The horror of seeing your first cockroach in your pristine new house is only matched by the shocking realisation that where there is one, there will certainly be two, or even two hundred.

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The horror of seeing your first cockroach in your pristine new house is only matched by the shocking realisation that where there is one, there will certainly be two, or even two hundred.

So, what to do. Well you have to have a 3 pronged attack:

Firstly, you need to stop them coming into the property. The most likely route in will be from the drains and secondly from the garden. Blocking off the access from the drains requires some DIY work with filler to seal cracks and gaps around pipes. Make sure that drain access points that you are not using (e.g. for dishwashers) are taped over.

Secondly, if they have not got access to food, they will go somewhere else. So don’t leave the kitchen littered with tasty titbits. They need water, so don’t leave bowls of water or taps dripping.

And finally, the poisons. There are lots of sprays and powders available in the supermarkets. They all work, some have a residual quality, that is, once you have sprayed them onto a surface that poison will stay active for weeks. The problem with these is that some people do not like having harmful chemicals on surfaces for long periods where pets and children might suffer.

So, the magic powder is Borasic Acid also known as Borax or Boric Acid or its chemical name H3BO3. Get it in powdered form, not crystal, and sprinkle it everywhere. I know that it sounds like a dangerous chemical, but it has the toxicity of salt to humans and pets. As long as it does not get wet, it keeps working for years. Dust it behind, inside and under cupboards. Dust it in the loft and in wall cavities – anywhere that roaches might go. Health officials in USA are recommending that it is strewn around liberally in attics and voids as houses are being built so as to provide long term resistance.

The effect on the roaches is that they pick it up on their sticky feet and as they clean themselves they ingest it and that will kill them. Also, when it gets on their shell, it destroys the shell from the outside-in and that kills the roach too. As they die, the residue is ingested by brother and sister roach and they too die. You will notice a significant decline in the cockroach population within two weeks.

A few points: although Turkey is one of the biggest producers of Borax I had trouble finding it and eventually got it in the Chemist ( here they use it in the manufacture of pills). Borax is readily available in UK as a cleaning product but usually in crystal form, not powder – only the powder will work. There must be a cheaper source in Fethiye, but I have not found it yet. I paid YTL 10 for 500gr which was ample for my apartment.

You may have seen electronic or electromagnetic plug-in devices that promise to have the little blighters scurrying down the path out of your house. Nice though it sounds, all the evidence is that they do not have this effect on roaches, or indeed any effect at all on anything other than your credit card.

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