No More Roaches




Posted in HomePest-control

Introduction: No More Roaches

About: I love to stay home as much as as I love to travel, I've been to 49 states (missing Alaska) and 31 countries. I have two wiener dogs now and a cat. We all live together in a house in the woods. With no roaches.

I have wanted to write this Instructable for a long time but could not bear the thought of a photo of a roach. I found a plastic one; problem solved. I think you get the idea from that sentence that I am just a little bit, somewhat, sort of, come to think of it, mildly, TERRIFIED of roaches. This is the story of how I got rid of the roaches in my home and they have stayed gone for 10 months now after just the initial treatment.

Update: By the time I moved from this home described here, the roaches stayed gone for 6 years, I baited one more time inbetween. It is important to click the button right under the title that says '8 Steps' or you will think that this 'ible is only one step long - it is 8 steps long. Be sure to read all of the steps before asking questions. Other questions you might have, might be answered in the comment section. Which is not to say not to ask questions, please by all means do so if you need to.

Step 1: What You Will Need

Boric acid powder*
Karo syrup - you may substitute honey, maple syrup, pancake syrup or make a simple syrup of sugar and water.
Rice flour - you may substitute any flour you have on hand.
1 Popsicle stick
1 Mixing bowl

Amounts as follows:
2 parts Boric acid
1 part flour - any kind of flour is fine: white, whole wheat, rice, etc.
Enough Karo syrup, or what ever sweetener you choose, to make a peanut butter-ish consistency mixture

Important note: Boric acid powder is not something you want to inhale, get into your eyes or swallow so mix this up outside. Wear a dust mask until it is mixed up. It has no odor.

For a 2800 square foot home with 4 bathrooms, I mixed 2 cups of boric acid with 1 cup rice powder (any flour will do) and about 3/4 cup of Karo syrup. I used a plastic bowl to mix in and stuck the bowl and left over bait up into the attic/crawl space when I was done baiting. If you don't get finished baiting in one day put the bowl into the fridge, covered, and it will stay workable for another day or two.

*(Sometimes available in hardware stores in the US as "Roach Prufe" (this was the only way I was able to buy it, the canister is 98% boric acid and 2% blue coloring). Also, commenter ScottP6 says he was able to buy boric acid on Amazon for $7 for a pound. That is enough to share with neighbors and friends for years. Any boric acid that you find will be fine though, just make sure it is mostly boric acid.

Step 2: What My Kitchen Used to Look Like

For every roach you see there are probably 100 hiding in the walls. If you see a roach in the daytime it means you have such an infestation that they are crowding each other out of their hiding places. Did I say gross?

Step 3: What My Kitchen Looks Like Now

No more roaches!

Step 4: Once Upon a Time....

About 16 years ago I rented a house that was infested with roaches, I called an exterminator who declared it was the worst infestation he had ever seen (in case you don't want to take my word). His company used a bait that had the consistency of peanut butter and he put a little dab of it behind all the drawers (out of reach of pets or children), under the sinks on the pipes coming out from the wall, and he even took off all the outlet and switch plate covers to put the bait inside the walls.

It was a miracle, I never saw a roach again. In that house.

When I moved I used the same service and the same guy (let's call him John because that was his name) did the same thing, but this time is was a new house that I had bought. Once a year John would come back and do the same thing and in 14 years I never saw a you know what. Alive that is. Once in a while there would be a dead one. Back then I had a husband so the dead ones were not so much a problem.

Step 5: Then.....

The husband left, I had to move and buy a new house and guess what? I took John with me, but this time John wasn't using the bait. In fact I was calling John every week for help with the roaches. My new house was new to me but really very old, and it had a lot of roaches. A week would not go by when I did not see one or two or .... more. It was so bad I could not get out of bed at night and turn on a light for fear of what I would see. I implored John to use his magic peanut butter but he just told me "we don't do that anymore". What was a poor girl to do?

The Internet to the rescue!

Step 6: And This Is What I Found Out!

The magic peanut butter that John's company had been using was so successful that clients started canceling their contracts. Oh. Gosh why hadn't I thought of that - who's going to hire a pest control company if they don't have pests. John wasn't using the stuff that WORKED because if he did his company wouldn't have any business.

It has been 10 months since I ended my contract with the pest control company and I baited my house with my home made poison, and (drum roll please) I have found one dead roach in all that time.

Step 7: How and Where to Use It

Using the popsicle stick, put a dab of the bait where roaches like to go - up high and near water. They also like to live in your home's walls so undo all of your switch plate covers and outlet covers and smear some on the back of the outlet cover itself. The bait is not sticky so I find it easier to put it in areas where it can sit so it won't fall off. After it dries out it becomes hard and stuck to where you stuck it.

Roaches like to bring food back to their colony and when they bring this food back it will kill lots and lots of roaches, roaches who never even scurried over to your house. This is disgusting but even if he's a greedy roach and just eats and does not share with his buds, when he poops back at the colony and his buds eat that poop they will die.

It took me most of a day to go all around my home looking for out-of-the-way places to place the bait, undoing all the switch plate covers took the longest. Pulling out the drawers in the kitchen was really easy because most of the time you can access the back of the drawer from the cabinet underneath. At my former house it used to take a crew of 2 guys, 4 hours to do the whole house.

The most important places are the pipes coming into your home either for your sinks or you washing machine and dishwasher. Attics and crawl spaces are prime roach habitat. Roaches have no bones so they can slip through the smallest sliver of space. It's gross.

Step 8: Why This Works

Boric acid powder is a proven roach killer, what I am presenting here is a way to get the roaches attracted to it (sweet smelling Karo syrup) and to eat it (flour and Karo syrup). Making it into a paste enables you to place it in areas where powder alone would not stay.

I read a lot of information online 10 months ago to come up with this solution but aside from the boric acid powder it's not an exact science - I think peanut butter mixed with boric acid powder would work just as well. The thing that really got me really interested is when I read industry information about folks canceling their pest control service because the baiting method was so effective. I made up the recipe based on common sense, what I read, and what I had in the cupboard. The proof is my roach free house. It's a huge relief and I wanted to share.

2015 Update: It's been 6 years since I wrote this and I would like to add an especially helpful comment by NorEaster. There are over 900 comments at this point and they are very helpful, so here is this one, know that NorEaster's comment is about German roaches, which are a whole different bug game:

NorEaster to jules0803
Hope I can help with this. I moved to Hawaii 2 months ago and have already seen more roaches here than I've even seen in all my life (zero). I spend all my days planning and preparing for my escape off this infested island when military orders are up in 3yrs. So far this is my list:

(1) Get many, I mean A FRKN TON of airtight plastic storage bins (ZipLoc weathertight is a brand), it may end up costing, but its the way to go since roaches love to hide & lay eggs in the flaps & weaving of cardboard boxes.

(2) Tiny roaches will live & breed in the motors of appliances so toss them in plastic/garbage bags & store in freezer for a couple days before the move to freeze the life out of them!

(3) wash all your clothes, curtains & bed linens on the hottest setting (without damaging) and IMMEDIATELY move them from dryer into plastic bins so roaches wont have time to attach & hitch a ride.

(4) Those efficient little devils can feed off of the GLUE in your book bindings so throw all your office supplies, magazines, tampons, diapers, etc into the sealed bins with a roach bait station in every bin to feed & kill them & DONT open the bins for a few weeks, so that any placed eggs can hatch, feed & die also.

(5) Do a thorough cleaning of the new place before your stuff arrives, behind fridge & oven, etc then bring your stuff over & shake everything off outside! I know you'll worry what the neighbors think but at least they will see that you obviously are not comfortable living in filth & are taking measures to avoid another such situation. Wipe down & inspect everything before stocking shelves & cabinets & rewash all the linens again for good measure. I wish you luck & cant wait to do this myself in the roach-deterring snowy weather of NewEngland!

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4 Questions

Does this boric acid paste last more than a couple of years? I made this and it work very effectively from May 15 to April 18.

I feel like I already answered you but your question is showing up like I did not. Sorry if this is late - I have some paste in my fridge that is 2 or 3 years old now, I assume it's still good. It can become very rock hard or stay gummy. The stuff around my house varies with the temp.

1 more answer

Isn't a couple of years long enough?


the roaches we see inside of our house seems to come from outside during warm weather. I bought boric acid to make the bait, but now I am wondering if the bait actually bring more from outside? is that possible?

That is a common thought but roaches act together like a bee hive. When the poison starts to kill them they tell their buddies not to go to that house/area. Some have reported seeing more but that is just a normal activity because they are looking for a new place to move to.

I live in a 600 sq foot apartment and the downstairs tenant moved out leaving behind a roach infestation. For three months now I have been spraying Bengal roach spray and so has the new tenants downstairs. Still I have roaches. I have noticed that they seem to be coming mostly from the ceiling. I ran across your web page and have spent the weekend doing a deep clean on my apartment. I mixed up the borax, flour, a syrup and placed it in all the places you stated. I put a pretty good size bowl up in the attic or crawl space. I am truly hoping this takes care of the problem, because spraying surely is not working and I have had about enough of these nasty nasty bugs. However could you please tell me about how long will it take for me to see improvement and do I stop praying the Bengal Bug Spray?

Borax is not boric acid powder. Normally you will see results in a day - especially with the hard work you did, unfortunately you used the wrong product.

i live in 1 bedroom 1000sq ft apartment in Dubai, when i shifted here i did not see any roaches recently i saw few, and in last 1 month i see on an average 1-2 daily. I brought insecticide sprays, but that's not a permanent solution, later I bumped into your blog and decided to make the bait, however i couldn't find boric acid powder, so i used regular insecticide powder, which works really well when you spread it in the corners. So I used it generously in bait, I used gram flour, honey and sugar to make it sweet. But it doesn't seem to work at all. I noticed that flour dried the very next day, the consistency of bait was exactly the same as mentioned by you. But not sure what I did that was not correct. I will try to find boric acid powder so far its not available in bigger supermarkets so probably some local groceries have it. Also can you suggest how to keep the bait soft for longer maybe for a week or so?

You can put it in the fridge to keep indefinitely. The once you place the bait it will become hard or soft depending on the temperature. In the US grocery stores do not carry boric acid powder. Were the roaches attracted to what you made? Is does matter if it is hard or soft, only that the roaches want to eat it. The powder that you used may have been something else though. Make sure to follow all of the steps.


First, thank you for not posting a picture of a real roach :)
I'm an upcycler of old furniture people throw out. So far, I've been so lucky, but yesterday I got a "new" piece of furniture.
I didn't pick it up myself so I was unable to inspect it. The people that brought it to my house didn't think it was a problem that the China cabinet has a roach infestation. We've sprayed, fogged, lysoled, bleached and those suckers still keep coming out. We've made the paste before and it worked wonders, but they weren't the German kind. It's such a beautiful vintage cabinet, I hate to get rid of it, is there any hope?

1 reply

In short - nope. I could tell you about an air conditioner I once got for free, I could tell you all about what I did, what I tried how I even wrapped it in plastic in the sun for a week, in the end it was still full of live roaches. I gave up. You should too. But you won't and in the end you will wish you had, but you will have a story to tell like my air conditioner.

Made this just now. Dollar general sells 100% Boric Acid 1lb for $2.85. Basically 2:1 BA to flour, added corn syrup and kept stirring until it was really thick. If it was two thin, added small amounts of boric acid until it was stiff. I stirred this mess with a knife, also doubles as an applicator in all the right places.

I'm going to all out war against this things, they destroyed 2 tvs and a playstation, and are in all of the outlets/switchboxes. It's a mess. I will post results soon.

5 replies

OMG! 2 TV's and a playstation? Unreal.

Plus a cable box. What a nasty freaking mess!

A cable box? - I wish you were kidding.

Nope. Went upstairs today... found cockroaches all over this other cable box. Raid to the immediate rescue before they totally killed it. Sprayed behind 50" tv too. They killed one of those last month in another bedroom. It's disgusting. It's a fight to the death here.

You will see an improvement within 24 hours. Don't get frustrated if you don't see a total loss of roaches right away - you must do all the steps and your neighbor downstairs probably should as well if you think that there is easy access for the roaches to get into both places. Maybe offer to help as it is a pretty big job even with small apartments - check your warm places especially such as game consoles and anything that stays warm by being plugged in. You want to get rid of as many as possible to start with. What about doing a fogging on both places at the same time? Keep in touch.

They are spraying downstairs, and did foggers. Since doing the process you show, It seems I have more roaches on my floors. Most of them a so tiny they look like newly hatched bugs. Nothing coming from ceiling and nothing in kitchen, but my floor are crawling with them at night. I did all my baseboards, outlets, everything. I am about to scream this is just a nightmare.

The only place I am seeing bug are on my floors, Most of the bugs I am seeing are newly hatched bugs, they are so tiny. I did all the baseboards, all around the rooms. My floor is the ceiling of the downstairs apartment, and they laughed when I told them what I was doing and how well it has worked in my house. I am seeing nothing coming from my ceiling, kitchen cabinets, sink or stove area. Nothing nowhere except on the floor. Like I stated they all seem to be newly hatched bugs. very few large bugs

Thanks for sharing your knowledge. My son moved to a large city and rents a room in a roach infested apartment. He decided to break his lease and is moving to a new place next weekend. Yesterday I helped him shake out and bag up most of his clothing, books and portable piano. We placed everything in plastic bags and addad a Hot Shot roach poison station in each bag. Also threw his mattress into a bed bug covering and checked his bed frame with a fine tooth comb. My question is this: When we get to his new place, I started thinking of putting paste all over his apartment in case we don't end up doing a thorough job, but then I am thinking that, what if we did do a good job and his neighbors in the new place have roaches, and we put bait out could that attract something that wasn't there. Can you tell me what you might do in this situation?? Thank you!

2 replies

I think that baiting any place you move into is a super good idea. Roaches live in the walls and from my years of experience on this 'ible I have read sad stories from people who move into spic and span places only to find them infested - behind the fridge is a popular place. If your son has a game thing like a playstation type thing, it is surely infested. The roaches loves the warmth and the easy entrance. I read recently that over 50% of those things that come in for service are infested.

But more to address your question - you won't attract roaches by baiting if none live there to begin with. Don't even worry about that. Roaches can live on fingernail clippings in a sealed jar for 3 years so putting out bait is not going to lure them to your son's place. Only diligence will keep the monsters away, bait, don't use cardboard, store as much stuff in the freezer as possible such as grains and bag everything else in ziplocks or tupperware style containers.

You are a brave mom to have helped him shake everything, ugh it gives me the creeps, I don't think I could do that for my son. So yes, bait, bait, bait now while everything is easy to access.

Thank you!!! I will do that. Yes, it is giving me the creeps for sure, but it's also a selfish move on my part to help, sometimes he comes for an overnight visit and well, need I say more! Stay well and bug free :)

Hi I have been following this thread for awhile now and reading all of the comments. I moved into my apartment about a year ago. I never saw a roach until last October... my boyfriends sisters apartment is infested with them and we watched her puppy for a few days and she left the dog food in my pantry while I was at work. I immediately dumped Food grade DE as soon as I got home from work thinking I would be safe. But sure enough, about a week later I found a German cockroach on my bathroom floor. It looked like it was in the process of molting because it was a whitish color and not very big, however grossed me out! That day I went and bought the boric acid. I did not have a lot of money at the time so I used what I had in my pantry. I mixed it with flour, peanut butter and simple syrup. I placed it everywhere. Switch plates, behind pictures, door frames, pipes under bathroom/ kitchen sinks. I also did a deep cleaning in all cabinets and behind my stove and fridge and bleached my entire house pretty much. I was not able to buy the spray foam as I did not have a lot of money. My dad gave me some caulking and I tried my best to seal what I could, however it was super hard to squeez out. There is still a huge hole under my sink. So I let it go and two months later I found a small one on my window sill behind my bed that was flipped on it’s back and appeared to be dying. I feel as though the bait has worked but maybe because I did not spray foam is why I saw one? I am going out to buy the spray foam this weekend and I am going to touch up the bait as well. I’m so stressed out and literally losing sleep because of it. If anyone has any other tips on getting rid of German cockroaches let me know. I want to live in peace without one popping up in my face every few months. I was also given a can of gentrol IGR(insect growth regulator) it basically is like birth control for insects. It comes in an aerosol can. Does anyone know if this is okay to use along with the bait? Thank you for making this post. It really gives me hope that I can win the war on these things.

2 replies

I think finding an occasional dead roach is to be expected and while not exactly welcome it is better than finding the alternative. You did the right thing with the DE and might it not be a good idea to turn your boyfriend's sister on to this 'ible? I also want to address the spray foam - yes it's a good idea especially under the sink as roaches love love love water, but even when you do this I believe you will still find the errant roach that makes his or her way in and then will die before he or she gets back to the 'colony' to tell his buddies that your place is now off limits. It's just going to happen and you shouldn't blame yourself or the method. It takes time and the fear lives on a lot longer than it should but one day this will all be a distant memory.

Obviously I would not spray it into the outlets.

I'm embarrassingly terrified of cockroaches and we've been having an infestation of huge australian roaches the past few months, so I'm going to try this out after a top-to-bottom clean of the house! After some googling, I've found that other people have recommended putting onions and bacon grease into the mixture to make it even more tempting to the little buggers. I'm going to try putting a chopped onion in the blender to really pulp it up, before mixing it into the paste.

1 reply

Why mess with success? It takes hours to bait your whole house, why would you potentially waste your time with something like raw smelly onions?