Almost nothing in the world makes your skin crawl like the idea of roaches skittering around your home. Cockroaches aren’t just disgusting; they can pose a serious health threat to humans and their pets. These creepy-crawlies love damp, warm, dark places, like beneath and behind refrigerators where they can easily hide.
There are several types of roaches in the United States, including German roaches and American roaches. Not only can they reproduce quickly, but roaches can also survive up to a month without food. They can wriggle into your home through all sorts of cracks and crevices.
Are you cringing at the thought of roaches in your home? Whether you suspect you have an infestation or want to prevent one, we’ve got everything you need to know about how to kill roaches.
How to Get Rid of Roaches
Though it’s challenging to get rid of roaches, it’s not impossible to eliminate the persistent buggers from your home. Be forewarned, it’s going to take some effort and a combination of these remedies for roaches to permanently end the infestation. From insect growth regulators to professional pest control, here’s what you need to know.
Keep Your Home Clean
Cockroaches are nocturnal creatures that spend 75% of their lives hiding in warm, dark places. Cleaning up your home is the first step to fighting a roach infestation.
- Avoid leaving dirty dishes in the sink.
- Take out your garbage and use lids on your outdoor trash cans.
- Throw out empty food boxes and containers immediately.
- Watch for excess moisture in your home. You may want to invest in a dehumidifier to keep the air drier and less hospitable for cockroaches.
Remove All Food and Water Sources
Roaches are just like other pests seeking food and water supplies. By removing them, you make your home less enticing to the critters.
- Sweep up crumbs from all surfaces as soon as possible.
- Clean oils and greases from cooking appliances.
- Store all leftover food in sealed containers.
- Don’t leave pet food out overnight.
You’ve probably seen commercial cockroach sprays at your local home improvement store or the supermarket. These sprays are widely available and relatively effective at killing all types of roaches and preventing future infestation. As a bonus, many of the sprays work against other types of bugs, and you can use them inside.
Set Out Ready-Made Cockroach Traps
You could pick up traps from your local hardware or grocery store. These traps attract roaches with a unique scent or bait and then trap them with a sticky base. You have to check them regularly, and it can take a few weeks to see results.
Set Ready-Made Cockroach Baits
Though some traps include baits, you may not appreciate checking the traps. Instead, you could place ready-made chemical baits around your kitchen and bathroom. The roaches eat it, go back to their nests and die. Since cockroaches eat their dead, the poison spreads throughout the nest and kills a colony.
Gel bait is a viscous substance that slips through cracks and crevices that cockroaches love to use to get in your home. Of course, when they crawl through the gel, it poisons and destroys them.
Use Anti-Cockroach Liquid Concentrates
Stores also sell liquid concentrates that act as a deterrent. Dilute the liquid and spray it around areas where roaches like to hide. You may even want to mop your floors and wipe down cabinets and counters with the mixture.
Use Boric Acid
Boric acid remains one of the most popular and effective methods for combatting a roach infestation. However, it’s important to note that boric acid is not a good option for pet owners because it could harm your furry friend!
To use boric acid against roaches, you essentially make a toxic cookie dough. Mix the boric acid with equal parts sugar and flour. Roll the “dough” into small balls and place them around your house. The flour and sugar draw the roaches in, the boric acid does them in, and then the nest feeds on the remains and dies out.
Use Diatomaceous Earth
Diatomaceous earth is a whitish powder made from fossilized remains of diatoms (tiny organisms). It looks like a fine powder, but diatomaceous earth is tiny crystalline structures that are small and sharp enough to get through a bug’s shell. Diatomaceous earth essentially cuts them up and dries them out until they die.
Generally, diatomaceous earth is perfectly safe for humans as long as it’s not inhaled. Some people consume the substance for health benefits, so it’s safe to have around the home. When applying it, make sure you wear a mask to protect your respiratory system.
DIY Roach Killing Remedies
Do you have pets or simply dread the idea of using chemicals in your home? You may want to try some of these DIY mixes that use common household items.
Baking Soda and Sugar Mixture
Mix a pinch of sugar with some baking soda in a bowl and leave it for the cockroaches. Attracted to the food source (the sugar), the roaches will ingest the poison (the baking soda) and die. It’s safe and efficient, but make sure you clean up any dead roaches as soon as possible.
If you know where the cockroaches hide and can reach them with a spray, then you may benefit from this solution. Mix three parts fabric softener into a spray bottle of water and spray the area. Roaches that come into contact with the spray suffocate and die. Unfortunately, while this method can be effective, it only works if the roaches have direct contact with it.
Soap and Water
Just like the fabric softener solution, mixing soap with water can kill roaches on contact. Again, it only works if you see them and spray them instantly.
Roach Killing Myths
Though some home remedies can be quite effective against roaches and other pests, some myths keep making the rounds. Two common myths are cucumbers and citrus byproducts.
Some people believe cucumbers repel roaches, but several sources debunked it. Likewise, citrus liquids and herbs, including essential oils and rinds, don’t keep cockroaches at bay. Your house might smell nice, but lemon oil or orange peels don’t deter roaches.
Best Way: Call a Professional Roach Exterminator
If the situation is out of hand or you don’t know where to begin, it may be in your best interest to call a professional pest control company. Professionals know how to safely and efficiently eradicate cockroaches from your home.
Before hiring a pest control company, it’s a good idea to do your homework. Ask around your neighborhood, consult review sites, like Yelp. When you have a name or two, check them out on the Better Business Bureau website and ask questions. Make sure the company has a license and tells you what they plan to use.
Fastest Way: Use Your Shoe
Despite the myth that roaches are indestructible, a collision with your shoe is a quick, effective way to kill them. It’s important to be stealthy for this approach, but sneak up and strike fast before it can skitter off.
There are a few things to note about using the shoe and squish method. First, you must clean up the area with antibacterial cleaner immediately so that you don’t spread germs. Also, crushing deaths can draw cockroaches out of hiding, which could be good and bad for you. Just be ready to eliminate more!
Cockroach Prevention 101
Preventing a roach infestation is better than battling a colony, and there are some things you can do to make your home less welcoming. While there’s no guarantee that you can avoid roaches altogether, embracing these preventative measures can improve your chances.
Dispose of Newspapers and Cardboard Boxes
Would you believe that roaches love to nest in paper and cardboard? Remove them as soon as possible, so you don’t give them a place to hide in or around your home. Even if you plan to recycle, keep them stored in a bin with a lid.
Keep Your House Clutter-Free
Cockroaches prefer to move about undetected, so they need plenty of places to hide. A clean home is not welcoming because there is no respite during the days when you move around. Don’t forget to clean around your refrigerator from time to time!
Seal Crevices and Install Door Sweeps
Roaches can fit through all sorts of nooks and crannies, so you need to seal those access points. It’s a good idea to inspect your home yearly. Look around windows and doors, along your foundation and roof, and especially where utilities enter your home. You may want to explore the vents in your attic and crawl space for good measure.
Monitor and Fix Any Plumbing Leaks or Issues
Moisture draws all types of roaches, so leaks are like candy to them. It’s a good idea to regularly check your appliances and faucets to make sure you don’t have any leaks or excess condensation.
Keep Your Pet Food and Don’t Feed the Roaches
Roaches cannot go months without food, but they aren’t picky about what they eat. Leaving your pet food lying around is like a giant, flashing welcome sign to cockroaches. It’s a good idea to pick up your pet’s food overnight and immediately clean up anything they don’t eat.
Ideal Prevention Tip: Call The Pest Control Experts
Do you know the difference between a German cockroach and an American cockroach? Professional pest control experts can tell you what type of roach you have, identify red flags, and resolve potential problem areas to keep your home roach-free.