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My questions concerns a population, more significant than simply exterminating an individual cockroach.

Claim: http://pest.tips.net/T003494_Kill_Roaches_with_Baking_Soda_and_Sugar.html

If you're concerned about pesticides in your home because you have pets and children, you can use a simple solution of sugar and baking soda to kill them. Neither substance is harmful to humans or pets, but the solution is lethal for roaches. The sweet smell of sugar entices the roach out of hiding to eat it, as well as the baking soda. Then, when the roach drinks water, the baking soda reacts, creating gas inside of the roach which causes its stomach to burst, killing the roach. Since other roaches feed on dead roaches, they also acquire the fatal substance and subsequently die.

http://www.instructables.com/id/Easy-and-totally-bio-pest-control/

Counterclaim: p 5 of 6, http://lancaster.unl.edu/pest/roach/roach10eng.pdf:

Bran, baking soda, and baking powder. An old wives’ tale says that if you feed bran to insects, the bran will swell up inside the insect and it will die. There are similar claims made about baking soda and baking powder, common leavening agents used in baking. Bran, baking powder, and baking soda will not cause cockroaches to die

  • Not the thrust of the question, but it seems some roaches are no longer attracted to sweet flavors, and indeed seem to have adopted a behavioral aversion to glucose. – choster Mar 1 '15 at 18:41
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    Doesn't baking soda (base) need to react with an acid to create a significant amount of gas? (Plus, I find it doubtful that insects can't structurally handle a minute increase in gas pressure.) (Plus, the gas-producing effect would surely dissipate after the first explosion.) (Plus, they're roaches. There's no way they're this trivial to eradicate.) – Larry OBrien May 14 '15 at 18:32
  • You can try mixing icing (Confectioners') sugar and plaster of paris. The sugar attracts the roaches, the plaster sets solid in their gut. – hdhondt Jun 28 '16 at 5:03
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    Since other roaches feed on dead roaches, they also acquire the fatal substance and subsequently die That's bollocks, the reaction has worked out by then. – Jan Doggen Jun 28 '16 at 11:10
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    @Phoog - The original text said drinking after eating BS killed the roaches, which isn't true because water (PH7) won't cause the reaction. Like you say if the stomachs contain acid then the BS will already have reacted, adding water won't make any difference. – Code Gorilla May 9 '17 at 7:26

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