How to Get Rid of Roaches

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There’s nothing worse than flicking on the kitchen lights and seeing (or hearing) the scuttling legs and antennae of cockroaches on your countertops, cabinets, or floor. Not only are these pests a major eyesore, but they can contaminate your food, transmit dangerous bacteria, and worst of all, survive even the best-intentioned eradication attempts. That’s why we turned to an entomologist and pesticide applicator to find the fastest and most effective way to get rid of roaches. Regardless if you’re tackling one sneaky pest or a whole army of cockroaches, follow this five-step guide to shut down even the most stubborn infestations.

Identify the problem area and seek professional help if needed.

Out of over 4,000 cockroach species in the world, most Americans encounter only one or two types: German cockroaches and American cockroaches.

The German variety have light-brown bodies with two parallel dark stripes down the sides and they measure less than an inch long.

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how to get rid of roaches - american cockroach
Reddish-brown American cockroaches grow slightly bigger, at about 1.5 inches. They also predominantly live outside in places like mulch and garbage heaps.

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Since cockroaches can taint your food and countertops with illness-causing E. coli and salmonella, don’t take an infestation

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All cleaned up after live oak deluge

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March 30, 2020

The garden reemerged last weekend, after copious raking and blowing and bagging, from the annual spring deluge of last season’s live oak leaves and subsequent pollen catkins. I ran around with the camera, capturing the gorgeousness of new flowers and fresh foliage, like this pretty combo of ‘Tangerine Beauty’ crossvine (Bignonia capreolata ‘Tangerine Beauty’) and wine-leaved ‘Sizzling Pink’ loropetalum (Loropetalum chinense) on the cedar fence in the backyard.

The center of the fence offers a rare sunny spot in my garden, for half the day anyway, and this year the Katrina rose (Rosa ‘Peggy Martin’) sports dozens of clusters of pink flowers.

‘Tangerine Beauty’ crossvine rambles all along the length of the fence…

…keeping company with blue bottles on the bottle tree.

Looking lengthwise past the bottle tree, ‘Sizzling Pink’ loropetalum reappears, backed by a spiky blue fringe of Yucca rostrata.

Still on my to-do list: lightly prune the loropetalum, which threatens to overrun the path.

I adore those burgundy leaves as they catch the sunlight.

The loropetalum echoes the rusty steel planter in front of the blue wall. Orange bulbine has just started blooming again, mingling with the soft texture

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Mexico City: Jacaranda purple haze, Centro Histórico, and native plants

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March 27, 2020

A romantic, violet veil brightens Mexico City each spring, when jacaranda trees unfurl a profusion of purple flowers on bare, sinuous trunks lining parkways, park paths, and residential streets.

Jacaranda trees

I caught sight of the purple haze from the airplane as we descended over the smoggy city in early March. At ground level, in placid Alameda Central park in Centro Histórico, the historic city center, the view is even better.

These otherworldly, head-turning trees came from South America. According to online sources, a Japanese immigrant to Mexico (via Brazil) imported the jacaranda in place of cherry trees, which fared poorly in Mexico’s dry climate. The jacaranda thrives in Mexico City’s mild, dry, high elevation (7,300 feet!).

I’ve seen jacarandas in the U.S. in frost-free (or nearly so) locations like Phoenix and Southern California. But the profusion in Mexico City dazzled me.

I was forever stopping my family for “one more photo.” The airy trees are hard to photograph against a hazy sky, but the purple flowers pop against the greenery of other trees.

Lilac loveliness everywhere.

Palacio de Bellas Artes

Aside from jacarandas, Centro offers plenty of other attractions, like the amber-domed Palacio de Bellas

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How to Clean and Disinfect Toys

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Let’s face it: Your child’s toys are their most prized possessions, often by his or her side 24/7. That means they get played with, tossed around, slept with, chewed on and who knows what else? Before long, that beautiful, pristine teddy bear looks like a gnarly mess. Besides the visible dirt and grime, toys can harbor germs, allergens or worse, mold.

Different toys require different cleaning methods not only to get them clean, but to keep them looking and working their best. Below, our Good Housekeeping Cleaning Lab recommends how — and how often — to clean and kill germs on toys to help keep your children safe.

How often should I clean toys?

How frequently toys need cleaning depends on how loved they are (a.k.a how much they get played with). These are general guidelines for when your child is healthy. It’s always important to clean and sanitize toys more frequently when your child is ill or has the flu and to do it all again once they’ve recovered.

  • Hard plastic and bath toys are the easiest to maintain and should be cleaned and sanitized weekly if they are played with daily.
  • Plush toys are often machine washable
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