How To Get Rid of Cockroaches (2018 Edition)
Wondering the best ways to get rid of cockroaches?
Perfect, you're in the right place!
In this Pest Strategies guide, you'll learn:
- What attracts cockroaches in the first place?
- Can cockroaches hurt you?
- What are some natural ways to get rid of cockroaches?
- Our 4-step method to getting rid of cockroaches for good
OH GOD! A COCKROACH!
Yup, he's scurrying from under your kitchen sink while you're grabbing the dish soap. And now, he's somewhere in your cabinet...
We've all heard it before:
Cockroaches survived many millennia before humans, and they'll probably outlive us, too.
But does this mean that you have to live with roaches in your house?
Of course not!
We're here to give you solutions on how to get rid of cockroaches for good. We've outlines some of the dangers of cockroaches, natural remedies, and our custom created 4 Pronged Approach to killing roaches.
Keep reading below for steps you can take today to rid your home of cockroaches fast.
What Attracts Cockroaches?
If you're simply interested in killing cockroaches without wanting to know why they're in your home in the first place, you'll find yourself with many more repeat infestations.
That's what most people do: Kill the cockroaches they can see.
This is definitely a short term solution as it's guaranteed that if there are cockroaches that you can see, there are many more breeding and feeding out of sight.
By tackling some of the issues that made your home attractive to cockroaches in the first place, you'll be setting yourself up for success in the future for a roach-free house.
So why are they attracted to you and hour home in the first place...?
They Smell Food
Cockroaches love your food, plain and simple.
Even the smallest spills or leakages could cause a cockroach to sniff its way inside your home for a feast.
That's why cockroaches love to linger in kitchens and near trash cans.
While cockroaches like to eat pure carbohydrates the most, they'll chow down on anything that's available if they're hungry enough.
Here are a few simple steps you can take to prevent or at least deter cockroaches from hanging around your kitchen:
- Clean up all spills as soon as possible.
- Make sure to sweep and/or vacuum underneath appliances like the fridge, the stove, and under counter tops (if there's space).
- Store all food in air-locked containers, or in plastic bags through which scent can't travel.
- Don't leave food sitting out, uncovered for longer than necessary.
- Take out garbage bags in a timely manner, and switch to a smaller kitchen trashcan if possible to avoid a lot of garbage sitting for extended periods of time.
If you have a larger cockroach infestation and food sources begin to run low, your roaches may start biting you to feed their appetite.
There's a Leak Somewhere
There are a few different types of cockroaches out there, and one in particular loves stagnant water.
The oriental cockroach (or "water bug") thrives in a moist environment and will be primarily attracted to humid areas of a home like basements, laundry rooms, drains, and crawl spaces.
If you're seeing cockroaches in the main parts of your house like the laundry room or the bathroom, this could spell out structural trouble in your home.
Investigate all possible causes of a leak in your pipes, and find the source of the moisture that's attracting these insects to stop the problem at its source.
Cracks, Crevices, and Small Openings
When it comes down to it, most cockroaches come into a person's home simply because they can.
Cockroaches have evolved to be able to flatten their bodies into impossibly-thin contortions of their normal height.
It's pretty amazing, actually. Watch this video to see how cockroaches are great contortionists:
The exoskeletons along their backs appear to be rigid and tough, but they're actually flexible and ductile, allowing the cockroach to slip through thin crevices in order to find food, warmth, and escape predators.
While it may feel insurmountable to try to find EVERY possible crack in your home's structure, perform as thorough of a walk-through along the outside of your house as possible, noting any structural damage or possible openings for a cockroach to squish itself inside.
Can Cockroaches Hurt You?
We all know that cockroaches are gross and, let's be honest, unpleasant to see scurrying across your floor.
But aside from the repulsive exterior, do they bring any danger into your home?
Can You Get Sick From Roaches?
Here's the thing: cockroaches leave their feces lying around.
This is something that occurs with virtually every household pest you'll encounter, so you can already understand the sort of health risks that go along with pest droppings contaminating your living space.
The bacteria present in the waste products of a cockroach can cause humans to become sick over time.
Also, cockroaches can sometimes shed piece of their bodies, which then work to disperse dust in a household.
These are called "cockroach allergens," and symptoms can include the following:
- A runny nose that never lets up
- Year-round respiratory problems like coughing, hacking, and wheezing
- Rash breakouts on skin with no known cause
Do Cockroaches Carry Diseases?
Because cockroaches commonly flit between food items and waste products, they are able to acquire, carry, and disperse pathogens wherever they walk.
But there is no scientific evidence that shows that cockroaches can transmit diseases to human beings.
However, even though they may not be able to disperse these pathogens to a human directly, cockroaches can still bring strains into your home.
An easy way to avoid pathogens building up over time is to stay on top of cleanliness in the home, making sure to always wipe down counter tops, stove tops, microwaves, and cabinets as often as possible.
Do Cockroaches Bite?
Generally, cockroaches won't bite you (at least not where you'd be able to feel it).
A cockroach may be curious and take a bite out of a fingernail or an eyelash, but this only happens while a person is asleep or otherwise unconscious.
Cockroaches are timid when humans are around, and won't make the move to crawl onto a human unless the person is incapacitated in some way.
Also, because of the cockroach's love of pure carbs, the protein of a human's body normally isn't attractive as a food source. But cockroaches are omnivores, so if they are hungry enough, it's possible that they could bite.
The odds of this happening are slim, though, so it shouldn't really be on your radar of things to worry about with a cockroach infestation.
For more information on cockroach bites, checkout this article.
How To Get Rid of Cockroaches Naturally
With harsh chemicals comes the risk of hurting your family and pets.
For those who want to stick to home remedies to rid their home of cockroaches, we've got some strategies for you to try out down below.
Natural Roach Repellant: Vinegar
Because vinegar is such a potent cleaning agent, any house cleaned with a water and vinegar solution will automatically discourage cockroaches from setting up shop inside.
Cockroaches are discouraged by the smell of vinegar, as well as the fact that this solution will disinfect surfaces and dull the scent of food or drink spills.
Baking Soda and Sugar
Baking soda is a popular leavening agent in breads and baked goods, helping to ferment the dough and expand it during the baking process.
When eaten by a cockroach, the same process takes place. However, when it happens inside a cockroach's body, the effect spells out death to the pest.
Essentially, a cockroach that eats baking soda will expand from the inside-out, eventually bloating so much that it keels over.
To lure a cockroach to eat baking soda in your home, simply mix it with sugar and deposit small piles of the powder around cracks and crevices in your home, or wherever you've seen cockroaches in the past.
Citrus Juice Repellent
Lemon and lime juices are another scent which serve as an irritant to the cockroach. Because of their overbearing smells, cockroaches will be deterred in homes that smell strongly of lemon or lime. This is actually one of the reasons that so many household cleaners use a lemon scent!
Here's how you can make it work for you: if you're not already using a lemon-scented cleaner, you can make your own repellent by mixing pure lemon juice with water in a spray bottle and spraying clean areas of your home.
Occasionally, people will turn to their cleaning closet for cheap quick solutions to kill roaches. Bleach is a popular solution in most homes and constantly comes up as a question. Can bleach kill roaches? We recommend avoiding it. Checkout out guide here for more information on why.
Our 4 Pronged Approach To Killing Roaches Fast
Cockroaches may be disgusting, but they are thankfully one of the more "beatable" pests you could have (unlike bed bugs).
Here at Pest Strategies, we've developed a four pronged approach to defeating cockroaches. Each "prong" if apart of an overall strategy you should deploy.
Using professionally-developed chemical cleaners will always be the best way to get rid of cockroaches.
While there are a few different types of chemicals that work in different ways, we recommend that you maximize the effectiveness by combining all three.
Take a look below to see what the best chemicals are, and how you can use them.
Prong #1: Using Roach Traps
The first prong in our four pronged roach killing strategy includes cockroach traps.
Roach traps provide for a very easy way to monitor and locate the source of your infestation.
The idea is simple...
Buy a number of roach traps and place them in potential areas of roach infesation. These areas include:
- In or around cracks and crevices of your house
- Underneath refrigerators or sinks
- On top or inside of shelves where they would be left undisturbed
- In the corners of your kitchen (area with food) and basement (dark area)
- Any other area where you suspect roaches might be hanging out
Once you've deployed your traps, just wait for a bit for some of them to start catching. This will help you decide where to start spraying (prong #2).
Prong #2: Using Roach Sprays
The second prong in our strategy requires the use of roach sprays.
After you've deployed your traps, you should have some idea where they are coming from and can strategically spray places in your home to reduce the infestation.
Remember however, a spray acts more like a barrier and an instant contact killer. If used incorrectly, you could end up making your infestation worse by spreading out the colony into new parts of your home (this is bad).
The best use of sprays is clear out the insides of walls (wall voids) and the hard to reach crevices.
Ideally, you would have already deployed cockroach baits (prong #3) to help drive the remaining roaches to spread the poison throughout their nests.
Sprays work because cockroaches have millions of small holes throughout their bodies, which can immediately become susceptible to an insecticide that's been sprayed in an certain area.
Roach spray works to quickly irritate and short-circuit a cockroach's central nervous system, leading to death. The active ingredient for most sprays is pyrethoid, which stems from chrysanthemum flowers in the wild.
When you've deployed roach traps and have begun to spray in hard to reach crevices of your home, you can move onto prong #3 and prong #4 of our 4-part strategy.
Prong #3: Using Roach Baits
Roach baits are the 3rd prong in our strategy because by now you should have a good sense of where your infestation is hanging out (via the traps).
The baits should be placed in such a way where the roaches can get to them and bring the bait back to the nest with the remaining roaches.
By using a chemical roach bait, your roach is lured by to the bait via an attractive scent that contains insecticide.
This method of killing a cockroach is often a slower process than using a roach spray, as the insecticides contained in the bait are in smaller portions, as not to overpower the attractant.
The upside of using a bait is that it's pre-mixed and ready to be set around commonly-infested areas of your home. Simply leave a few baits sitting in dark spots where you found the traps to be working, and you should be sweeping up dead cockroaches within a few days.
After you've seen some success with the baiting, you should also be deploying IGR or Insect Growth Regulator according to the 4th and last prong on our list.
Prong#4: Using Insect Growth Regulators
The one downside of both cockroach sprays and cockroach baits is that they're usually only effective on mature cockroaches.
This is where an Insect Growth Regulator (IGR) steps in.
Cockroaches lay eggs in white clusters which can be nearly indestructible, glued to a surface and glazed with a protective casing.
An insect growth regulator works as roach baby birth control an makes it difficult if not impossible for roaches to reproduce stopping the lifecycle and your infestation.
The Bottom Line About Roaches
Though these creepy crawly creatures are some of the oldest species on earth, that doesn't mean they can't be outsmarted by humans and banished from homes.
Whether you decide to take the natural, DIY route or you utilize a type of chemical solution (or even a blend of the two), you'll be able to kill cockroaches with a bit of patience.
Always remember: the best way to prevent cockroaches from coming in your home in the first place is to keep a clean house, seal your small openings, and make sure your air is as dry as possible.
By the way, if you're looking for something specific to garden cockroach problems, check out this guide from Gardener's Path we loved.
Curious about other cockroach problems? Check out our other detailed guides to help you deal with your pest problems.