Cockroaches pose a significant health hazard when they are found in the home environment: they carry disease-causing germs and can even irritate allergy sufferers.
It is not surprising then, that we generally equate cockroaches with dirtiness. Unfortunately, if you want to get rid of cockroaches, you may need to seek professional help.
Cockroaches are highly resilient creatures and they can be especially difficult to eliminate. For the most part, prevention is the best means of controlling cockroach problems, but there are some measures you can take to get rid of cockroaches if a problem already exists.
- How to get rid of Roaches?
- How to get rid of roaches without an exterminator?
- How to get rid of roaches naturally?
- How to get rid of roaches in an apartment?
- How to get rid of roaches in your car?
- How to get rid of roaches inside my house?
Roaches, like many pests, come to your house for food, water, and shelter. They like dark, damp spaces, and are nocturnal creatures, opting to come out of their hiding places when everyone else in the house is sleeping.
They are opportunistic feeders, and can feed on virtually anything – it’s actually bacteria living in their bodies which give cockroaches nutrients to survive, so they’re able to eat a wide variety of organic material. Flakes of dried skin, feces, sewage gunk, to the more conventional pest diet such as dead insects, trash, and human food. When food is scarce, they’ve even been observed to eat toothpaste and soap.
KEEP A CLEAN ENVIRONMENT
Eliminating their food sources means not only properly storing your food in airtight, hard plastic or metal containers, but keeping a clean house. That means regularly sweeping and mopping floors, cleaning off accumulated gunk, and properly disposing of trash especially organic materials. Whenever possible, keep your outdoor trash stored in a sturdy bin with a secure lid.
SEAL YOUR HOME AGAINST PESTS
Next, prevent cockroaches and other pests from coming inside your house by sealing their possible entry points.
Seal cracks and crevices along walls and floorboards, and install screens on windows and all outside vents. Consider weatherstripping windows and doors to seal gaps.
Since cockroaches can travel through pipes, invest in drain covers as well.
An effective method against cockroaches would be to use cockroach bait. Use slow-acting bait – if the roach makes it back to their hiding place before it dies, other roaches will then feed on its poisoned body and die as well. It would also expel feces which poison other roaches in the area.
- Place baits where you often see cockroaches
- Place bait in corners or behind furniture where roaches hide – placing it out in the open would make it harder for the cockroach to discover it
- Don’t spray insecticide on the bait or in the area you place it on
Baiting pests is a slow process, but highly effective when done right.
There are plenty of products you can purchase in the market that are highly effective against cockroaches – however, carefully read the label instructions when dealing with highly toxic chemicals, and exercise caution when using them.
Pests thrive in an unclean environment, so make sure yours is cleaned regularly.
- Remove rotting leaves from window wells and gutters
- Get rid of old storage boxes and use plastic storage containers instead
- Thoroughly clean kitchen appliances to make sure there are no food debris cockroaches can feed on
- Don’t leave pet food out overnight, as cockroaches and other pests will also feed on it
- Don’t leave dirty dishes in the sink overnight
- Ventilate damp spaces
- Fix faulty pipes
You may also want to invest in a dehumidifier – not only does it make your house less habitable for pests, but it also helps against mold and mildew.
Many pests stray into our homes from the outside, so sealing possible entry points goes a long way in making sure pests stay where they belong – outside.
- Seal and caulk cracks and crevices on walls and floorboards
- Caulk cracks or gaps around water pipes
- Install screens on windows
- Install mesh screens on all outdoor vents
- Weatherstrip windows and doors to close gaps
- Use a drain cover designed to keep cockroaches out
Some products are more suited for specific kinds of cockroaches, such as small German cockroaches or larger American cockroaches. Be sure to read labels when buying pest control products.
The most effective means of getting rid of cockroaches would be using slow-acting cockroach bait or granular baits, non-repellant and residual insecticides sprays, and insect dust.
Cockroaches are a common household pest in the United States, with about 30 species often associated with human habitats.
They’re filthy and spread diseases, so you’ll want to get rid of them right away. Before opting for more toxic chemicals, here are a few ways you may be able to get rid of them naturally:
Mix 3 parts fabric softener and 2 parts water in a spray bottle. Spray directly on a cockroach, and it will block its breathing holes (known as spiracles), causing it to suffocate.
While it’s a fairly simple approach, note that this only affects the active roach – and where you see one cockroach, there are likely many more in the area.
DE is very popular in DIY pest control circles. Not only will it kill cockroaches, but a whole slew of other insects as well. It’s also relatively safe for you, your family, and pets.
Lightly sprinkle food-grade DE on high-traffic areas – that is, where you often see cockroaches and other pests.
On a microscopic level, DE is made up of sharp shards. Once it comes into contact with an insect’s exoskeleton, it will slowly break its waxy outer layer and disrupt its internal water balance. Eventually, the insect dehydrates and dies.
Note: DE may be abrasive to our lungs when inhaled in large amounts, so a mask and gloves when handling DE, and void using it near sleeping areas (including your pet’s sleeping areas).
Cockroaches and other pests can easily spread, especially in apartment buildings or when walls and pipes are shared.
For getting rid of pests in an apartment or a somewhat shared living space, it is very important to seal off their possible entry points into your own home.
- Thoroughly inspect your apartment and seal cracks, crevices, and gaps – including gaps that are between water pipes and walls, or for any appliance wire or cable and walls
- Close gaps under doors that lead outside by installing weather strips. You can also use weather strips for gaps found on windows
- Install drain covers designed to keep pests on the other side
One of the best things you can do to keep cockroaches away is to keep a clean environment. Cockroaches, like many other pests, thrive in unclean areas, especially when these areas are hardly disturbed
- Don’t keep dirty dishes out overnight, because if you have roaches, they will feed on the food debris left
- Thoroughly clean cooking appliances – again, you don’t want cockroaches to have easy access to any food debris
- Store food properly in airtight containers, preferably made out of hard plastic or metal materials
- Regularly take out trash
Use an insecticide spray to kill active roaches, and spray non-repellant insecticide on high-traffic areas – that is, where you usually see roaches, like under sink.
Pests like cockroaches are not able to detect non-repellant insecticides, so they move through sprayed areas and die shortly after.
You can also use a cockroach bait to kill roaches that are in hiding.
Nobody likes living with pests like cockroaches – and in the small, and often cramped space of a car, even less so.
Pests are drawn to human dwellings for shelter, food, and water, and it’s likely these same things that have brought roaches into your car.
TAKE OUT THE TRASH
You may be surprised at the small bits of food that accumulate over time in your car, especially if you often eat inside of it. While we think we may regularly clean up and the interior looks clean (and there’s no smell that indicate food is slowly rotting away), tiny morsels of food are all cockroaches need to survive – they can also feed on flakes of dead skin, and even hair, which we regularly shed.
Cockroaches can live for a long time without food (up to a month), but only for several days without water. Luckily for them (and unluckily for us), our car provides that for them too.
There’s not a lot you can do about the moisture inside of your car, but it helps to use a moisture absorber. As for food sources, vacuum every nook and cranny, and wipe off any gunk that may have been from food spilled however long ago.
Throw away all trash, including empty food or water containers. If you’re keeping boxes inside of your car to carry items, replace those boxes with plastic storage containers.
DE can be used for a lot of insects, inside homes, outside of homes, and inside cars too! Just lightly sprinkle on your car floor, and any insects traveling through it will eventually dry out and die.
While DE is relatively safe to use, only lightly sprinkle – DE can still be abrasive to our lungs (and our pet’s lungs) when inhaled in large amounts. When in contact with skin, it may also cause skin dryness and irritation, and may also irritate the eyes.
Use food-grade DE, and carefully read label instructions. When handling, wear a mask and gloves.
They’re great to use in cars, because if they’re placed where you or your passengers can’t disturb these traps, that means the only things that do would be the roaches you’re trying to get rid of.
Place bait in the center of a glue trap and wait for unsuspecting roaches to fall victim to it.
PREVENT ROACHES FROM REINFESTING YOUR CAR
To make sure roaches no longer find your car an attractive place to nest, keep your car clean. If you’ve only been parking in specific areas before you noticed cockroaches in your car, then there may be more of them waiting to get inside from those areas – try parking your car elsewhere, or check for a roach infestation where you’re parking. Avoid parking near storm drains, as that is where roaches could be coming from.
Pests that typically stray inside human dwellings look for food and water – if they find a clean environment devoid of easily accessible food and water, they’ll want to look elsewhere.
CLEAN, CLEAN, CLEAN
Cockroaches thrive in unclean environments, especially if these environments are seldom disturbed but regularly replenished with organic material they can feed on.
Help turn away cockroaches by regularly cleaning your house, especially your kitchen. Don’t leave dirty dishes in the sink overnight, and thoroughly clean cooking appliances where food debris may have stuck to.
You’ll be surprised at the tiny food debris that accumulate on the ground over time, so regularly sweep and mop floors, especially in the kitchen. Roaches can even feed on flakes of dead skin and hair which we shed all the time – so don’t forget to sweep or vacuum every once in a while.
Baiting is one of the most effective methods of pest control, roaches included.
Use bait with a delayed toxicant activity – once a cockroach has eaten the bait, they likely won’t die until they’ve gotten back to their hiding places. Roaches are cannibalistic, and if they feed on a cockroach that has died from eating cockroach bait, they’ll also die.
If the poisoned cockroach expels feces before dying, other cockroaches will also be poisoned from it.
CLOSE OFF PEST ENTRY POINTS
Prevent cockroaches from coming back inside your house by sealing all possible entry points.
It’s a tedious process, but well worth it – not only will cockroaches remain outside where they belong, but a lot of other pests will too!
Seal and caulk cracks and crevices along walls and floorboards, and consider installing screens on windows. Weather strip windows and doors to close gaps.
Cockroaches can come inside homes from pipes, so use drain pipes designed to keep roaches out.
A cockroach can live for a week without its head
Cockroaches can run up to three miles per hour
Cockroaches were around with the dinosaurs
Not all cockroaches can fly
When cockroaches are hungry they are capable of eating human flesh
Check out our blog entries on bed bugs here.
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- How to get rid of roaches coming from neighbors?
- How to get rid of roaches without harming pets?
- How to get rid of roaches with boric acid?
- How to get rid of roaches in bathroom?
Roaches can survive without food for around a month, but only for about a week without water. If you’ve ever heard of cockroaches surviving without their heads – they can, and when they do finally die, it’s because they’ve dehydrated. They need their heads to drink water, and while they also need their heads to eat food, as with many of creatures, dying of thirst comes before dying of hunger. And as for breathing, they have holes in the sides of their bodies called spiracles that they use to breathe in and out of.
They are opportunistic feeders and can survive on a wide variety of organic material – this is because they mostly get their nutrients from bacteria living in their bodies. While they prefer meats, sweets, and starches, they can also feed on dead flakes of skin, human hair, eyelashes, fingernails, and other such organic material – their jaws are weak, so they prefer to eat soft food. You’ll regularly find them trolling for food in garbage cans or kitchen sinks.
Cockroaches are cannibalistic, so they will eat other dead cockroaches whenever the opportunity presents itself. When food is scarce, they’ve also been observed to feed on household items like toothpaste and soap.
Not everyone jumps at using strong chemicals to get rid of unwanted pests, and you may be interested to find out if there are any items or products in your home right now that can safely and effectively get rid of cockroaches.
You’ll find a lot of home remedies on the Internet, but some are definitely more effective than others.
Mix 2 parts water and 3 parts fabric softener in a spray. Directly hitting cockroaches with this mixture coats their breathing holes or spiracles and eventually causes them to suffocate.
It’s sometimes suggested that you spray this mixture on to drains and other high-traffic areas, but that won’t work – the cockroach needs to be sprayed directly, and with enough of it to coat it.
Because of this, it’s ineffective against a cockroach infestation.
WATER AND SOAP
Similar to a fabric softener spray, a mixture of soap and water directly sprayed on to a cockroach may work to kill it.
OTHER HOME REMEDIES
Most of the home remedies you’ll find on the Internet simply don’t work, or aren’t very effective.
While fabric softener, or a mixture of soap and water, can kill cockroaches, application is very difficult and overall it’s highly ineffective against a cockroach infestation. Other home remedies you’ll find on the Internet simply repel (and not kill), while most don’t work at all.
More effective home remedies would be to use over-the-counter cockroach bait, or diatomaceous earth. Boric acid is also very effective in killing off cockroaches and other pests, but also toxic or less safe to use than the other suggestions in this entry.
Roaches are drawn into our homes because of food, water, and shelter, so it makes sense that they’re often found in our kitchens where they have access to all three.
ELIMINATE FOOD AND WATER SOURCES
While cockroaches can still nest in a clean home, they will thrive in an unclean environment – so regularly cleaning your home, especially your kitchen, goes a long way in keeping their population controlled.
- Store food in hard plastic or metal containers that have secure, tight lids
- Clean food spillage right away, and keep food preparation surfaces clean
- Thoroughly clean cooking appliances, as cockroaches can still feed on any gunk that is stuck on these items
- Don’t leave dirty dishes in the sink overnight
- Properly dispose of trash – preferably, keep them in a covered container
- Regularly sweep and mop floors
Lightly sprinkle food-grade diatomaceous earth or DE along high-traffic areas – that is, areas where you often see cockroaches.
Once DE attaches to their bodies, it slowly breaks down their exoskeleton and dries them out.
DE is safe to use, but it may still be abrasive to our lungs when inhaled (in large amounts) – it may also cause skin irritation or dryness, and also irritate our eyes. When handling DE, wear a mask and use gloves as a precaution. Avoid sprinkling in sleeping areas, including your pet’s sleeping areas.
It’s safe to use in kitchens, as ingesting a little bit of wayward food-grade DE poses no harm to us at all.
If you live in an apartment building and share walls and pipes with other people, it can be very challenging to keep pests out.
SEAL ALL POSSIBLE ENTRY POINTS
To make sure roaches and other bugs don’t get inside your apartment, it’s very important to thoroughly inspect your home for possible entry points.
This could be cracks and crevices along walls and floorboards, vents, windows, doors, and drains.
- Seal cracks and crevices found on walls and floorboards
- Seal cracks and gaps around pipes
- Install wire mesh on vents
- Install screens on windows
- Weatherstip windows and doors to close gaps, especially on doors leading outside
- Use drain covers designed to keep roaches away
It’s a tedious process, but well worth it to drastically cut down the number of pests that are able to get inside your home – or maybe even eliminate them all, if you’ve successfully located all their entry points
These are safe to use and are available over-the-counter. It works to attract cockroaches and other pests, and once ingested by roaches, will kill them.
Other cockroaches feeding on poisoned cockroach remains also get poisoned and die – and any excrement expelled by these roaches will also poison others.
While cockroaches can live in clean environments, they will thrive in unclean environments – and so will a lot of other pests. Disrupt their otherwise undisturbed lives by regularly cleaning and eliminating readily available food and water sources.
That also means storing food properly, and fixing leaking pipes.
Insecticides are almost always highly toxic not only for you, but also for your pets. Thankfully, one of the most effective products you can use to get rid of cockroaches and other pests is also safe for you and your furry friends.
DE absorbs the oils and fats from an insect, causing it to dry out. On a microscopic level, DE contains shards that slowly break down an insect’s exoskeleton, which speeds the process for it to dry out. Eventually, the insect dies.
Lightly sprinkle food-grade DE in high-traffic areas, or areas where you see often see cockroaches and other pests, particularly behind or under kitchen appliances.
DE may be abrasive to our lungs when large amounts of it are inhaled – it may also cause skin dryness or irritation, and irritate our eyes. Because of this, avoid sprinkling in sleeping areas, including your pet’s sleeping areas as they may unknowingly inhale DE when sleeping where it’s been sprinkled.
That said, food-grade DE is safe to ingest so some people even lightly sprinkle it on their pet’s furs to kill fleas.
Other than DE, there are a few insecticides or pesticides that are safe for pets – make sure to thoroughly read label instructions when purchasing such products.
Some pest control companies also offer treatments safe for pets (and the environment).
Boric acid is one of the most effective methods for killing cockroaches and other pests, and along with diatomaceous earth or DE, is popular in the DIY pest control community.
Lightly sprinkle boric acid in high-traffic areas, or places where you often see cockroaches and other pests. Only lightly dust, as cockroaches may avoid the area if the boric acid is too visible. When the cockroaches pass the area, boric acid will stick to their bodies, particularly their antennae and legs. When they groom later – and they often do – they ingest boric acid and die.
THINGS TO CONSIDER:
- Keep application area dry – boric acid will not work if it gets wet
- While it’s low in toxicity, it can still be harmful to humans and pets when ingested – so do not use in surfaces which may contaminate your food and water.
Remember that cockroaches and other pests are drawn to your home not only because of shelter, but also because of food and water, so eliminating readily available sources of food and water goes a long way in making your home a less appealing place for them to stay.
Once you’ve eliminated cockroaches from your home, make sure other pests don’t get inside by sealing their possible entry points – these could be cracks along your walls and floors (particularly gaps and cracks between walls and water pipes)
Roaches can essentially “breathe under water” for quite some time. By that, we mean that they have holes in the sides of their bodies – called spiracles – which they can close for about 40 minutes while they stay fully submerged.
Because of this, they’re able to enter homes and apartments via floor and toilet drains. It’s not common, but probably only because there are a lot of easier ways roaches can enter your home. Since they’re able to do this, you will want to invest in a drain cover specifically designed to keep roaches and other bugs securely on the other side of the cover.
They can also enter your home through cracks in the walls and floorboards – so make sure you seal and caulk these possible entry points, particularly any gaps you see between water pipes and walls.
Roaches you find in the bathroom may not have entered your home from your drains – they could very well have come from other parts of the house and are just be there to drink water.
Kill active cockroaches with insecticide, and get rid of any standing water or leaking pipes that may have drawn them there in the first place.
Inspect the rest of your house and continue to seal other possible entry points – including gaps on windows and doors, which you can weatherstrip, or install screens on windows and vents.
Get rid of any other readily available source of food and water, and regularly clean your home to help make it a less appealing place for roaches and other bugs to stay in.
For more information about cockroaches, check out our Cockroaches Archives!
More time is spent playing inside by children-video games, TV and other popular entertainments are indoors. For kids, physical safety can also be a reason for more time spent inside than out. Yet, being indoors increases the chances of coming in contact with cockroach allergen.