RT Cunningham

How to Get Rid of Ants and Cockroaches in the House

dead cockroaches I don’t have to worry about cockroaches in my house in the Philippines. There isn’t any place for them to nest in it. The geckos (lizards) living in my house take care of the small ones and the big ones rarely get in. Dealing with ants is a different story altogether.

They invade my house on a regular basis, mostly in the kitchen and dining room areas. I think I know how to get rid of the ants and I’m sure it’s like how I got rid of cockroaches in the past.

Boric Acid and Diatomaceous Earth

While boric acid works with cockroaches, it seems to have no effect on ants. With boric acid, the cockroaches eat it and carry some it back to their nests (on their feet) where the hatching young eat it. It will wipe out a cockroach infestation in about a month. I write from experience.

Back in 1986, my family moved into a house (in Arizona) that was infested with cockroaches. I didn’t start seeing them until about a week later. It was a triplex, so they may have started coming from one of the other houses when they noticed people living in ours. I had already heard of using boric acid, so I bought some from a local hardware store.

I sprinkled it on the baseboards and back lower edges of cabinets and cupboards, around toilets and the rear lower edges of drawers. We started seeing dead roaches a day later. By the end of the month, we didn’t see roaches at all.

I’ve heard that diatomaceous earth works with ants as well as boric acid works with cockroaches. I’ve never used it. I’ve never even seen it. I’ve asked about boric acid in various places in the Philippines and I’ve had no luck finding it. My quest for diatomaceous earth would probably be just as fruitless. Now, if I knew the names of the local products that contain them, I’m sure I’d be in luck.

I’m temporarily living in Arizona. The reason is a story I don’t want to get into, but I’ll be returning to the Philippines next year. Perhaps I’ll ship some diatomaceous earth ahead of me, along with everything else I intend to ship (including a desktop computer and a printer). I already have a container of boric acid powder stored in my house for when I ever need it.

Cockroaches and Ants in the Philippines

As I said earlier, I don’t worry about cockroaches in my house. The small ones get eaten by one of the many geckos living in my house. The geckos are small, harmless lizards that eat all kinds of insects. If moths get into my house, the geckos take care of them in short order.

When it comes to big cockroaches, it’s an issue. If I spot one in my house, I will chase that cockroach until it is a dead cockroach. They can only get in when one of the outer doors is open, so it’s rare when they do.

The ants, however, are a serious problem. Even when my kitchen is perfectly clean, I’ll find scouts on the counter tops and on the dining room table. I can’t leave cereal boxes or anything that’s already been opened in the cabinets because the ants will infest them.

I don’t know what kind of ants they are (and I’ve seen at least three different species) but some of them will bore through thin plastic packaging to get to what’s inside. I can’t even store loaves of bread or packages of ramen noodles for more than a day or so before the ants get to them.

Believe it or not, I store bread and cereal in the refrigerator. I would like to be able to store them where they belong, in kitchen cabinets or on top of the refrigerator.

Lately, I’ve been able to keep most of the ants at bay by using products with lemon juice in them, like dish washing liquid and furniture polish. Ants don’t like lemons. It’s only temporary, good for about a day or two and only on horizontal surfaces. It won’t work inside cabinets.


The only weapon I use against ants and big cockroaches is a bug spray called “Baygon”. It’s the Filipino version of Raid – it kills bugs dead. I don’t use it very often because I don’t spot the ant trails very often (and I don’t spot big cockroaches very often at all).

I know I can find ant bait and other products, but I really don’t like using any kind of insecticides if I can help it. I have a lot of young nieces and nephews that go in and out of my house and I would really hate for one of them to get poisoned by something I’m using.

I’m going to try diatomaceous earth as soon as I get back to the Philippines. I’ll be sure to let you know if it works.


RT Cunningham
August 30, 2013