Time Out Sydney

"Can beer kill cockroaches?" Ted M, via email

"Most alcohol would work, yes," says Martyn Robinson, naturalist at the Australia Museum. "I'd use beer or cheap red wine. Save the champagne for yourself."

The alcohol doesn't actually kill the cockroach, but it does act as bait. Cockroaches are attracted to fermenting fruit and decomposing food so an easy way to kill them, Robinson explains, is to put an empty margarine container in the corner of a room, leave it greasy, and pour in approximately 2cm of red wine or beer. Talk about a cheap date. The little buggers will then crawl into the container. Drunkenly, little legs flailing, they'll slip on the grease and fall into the trap, and will be unable to emerge from it.

"It's a simple pit fall," says Robinson. But he warns not to leave the container out too long because if too many dead cockroaches accumulate, the live ones will use the dead ones as a ladder to freedom by crawling over them.

If you have no use for them live - and why would you? - Robinson suggests either drowning them or putting them in the freezer and freezing them solid, then removing them with chopsticks and feeding them to another predator. Hey, it's survival of the fittest.

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