Exterminator offers tips on roach-proofing your house

Posted at: 11/04/2013 10:47 PM
By: Caleb James, KOB Eyewitness News 4

New Mexico is home to lots of creepy-crawlies that would probably rather hang out with you inside than be out in the cold. 

As temperatures drop, exterminators work overtime. But this year might be worse than others.

Cockroaches especially may have had their safe havens washed away by some of our flooding.

But experts say there's a lot you can do to de-roach your house before having to call in the exterminators.

"They just come in like its home," said Star Royce.

The Rio Rancho mom says after heavy rains this summer, the roach parade at her house started early.

"More than any other year that I've seen so far," she said.

Royce says roach poisons make her nervous.

"I tried some of these," she said, picking up an arsenal of products. "But I have pets. I have a turtle, we have a garden."

KOB Eyewitness News 4 reporter Caleb James has a pet too, just like many folks in New Mexico. So he invited Jay Lee from Pirate Pest Control to his old house -- built in the 1920s.

"German roaches, Turkistan roaches, Oriental roaches," said Lee.

Basically, he knows his roaches.

Lee has seen some seriously sick stuff. But he also knows how to prevent critters from getting in your house.

"Oh man look at that down in there," said Lee, looking at a pile of wood in the backyard. "All this stuff is a perfect condition for roaches."    

Lee says big piles of wood and other debris in the yard, are the biggest mistakes folks make. Roaches that live in piles like this may scurry toward the house when it gets cold.

"Those are ideal places for roaches and other insect pests who might want to find their way in," said Lee.

An ounce of prevention -- says Lee -- is worth a pound of cure. He says a caulking gun around holes like these can keep roaches out. But still, one or two might get inside.

"There's no shame in having roaches, just shame in keeping roaches," he said.

So, once the roaches have breached the house, Lee suggests the less poisonous do-it-yourself methods:

"These traps are going to go back here, in out of the way places," he said.

Sticky traps are Lee's go-to. They can be purchased at local hardware stores, or make your own with upside-down duct tape.

"It's as toxic as a postage stamp," he said.

KOB got a lot of responses to a post about cockroaches on our Facebook page.   

Some people said dryer sheets help repel insects, so we looked into it.

A Kansas State University study a few years ago proved some brands of dryer sheets will repel smaller bugs, but there's no proof they'll kill cockroaches.    

Lee says you'll probably have to go a little stronger for the big guys.