How I Became the Cockroach Assassin

When a radioactive spider bit Peter Parker - Spiderman was born. When a two-bit thief gunned down Bruce Wayne's parents in a dark Gotham City alley – Batman rose from the ashes. And, when a 39 year old man unwittingly moved his wife and 1 year old baby girl into a cockroach infested New York City apartment...

...the Cockroach Assassin was born!

In my own defense, I didn't know that the apartment was infested with cockroaches when we bought it. That joyful discovery was made our first morning in the new place. My wife went into the kitchen to make a pot of coffee before the baby woke up and...

...Cockroaches were crawling all over the kitchen – and our stuff!!!

I did what any sane human being would do. I grabbed my credit card, ran out immediately, and bought every powder, spray, gel, bait, and trap I could find to kill those filthy bugs. You probably did the same thing.

But the cockroaches just kept coming. Sound familiar?

Even worse, the kitchen reeked of that poison smell. You know the smell I'm talking about, don't you? It's hard to describe, but you just KNOW it can't be good for you to breath. Ours smelled so bad that my wife dragged the baby's high chair into the living room to feed her so she wouldn't have to breath the toxic air.

I might have survived if the kitchen was the only place where the cockroaches were invading.

No such luck...

...cockroaches were in the bathroom, the living room, and even in the bedroom (we found one crawling on our bedspread – so much for sleeping.)

It's easy to blame yourself for a cockroach infestation. Your mind tells you that you must have done something wrong that caused this to happen to you. But, I knew better.

Our cockroach problem wasn't the result of bad housekeeping. I had cleaned everything before we moved in: behind the stove, the top of the cabinets, under the fridge. We mopped every square inch of floor and scrubbed every surface. I painted the entire apartment too – walls, ceilings, trim, and even the insides of the closets. The place was pristine!

But, the day after we moved in, before the boxes were even unpacked, we still had cockroaches everywhere.

It didn't even take one full week before my wife and I were flinching at every shadow we saw from the corner of our eyes. Chasing down cockroaches became my new job and I was spending 3 hours every day cleaning and bleaching the floors, counters, and sink in the kitchen (plus re-washing the dishes every morning – I didn't know what was crawling around at night) so that my wife felt safe preparing food for the baby.


As we met the new neighbors and talked to the building superintendent, we slowly uncovered the source of our problem. The elderly woman who lived upstairs had dementia and cats. Her apartment was a disgusting mix of dirty litter boxes, old cat food, and cluttered filth.

Somehow this bit of information never surfaced during the 'due diligence' our real estate team did before we invested our life savings to buy the apartment.

The building management had tried to do something about the problem. They hired an exterminator. But whenever he tried to go into the apartment above us and spray poison, the poor woman attacked him thinking he was trying to break in and assault her (in spite of the problem she was causing for us, we felt bad for her.)

The bottom line was, we couldn't treat the source of the infestation. Many apartment dwellers are in the same situation.

So, upstairs was cockroach heaven and we were living down below in cockroach hell!

The situation was very depressing. We were mentally and physically exhausted from trying to keep up with the problem. I'd had enough and made a vow: I wasn't going to let a bunch of filthy cockroaches ruin my new home.


That simple vow to defend my home and protect my family drove me into action.

I started doing research to find every bit of information I could about how cockroaches lived and what would make them die. I looked for effective solutions that would also be safe to use around my young daughter. And I looked for solutions that worked for the long term. I did not want to deal with this problem again.

I searched online and read everything from blogs and forum posts to university research papers and government pesticide fact sheets. I even spent time talking with the conservator for a rare book collection who had battled a nasty infestation in her library (cockroaches can eat leather, paper, and several types of book binding glue.)

What I am about to share with you is some of the best information I came across during those dark times. It is the battle-tested knowledge I used to solve my problem - and it worked!

We eventually conquered our cockroach problem. It took an integrated solution to get lasting results, but we did it. And I kept notes. I knew that I was not the only person to suffer from a cockroach infestation (most of my friends in New York had their own stories to tell) and I knew that what I learned could help others.

It took a little effort, but I got rid of my cockroach infestation without flooding my home with noxious poisons. It can be done and...

...You can do it too!