No More Roaches





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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11 days ago

I used this after we evicted tenants out of our rental house. I've never seen as many roaches in one place! My in-laws used to live in the house and they had some roaches and tried exterminators and every other thing. After they passed, we rented the house out. When we went in to clean up from the tenants roaches were falling off the ceiling! It was a horrid infestation. I made this paste and put it with a plastic knife behind cabinets, in closets, drawers and small dabs inside the corners of electrical outlets. Under the sink, behind ever appliance that we could reach. It was a few days before we went back to the house and the numbers of roaches had been drastically reduced. I would say within a month we never saw another roach. This also worked great on some fire ants in the yard. I got 100% boric acid at the dollar tree and just mixed it with the cheapest flour and syrup I could find. It works great! Thank you so much for posting this recipe! You can stick it in places that kids and pets can't reach like on the backside of drawers. The peanut butter consistency helps hold it in place. It may not work overnight, but rest assured that it will work! BTW the roaches were 'german cockroaches' very nasty little fellers!

1 reply

Thank you for taking the time to write - what a terrible experience! The ceiling really got to me. Gross.

May I ask what kind of roaches did you have? I’d definitely follow all the steps but want to make sure this work for the roaches (oriental, according to pest control guy) we have in our home. Thank you very much!!!

3 replies

Oh dear, I don't know. They were the giant ones that live in Florida and also South Carolina. I just don't want to go look at a photo of an 'oriental' to find out - but I think roaches are roaches and I do think this will work anyway.

Wow how amazing you are still replying this post, and thank for for doing that! Me as well have serious phobia for this monster and wouldn’t dare to look at any pic of real roaches, on internet, or on the package ( I’ll have my husband double tape the image on the package before handing it to me). To add some information here, I talked to my mom who lives in Taiwan ( where we have giant flying you know what) about what I read about your article, she totally agreed with it. She used to make the baits by using boric acid+ milk powder+ onion+ water and maybe some other sweetener, but in the form of cookie crumbles instead of paste, and just toss it around everywhere along the wall, in the bathroom, behind the stove, laundry machine, etc those commonly high traffic area. And she said for one application would lead at least two years of roach free good days. So I guess this formula ( which is basically the same with yours here ) really do the magic. She doesn’t apply this in the wall because we have different house structure back there so they don’t really get to live in the wall (they are not hollow). Anyway for anyone who is suffering from this and looking for solution, pls do give this a try. Luckily mom mom is visiting us for summer so I have an experienced helper to do the work! Thanks again!!!

You made me laugh, yes, this used to be a sort of part time job answering questions and listening to people and trying to be understanding. Instructables has changed many times over the years and sometime questions slip by and I don't know about them, it makes me sad that I miss some. I like your mom's idea - it's a good one for places that dogs and kids can't access. I like the idea of milk powder very much. You are not the first to mention onions. If only we all did this and could rid the world of these gross creatures I'm sure possums could find something else to eat. Thank you and your mom!

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.

4 more answers

Someone said the paste turns to a powder and it is useless - that is not true at all. It can become hard or sticky depending on the weather but it will never become a powder. Roaches eat anything and everything so it really doesn't matter if the paste is fresh or not.

If the paste lasts for a year then it isn't working. The bugs aren't interested in eating it at that point. The paste should have been eaten by that point or it will become a power which is still effective but no point to have it.

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.

Isn't a couple of years long enough?

Thanks for the recipe and instructions!

Wikipedia on boric acid toxicology:

Based on mammalian median lethal dose (LD50)
rating of 2,660 mg/kg body mass, boric acid is only poisonous if taken
internally or inhaled in large quantities. The Fourteenth Edition of the
Merck Index indicates that the LD50
of boric acid is 5.14 g/kg for oral dosages given to rats, and that 5
to 20 g/kg has produced death in adult humans. For comparison's sake,
the LD50 of salt is reported to be 3.75 g/kg in rats according to the Merck Index. According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry,
"The minimal lethal dose of ingested boron (as boric acid) was reported
to be 2–3 g in infants, 5–6 g in children, and 15–20 g in adults. However, a review of 784 human poisonings with boric acid (10–88 g)
reported no fatalities, with 88% of cases being asymptomatic."

Long-term exposure to boric acid may be of more concern, causing
kidney damage and eventually kidney failure. Although
it does not appear to be carcinogenic, studies in dogs have reported testicular atrophy after exposure to 32 mg/kg bw/day for 90 days. This level is far lower than the LD50.

Saw a trap on here and I thought this would work. You can put the paste in a toilet paper roll and put it where you need to. Figure that could work without having to buy traps

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.


Question 3 months ago

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?

1 more answer

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.

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.

2 replies

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

Plus a cable box. What a nasty freaking mess!