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Go Back   SailNet Community > Out There > Cruising & Liveaboard Forum > Living Aboard
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  #1  
Old 07-31-2006
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Ewww.....cockroaches.

The Internet says there are over 3500 types of roaches...to me however, there are two: There are dead roaches, and there are the ones I haven't killed yet.

I guess it should have been expected, roaches are all over the place in Hawaii anyway and a 40 year old CAL 30' would be a perfect breeding ground. After finally getting the paperwork finished, I arrive at the marina on Saturday morning, rolled my sleeves up and went to work.

My goal was to sleep aboard that night. I got about 85% of the boat cleaned, filled the trash dumpster with plenty of old junk. Went out to eat and pick up a few more cleaning supplies that night, only to come back to find 10-15 roaches scurry out of sight when I turned on the lights.

I immediately began an assualt, had about 5 of their bodies crushed and lifeless in my trash bag before fatigue kicked in and I pulled my position back to the cockpit for the evening.

Sunday morning came soon enough, I awoke at sunrise, determined to double my efforts. A early morning trip to Home Depot gave me a chance to stockpile WMDs and other strategic devices of cockroach killing.



I got all kinds of good stuff, 4 pounds of boric acid powder, fumagation bombs, instant kill spray can (with a country fresh scent, no less), roach hotels and a borlic acid gel.

The situation was this: I held the cabin during the day, however, once the sun set, I had to give back the control. I realized that I need to make a decisive first strike...one that would put fear into those little bastards. I decided to invade their homeland...the Bilge.

My first strike consisted of a fumagation bomb...or "bug bomb". The instructions said not to use in rooms less than 5x5...at that point, I made the decision that my entire boat was one large room, just sub-divided into smaller places. And my boat is larger than 5x5, so I'm safe. There was nothign else the instructions said that concerned me, so I made preparations, began the arming process and gathered my things for an immediate evac.

The package said I would have 2 minutes to leave the area. I sealed all the windows, closed all hatches, poured the water up to the line in the cup...everything was goign perfect. I set the cup in the bilge, set the canister in the water and let out a devilish laugh.


Oh noes!!! Somebody set up us the bomb!!!!

I begain calmly gathering my things, grabbed my camera and laptop. This is when things went a little hairy. A strange hissing sound was coming up from the bilge hatch...I poked my head inside...yup, the bomb is hissing. Wait...its only been 20 seconds, I'm supposed to have longer. The hissing started getting louder and the air was filling with the unmistakable smell of pesticide. I grabbed what I could and am not afraid to admit I ran out of there like a little girl. I boarded up my entry way, took a short breather, and made my way to the car.

Driving home, visions of my gas-filled boat and the still plugged-in refrigator compressor going off filled my head. Should I go back? Naw...the instructions didn't say anything about that... The last thing I wanted was to go back to my boat to find it in flames with the roaches dancing on the mast pole sticking out of the water...

I'm proud to announce that my operation was a resounding success. 4 hours later I reentered the cabin and I found no less than 18 dead or dying bodies on the floor. I spent the rest of the afternoon litterally coating everthing in my boat with a layer of borlic acid, setting up roach motels and applying gel to cracks and crevices. I setup borlic acid on my docklines to prevent a retaliation strike from the roaches on land and feel confident that I have sealed the survivors off from the outside world.

I slept aboard that night, didn't see a single roach all night. Another month or so of follow up bombs every weekend should finish them off...as well as keeping the boric acid fresh and intact.

I will be doing preventive measures from now on, but this was a great stike to control their numbers. Those bombs really work well and I can't stop suggesting borlic acid and/or diamaticous earth...both are safe for humans, just be careful where you put it if you have pets or children...always read the instructions, even if you don't follow them.

Last edited by wallybygolly; 07-31-2006 at 06:37 PM.
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Old 07-31-2006
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Thanx, this cracked me up! When we bought our boat and had it trucked up from Texas to Michigan, it came "fully crewed." But the Michigan winter handled that for us ... organically.
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Old 07-31-2006
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What, no motivational pictures of the enemy???

I thought the Geneva Convention ruled out chemical weaponry. Hmm... should we report you to the UN...

Just remember that you have to get rid of the generation of eggs that are already around and waiting to hatch...

Boric acid might not be so good for the docklines... it can weaken the material pretty seriously, so you might want to re-think that. Carbon monoxide is also pretty good as a fumigation technique, and far less toxic in the long run, as it doesn't leave neurotoxic poisons all over the boat. Might be worth pumping the boat full of CO at some point when you have to exterminate more of the enemy.

BTW, thanks for the post...well worth reading...let us know if the enemy counter attacks.
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Old 07-31-2006
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Yeah, I had a feeling about the boric acid and dock lines...it was a temporary solution. I remember reading an article that suggested a few things to try.

I love the CO strategy, but alas, I needed a quick strike yeterday. I am going to use the other two bombs that were in the package in the following weekends to try and remove the hatchlings...then I can think about doing the CO or something else if I notice a rise again.

Boric acid is supposed to be a good wood treatment too...so I don't think there will be any long-term negatives to that...i figure I'll keep the cracks and places like the bottoms of cabinets and the like with that to help control them. Its supposed to last a while, as long as it stays dry.

After the fumagation, I wash down all the common areas and I have all my sheets/cushions/dishes/etc, already removed. So hopefully I'm reducing the toxicity a little...I have a large fan that I blow in the cabin from the cockpit to keep everything aired out.
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Old 07-31-2006
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bugs

i always leave fresh combat traps on board just as a preemptive strike.
since i was boarded in bermuda years ago. the combat traps are a staple aboard my boat .
happy hunting.
eric
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Old 08-01-2006
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Yes, those blue smoke bombs ARE the best thing out there. 100% kill on any live roaches. What they won't kill are the new folks who come over after the slaughter, so roach baits are needed to attract and kill the ones who see the vacany sign in the window.

And, roaches lay eggs in 30-day cycles, which mature in 60-day cycles. So you will have new roaches hatching form the inevitable eggs in days to come (30 days for all the eggs aboard to hatch, 60 day window of grace before any of the new ones mature and start laying more eggs) and you need the baits for them. Then, after 30-40 days when all the eggs have hatched, REBOMB THE BOAT. That's essential, in order to make sure that all roaches are dead and there are no viable eggs waiting to hatch.

From that point on, you only have to control the newcomers. Only, ha.

But I sure love those smoke bombs. I think they're also kinder on the humans, less residual vapor and all once you've let the smoke settle and air out.
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Old 08-01-2006
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I had a similar problem with ants. Bombed them twice last winter just after I got the boat and while I cleaned and worked on the neglect (it had spent two years in the previous owners backyard). Those buggers survived even after both bombings. I then moved to the borax powder and the fast kill sprays. I thought I had located the nest and was unmerciful, spraying every time I left the boat. Population went down but I still found a few every time I went onboard. They were my constant crew (and better behaved them some I’ve had).

I have no idea what they were eating. I had gutted the boat to recondition it. Even went so far as to pressure wash it inside after bleaching every surface (mildew everywhere). I had brought no food onto the boat. The bilges were clean as was the rest of the boat. I had removed all cushions, fabric, and carpet, and still they persisted. I launched my boat this spring with a full crew.

Finally the weather warmed up and the sun was out, enough that I opened the bimini (which I loath, but my wife can’t take as much sun as I can) and lo and behold, there was the nest, nestled in the folds of the cloth. I knew it was the nest because; 1. There was a very large ant in the center of the mass of smaller ones (queen), and 2. After I knocked them overboard my ant problem went away. They weren’t there when I launched the boat (the bimini was still in the garage) but they must have moved it there with my constant onslaught of insecticides inside the boat.

With all of the hidey-hole’s inside a boat, pests will be a constant battle. And not to rain on anyone’s parade, but cockroaches fly, as do ants. I wish you all the luck with toxic (to roaches) docklines, but the only way to keep them beat back is with constant vigilance and help from the chemical companies. “Better living through chemistry”.
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Old 08-01-2006
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This story was just in the local boating newspaper about a guy who didn't discover a swarm of bees in his Bimini till he was 5 miles offshore.
http://www.thelog.com/news/newsview.asp?c=190787
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Old 08-01-2006
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Yes, that is one reason I either leave the bimini up and deployed, so it doesn't have a nice hiding spot for the critters... or fold it and stow it below, in a closed off cabin.

He was very lucky that the bees were not not africanized and that they were not wasps or hornets. Non-africanized bees will rarely sting unless provoked, but wasps and hornets are just nasty...
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

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Old 11-05-2006
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Boric acid is your best long term control, but a bomb every two weeks will prevent any hatchlings making more, in a couple months you should be clean, except for reinfection.

One thing that will help, NEVER bring provisions aboard in cardboard boxes, thats one major source of infections, PITA, but use plastic grocery bags. Only a little slower. Plus you can bag burnable trash in them to take to a dumpter.

Boric acid is super safe for you, deadly to roaches, it blocks their breathing. And as you say, its also good for wood. Its a win/win.

If you go cruising its good to have a couple bombs just in case. But never, ever, bring provisions aboard in cardboard boxes, you'll almost certainly be reinfecting your home.

Years ago I worked for a pet store chain, we were spending big money monthly to exterminators to keep our stores in malls clean. Then we found out the major item the exterminators used was boric acid, so we started doing it ourself and actually got better control as the store managers w ere very industrious at getting the powder in more dark places and cranies. I would use a bomb for a one time massive infestation, but long term boric acid is your best friend.
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