We have a bit of a cockroach problem in our apartment. I say a bit – I guess I see about a roach a week, but honestly, that's enough for me to call it a problem. The apartment management pays lip service to this problem by spraying and putting out bait for the roaches twice a year, and last year they even had me remove everything from my kitchen cabinets and pantry, including the cabinet drawers so they could spray.
There's two reasons the building has a roach problem: one, the trash chutes are in the interior of the building, leaving the roaches little method for escape than to cut through the apartments; and the second is how new renters are essentially turning the building into a tenement house, overstuffing the apartments with more people than are legally allowed to live in them. Management isn't going to kick out anyone over something as silly as a lease violation or a broken law; there's money to be made. So in spite of all the sprayings and baitings, the roaches return.
Evan did some research online to see what sort of do-it-yourself roach solutions we could use. Maybe the roaches will never leave, but we could at least make our apartment the least attractive place in the building to them. According to some websites, both boric acid and naphthalene are common chemicals abhorred by roaches. We went to Home Depot on Sunday and picked up some, pulled the fridge and the stove out, cleaned and vacuumed behind them, put down the chemicals, cleaned the hell out of the kitchen, and put weatherstripping seals at the bottoms of the two doors leading to the hallway.
As you may or may not know, naphthalene is the active ingredient in moth balls. Having no real prior hands on experience with moth balls, we thought nothing of distributing a dozen of them around in strategic places in our kitchen, including dropping one through a crack in the wall. Though I know the smell as "old lady house" or "Salvation Army" smell, I probably couldn't have identified it outright before this weekend. After we put the poison out Sunday afternoon, we went to a friend's house for dinner.
We nearly choked on the stench when we got home. Imagine seventeen of the dankest, dingiest antique store you've ever been in and cram them into a few hundred square feet. We burned two candles and a stick of incense and left the fan running overnight. Though the bedroom is as far from the kitchen as one can get in our apartment, we slept with the bedroom door closed and I woke up a few times because of the odor. I told a few people at work the horrors of the moth ball smell and laughed about it. But when I was enjoying my lunch yesterday and reached into my sandwich baggie of Sun Chips and took a nice big bite, I gagged. The smell had permeated the baggie and my Sun Chips tasted like fucking moth balls.
The management company had scheduled an AC shutoff for yesterday through tomorrow (more on that in another entry) so we opened all the windows in preparation and hoped it would have subsided enough by the end of the day. When he got home, had to Evan pull the fridge and the stove back out and retrieve every moth ball we put out (other than the ones still in the wall).
The apartment still stinks. I fogged the room with Febreeze yesterday morning and we burned another candle last night. This better have been worth it. If any cockroach deigns to come near our home again, I will exact revenge upon the entire cockroach community in a storm of wrath like none ever before witnessed.