“It was October, the air was crisp, and the legions of Blattella Germanica lay in wait”
That’s a fancy way of saying I’d just checked into a roach-infested studio. By “roach-infested” I mean this side of E.G. Marshall in “Creepshow.” I mean, sleeping with all the lights on.
In a place that small, emptying a can of bug spray just makes you one of the bugs getting sprayed. I needed a natural solution. Searching online I saw a few things about lemon, orange, and how roaches dislike citrus. At the moment, I was eating an orange, so I tore the peel in little pieces and threw them into all the corners.
At first, for the next couple hours it seemed the orange scent, which was noticeable to me, did drive them off. Then they reappeared but seemed to give the peels a wide berth. By late night, though, a few elite recon roaches had begun eating the white flesh on the underside of the orange rind. I’d fed the roaches.
But I’d learned a principle – they don’t like citrus. After a little more specific research I bought an orange solution degreaser spray. It isn’t difficult to find a 32 ounce bottle for a dollar. My space was just a studio; I emptied two bottles on them the second night.
Orange solution degreaser spray kills roaches. Now it could be that I was just drowning them, I sprayed so much. But it freaked them out, they started to run, then slowed down and went still. It might take an hour for them to die, but when the spray hits them they’re mortally wounded. The next morning there were dead roaches all over the floor.
It didn’t completely stop them from coming, though. By mid-week it was clear that what I needed wasn’t just a roach killer but a roach repellent.
A little more research, and cayenne came to my attention.
I bought an ounce of fine ground pepper and boiled it in 32 ounces of water, then let it cool. I then poured it into one of the emptied orange degreaser sprayers and very thoroughly sprayed every baseboard, every shelf, every corner.
They didn’t come out that night at all. It was as though they’d all packed their bags and moved out of town. More likely they’d simply moved over to my neighbors, about whom I felt duly regretful.
It was my first good night of sleep that week.
The next afternoon, and a few of their recons straggle in, every now and then. That’s fine, since I’d also bought a new bottle of orange degreaser. It kills, but doesn’t repel. The cayenne repels, but doesn’t kill as effectively. The orange does not make a room smell orange, nor the cayenne peppery. There’s no scent through any of this. Before you do this, though, check to make sure it’s safe for animals and small children.