Things You'll Need
Don't be discouraged if your first attempt isn't successful. Cockroaches are hardy creatures. It may take several different approaches to get rid of them.
Not only are cockroaches unpleasant to encounter, they are also hard to get rid of. Fortunately, they are harmless and therefore pose no immediate danger. But wouldn't it be nice to wake up in the morning and find they've all disappeared?
Waking up refreshed and cockroach free
Before going to bed, make sure there are no crumbs of any sort left out. Cockroaches only hang around places that are moist and where they can find food. If you get into a bed in a spotless and dry house, you're already doing a big part in tackling your cockroach problem.
You're not going to starve the cockroaches out in a night--in fact, they can go up to a month without food or water. If you find this overwhelmingly discouraging, and you've been seeing a lot of roaches around lately, you might want to call an exterminator.
If you're determined to get on with the exterminating yourself, set an overnight trap: a bowl with steep sides, some petroleum jelly and a little bait (coffee grounds work great). Make a little paper ramp up to the top of the bowl with the grounds and petroleum jelly inside. Them check in the morning to see if you've caught anything. You can also fill the bowl with water and drown the cockroach if you don't have petroleum jelly.
If this is working, try setting a few traps and continuing for a few nights. If you've taken the other necessary precautions--sealing up entryways, such as pipes and holes and keeping a spotless kitchen--you should see a noticeable difference in roach quantity. Cockroaches are fast breeders, so you might need to keep up the attack for up to two weeks.
Aside from buying any of the various gels, sprays and other roach-killing products on the market today, another overnight approach is dusting with boric powder, flour and cocoa powder (use in a ratio of 4:2:1, respectively).
This is not as toxic as many insecticides, and the cockroaches end up dragging it home and feeding it to their families, which is good news for you and bad for them. Apply the dusty mixture to cupboards, cracks in the walls, vents--anywhere you suspect cockroaches are coming from. Make sure to keep pets away until the next morning when you clean it up.
Once again, you may have to repeat this procedure several times within a few weeks to really scale back the cockroach population.
Ariel Phillips is an editor and writer living in Portland, Ore. He has written for "n+1 Journal" and "The Rumpus Magazine," among others. He maintains an interest in a variety of subjects, including art, culture, the environment, media, the sciences and sports. He earned bachelor's degrees in art and philosophy from the University of California, Santa Barbara.