Celebrating my Wedding Anniversary with Some Good Old-Fashioned Roach Killing

The morning after our anniversary, my wife and I woke up in a hotel room in Santa Monica. We were pleased to know that while we were luxuriating with a view of the Pacific Ocean, exterminators were spraying our apartment for cockroaches.

But let me back up a bit.

In my mind, cockroaches are big bugs; more than an inch long with a thick, wide body. A few months ago I started seeing much smaller bugs occasionally crawling underneath our sink. One evening, a bug scampered across the kitchen counter.

“Jeffrey!” My wife exclaimed.

I don’t know how she settled on that name, but from then on, we didn’t have bugs crawling in our kitchen, we had Jeffries.

After a while, the Jeffries became more numerous. When an exterminator came for an inspection, he announced without hesitation, “You’ve got German cockroaches.”

Obviously, as someone who cooks and cleans for a living, I was dismayed and horrified to hear those words. Once I got the diagnosis, however, I sprung into action. I needed to have all of the kitchen and bathroom cabinets and drawers empty before the exterminators came. This I could do.

My wife and I have lived in the same apartment for the past four years, and I haven’t  given our kitchen a deep clean since we moved in. Were the roaches a blessing in disguise? Not really, but it was a great excuse to thoroughly clean the cabinets.

I’ll admit that I had started turning a blind eye to our possible pest infestation – that’s pretty easy to do when the bugs that have holed up near then kitchen sink are nocturnal. Once I started cleaning and looking, however, I realized how bad things had gotten. In fact, I started playing a game with myself, which you can play, too:

Is It Roach Poo?

1. Yes.
2. No, those are coffee grounds.
3. No, those are specks of black pepper.
4. I have no idea?!?

Pretty quickly I was seeing (or hallucinating?) roach poo everywhere, and my obsessive cleaning tendencies kicked in. As I emptied my shelves, I daydreamed about my cockroach companions meeting their demise.

Roaches love crevices, like corners of cabinets, and they also love crumpled up paper, with lots of internal crevices. There was one old paper towel that had got stuffed into the back of a cabinet – it was a veritable roach motel.

After I emptied the cabinets I ran the  dishwasher, starting with the kitchen utensil holders that had been accumulating dust and crumbs for four years. I did a thorough check of every single plate, glass, serving tray and baking dish to make sure there was no roach residue. If there was, I washed it.

Next, I sprayed every surface with a diluted bleach solution. I paid special attention to the space underneath the sink, and thoroughly cleaned the trash and recycling canisters.

With our house completely torn up – bathroom displaced to the bedroom and kitchen displaced to the living room – it was a no-brainer to decamp to a hotel for the night. Since it was our wedding anniversary, the whole thing took on a celebratory air. Plus, it was a relief to leave the apartment.

Instead of looking at this …





We could watch the sun set from our hotel room.




When I opened up our apartment the next day, I was greeted by a lot of this.

Yes, as far as I can tell, the extermination has been a success. It was a huge project to empty, clean and refill my kitchen and bathroom. It was worth it, of course, if the roaches stay away. And if they do return, I’ll be a lot less accommodating. It’s unwise to name your enemies, because it humanizes them. No Jeffries live in my apartment anymore.

  • countervail

    Try this. You’ll never see another roach again. Advion is a miracle product. http://www.amazon.com/Dupont-Advion-Cockroach-Bait-Tubes/dp/B002Y2GNVM

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1342860187 Ralph Powers

    Bay leaves placed along where roaches travel and borax or baking soda along base-boards and kitchen counters where they meet the wall and in the cabinets… roaches run over it, get it on the hairs of their bodies, they clean themselves (they tend to be OCD about self-cleaning)… ingest and cannot digest the borax or baking soda… in fact it bloats them up and they explode, killing them. Vaccum wherever you see roach poo and frequently, they’re like scent trails.
    I once even allowed a praying mantis to take up residence in my kitchen… couple of months later surprise, BIG mantis and almost NO roaches. Have a hanging plant for the mantis to rest in (camo).
    Hedgehogs also enjoy a crunchy chewy roach snack. Plus they’re cute as hell.

    • http://www.facebook.com/RabbitMouse Rm Ro

      Love the praying mantis kitchen pet idea. The same goes for some spiders & lizards. We have a local gecko, I think it’s a gecko, called the Avery Island Pink. They are a pinkish color & must have been discovered in Avery Island, La. Anyway, they are nocturnal or more nocturnal than other small lizards. They eat roaches while active in the moonlight.

  • Chicken_Shiite

    Being that you live in an apartment your neighbors will also have to de-Jeffery their units as well. Otherwise it won’t be long before you are re-infested.

  • Peter

    My disgusting flat mate and I had bad German roaches, the exterminator used a ‘disease’ to kill them. It was a little syringe of off-white paste, the dude just put little dots of it in the ‘roachy’ areas, didn’t even use 5mls for the whole apartment.
    He said they’ll pass it one to each other and they’ll all die.
    Biological warfare FTW, it definitely worked.

  • Maria

    I’ve been experimenting with some green cleaning methods to rid our home of roaches.

  • Marlene Gray

    Having these roaches is horrible! It is great that you found a way to get rid of them! M.Gray

  • Nancy Ellis

    When they get in your electrical items(because its warm), becomes roach hotel and they may never leave. I can count my blessings, we have been bug free for as long as I can remember. Its not just roach poo, its roach eggs.

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