x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Boric acid means bye-bye roaches

Green queen Boric acid is fatal to roaches but in small amounts has low toxicity to humans.

Boric acid is inexpensive and fatal to cockroaches. As long as it stays dry, it will remain effective indefinitely.
Boric acid is inexpensive and fatal to cockroaches. As long as it stays dry, it will remain effective indefinitely.

Earlier this year I developed a cockroach problem - one that seemed only to escalate after I hired a professional company to spray poisonous pesticides and leave gross globs of brown gunk all over the apartment. I resorted to going mental with a fly swatter and can of insecticide every time I spotted a bug. It was only after an extended such session earlier this month, which disturbingly left my lips numb for hours and throat and chest burning for days, that I vowed to find a more effective and less toxic solution.

Enter Mike Potter, a professor of entomology at the University of Kentucky's College of Agriculture, a boric acid enthusiast and my new hero. It turns out that boric acid is fatal to roaches but in small amounts has low toxicity to humans. So I ripped my kitchen apart and spent hours cleaning it, putting away any and all food packages that were not already in airtight containers. Then I bought a small container of the colourless, odourless powder for Dh7 at a local pharmacy.

Using an old makeup brush and following Potter's suggestions, I dusted the powder in a thin, barely perceptible layer along crevices, cracks, cupboards and anywhere else I'd seen the little critters. The dust will remain effective indefinitely, unless it gets wet. There is a reason that people have been using this stuff against cockroaches for centuries. I'm breathing easier, and the roaches disappeared almost immediately and have stayed away.