August 15, 2017 3:04 PM   Subscribe

Is this is a cockroach? (And what do I do?)

So we set out electronic mice traps to handle the mice in the basement of our new to us 1970s brick row house, and when I checked one today I found this. Photo 1, Photo 2, Photo 3 It's a cockroach, right? It doesn't quite match photos of typical Ontario cockroaches, but... WHAT DO I DO? (You may recall that my last question was about a carpenter ant that I found upstairs...homeownership is a miracle but exhausting and nerve-wracking omg)
posted by stray to Home & Garden (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Yes, that's a roach. What you do depends on how freaked out your are. You sound freaked out.

So, to most effectively and quickly de-roach your house:
1) Clean up your kitchen, get the crumbs behind your fridge and stove and whatever
2) Vacuum carpets and sweep floor everywhere
3) Place a "no food outside of kitchen" rule
4) Take out trash every night, or keep it in a sealed container
5) Kill roaches when you see them.
6) Place roach poison at strategic locations, repeat as needed, perhaps applying every few days for the first week of a bad infestation. I like this semi-pro level stuff. Can be squirted in to cracks, placed on paper (I use junk mail) and put in cupboards, pantry, corners, door areas, etc. Make sure to hit basement, crawl space, attic, etc. If you have pets or small children, put the poison in small boxes with holes. That's the idea behind "roach motel" products, but in practice, that poison dries out and looses allure/effectiveness quickly, and also the holes are a bit tight for a full-sized adult roach to fit in to unless they really want to.

I don't like roaches of course, but they are like rain where I live: always a potential irritant, no big deal, deal with it. So I just work on steps 5/6 as needed.

It sounds like you don't have a bad infestation, so I think you'll be fine!
posted by SaltySalticid at 3:35 PM on August 15, 2017 [3 favorites]

Looks like an Oriental Cockroach.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 3:52 PM on August 15, 2017

I also live in Ontario and have occasionally seen these monsters. Take comfort that I've never seen them as a home infestation- when I've found them it's been just one for like a year and I've assumed they came in with something that had recently been on a shipping dock. It might be a loner. Let's hope so
posted by pseudostrabismus at 4:01 PM on August 15, 2017

"Loner" roaches, sadly, are not a thing.

But, on the plus side, de-roaching your home is absolutely doable, as long as you don't live in a tropical climate or near some kind of source (as in, like, an actual landfill or something) that will cause you to be re-infested later. Like SaltySalticid says, it's primarily a matter of cleanliness. Remove as much clutter as you can, clean up as much as you can (and establish a regular cleaning schedule, if you don't have one), and lay down poison wherever you think they might be hanging out.

My place had a pretty severe infestation at one point, a combination of having recently moved from Florida and some bad decisions about our bird cages (using crumbly litter instead of newspapers and putting their cages out on our enclosed porch -- technically indoors, but pretty humid compared to the rest of the house). But we completely eliminated the infestation by following the steps that SaltySalticid gave you. Haven't seen a single one here in years.

Poison-wise, what worked for us was a combination of those bait traps and a lot of diatomaceous earth in various nooks and crannies where we thought the roaches might be hiding or passing through. I think we might have used some of the gel, too, but only in places where we could be totally sure that our dogs couldn't reach it. The diatomaceous earth is harmless to mammals, so it can go just about anywhere.
posted by tobascodagama at 4:27 PM on August 15, 2017 [2 favorites]

Inspect your house for leaks! They may be primarily attracted by moisture, not food!

You would be surprised how sneaky and hard to find leaks can be. Consult a professional if you are unsure, plumbers are ace at this.
posted by jbenben at 7:26 PM on August 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

Have you ever considered a cat?
posted by slkinsey at 7:55 PM on August 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

Loner roaches DO happen in my experience, so unless you see at least one more I wouldn't worry. Also, that doesn't look like the roaches native to the USA (though I'm not an entomologist), so again I wouldn't worry. But SaltySalticid's advice is excellent so follow it anyway.
posted by anadem at 8:36 PM on August 15, 2017

Yeah, "Oriental" cockroaches like this really are often loners. They're gross, but mostly just lost rather than looking to colonize. They want moisture. They like basements. Sometimes I find them nibbling the peanut butter on the mousetraps.

Don't panic. Put out some boric acid or roach poison, but meh, don't panic.
posted by desuetude at 10:48 PM on August 15, 2017 [2 favorites]

While generally speaking there are no "loner" roaches, it is entirely possible for you to only SEE one or two roaches because they are scouting from somewhere nearby. We live in a super-old urban apartment building, which I am sure is home to just untold numbers of roaches. But we see perhaps 1 or 2 roaches per year.

We basically follow SaltySalticid's method but go light on the poison because of a real dumb cat; we only use poison in exterior areas or cabinets we can close off.

Also: when we see one, it's almost always after another unit has been renovated, or the super has been messing around with stuff in the basement, or a nearby building has been demolished. When their regular hiding spots get disturbed they tend to scatter and get lost. So if there's any kind of construction or renovation near you, that could be why you're finding this guy.

nthing don't panic!
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 8:26 AM on August 16, 2017 [1 favorite]

Thanks so much all. We put down some borax/boric acid and sugar traps, and some diatomaceous earth. Haven't seen another one yet.
posted by stray at 8:09 PM on September 22, 2017 [1 favorite]

« Older Can you help me think of ambient sounds to sample...   |   Hiking in the alps in September Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.