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Is Your Home Fit for a Cockroach? Part 3 - "Keep Them Starved, Keep Them Parched"
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“Not another one!” I hear you say. I know it is not quite the stuff of ‘Lord of the Rings’ but there is so much to say about them. I also know from many readers’ emails that many of you are now looking at the cockroach in a very different light. Enemy it may be, but you have to admit to feeling a slight twinge of admiration for this resilient, devious and persistent little beast.
In our battle to finally ‘sort out’ our tough little friends we must first learn a kind of incantation:
“Keep them starved and keep them parched”, is the key phrase to chant – over and over again.

• Store food in tightly closed containers off the floor and away from walls, or keep it in the refrigerator. Rotate stock regularly and keep checking.
• Scour the kitchen. Clean the refrigerator; stove; cabinets; drawers; counters; floors; walls; corners; fixtures; and under the sink. Keep it clean!
• Empty and secure rubbish and recyclable waste every evening.
• Repair leaks. Seal gaps around pipes, tubs, and sinks. Keep the bathroom dry. Eliminate other "watering holes."
• Wash and dry dishes promptly. Wipe up spills and puddles.
• Don’t leave your pet’s food unattended.

Eliminate their shelter
• Remove clutter and debris both inside and outside.
• Secure loose counters, and splashboards.
• Check inside equipment and even motors – anywhere it’s warm and dark, such as clocks, televisions, stereos, radios and computers.
• Vacuum furniture and curtains.
• Seal gaps in cabinets and woodwork.
• Check, empty and clean bookshelves.

Prevent future invasions
• Close openings around pipes, vents, drains, registers, ducts and gaps around electrical cables.
• Fix cracks in walls inside and out, and floors.
• Tighten doors, windows and screens.
• Inspect bags, boxes, furniture and other items before bringing them into your home.
Why can’t I just spray?

Cockroaches are clever, very clever - they taste their food before eating it. They learn to avoid chemically treated surfaces. This habit limits the long-term effectiveness of some insecticides. The very bad news is that cockroach eggs are not affected by pesticides. Aerosol sprays can often make matters worse – it often make cockroaches scatter, so those that aren’t killed can return.

I received a message from Brian last week, who is marketing a very clever gadget, which is a microprocessor driven electronic pest repellent. It is designed to irritate the nervous system of all sorts or pests, including cockroaches, flies, mosquitoes and rodents. You plug it into a mains electrical socket and forget it. Brian tells me that it is perfectly safe to use in homes with dogs and cats, but not if you have a pet hamster, gerbil or guinea pig. I should add that I have not tried one, and would be very cautious about its use as I have a cat and dog to consider. I cannot speak for its effectiveness, but it sounds a good idea.

Make your home unfit for cockroaches, fix the problem at its source or you’ll be welcoming cockroaches again next year.
If you enjoyed this article, take a look at Barrie’s websites: and or read his latest book, ‘Footprints in the Sand’ (ISBN: 9780995602717). Available in paperback, as well as Kindle editions. Protection Status © Barrie Mahoney