Friday, August 27, 2010

Why I love boric acid OR Cockroaches: 0 Me: 1

I have been writing a little eco-tips column for the weekend paper's House and Home section, which is fun, and in it today I detail my recent victorious battle with cockroaches. I hate cockroaches. They ruin my life. And I come from Canada where, if you have even one (and no one has just one), you are basically one dirty mother*&^%er.

*Rich-Joseph Facun's pic from The National – those are 
not my dead roaches, but it's still satisfying to see them 
Not so the case here in Abu Dhabi or, as my boyfriend explained while calmly killing them for me, other hot climates. (He lived in Thailand) Sometime this spring the wall of my kitchen seemed to spring an open conduit that appeared in my kitchen cabinet positioned by the wall. It was like a cockroach hotel had opened in there. It was disgusting - eventually, I could even detect a sickly sweet smell. After conducting some research I found out this, to my horror, is the pheremones they use to communicate with each other. Nothing I did helped. (These guys can live without heads, and they need not breathe for ridiculous amounts of time) Certainly not, as I write about, spraying poisonous things. I think it actually encouraged them. I might have heard a tiny cackle one night, as they mocked me over appetizers down the drain. I fell into a depression. I looked at new apartments, ones that were nice but also a lot more expensive and required the signing of year-long leases. (I have commitment issues) I complained to people at work, and watched them judge me. I sprayed more poisonous things. I cried, once. And then I got down to business, and found Mike Potter. And then I found boric acid. *Cue that peaceful sound a computer makes when you turn it on.* Things changed overnight. The hotel is closed. Haven't seen a live roach in weeks. Haven't seen a dead one either – even more encouraging.

My only advice is: use a makeup brush, and keep telling yourself, thin, thin thin layers.

Now the other thing is, and this was hard to admit to myself, that I might have contributed to this problem with my "slatternly" Western ways, is that you have to be clean, clean clean out here. So I have made some changes, seriously addressing habits that might have been fine in my gorgeous new eighth-floor condo in Ottawa's Byward Market, but will not fly in Little Karachi. Like washing dishes immediately. Every night I sweep the floor and pour a kettle of water down the drain (once a week I add a container of baking soda). I developed a two-garbage system, and make sure the wet, food-related one is sealed, and taken out as much as possible. NO food is kept outside of the refrigerator unless it is in a sealed container. And whenever water leaks under my sink, as happens a lot, I clean it up immediately instead of just letting the puddle sit there. Cockroaches love two things, I've learned: oil and sitting water.

They also hate boric acid. Score.

The entire situation has me thinking about this crazy, screwed up world we live in, and how so often the way it has developed is entirely based on people being able to make money off of any and all situations. Like, when they came up with transfats, did anyone say "hey, whoa, is that going to be bad for people at all?" Or when some genius decided to line all tin cans with plastic or put stuff in sunscreen that melts the nail polish off my toes – ah don't get me started.

All I am saying is, if people have been using boric acid for years to kill cockroaches, and it works, why are there so many products with skulls and crossbones on them and pesticide companies spraying toxic elements that don't work anyway? Remember this heartbreaking story in Ajman? I mean, this isn't just me being able to go pour a cup of coffee in a minute without seeing a bug and deciding I want move back to Canada this afternoon.

Why don't more people know about it?

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Boric acid works great when mixed inta a cooked and mashed potato. Form small balls and put them in front of the "hotel" entrance. Solves the problem within days and kills also following geneartions where sprays only work once.

Why so few people know about it? Lazyness maybe or convenience. Buying spray and poisioning your environment is faster and easier.

Anonymous said...

I have discovered boric acid too.. just applied it yesterday nite hoping for the best...

Ann Marie McQueen said...

You are going to be so happy! Don't worry if you see the odd one for a couple of weeks. I haven't seen a cockroach in months now. We were just talking about how well it works the other day, and why anyone would bother with spraying pesticides. Good luck!

ryanpaul said...

hi! where can i buy boric acid (paste or powder form) in dubai? the cockroaches are really getting on my nerves. ggrrrrr!&$!%&$@&#

Ann Marie McQueen said...

Hey ryanpaul... I think you can get it at any pharmacy. But I bought it at the tiny one beside the Choithram's in Umm Sequim...

Anonymous said...

Hi I just bought it from The New Maryam Pharmacy on Beach Road close to Dubai Bank (amazingly it's only 8dhs!) I've made the roaches food and the next morning when i turned the kitchen light on, not a single roach was there (maybe too busy feasting on the food)... and now when i see some, they look groggy and sleepy...waiting for me to smash them :)
thanks a lot for the info! great help!

Anonymous said...

anyone mix anything with boric acid or only the powder

Ann Marie McQueen said...

I just did the powder alone - worked great!

Gabriƫl G Smit said...

yip ann marie, boric acid - the only thing on earth which can, in the long term, sort out roaches!
God bless
gabriel
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http://www.cockroaches.co.za/roachblog/