Living in Mexico. EVERYTHING you need to know (and then some)
how to cockroach proof your house in mexico
June 30, 2020
One of the most difficult things I found about moving to Mexico was getting used to the insects. I felt traumatized for the first several months, then squeamish for the following year as the concept of living among so many insects took hold.
Initially I had to get used to living with ants, which invaded my first home here day and night. They were everywhere and difficult to get rid of due to their large quantities, but since they were familiar (we have ants in Canada), it wasn’t so bad.
The one pesky insect I had a really hard time getting used to were cockroaches. Learning to accept their existence took many, many years.
I recently had a friend visiting who, on her fist night, made a point of saying she really wanted to see a cockroach (she too, was from Canada and had never seen one “in person”). During her stay, she was blessed with the sight of a large adult scurrying across an outside wall, and although she tried to follow it to get a better look, it managed to evade her curious eyes.
Unfortunately for her, that was the only one she saw while here. Luckily for me, that was the only one she saw while she was here.
I have learned many tricks over the years about keeping those nasty things outside where they belong. While I’m not a fan, I don’t mind seeing them outside, but once inside my home, the gloves come off and it’s all hell and war (until I win).
To save myself from such exhausting work — you know what I mean if you’ve ever chased a cockroach that knows you’re out to get him — I learned how, for the most part, to keep them at bay without using chemicals.
If there are no signs of cockroaches in your Mexican home, you have nothing to worry about. However, if you have signs (black rice shaped pieces of poo, nibble marks in some foods or soap bars, their egg shells or an outright cockroach sighting), then you’ll have to reserve a day to cockroach proof your house.
With a tube of good ‘ol silicone in hand, close up every single hole you find on the outside of your concrete home. Even the tiniest of holes is enough to either climb in to or lays eggs. Next, check all metal window frames. Repair any that are bent. Silicon joints and other areas that are not perfectly sealed (this will also keep out ants and water from heavy rains). Inspect all screens for tears. Remember, cockroaches leave a scent trail for their friends.
Triple check all doors, their seals and any screens. ANY imperfection needs to be tended to. Add a heavy duty doorsweep to the bottom of all exterior doors (this should take care of all insects, including ants, spiders, centipedes and crickets).
I have found that the floor tiles do a number on the rubber door sweeps, so I glued and screwed a piece of cut “triangle” corner wood to the bottom of my exterior doors (cost $2) instead. The wood is fitted so that it drags (and even squeaks) when I open and close the doors. While a little annoying, this ensures a super-seal to keep everything out.
Your interior electric outlets are next. Remove the face plates and grab yourself a pair of sharp scissors and roll of masking tape. Use the masking tape to close that open space in the wall behind the electric outlet. Any cockroaches that are in the walls (and can no longer get out because the outside holes are now siliconed shut), can access your home via these spaces.
Simply tape over them and replace the face plate. Trim the tape so it does not stick out around the plate. Now silicone around the entire outside of the plate. You are creating another seal. Smooth a thin layer with your finger. For this, depending on your wall color, you may want to use transparent silicone. If your walls are white, carry on and silicone with the regular white stuff.
Do this for every electrical plate, even on inside walls, but pay particular attention to outside walls. If you have insects trapped inside your walls, they will spend the night looking for a way out. Don’t give them one.
Cover all drains with a rubber seal cover. You can buy them for less than a dollar a piece and they sell quickly around here, most likely because they’re a staple to insect survival. Every drain in your home should always be closed with a rubber cover, especially at night. I use the rubber seals for the shower and outside laundry drain.
You may not think to cover an outside drain, but covering it takes away one more superhighway into your home’s drain system, which leads to the kitchen, shower and bathroom sink. In my bathroom, I use the small sink plug that came with the sink. Same with the kitchen…I use the two metal sink plugs that came with it.
Keeping the shower drain covered during the day and night will also keep the bad smells in the drain system where they belong. If you live here for awhile, you’ll learn what I mean.
One last comment about keeping cockroaches from getting inside your home…do not leave doors or unscreened windows open after dusk. The moment the sun sets the lot of them set out in search of things to do.
It only takes them a second to get into your space and it could take you weeks to learn they are there, in which time, they could lay eggs and create a real problem that may require an exterminator.