I hate cockroaches. They were always around our house when I was little. You had to wack the roach with a shoe if you wanted to get rid of it. I wonder now if the reason was because my mum didn’t use toxic cockroach baits. The active ingredient is chlorpyrifos (an anticholinesterase compound). The packet says it should be kept away from sewers, drains and ponds. The Extension Toxicology Network says this is because it’s
very highly toxic to freshwater fish, aquatic invertebrates and estuarine and marine organisms.
When Ayesha the cat was younger she hunted and ate cockroaches, which was very kind of her. Since she grew up and progressed to larger prey, she refuses to stoop to roach killing.
I’ve used the toxic stuff since I moved out of my parents’ house, but I’ve been wanting to mend my ways. Jenn at Tiny Choices recommends
bottlecaps filled with a mixture of cornmeal and boric acid, and sometimes this works incredibly well.
Saturday 15 Dec: I first tried borax, mixed with rolled oats in a jar lid. I chose oats because they were in my kitchen. It was 3 months since I put down the chlorpyrifos bait, so they were due for replacement. I hadn’t seen any cockroaches inside.
Saturday 29 Dec: Working well. I see cockroaches outside sometimes, but never any inside (not even dead ones). I’m not sure when I should replace my new bait, perhaps when I next see a roach.
Saturday 12 Jan: I found a small (1cm long) roach in the house, moving very slowly. I’m guessing it was so slow because it was dying – borax at work.
The roaches I see outside are native Australian black cockroaches of the Blattidae family. They are one of about 400 species of Australian cockroach. As long as they stay outside I don’t mind them. They feed on leaf litter, thus are not disease carriers. The ones (that used to be) in my house are American cockroaches (Periplaneta americana) and I can’t stand them.
photo credit: Chinese cockroach on Flickr by Mira Steinzor