You can kill cockroaches yourself, or just given them what they need to self-destruct.
ILLUSTRATION: MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
Nobody, but nobody, will ever be able to get rid of our friendly "companion" the cockroach. Not permanently anyway. The bugs were on the planet long before man came along, and they'll likely still be twitching their antennas millions of years after Homo sapiens has gone the way of the dinosaurs. Even deadly gamma rays—as biological studies at Bikini atoll showed—don't do much more than slow these members of the order Blattaria down a little. After wave upon wave of the radiation had passed, the roaches came back as hungry and persistent as ever.
What can be done about the stubborn pests? Well, you can kill cockroaches in any number of violent (and messy) ways: You can stamp on 'em, bash the critters with rolled-up newspapers, flip 'em into dishwater or down the drain ... to no purpose, because countless hidden battalions of the crawlers remain untouched in their crack-and-cranny lairs.
Of course, you could call in an expensive professional "fogger," whose liberal applications of spray will do in a great number of the bugs (and not do your health any good, either). But these poisons have little effect on the hidden egg sacs; before the insecticide smell has left your food, brand-new roaches will appear to take the place of the fallen.
Yes sir, these insects are nigh onto invincible. Nothing's going to stop their steady scuttle into history.
But Mr. or Ms. Roach does have one weakness, a "fatal" flaw.
He or she dearly loves a little drink now and then.
In fact, if you want to wipe out the toughest, gnarliest roaches of all—the ones that survive every form of bug warfare known to man—just buy 'em a round once in a while.
All it takes to get the pests' attention is about a quarter inch of sweet wine or aperitif in a glass or bowl. Simply leave this libation in the bugs' "stompin' grounds," turn off your lights, and go to bed. The roaches will smell the stuff (you can count on it), head for that container with a will, clamber up the sides, and guzzle away. After a few sips (not many insects can hold their likker) the carousers will fall, drunk, into the glass or bowl and won't be able to muster up the coordination or ambition to get back out again. If roaches can giggle, then they surely titter while they drown.
It doesn't even matter how many leggy corpses are already afloat in the fatal pool. New bugs will keep right on fighting their way in to meet the same soggy death.
Yes sir, this "booze bomb" has to be about the quickest, cleanest, most effective method of roach control possible. And for those who worry about such things, it doesn't even constitute insect murder. I think of it as sort of "creating the opportunity for suicide..."