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5 Ways to Kill Cockroaches on the Cheap

Updated: Apr 11, 2022 18:30
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“What is…? Kill it! Wait, is it dragging my tennis racket?!”

Growing up, I’d never seen a cockroach. When I moved to NYC, a few fellows warned of these critters, telling fables about the roaches flying, eating through concrete…and dragging tennis rackets.

I’d snicker.

I don’t snicker anymore.

After a few months here, I’ve entered full-blown insect warfare, trying everything short of carpet-bombing the suckers—insect Dresden has crossed my mind. Foot combat proved ineffective. Weaponry, like a day-old Times, proved messy. And modern tactics, like boric acid and caulk, proved oddly ineffective to roaches but strangely damaging to my cat (Winston’s fine, by the way).

With the assistance of childhood adages, here are proven and cheap alternatives to insecticide and exterminators. Plus, all of these ingredients can be found in your cupboards.

*As a warning, these tactics won’t stop an infestation, but they’ll easily eliminate the occasional outbreak—similar to combatting eighth grade acne.

  1. “Sticks and stones may break its bones, but boiling water finishes the job.” I’ve bludgeoned, beaten, and battered them with my Louisville Slugger, only to watch it return to fight—pointers up—like the a boxer before the knockout blow. Solution: Boil water. Splash water onto the roach. Watch it sizzle away, saving you time, effort, and a bat cleaning.
  2. “Sugar is sweet but sweeter with…baking soda.” Due to arson’s, generally, damaging qualities, I’ll focus on the importance of baking soda. Cockroaches love sugar but are deathly allergic to baking soda. Mixing a bowl of half water and half baking soda is enough to lure the roach and instantly destroy it.
  3. “Trap it in a crack, and then break its back.” I understand these tactics veer on violent and cruel, but, as someone who’s struggled with cockroaches for a few months, all compassion has evaporated. Take a jar and lubricate the insides with some Vaseline or petroleum jelly. Fill the jar with a sugary beverage—I prefer grape Kool Aid or stale PBR. The Kool Aid charms the roach, and, once inside of the jar, it’s stuck because of the lubricated walls. Next, squash the bugger with a paper towel.
  4. “Liar, liar, set ‘em on fire.” Female cockroaches can produce three-hundred to four-hundred offspring in its lifetime…and do this asexually! While I’m convinced carpet-bombing is the only sure-fire way to eliminate the enemy, a simple candy-coated candle will do the trick. Use a sugary-scented candle or douse the interior with a Pixy Stick, set it aflame, and watch the roaches jump into Hell.
  5. “Treat roaches the way you’d like to be treated—if you bombarded a stranger’s apartment, jumped on their face as they slept, and defecated on the dinner table.” I’m not advising you to defecate on a roach’s dinner table, but bleach it for them. Bleach to roaches, much like humans, creates a deadly reaction. I recommend pouring some down the drains and drenching each nook of your apartment, ensuring a most untimely death. If the bleach isn’t working, then do unto others as they do to you. Jump on the roaches face. While you’re at it, reenact scenes from STOMP.

Again, none of these methods will fully exterminate cockroaches. That’s why we have Orkin and geckos.

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Tommy Burson - Tommy Salami Never Expires

Tommy Burson - Tommy Salami Never Expires

Manufactured in Detroit and displaced East. He writes, jokes, and has perfected the karaoke rendition of Toto's "Africa."