Welcome to the particularly squirm-worthy sixth installment of a series of special “spring purge” posts. The topic? Environmentally dubious household items that you might want to take a second look at while tackling spring cleaning duties. And when I say “take a second look at,” I mean you should reconsider using and/or replace with a more eco-sensible alternative.
There's no doubt that the bugs themselves elicit stronger "I need this out of my house now" responses than the chemical-based commercial solutions meant to eradicate them. But remember that the very product you use to poison cockroaches can also poison you. To those who have ever crawled trembling into bed amongst the hissing of roaches, clutching a can of Raid: I feel your pain. But this spring, I challenge you to purge roach-killin' insecticides from your home and opt for less toxic solutions.
There are plenty of less toxic ways to annihilate and/or repel roaches — including good ol’ Black Flag Roach Motels where "roaches check in, but they don't check out" — than resorting to kitty-killing, water-polluting chemicals in a can. These methods — a few notables ones are listed below — may not offer immediate results or be as convenient as chemical insecticides, but you'll be left with peace of mind that you're not inadvertently poisoning your family, pets and Mother Nature.
- Borax/boric acid and sugar: Applying a mixture of borax (the poison) and sugar (the bait) to roach-infested hotspots is an economical, eco-friendly and effective solution. Chances are, you might already have borax around the house for natural cleaning and laundering purposes. But take heed: Borax isn’t completely nontoxic, and should be used with caution in homes with young children and pets.
- Geckos: Yes, geckos. If you’ve always wanted a pet reptile, set a gecko or two loose in your house and watch your roach nightmare disappear. After they’ve done their job, you’ll need to provide a habitat and food for your new lizard.
- Bay leaves
- Diatomaceous earth
- Baking soda and sugar
- Roach balls
- Take preventive measures: Avoid roach infestations by keeping a clean and tidy house. Don’t leave food out, keep your fridge and oven spic 'n' span, vacuum and sweep frequently, take out the trash, fix leaky faucets, seal cracks in walls and baseboards, and don’t leave watery messes since roaches need water to survive. Although it’s geared toward kids, the EPA offers a pretty nifty roach prevention guide.
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