You know the feeling — you’re having a pleasant day living in your home and/or apartment and all of a sudden you notice a very unwelcome visitor, creeping and crawling along in your kitchen, bathroom or other seemingly benign location. A roach. Is it a German cockroach? An American cockroach? You’re not sure, but you’re sure you want it gone along with the statistically many friends they already have hidden in your walls and piping. Bummer. Pests are annoying, but getting rid of pests is not a long process when done right.
Thankfully, when it comes to how to get rid of roaches, we’ve done the research for you and can offer numerous tips you can use to get rid of these insects once and for all. The problem? They tend to multiply quickly when left to their own devices, only making matters worse as the hours and days progress. The good news? Along with a big problem shared by many comes plenty of solutions. We’re here to walk you through some potential explanations as to why you’ve got this problem on your hands in the first place, how to get rid of roaches and how to prevent them from coming back in the future.
What’s Bringing the Cockroaches to Your Home?
What motivates most living things? Food and water, and the same goes for cockroaches. They’re probably gathering where they’ve found a food source they can depend on, at least for the moment.
This might look like those dirty dishes you left sitting for a few days, your garbage can, crumbs on your floors or counters or even your dog’s food dish. Some of these things are easier to avoid than others, but it’s helpful to zero in on the source so you can cut them off then and there.
How Are They Getting In?
The second important thing to note is how the roaches are entering your home. They tend to creep in via cracks and crevices or holes in vents and pipes. If they can’t get in, they can’t wreck havoc in your home or bring in potentially harmful bacteria — so fixing these problems might be the nip in the bud you need to restore peace.
Sometimes, however, infestations happen and it’s up to us to fix them. The first step here? Identifying the type of roach you’ve got on your hands.
American Roach vs. German Roach
The type of roach you’ve got in your home somewhat defines what course of action you should take in getting rid of them, so it’s important to identify this first. Thankfully, it’s pretty straightforward if you can get a good sample. Using a flashlight and a roach glue strip, place a few down where you suspect they might be emerging from and get a few to stick so you can take a closer look. This step is gross (actually, they’re kind of all gross) but necessary to making your extermination efforts most effective.
HARRIS Roach Glue Traps
These glue traps are perfect for trapping a few roaches so you can get rid of them after taking a closer look at their anatomy and coloring. They’re non-toxic and pesticide-free and easy to use. They’re also small and discreet enough to slide underneath bedding and furniture. They only take a few steps to set up and work for a variety of insects and pests beyond roaches.
Catchmaster Mouse and Insect Glue Boards
Each of these glue boards from Catchmaster has a thick coat of professional-strength adhesive on it. You can spread them throughout your home without causing a mess or being too obvious about it. They have perforated ear away edges, are non-toxic and safe to use around your family.
After you’ve caught a few of the roaches to inspect, you’ll want to identify the size and the coloring. These are the characteristics that differentiate between the two cockroaches we most commonly encounter here the US — the German cockroach and American cockroach.
German cockroaches have light-brown bodies with darker stripes and tend to be smaller, less than an inch long. American cockroaches are more of a reddish-brown color and are slightly bigger than their German compatriots — at about an inch and a half long.
German cockroaches, due to their smaller size tend to respond better to bait and insect growth regulators, which we’ll go further into in a moment. American cockroaches are larger and need more an insecticide approach. The first step, however, no matter what type you’ve got is to thoroughly clean your home.
The easiest way to deter roaches from coming back is to keep a tidy home consistently. Wash dishes immediately after meals, clean crumbs quickly, take out of the garbage, remove the grease from your stove top and mop frequently as well. This, along with other methods for nixing the problem, will be a good step in the right direction of keeping your home roach-free going forward.
1. Store-Bought Baits
Again this type of extermination tends to be more effective on smaller roaches like the German cockroach.
Combat Roach Killing Bait 8-Count
This pack from Combat contains eight different roach bait stations, each of which contains the highly effective lethal chemical Hydramethylnon. Placing these traps anywhere you might see (or not see) roaches is one effective way to attract and kill them day and night. Simply place them and wait for your roach problem to dissipate, as it destroys the roaches’ nests as well. It leaves no mess and doesn’t require any activation, making it an easy extermination method when deployed effectively.
Rockwell Labs Invict Gold Cockroach Gel
Bait traps like Combat are effective, but roaches can also become averse to these and work around them. This gel from Invict works against that, by providing bait that the roaches eat and die from. If other roaches are exposed to the dead roach or its droppings, they also die off. The gel contains food attractants, but is lethal in as little as 20 minutes after eating for the roach. The gel is also made without common food allergens for humans and plants so it’s safe to use in schools, healthcare facilities and child care.
2. Insecticides and Concentrates
Insecticides and concentrates can be great deterrents when sprayed in cracks, crevices, crawl spaces and other hiding places where your roaches might be entering and multiplying. Rather than a trap that might not be able to accommodate a larger roach, sprays contain scents they don’t like and can be very effective at keeping them away.
However, with these insecticide sprays it’s important to keep in mind that you don’t want to cover surfaces that you touch frequently, like countertops or handles as the chemicals can be toxic.
Bayer Suspend SC Insecticide 16oz
This is the same insecticide used by the pros, as this one pint can yield up to 64 gallons of effective solution. It’s formulated to be used inside and outside and should be applied to areas around doors, around plumbing under sinks, washer and dryer connections as well as dryer vents. This chemical works on more than 50 high-nuisance pets including cockroaches and other insects so you can hit multiple birds with one stone, so to speak. It has no odor, no visible residue and has a flexible label so you can water it down to different degrees and apply to carpets and upholstery as well.
Tempo Ultra SC 240ml Insecticide
This Tempo Ultra SC insecticide has no odor and won’t stain the surfaces you spray it on. It’s made for indoor and outdoor application, and has a high rating on Amazon for its longevity. Spray it and leave it, letting it do its work in preventing the pests you don’t want visiting your home, cockroaches and otherwise. It’s easy to use, less messy to handle than other methods and disperses evenly during application.
Demon Max Insecticide 25.3% Cypermethrin
Another insecticide option is this Demon Max formula, an intimidating name in and of itself. It contains a hefty dose of Cupermethrin, a powerful formula in controlling over 30 different pests. It can be applied in a number of different areas including indoors in crevices and cracks where roaches may be moving or hiding. You can also use it outside for stopping potential visitors in their tracks before they ready your home or apartment. It can be used for pre- and post-construction pest prevention and is long-lasting.
3. Boric Acid
Zap-A-Roach Boric Acid Roach Killer
Boric Acid is another key active ingredient in roach control and is designed to eliminate the pests that are the hardest to exterminate. This is a non-staining formula and is safe to use on a variety of surfaces. It’s toxic to bugs but won’t damage your home. It’s designed to be odorless so pungent chemical sprays aren’t an issue. This is a powder you distribute in hard-to-reach areas like pipes and drains, and behind large appliances like your fridge.