When it comes to pest infestations, nothing has the negative stigma that cockroaches seem to have. Yet in some areas of the world, cockroaches are about as normal to see as spiders. You still don’t want them around, however, because they can damage your home and create breathing problems. Knowing how to get rid of cockroaches is essential knowledge for every homeowner.
Cockroaches are very good at hiding. Even when you’re working hard to locate them, it can be virtually impossible to discover their home. There are actually more than 3,000 different types of cockroaches that live on the planet today, but only about 1% of them are actually pests that can be problematic for the home. In many areas, there are just 4 types that are generally found causing issues.
- American cockroaches.
- Brown-banded cockroaches.
- German cockroaches.
- Smoky brown cockroaches.
There is one other type, the Oriental cockroach, which is beginning to be problematic in some northern regions because they are hardy against the cold and snow of winter. Most people, however, think of tropical cockroaches like the Madagascar hissing cockroach, as the home invader. Although they can be up to 2.5 inches in length, most are around the 1-inch size.
Unlike other pests, the cockroach isn’t going to go away because it gets deprived of food or water. They are survivors. Scientists believe that the first modern cockroach roamed the planet around 200 million years ago. Because they are adept at hiding and go a long time without sustenance, it is important to learn how to tell when these pests are lurking around.
Signs of Cockroaches
Most cockroaches aren’t going to be lurking around during the day. It is believed that cockroaches don’t even have the ability to form memories during daylight hours. If you happen to see one scurrying away when you turn on a light and it’s mid-morning, then you’ve got a nest of these pests hiding somewhere on your property. A daylight sighting often means the nest has become so large that there isn’t enough room for every roach.
The sight of coffee grounds is also a common way to tell that cockroaches are around. That’s what the waste of the cockroach looks like when you see it on the floor, in cabinets, and around sinks where cockroaches typically like to feed. The eggs are fairly small, but seeing their cases in bunches is also an indication of a potentially large infestation.
Some cockroaches can also be discovered by their smell. Open up a container of canola oil and that’s pretty similar to the odor that exists when certain types of cockroaches are around. When the odor gets very strong, it transitions into a smell that is reminiscent of a wet dog that hasn’t had a bath in a few weeks.
If you’ve detected any of these signs, then you’ll need to know how to remove the infestation as soon as possible.
How To Kill Cockroaches
There are several strategies that are used to kill cockroaches. Unfortunately the most common one, keeping a clean home and limiting food sources, is not a very helpful one. The cockroach is such a hardy creature that its body can live for a full week without its head. It would be able to live even longer if there was a way for its body to get water. They can live for a full 30 days without any food. To assume cockroaches won’t look elsewhere for food and then come back to your home is a bad assumption to make.
Most efforts to kill cockroaches involve bait stations and traps. The poison is in the food products that the roaches like to eat and over time this can kill off a nest – in theory, anyway. Cockroaches haven’t survived as a species for over 200 million years because they could be taken out by simple solutions. They are smarter and more adaptable than most people realize.
Even the eggs of the cockroach are designed to defeat most extermination efforts. Nearly all insecticides are considered a non-viable treatment option to eliminate eggs that have been laid.
For this reason, most cockroach removal options resemble the old-fashioned fly traps that are based on strips of glue. The insect is tempted out of its nest to feed and then gets stuck in the glue of the trap. Once that happens, the trap can be removed. Over time, this process has been shown to be effective, but traps must be put out continually so that the pests can keep getting stuck in them.
Many professionals will use a combination of traps and liquid concentrates to kill cockroaches for good. The benefit of the liquid concentrate is that it can be effective for up to 2 weeks after application. The downside is that this method can be harmful to pets and humans if too much exposure occurs, so use it carefully and only in heavily concentrated areas.
None of these methods are going to effective, however unless the actual nest can be located. It is necessary to destroy the nest itself to remove the cockroach infestation. Killing off a few bugs at a time only makes extra room in that nest for extra bugs. You might not see any for a while, but don’t assume that this means the cockroaches have moved out. It just means they’ve got some elbow room and are making use of it.
DIY Roach Control
The best DIY products for roach control generally combine the bait approach with a poisoning approach. Look for flexible products like these that can be used safely in changing environments.
Advion Syngenta Cockroach Gel Bait
This cockroach bait by DuPont is easily one of the best ways to control the roach population from a DIY perspective. When you first get these tubes, put out the gel in the locations where you suspect the pests are coming into the home. Over the course of the next few days, place small amounts of gel out where you see roaches scurrying about. Over the course of a couple weeks, most of a nest can be eliminated. Then just place it down occasionally at entry points to be roach free. If you want proven results, get this product.
Cockroaches rely on a certain amount of an electromagnetic stability in order to have a successful nest. This product will work to disrupt that stability and naturally encourage the pests to move on to a new location. This product is particularly effective at removing nests that are within the walls of a home. By changing the frequency of the wiring, the bugs will also stay away. If you’ve got kids at home and don’t want pesticides around to kill off the roaches, then consider this method of control. If you don’t get the results you want, then there’s a 60-day no-hassle refund guarantee to get your money back.
Combat Source Kill Max
This affordable roach control option comes in single or dual tube packs. Inside each tube is a gel that can be applied virtually anywhere the cockroaches may roam. This gel does need to stay away from kids and pets and is considered hazardous to human health, but it does kill roaches very effectively. Be careful about where you apply it because staining on tile, carpet, and walls may occur. Keep it out of the kitchen as well. It needs to be refreshed at least once per month to stay effective.
Roach Exterminator Cost
There are two aspects to the cost of roach extermination that must be considered from a professional perspective.
- There are ongoing treatment costs that work to prevent the cockroaches from coming into the home.
- There are as-needed treatment costs that will work to remove a nest when one is suspected to have been established.
Some extermination companies combine both services into one monthly cost. Others charge a monthly cost, but then extra for as needed treatments. It is not uncommon to have a $40-$60 monthly charge for professional pest control and that is only for roaches. For the homeowner, that’s up to $720 per year just to eliminate a pest.
When looking at the DIY products, some of them must be applied once per month for them to stay effective. At $10 per product, that’s a $600 instant savings for a homeowner and the DIY products are proven to be just as effective as the ongoing preventions that are used by exterminators. Advanced nests can still be cleared out by advanced DIY products. For the top selling solutions, 6 total kits can be purchased throughout the year, one every other month, to eliminate the roaches. Total cost: $180.
If you don’t have time to control a roach infestation on your own, then consider hiring an exterminator to eliminate them. If you do have a little time, however, you’ll be able to save a lot of money and kill the roaches off at the same time.
How To Prevent Cockroaches and Roach Repellent
Preventing cockroaches now can stop a nest from forming later. Roaches are like many other pests and are attracted to food sources. If you’re certain that you don’t have any roaches, then be proactive about keeping your kitchen clean, garbage inaccessible, and food products put away. Even an outdoor garbage container can become a breeding ground for cockroaches, so consider where and how you store anything that could be a food source.
The structural integrity of your home also matters. If there are cracks in the foundation or uncovered exterior vents, then you’ve got an easy entry point for the roaches. Make sure all cracks; joints and frames are properly sealed. Regularly check your vents to make sure the screens are intact and repair as necessary. A steel mesh screen is effective at keeping roaches out without affecting the integrity of the home.
Roaches can also crawl between the cracks of a door and the floor. Inspect all exterior doors to see if they have been hung correctly. Install sweep guards as necessary to prevent the pests from coming in whenever they wish. Buildings will settle over time, so inspect your doors at least 2x per year to make sure they’re not forming any gaps.
A garage door that doesn’t seal properly, an open window without a screen, or even a gap in the roof can all provide entry points as well. Our best advice is this: inspect everything.
How To Get Rid of Roaches Naturally
If you don’t like the idea of having pesticides that are dangerous in your home and want to avoid the costs of a professional exterminator, then you still have some natural options. An effective homemade roach bait is made from boric acid, flour, cocoa, and sugar. Use 2 parts flour for every 1 part every other item. Boric acid can be found at most drug stores and can be ordered online. It can still be bothersome if ingested, but is not nearly as dangerous as other products. Mix the parts together and then sprinkle the combination where roaches have been seen or are suspected.
If you don’t want any risk, then a simple jar of water near a suspected nest can be all that is required to trap roaches. A cockroach can hold its breath for over 30 minutes and it’s going to require some bait in the water to climb in, so consider using sugar or coffee grounds. This won’t kill a nest, but you’ll thin out the bug population.
Often the best approach to eliminating a roach nest is to combine natural methods with some advanced pesticides or traps that are placed in voids or inaccessible locations. Make sure your home is properly sealed up on the exterior and then begin hunting down these bugs by using this guide. It may take a couple of weeks to start seeing fewer roaches, but over time you’ll be able to eliminate these pests without breaking your budget at the same time.