How to Get Rid of Cockroaches

Seen in popular TV shows and movies, cockroaches typically leave a bad impression on homeowners and renters around the world. When you start to notice more cockroaches in your dwelling, it puts you in a position to where you want to get rid of them as soon as possible. The problem is that these critters are fast, difficult to kill, and seem to be hiding absolutely everywhere! From getting store bought treatments to hiring an exterminator, learning how you can get rid of cockroaches is what will help you to live comfortably.

​What Type of Cockroaches Do I Have?

Unlike other methods of eradication, when you work towards getting rid of cockroaches all methods tend to work the same regardless of the species. There are 3 main types of roaches that you might find in your home: German, Asian, and American. German roaches are known for their small bodies and typically have brown bands on their back. The American and Asian roaches have a smoky brown color and they are 2 of the most common species.

You’ll notice that every species typically has an oval body with 6 long legs and 2 long antennae at the top of their head. Depending on the breed, they can be between .7 and 3 inches long. But don’t worry, it’s quite unlikely that you will see these species flying, though American cockroaches have been known to get from one area to another with the help of their wings.

​Where Do Cockroaches Live?

There are hundreds of places where cockroaches can live but they typically tend to stay anywhere that there is food and water ranging from the basement to your bathrooms. In most cases you won’t notice them during the day, as they are notorious for being nocturnal and find their way into your home through the walls, underneath furniture, and even through crevices in between your flooring. They have an affinity for all types of food ranging from sweets to meat. They are also known to be cannibals, as they’ll eat dead and live roaches alike.

Finding a Cockroach Infestation​

It is important that you consider the following tips before getting rid of roaches to determine if you have a larger problem that you need to be equipped for. Pay attention to the following signs of a cockroach infestation:

Damage: Cockroaches are renowned for eating absolutely everything and anything they can get their hands on, ranging from furniture to your food. If you find damage on your belongings that wasn’t there before, start looking for the bugs.

Cockroach Feces: The best way to tell that you 100% have an infestation is to see little bits of cockroach feces which appear to be black and brown dots. Typically it will be in large groupings throughout your home.

Cockroach Eggs: Pay attention behind your doorposts and under cabinets as there may be roach eggs waiting to hatch.

Image Titled Cockroach Size

Image Credit: Tom Spinker

Lifestyle Changes

The first things you’re going to want to do is take a look at your daily habits and determine if anything you’re doing is instigating an infestation. The more lifestyle changes you can make, the easier it will be to control your existing infestation and prevent further ones from happening.

1. Keeping a Clean House

Even though many people believe that roaches are clean insects, they have the need to dwell in places that might be damp or have a lot of dirt build up. Ensure that you clean every inch of your home to make it seem unappealing to invading species.

2. Storing Food

The number one reason as to why roaches might be trying to get into your home is because they always have access to food. Take everything that you would typically leave out on the counter and store it in your fridge. If you can’t fit everything in the fridge, invest in airtight containers and hide them from the bugs.

3. Clean Sinks

It’s easy for roaches to get the nourishment they need from the leftovers that you leave on your plates. Make sure that you wash all of your dishes throughout the day to keep your sinks cleaned.

4. Mopping and Vacuuming Daily

As another part of keeping your house clean, ensure that you vacuum and mop your floors every day to get rid of traces of food. This is particularly important for families with small children and pets.

Store Bought Products

Many people state that there are natural remedies to get rid of cockroaches but the most effective methods are store bought products that include pesticides and other chemicals that are toxic to the pests.

1. Childproof Bait Traps
In order to protect your children and pets, buy childproof bait traps. These traps will typically contain some type of gel poison that is designed to grab onto the pests and kill them as soon as they touch the trap. Some of these traps might also include little pellets of food that will be consumed by the roaches and kill them when they get back to their nest.

2. Roach Bombs
Some other incredibly common methods for getting rid of a roach infestation are roach bombs. It is important that you put all of your food away, open all of the windows, and remove all children and pets before you go through the bombing process. You will also have to give your home several hours to air out before you can enter again. Depending on the type of bomb that you buy, you might have to repeat the process a couple of weeks later to ensure that any straggling cockroaches didn’t survive.

3. Boric Acid
There has yet to be any evidence to suggest that roaches have resilience against boric acid and you can make an at-home treatment by using store bought products. Combine boric acid, flour, and sugar together. Place the ingredients where there may be water in your home, particularly the bathroom or the kitchen. Once the roaches touch the mixture it will be absorbed or ingested and can be spread to the other roaches in the nest. The boric acid will eat away at their nervous system and force the roaches to be paralyzed.

Image Titled Cockroaches in Kitchen

Image Credit: Ben Smith

Recommended Chemical Agents

If you’ve decided that chemical agents are the way that you want to get rid of your infestation, take note of these products and use them to your advantage. Most of them are relatively affordable and have been proven to be incredibly effective against all types of cockroach species.

1. Vendetta Gel Bait

Abamectin B1 is the active ingredient inside of Vendetta Gel Bait, which is used for severe house infestations that you feel like you, can’t get rid of. The agent helps to attract all types of roach species, even the ones that aren’t seemingly interested in baits. You get a syringe with the kit that makes the solution simple to apply and the formula is said to last up to 3 years with proper application.

2. Harris Boric Acid Roach Powder

Now that you know the effectiveness of boric acid, the Harris Boric Acid Roach Powder is a unique formula that attracts various types of insects, including silver bugs. You will receive an easy to use the applicator in the kit and the gel will attract the bugs to the trap, killing them within hours. The best part is that the chemicals remain active in the dead roaches, which helps to kill more of the nest if they decide to eat their deceased counterparts.

3. Ortho Home Defense MAX Insect Killer Spray

As a brand that most homeowners know about, Ortho has created an insect killer spray that targets a variety of different insects ranging from spiders to cockroaches. It comes with an easy to use spray that is completely odorless and can be used both indoors and outdoors. You will want to spray all of the entry points to your home including windows, doors, walls, and floors. It helps to kill the bugs once they touch the mixture and it also deters them from entering in the first place.

Some Effective Natural Remedies

Although natural remedies may not be as effective as store bought products, they do carry their own variety of benefits. First, you won’t have to worry about having hazardous traps around your house that could affect your children and your pets. Second, they are healthier for the environment and preserve the integrity of your home. Also, you’ll find that natural remedies can be far less expensive than spending money on roach bombs and childproof bait traps.

1. Baking Soda and Sugar

One of the easiest ways that you can get rid of roaches is to combine 2 ingredients that you already have in your cupboards. By taking 1 part baking soda and 1 part sugar, it gives you the ability to attract the pests and kill them at the same time. Add water to the mixture to create either a liquid or a paste. With the paste, you can spread it in all of the areas where there has been a lot of roach activity or you can put the liquid in a spray bottle and focus it on popular areas. When the cockroaches ingest the formula (because it smells so sweet from the sugar) the baking soda will conflict with the acids inside of their stomach. This will inevitably kill them, though it can take a little bit of time to get rid of an entire nest, as the cockroaches will have to eat the formula to die.

2. Dried Bay Leaves

As a well known at-home treatment for a variety of different types of insects, bay leaves are a type of plant that give off an unappealing scent for any type of bug, particularly roaches. The smell alone will deter them from popular areas in your house such as your kitchen cupboards, under the sink, inside of your pillows, and more. Although this remedy won’t kill the infestation it can keep them away from your house.

3. Petroleum Jelly Traps

Even though petroleum jelly is a great way to moisturize your skin, it can be potentially hazardous to roaches. You can make these great at-home traps that are safe for the whole family and your pets. All you will need is petroleum jelly, a jar, and some fruits. Take the jar and spread the petroleum jelly around the inner rim, placing fruit peels inside of the jar. Put the trap along the wall and the parasites will be attracted to the sweet smell of the fruit, forcing them into the trap. The petroleum jelly will make them unable to move and they will be stuck inside of the jar, though they will not die overnight. The next morning you can add soap and water into a toilet and flush the existing bugs away.

4. Plaster of Paris and Cornstarch

In the event that you have a lot of small places that are hard to get to but you know that there is roach activity in these places, rely on plaster of Paris and cornstarch. You will want to mix the two ingredients together and add a little bit of water in order to create a liquefied paste. By using a syringe you can fill up all of the holes and cracks in your home with the substance. Since the cockroaches won’t be able to get through these entry points anymore, they will inevitably leave your house to search for food elsewhere.

Image Titled Natural Remedies

5. Catnip

By making catnip tea, you can create a formula that is going to deter the roaches from your home. Again, this is not a way to kill them but it can be incredibly useful for forcing them off of your property. Take the catnip and steep it in water to make a tea and put it inside of a spray bottle. Spray all of the places that you have seen cockroach activity and ensure that you continue spraying the areas after every weekly clean. Catnip is a scent that roaches hate, forcing them to leave as quickly as possible.

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