Cockroaches have been with us since the beginning of time. Like their termite cousins, we’ll never be able to wipe them out completely. We probably shouldn’t even if we could because they do serve environmental purposes, but we don’t have to live with them.
You shouldn’t be bothered too much if you spot one or two cockroaches over the course of months. What you need to watch out for is an infestation. They can nest under floorboards and inside interior walls.
Before the internet age, and really before Wikipedia launched in 2001, getting the information you needed for dealing with cockroaches was difficult to obtain. Pest control companies were in full control of it. Sure, you could read about them in books (including encyclopedias and dictionaries), but there really wasn’t a wealth of information available to the public. Wikipedia’s page has more information than I’ve seen elsewhere.
I grew up in the 1960s. The only reason my parents’ house wasn’t infested with cockroaches is because there was always enough children around to kill them as soon as they appeared. My parents didn’t pay for pest control until after all the children grew up and moved away.
The first time I encountered boric acid was when my wife, Josie, and I lived in Yuma, Arizona. The apartment we lived in, temporarily before moving into military base housing, had a product called “roach proof” spread liberally at the back of the drawers and cabinets in the kitchen. I don’t remember where else we found it. We didn’t see any cockroaches at all during the months we lived there.
After we moved into military base housing, we saw cockroaches everywhere. It was empty and clean when we moved in, but the cockroaches were coming in from somewhere. It was an obviously an infestation. I bought some roach proof from a hardware store and sprinkled it in the kitchen cabinets and drawers. I sprinkled it under the sink and around the toilets in the bathrooms.
Within days, dead cockroaches starting appearing everywhere. Josie discarded them while I was at work, but I still spotted some in the evenings. After a couple of weeks, we didn’t see any at all. Apparently, the boric acid took out the infestation. Don’t ask me the mechanics of it because I can only repeat what I was told. In my opinion, and mine alone, boric acid is the best way to get rid of cockroaches.
The cockroaches in the Philippines are huge. The only time I saw the small ones is when a nephew and his girlfriend received balikbayan boxes from the United States while they were staying in our house. The geckos (lizards) that inhabit our house made short work of them. The geckos are small, so they leave the large cockroaches alone.
I rarely see a cockroach in our house. That isn’t unusual when you understand there isn’t any place for them to nest. The walls are solid cement, as are the floors. Nevertheless, the only good cockroach is a dead cockroach. If I spot a live one, I will not stop hunting it until it’s a dead one. The only way they can get in is under the doors to the outside, which have large enough gaps under them.
When I’m in the Philippines, a tropical location, I expect to be harassed by insects of all kinds. The only ones I’m concerned with are the ones that bother me inside the house. As long as they stay outside, they can continue to live. If they harass me on the inside, they will die. Spiders are not insects and I shouldn’t bother them unless they bother me. I accidentally killed a large spider once when it was in my bathroom.
Of all the insects existing in the Philippines, the ones that bother me the most are the moths and that’s only because they can somehow squeeze between the gaps in the windows. When they’re stirred up by the rain and buzzing around lights and such, I have to keep the lights out in the house, or they will surely annoy the hell out of me. They only last until the outdoor geckos take care of them.
Regardless of all the annoyances, I’m relatively happy until I see cockroaches anywhere near me.