they meet the wall, so that there is absolutely no gap between the cupboards and the wall. If you're mainly seeing roaches in the kitchen I would bet a bunch that you have a lot of them back behind there, unless the gap is big enough that you can actually see into it to check.
posted by cairdeas at 9:36 PM on December 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

Yeah, I was wondering how they were actually getting into your place. We've just returned to my MIL's house in Japan, which has been unoccupied for 6 months (and hasn't really be occupied for about 3 years). So, there's no food to eat and no reason for the little buggers to be here.

Anyway, while searching for some scissors in a kitchen drawer the other day, a roach fell out on the floor - it had been hiding under the drawer (we don't use the kitchen storage space, no fucking way). It would have crawled in their from the wall behind the cupboard after we started using the gas range, and after we started heating the place - it's winter here.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:53 PM on December 7, 2011

Keep everything as dry as possible - wipe your sinks and counters down. Don't leave wet rags around, and take your garbage and food scraps out every day. That, and seal your cracks with steel wool and use this mixture. And yes, check their hidey-holes. When I worked at an auction house, we'd never bring toasters or kitchen electronics in to sell, because that's where they'd hide.
posted by peagood at 7:14 AM on December 8, 2011

I would use a fogger; it makes roaches run from the poisonous fumes for those that aren't killed immediately by the fumes. This is the best way to ensure no roach party guests. That along with spraying baseboards, under sinks, under fridge, under stove. Make sure cabinets and drawers are all open. Depending on the layout of your house, you may need a couple of canisters (kitchen/living room and one in the hallway near bathroom with bedroom doors open).

I would do this a day or two before the party. Here is safety info that is important to follow - don't over do it, leave immediately and make sure you air things out afterwards. Foggers are not effective long term but would work well for your needs - roaches that don't die flee and can/will return.
posted by shoesietart at 7:15 AM on December 8, 2011

After following the suggestions above (which are very good), there's a few things you can do on the day of the party which will help. Roaches don't like light. When you get up in the morning, turn on every single light in your apartment, whether you need them or not. If it has a bulb, turn it on. Even if you want darker "mood" lighting in the other parts of the house, keep the lights on bright in the kitchen (or other places you see the roaches), no matter what. In the bathroom, put a piece of tape on the light switch to keep people from turning it off -- tell people you have a short in the fixture and your landlord will be replacing it after the holidays, and for now it's better if the light just stays on. If you have a small desk lamp or portable electric lantern (not kerosene!), take the shade off it, put the brightest bulb you have in it, stick it into whatever cabinet you see them in the most (maybe under the sink?) turn it on, and shut the door.

Do whatever you can before the party to set things up so that you won't have to open drawers or cabinets very often. Before the party starts, get out all the tools you will need during the party (bottle openers, glasses, ice tongs, plates, etc.) before the party starts and lay them out neatly. You can even make little signs to keep your guests out of your cabinets and to make it look more festive and less ad hoc.
posted by OrangeDisk at 1:54 PM on December 8, 2011

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