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Roaches Boric Acid and toxicity to humans/babies?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
We have been dealing with a roach problem. It's a long disgusting story, but one option I'm considering for killing the roaches is boric acid. The roaches are living inside our furniture--dressers, filing cabinets, etc. and I want to put boric acid in these places, but I'm concerned about the toxicity to us, and more importantly, our eight month old.

For instance, since the roaches are in a dresser, if I treat the dresser with boric acid, clothes that we put in the dresser later may get b.a. on them. I do not know how to treat the filing cabinet, because it seems the bugs are living in the files themselves (they eat paper, after all). Does this mean throw away all the papers? Can i treat with b.a.? should I worry that if I touch that paper in the future I should wash my hands?

Thanks!
post #2 of 13
I'd put boric acid in all your crevices - where the baseboard hits the floor, etc.. I wouldn't put is someplace you or your LO is apt to touch. It's not terribly toxic, but you don't want it getting into your body either.

When I had this problem, I used roach sticky traps (open box traps with an attractant and sticky inside surfaces) in all the out of the way places. Your file drawers sound like the ideal place for sticky traps - in the back, behind your files?

If you've not done so already, put all your food stuffs in sealable containers.

Good luck.
post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 
We have put all food in sealed containers, and an exterminator has treated our kitchen for months, and there are really no bugs in there anymore. They have moved out and into our furniture. They live in the couch, dressers, filing cabinet, etc. I really never see them along baseboards, so I don't think that will help. The exterminator came again today, and sprayed the back of the filing cabinet behind the papers. Hopefully that will help!
post #4 of 13
Have you been using the same exterminator this whole time? If your house was properly treated and you're keeping food sealed/cleaned up, you shouldn't still have roaches anywhere.
Roaches should be treated with gel or pellets, not sprays. Professional roach sprays are almost entirely obsolete. I'd look into another company.
post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SubliminalDarkness View Post
Have you been using the same exterminator this whole time? If your house was properly treated and you're keeping food sealed/cleaned up, you shouldn't still have roaches anywhere.
Roaches should be treated with gel or pellets, not sprays. Professional roach sprays are almost entirely obsolete. I'd look into another company.
That's good to know. I live in an apartment, so the theory is that the roaches are going back and forth between apartments when they spray, and coming back after the pesticide dies down. The apartment management pays for the exterminator, and I dont' think they'd reimburse me if I had another company come. :
post #6 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by LDSmomma View Post
That's good to know. I live in an apartment, so the theory is that the roaches are going back and forth between apartments when they spray, and coming back after the pesticide dies down. The apartment management pays for the exterminator, and I dont' think they'd reimburse me if I had another company come. :
You can buy the same products at stores yourself. I'd google DIY roach extermination, or something along those lines.
It's definitely trickier in an apartment, however, you should be able to create somewhat of a barrier and keep the majority out of your home.
post #7 of 13
Hi there,

I have used boric acid to combat roaches with good success. When I was just out of college (pre-kids) I moved into a little mother in law cottage down in South Florida which was, unbeknownst to me, loaded with palmetto bugs. I found this out pretty quickly on the first night. Yikes!

I worked in a chemistry lab at the time and brought home some boric acid and sprinkled it in every corner, kitchen cabinet, under couches, etc.

This cleared up the problem in no time and I hardly ever saw a roach after that.

Boric acid is listed as a low toxicity mineral, but I would definitely put it where your children will not be able to touch it. I think mainly you would want to make sure they didn't eat it or get it in their eyes.

Here is a good website to read: http://www.beyondpesticides.org/info...ates_borax.htm

I say try it. It is cheap and it worked for me!
post #8 of 13
Thread Starter 
Surfamy, that's great info! I googled boric acid, but didn't find anything nearly as informative as that link! Thanks!

I'm planning on using it in corners, under and behind furniture where we won't come in contact with it, but I'm concerned about when we move in six weeks. If I put boric acid under the couch, then the movers (DH & friends) touch the couch, I don't want them to be affected by the b.a.

What are your thoughts? Make everyone wash their hands frequently? Warn them before they come over? Avoid putting b.a. on the furniture? This is where the roaches live now, unfortunately!
post #9 of 13
I feel for you. I too live in an apartment and we had some SCARY HUGE roaches. I learned a lot about roaches fast. There are the German (the brown smaller ones) and the American (Dark brown and large (like 2-4 inches). Ick. Scared the life out of me.

The American require a water source to survive, this is what we had. Coming in through the bathroom cabinets near some water damage. I did not want to spray (no ventilation etc) and I was told that spraying really does not work. I found an exterminator who explained it all to me! He was fantastic. He sprayed the Boric acid into the baseboard of the cabinets etc, and drilled a hole in the water to dust the wallstuds where they could be living. Never saw a big one after that. but do have a few babies occasionally. i figure these just squeezed past the dust.

Do you have the German ones? He told me that these are really difficult to get rid of because of how much they reproduce in comparison to the American. As scary as the huge ones are, they do not reproduce as profusely and as I said, they need water. German feed off everything apparently and are so hard to get rid of.

My point.
-Maybe try what I did and call a 'natural' exterminator. I was surprised how much information they gave me. I guess like anyone, they want to talk about what they know! It made me feel better to understand. Honestly, I would be worried about the babies roaches in the furniture....I don't know how that works so maybe they can tell you.

-the Boric acid did work for our situation. I am a freak about chemicals, especially in our small apartment. The exterminator was incredibly reassuring about how safe it is, and kept the dust to a minimum. He really felt it is so safe and even had it on his hands.

-I heard about another natural remedy, made up of crushed snail shells (i think) Was on the news on a local az channel in the gardening highlight. Might be sold at Wholefoods I think!

I know how you feel. hang in there.
post #10 of 13
We have had no success with boric acid around here. They actually have been making thier nests in it : All the boric acid really does, is dry thier shells out, dehydrating them, thus slowly killing them....they can still lay eggs during that time...and each egg sac can hatch 18-20 babies at a time!

We are having success with the sticky mouse/rat traps. We are finding these to work better and be less harmful to us and the kids. We put a little bit of food in the middle of them and place them in the "problem" areas. We are replacing them every week. We are seeing a dramatic decline in the amount of bugs we see. The good thing is, it not only traps the bugs, but even the egg sacs, and once those hatch on the trap, the babies are stuck too with nowhere to go! They even slide nicely under the appliances (fridge, freezer, microwave etc).

I have read about doing homemade traps, but havent tried them. They suggest using canning jars and putting a few inches of water in them, and then putting vasoline around the inside of the rim, so the bugs cant get out. I plan on trying it next week when we are gone for two days, just to see if it works, and that way the kids dont mess with them.
post #11 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by lilgsmommy View Post
All the boric acid really does, is dry thier shells out, dehydrating them, thus slowly killing them....they can still lay eggs during that time...and each egg sac can hatch 18-20 babies at a time!
I've read in two different places that boric acid also starves & dehydrates them, though slowly. Plus, as long as it doesn't get wet, you don't have to reapply. One treatment can last for years, and the bugs don't avoid it, they keep on walking all over it while it kills them. because it's slow acting, they don't realize that's what's killing them, so they dont' avoid the area, plus it's odorless.
post #12 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by lilacblue View Post
I feel for you. I too live in an apartment and we had some SCARY HUGE roaches. I learned a lot about roaches fast. There are the German (the brown smaller ones) and the American (Dark brown and large (like 2-4 inches). Ick. Scared the life out of me.

The American require a water source to survive, this is what we had. Coming in through the bathroom cabinets near some water damage. I did not want to spray (no ventilation etc) and I was told that spraying really does not work. I found an exterminator who explained it all to me! He was fantastic. He sprayed the Boric acid into the baseboard of the cabinets etc, and drilled a hole in the water to dust the wallstuds where they could be living. Never saw a big one after that. but do have a few babies occasionally. i figure these just squeezed past the dust.

Do you have the German ones? He told me that these are really difficult to get rid of because of how much they reproduce in comparison to the American. As scary as the huge ones are, they do not reproduce as profusely and as I said, they need water. German feed off everything apparently and are so hard to get rid of.

My point.
-Maybe try what I did and call a 'natural' exterminator. I was surprised how much information they gave me. I guess like anyone, they want to talk about what they know! It made me feel better to understand. Honestly, I would be worried about the babies roaches in the furniture....I don't know how that works so maybe they can tell you.

-the Boric acid did work for our situation. I am a freak about chemicals, especially in our small apartment. The exterminator was incredibly reassuring about how safe it is, and kept the dust to a minimum. He really felt it is so safe and even had it on his hands.

-I heard about another natural remedy, made up of crushed snail shells (i think) Was on the news on a local az channel in the gardening highlight. Might be sold at Wholefoods I think!

I know how you feel. hang in there.
I've learned way too much about roaches, too! We have german roaches, which have a life cycle of 21 days in the summer, and each female can hatch 500 babies in her lifetime.

Great idea to call a natural exterminator. I hadn't thought of that!

Does anyone know what happens to them in cold weather? We've had them in apartments before (never this bad), but in the winter, they're all gone. The exterminator insists they're living in my belongings, and if/when we move in the winter, we take bugs with us. BUT, when/if I see them again the summer following a move, they start in the kitchen, coming from the walls, not in our belongings.
post #13 of 13
I tend to put it out of reach of kids.

One more tip. Mix it 2 parts boric acid to 1 part powdered sugar. Sugar gets the roaches to eat the stuff.

Spread it lightly.

Also, roaches like to walk with their backs and undersides touching something...so I've read...so stacks of newspapers, or leaves or other clutter like that is a real draw for them...so I've read.
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