Roach Infested House - GROSS!

mboston_gwApril 10, 2008

My son and daughter in law purchased their first home recently. They knew there was a roach problem but certainly not to the extent that it is. Of course it has been treated by pest control once already and will be again today. And I have spent the last 5 days sucking live and dead ones up with the vacuum. We had to take the doors off the cabinets and the hinges too to clean off the excrement. They were also nesting in the tracks of the blinds.

My question is - my son and DIL have to be out of their apartment by the 15th. We suggested they not put anything in the house until a week after the treatment today. But my son wants to go ahead and start moving in. I am scared that they will regret it, that it will just allow the infestation to start up again.

We have seen a decrease over the last few days and we know that the treatments have a knockdown time but it takes a week or so to tell just how affective it will be.

They are just so pushed for time. We have suggested putting everything sealed in the garage and waiting a week before actually moving stuff in. Another factor is my DIL is 5 months pregnant. My son is also painting so she can't really be in there anyway. I don't think they are actually going to live there but just want to move furniture in.

What would you do?

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I would call the company that did the pest control treatment and get their advice.

I would call the apartment manangement and beg to be allowed to stay another month.

I would find out what chemicals were used in the extermination and check them for their effect on pregnant women.

And as a future grandmother, I would be checking my bankbook to see if there were any way I could swing putting the kids up for a month in an extended stay hotel.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2008 at 7:59AM
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I hope you are changing the bags on the vacuum everytime because the vac is going to stink!

    Bookmark   April 10, 2008 at 9:43AM
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Well, the guy came back today and said that it was about 85% better than last week so I guess all the Room to Room sucking up of the live and dead ones helped some. He sprayed, put stuff in the light switch places (all were uncovered so he could get to it), and put out about 8 bombs in the house. He didn't put the gel bait stuff around the cabinets and basebords like I wanted cause he said if we were painting them we would cover it up and it would be ineffective. We can do it after all the painting is done.

He said the chemicals won't hurt my DIL or the baby.
We cancelled the cleaning people till next week so that the spray stuff will have longer to work.
My DIL is refusing to put anything in the house and says she won't stay there even if my son does!

Their apartment has been rented already. We have offered 2 bedrooms with a bath between them for them to stay in and her parents actually have a Mother In Law Suite with kitchette. So other than having to store their stuff or move it twice, they have options.

The pest guy said it would be okay to put everything in the garage if the boxes are sealed. He sprayed it and set a bomb off in there. There were very few in the garage to begin with. Ha! They had the whole house to live in!

The family that lived in the house were renters with 3 kids. They all slept on mattresses on the floors, including the parents. No dressers, no furniture other than a horrible sofa. But every bedroom had a TV, computer, X-Box, and lots of toys. I don't know how people can get their priorities so screwed up!

    Bookmark   April 10, 2008 at 11:39AM
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I know what you mean about gross renters. When I was a renter, I kept my place clean, and when I moved out I got everything out and even swept the floors. My sister was a lousy renter. My mother inheirited a house, and let my sister and her DH live there for several years. My sister let her 3 dogs use the basement as a toilet. Yucko!

    Bookmark   April 10, 2008 at 1:50PM
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An inexpensive and fairly non-toxic treatment for roach and ant control is boric acid. It is widely available at drug stores,etc.

"Boric acid is one of the most effective cockroach control agents ever developed provided that it is used correctly."

Here is a link that might be useful: cockroach elimination guide - U. of Ky. Ag. Ext.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2008 at 6:50AM
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I just learn method you can try it and let us know how it work for you.

Say good riddance to roaches
There's no delicate way to manage this problem. Make a mixture that is 50 percent plaster of Paris and 50 percent cornstarch. Spread this in the crevices where roaches appear. It's a killer recipe.

My husband and I just bought our first home and honey I am going to be using this that is if I see them or not.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2008 at 3:48PM
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I lived near the Extension Service/CoOp and they had many courses in gardening, lawns,, and pests. After noon lectures maybe three days in a row for the longest. I went through some of their courses, one of them was a three day home 'bugs'.

The instructor, a humorous gent who had all kinds of stories from his life in the military as an entomologist(bug man). And afterwords working for the state of Florida as some kind of university bug specialist.
Lots of his story's included Mole Cricket bait. One of his favorites.

Anyhow he recommends mole cricket bait for homeowners, lightly sprinkled around the outside perimeter of the house here in florida... said the roaches will actually leave the house to nibble on it. Said do that once per month and you don't need a pesticide service.

I went home one day and spread it outside, and under bushes everywhere, and lightly evenly around the back lawn.

Then next day my wife was so embarrassed that someone might come by that she was out there mowing / bagging all the feet to the heavens cockroach's. They were all over the lawn and patio. It was a most Amazing amount of dead cockroaches - We didn't seem to have a roach problem, until then.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2008 at 6:53PM
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We have a townhouse and at one point a single man rented the home attached to us- we started getting roaches in our bedroom.
I used borax washing powder-sprinkled it all around the baseboards. I then put a box at his front door with a note letting him know since his arrival we had roaches. He came and apologized- he admitted to leaving food in his bedroom and that he put down the borax.
Within a few days no roaches- never saw them again and thankfully clean neighbors moved in shortly after.

There is no way I would move any of my possessions into a home that had an issue with roaches. I don't care how well those boxes are sealed, those nasty buggers can fit in tight spaces.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2008 at 11:59PM
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At our business several years ago we had pest control service but still had those pesty little german roaches. We didn't leave any food out anywhere. The pest guy said they will even eat the glue used on paper bags we had and they can be found next to the warm motor or small bulbs in appliances. One morning when I first arrived I noticed a roach running on a shelf where an employee had his radio from home plugged in. I unscrewed the back and there they were all next to the warm parts. I quickly put the radio in a plastic bag and sprayed the entire radio. End of our problem. After the employee cleaned it the radio still worked.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2008 at 2:27AM
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Thanks everyone. We will try the stuff outside to see if that helps. These are German ones, not what the natives here in Florida call Palmetto bugs.

Last Sunday afternoon, it got really cloudy so we turned on the lights in the kitchen. After a few minutes, they started coming out of the recessed lighting fixtures! Luckily we had the vac handy and a tall ladder so we sucked them up.

I haven't been in the house since Thursday. We had a family emergency and have been at the hospital ever since that evening. I went by today but the pest control guy locked the deadbolt and we don't have a key for it. I have to wait to get the garage door opener before I can go in. I am anxious to see if they are better or worse without my vacumming each day the live ones and dead ones.

The guy told us to not do anything till Sat. anyway so guess it isn't that ig of a deal. At least I hope.

Due to this emergency, my son and daughter got a weeks extension on their apartment so even though they might not be gone, they didn't move in this past weekend.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2008 at 4:49PM
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I feel your pain! 30 years ago while living an an apartment I had roaches! I was in shock as there was no food in my kitchen just the kitchen sutff. I was so paranoid I took everything out of the boxes and put it in Tupperware in the front walk in closet and what I was not sure of I put it into a small chest freezer. There was not a thing in the original package from the store. Low and behold every time I opened the dishwasher there would be a roach or along the lip where the gasket was. I was in shock. Back in those days we used paper bags from the market. Roaches like paper and glue. They lay their eggs in the wharehouses and you just bring them in at that time if you used to keep them in the day years back. This is the same thing for the cardboard boxes. My infestation was from a couple which had rented a furnished rental apartment just beneath me. This was a high end place and they were paying $1,800 30 years ago. I was in a unfurnished rental and that was $841 and that was high that many years ago. The couple had come up from FL for the summer to visit the kids and I watched them bring box after box in from their car and the the movers came and brought more stuff in. They left the next day for WI. Then the roaches started! After 2 weeks I could no longer stand this. I went down to the manager as I was in the main building and she told me that I must be mistaken as I could never had roaches. This was back in the days when the freeze dry hair spary first came out. I froze them on my counter and then threw them on her desk. I used to do her hair in my kitchen every Friday as 6 AM so she knew how I lived. She used to show my place as to what it could be as it was much better than what they were showing in the models. The roaches came from the couple from FL as they were Palmetto Bugs! The manager denied this as he was a retired CEO from XXX and they had $$$. I made her take the Master keys and go into the place. The minute you turned on the kitchen light they scattered and the ceiling was once again white. They came up the common drain and nested between the top of the DW and the counter top. The owner of this complex lived on my floor and I told him about this. He had an exterminator come from FL. I think they were called Bugs Berger? Burger? (SP) I have never seen anything like this done but they were just great! It was a pain as the came once a month for 3 months. I had to empty all of the kitchen cabinets, the vanities, and the medicine cabinets. They had drilled holes in the walls so they could spray the killer. It worked! I was bug free for the next 3 years until I moved out.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2008 at 6:25PM
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mboston - is this house in Florida? We definitely do have bugs here.

The odd palm bug (cockroach on steroids - I've always referred to it as the Florida State "Bird") occasionally finds its way into my home, to the great delight of my cat. I've never had a problem with the German cockroaches in five years of living here, and I've yet to see the asian variety that is said to be in the Tampa area now. My understanding is that the asian roaches resemble the German type in terms of size and general appearance, but that they are attracted by the light instead of repelled by it. I've been lucky in this house; the ants are a constant battle, and I have had to clear out my pantry twice due to weevils but the roaches have never been an issue.

I have a rental property that I own in Tampa, however. It is a duplex. I find that if one tenant is careless with food storage and cleanup, both units will be infested no matter how meticulously clean the other tenant is.

If this house is a stand-alone, single-family dwelling, not a duplex, condo, townhouse, rowhouse or other type of dwelling that is attached to another building, then I think that you are well on the way to having the problem conquered. No one product will kill all of the life stages of the roach at one time, which is why a multi-pronged approach can be so effective - spray for contact killing, bombs to permeate the crevices, gel for them to track through, boric acid, etc.

If you haven't done so already, pull the refrigerator and stove out from the wall and cabinets and clean them and the cabinets on all sides. Disassemble the stove to the extent possible - pull out the burners and bowls, oven racks, etc and run it all through the dishwasher. Vacuum the refrigerator coils. If there is hardwood flooring, vacuum it to get every seam and crack clean. Maybe use a steam mop. I'd be tempted to roll up any carpet and throw it out.

I had a tenant who never would clean up cooking spills and splatters and wondered why no amount of spraying would control the roaches.

It really does sound like you are on the downhill side of the bug problem. When the sources of nourishment are gone - crumbs out of the carpet all food residue gone, the bugs will die or move on.

Good luck, take heart and congratulations on the new home for your son and his family!


    Bookmark   April 13, 2008 at 8:26PM
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Boric acid is also highly effective at controlling ants. A couple days I ago I noticed tiny ants in my kitchen,where I had left a little jelly on the countertop. I made a mixture of jelly and boric acid,as a bait,and put it on the window sill,where they were apparently coming in. I resisted the temptation to kill the ants,but left the boric acid be taken back to the nest. At first there were dozens (hundreds?) of tiny ants eating the bait;but,two days later they were all gone.

Here is a link that might be useful: How to Manage Pests - Univ. of Calif. IPM online

    Bookmark   April 14, 2008 at 11:08AM
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I have already done everything you suggested, Beatrice. I went in today- have stayed out since Thursday as we had a family emergency - and there were many more dead ones than alive ones. I am worried about the attic - the bug guy said it wouldn't help to bomb it - but my son had already done that after the bug guys first treatment.

Under the fridge was horrible last week when I cleaned. Today wan't so bad. Many of the ones I did see that were alive seemed to be on their last leg - they didn't run and sometimes fell off the wall. What was interesting is that I found many more dead ones in the second bath than ever before.

The kids didn't move in - not because of the roach problem but she lost the baby - not because of anything associated with the house - there had been a problem diagnosed several weeks before. So now they are to move this weekend. I still would like to see them wait to put stuff in the house but with all they have been through - I won't argue the point.

It is a single dwelling - none of the other neighors have problems with German Roaches. I am in hopes that one more treatment in a couple of weeks will help get it under control.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2008 at 9:16PM
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I honestly can't believe what I'm reading here. Do you have to accept this house? I'd get the health department in there and get out of the deal. All those nasty bugs and too many chemicals, it just doesn't sound safe or healthy. I wouldn't move any things into the house, they will infiltrate everything and move out with you to the next place when you decide you just can't hack it anymore.

Most importantly, would be pregnancy and raising children there, esp due to the chemicals. You don't know what was used on the place in the past either. Someone on one of the forums here said that all those pesticides outgas for decades to come. For example, furniture legs that get exposed. I had flea bombs done years ago, all my stuff in the house, and I shudder to think.

I was reading about non-toxic, homemade cleaning solutions recently -- we don't need all these potent chemicals. Also read that, similar to the Plaster of Paris and cornstarch recipe above, that a 1:1 mixture of confection sugar and baking soda will kill roaches. They love it and it's toxic to their systems, even though the strong poisons don't always get them and they become resistant.

Apparently those brown paper bags and cardboards from the supermarket bring them in. The brown food roaches just don't come in off the street. They love to hide and nestle in the dark spaces and nibble on the paper. Yum. I don't let anything like that into my house : )

    Bookmark   April 15, 2008 at 11:51PM
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I wouldn't just believe the pest control man when he said what he uses won't hurt the baby or your daughter. Of course he will say that. Find out actually what he used and look it up yourself.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2008 at 11:32PM
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mboston, so sorry to hear about the loss of the baby. Hope the house issue gets resolved for your family.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2008 at 12:30AM
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I'm so sorry to hear about the loss of your grandchild.

I live in the Tampa area which is roach haven. The most effective things I have found are combat baits and also boric acid. If you have the switch plates off, you could try squirting some boric acid into the walls. You can get a large syringe from any farm supply. If your children do not have any other youngsters, the baits are great. I throw one under the fridge and dishwasher and put them in any dark corners. Roaches eat this bait and carry it back to their nest where others are killed. Combat also makes a bait in a tube that is very effective, but a little more messy. Just put a thin line at all the doorways and roaches will not cross it. I, also, would be concerned about the sprays that pest control companies use.

I've also tried the jelly mixed with boric acid as a bait and I did not think that it was very effective.

Good luck

    Bookmark   April 17, 2008 at 1:42PM
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I haven't seen you post anything else on this. Have your son and DIL taken possession of the house? How did the extermination effort go?

I realize that I'm coming back to this way after the fact in time but I thought about what you said about the attic. Check the stove venting. If the stove has been venting into the attic (or leaking into the attic), there could be years of grease residue buildup there. If that's the case, I don't know how you'd get rid of the bugs until the food supply ran out.

I'm so sorry about the loss of your grandchild. This is a terrible loss.


    Bookmark   July 6, 2008 at 7:38PM
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I am also late coming to this thread. I am so sorry about the loss of your grandchild.

This roach problem happened to a friend of mine who owns a rental house. She had some horrible, nasty tenants. The exterminator had to go into the walls because the roaches had laid eggs there. The oven actually had to be replaced because it was so infested with them! It took months to make the place inhabitable. I hope your daughter's situation has been resolved.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2008 at 9:36AM
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I thought about coming back to this but with the loss of the baby - the house seemed less a problem. They had my neighbor who owns his own pest control business go in and with one treatment of putting down the bait, the roaches are gone. Whether or not it was cumulative affect or not, the bait seemed to be the answer. My son does need to have him come back for a follow up though as he didn't treat the garage as much as he wanted to as it was still full of their stuff. They actually didn't move in until mid May so by then the house had been empty almost 2 months. And when they did, they didn't bring in food for another couple of weeks. I was just in there on the 4th with no signs of roaches and believe me I looked!

They are being very careful with not leaving dishes out and taking out the trash. They have unpacked everything in the garage and not brought in the boxes. That is one reason it has taken so long to get moved in.

I HOPE the problem is gone for good. The house was only 4 years old and from what I was told the last tenant never cooked so I don't think it would be a problem in the attic.

BTW, the baby was due this week. Rough week for all of us.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2008 at 7:49PM
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Well, I'm glad that the bug problem is over, but I know what a hard time this must be for you. Sending warm thoughts your way.


    Bookmark   July 11, 2008 at 1:10PM
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When I was a renter I used boric acid under the fridge and in the bath and kitchen cabnets and never saw a roach. I had to reapply in about a year. Great and inexpensive.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2008 at 3:48PM
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mboston, I am very sad to hear your dil lost the baby. Personally, I don't believe the chemicals won't hurt pregnant women or their babies, and it would have infuriated me to hear the guy say such an inane thing. I'm not blaming the chemicals for the miscarriage, but I know they are very toxic.

When I was pregnant with my second son and dh and I were renting an apartment near Fort Benning, not far from Florida (he was in the military then), renters who had filthy living habits moved in above our apartment. They moved out a few months later without giving any notice and were gone a few weeks before the landlord realized it. In that period of time, their apartment became a roach haven - it was horrible. And of course when that apartment became empty, the roaches all came to live with us - YUCK!

I spent many evenings spraying and swatting them, then I began to feel sickly, was having problems breathing, was having nightmares about them, so I had to quit. At my next OB visit, the doctor told me NOT to be anywhere near any roach-killing chemicals.

The landlord ended up calling a professional exterminator (yes, he should have done that right away) and also put us up in another apartment until the roaches were gone. I think my doctor's written statement motivated him to do that, as I was still in my first trimester.

It seems the seller should bear some (the lion's share, actually) of the responsibility in this case. I would check into your local laws to see what can be done. You've already received great advice about how to kill the roaches.
I do hope this is resolved quickly.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2008 at 4:26AM
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For what it's worth I just saw a program on the nightly news about how a dead rat caused a roach infection into an otherwise clean house.

The problem started when a trap was put out in the crawl space above the ceiling and then just left there without checking each day to see if it had caught something.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2008 at 6:29AM
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