Roaches are experts at sneaking into your home and then hiding, contaminating your food, spreading bacteria and surviving attempts to eliminate them. The good news is that even if these pests seem like they could survive even the apocalypse, you can get rid of them and prevent them in a few simple steps. The key is patience and vigilance.
Overall, This Old House recommends hiring a professional pest control company to eradicate the roaches in your house. The companies have commercial grade products and equipment, as well as expertise, enabling them to get the job done faster. The This Old House Reviews Team’s top recommendations for pest control are Terminix and Orkin.
However, in this article you’ll also find various recommendations for products and DIY methods to help eliminate and prevent roach infestations in your home.
Cockroaches are nocturnal pests that seek out food, water, and shelter, especially in warm, humid climates. The two most common species of roaches in the U.S. are the German cockroach and the American cockroach. American cockroaches are darker brown and tend to be larger. Both species are active year-round and reproduce rapidly.
According to the University of Minnesota, adult cockroaches produce between 16–50 eggs at one time depending on the species.
German cockroaches have a faster life cycle than American roaches. This reproductive trait means that German roach colonies expand faster and once established, they can be quite difficult to get rid. For additional information about dealing with German cockroach nests in particular, we recommend reading our supplementary guide, How to Get Rid of German Cockroaches.
Why and How Cockroaches Enter Your Home
Cockroaches are attracted to food and water sources. Dirty dishes, crumbs, food spills, leftovers, garbage, and pet food will all draw cockroaches in. Roaches are excellent at scuttling into and over tiny spaces, especially holes in pipes, cracks and crevices in your home, and tears in screens.
How To Get Rid of Cockroaches
There are a variety of measures you can take, from cleaning up to setting out bait. These will both help get rid of existing roaches and keep other roaches from coming in the future.
Set Roach Killer Bait and Traps
The most effective roach killers fall into one of two categories—traps and chemical bait.
Cockroach traps, sometimes referred to as “roach motels,” use bait to lure the cockroaches onto a powerful sticky surface similar to a glue strip.
However, in most cases, chemical baits are faster-acting and more powerful than glue traps. Chemical roach bait contain insecticide in gel, liquid, or granular form that imitates food. In this case, a cockroach will consume the poison bait and then migrate back to their nests where they then die. This then creates a domino effect, as the other roaches in the nest eat the dead roach’s poisoned carcass, which spreads the toxin throughout the nest.
Chemical bait is also toxic to pets and humas, so place it in spots that pets and children cannot access it. Also avoid placing bait next to open food and drinks.
Since cockroaches tend to nest close to food, trash bins, and plumbing, place the bait throughout the kitchen and bathroom areas. Lay it down beneath sinks, stoves, and refrigerators, behind or near trash cans, inside kitchen and bathroom cabinets, and under baseboards.
Reapply gel bait roughly every 2–3 weeks. For bait stations, check the bait levels once a week and replace empty stations with new, full stations.
You can purchase roach traps and bait from home improvement stores, most grocery stores, as well as Amazon and similar online vendors.
Clean Up and Cut Off Food Supply
Cockroaches are attracted to the food and shelter that comes with filth. Cleaning your home is the easiest way to keep roaches at bay. You need to be incredibly thorough in this effort—unfortunately, roaches can survive for 2 weeks without water and 3 months without food. Be as stringent as you can.
- Wipe up spills and clean up crumbs immediately.
- Wash dishes immediately after use and put them away.
- Empty and clean cabinets.
- Clean underneath the sink.
- Clean under all appliances, including the refrigerator, a favorite hiding spot.
- Clean the interior and exterior of garbage cans. Throw trash away as soon as it’s time, and always use liners and tight-fitting lids.
- Sweep, vacuum, and mop periodically.
- Empty out or cover pet food dishes.
Keeping food in sealed containers is the next logical step. Roaches can easily wriggle into gaps in cardboard boxes. Consider storing your cereal, sugar, flour, and other dry woods in airtight containers.
Set Out Glue Strips
You can monitor the situation by setting out glue strips in areas you suspect have high cockroach activity, like the space between your refrigerator and floor, and behind toilets. The more roaches on one glue strip, the more activity there is there. We recommend the Cockroach Glue Trap by Catchmaster, which includes six disposable traps.
Eliminate Hiding Spaces and Entry Points
Roaches can’t survive in your home without shelter. Throw away all clutter, including cardboard boxes and unnecessary papers. Seal up all possible entry points using caulk—in cracks, crevices, gaps between tiles, and other openings. Ensure door frames and window frames have no gaps to the outside. If you say daylight underneath your door, you need to close the gap.
Get Rid of Standing Water
Start by surveying your plumbing system for leaky pipes and, take steps to prevent household plumbing leaks in the future. Empty the dish tray from beneath your refrigerator and keep your sinks drained.
Apply Boric Acid or Use Liquid Concentrates
Boric acid is a popular home remedy. This DIY strategy involves mixing equal proportions of boric acid, confectioners’ sugar, and flour together into a dough—the baking ingredients will attract the roaches, and the boric acid will kill them. Break up this dough into marble-sized balls and set them strategically around your home like beneath the refrigerator and sink.
Liquid concentrates are specially formulated roach deterrents. Mix them with water to dilute them, then spray them into likely hiding spots, including cracks and crevices.
Top Recommended Providers For Roach Control
Fast and effective roach control is a tall order, and it’s best left to qualified professionals. The This Old House Reviews Team recommends top pest control companies Terminix and Orkin. Both companies have pest control specialists who will tailor a roach control plan to your home and provide ongoing solutions for potential reinfestation.
Both companies stand out for their widespread availability, 24/7 customer support, and reservice guarantees that state specialists will provide additional treatments between scheduled visits if necessary. With both Orkin and Terminix, you can schedule pest-specific extermination and prevention services for roaches and various other types of infestations.
We always recommend getting multiple quotes before making your final decision. To get a free quote from Terminix, call 866-569-4035 or fill out this form. If you’d like a free quote from Orkin, call 8778681416 or fill out a simple form.
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Our Rating Methodology
The This Old House Reviews Team backs up our pest control recommendations with a detailed rating methodology that we use to objectively score each provider. We review pest control plans, navigate the provider website, speak with customer service representatives by phone and online chat (if available), request quotes, and analyze customer reviews for each provider. We then score the provider against our review standards for plan options, additional benefits and convenience factors, availability, trustworthiness, and customer service to arrive at a final score out of 100.
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