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How to Get Rid of Cockroaches from Your Home

An image of a cockroach arrested.

Getting rid of German cockroaches takes effort and determination. Once in the home, they find ways to hide and increase their numbers seemingly overnight. Meanwhile, they carry disease that can infect the residents of the home. Here's a look at what you can do to get rid of cockroaches.

Cockroaches are at the top of the list of “pests you don’t want”. They invade your home, are very good at hiding, reproducing and surviving most attempts to eliminate them.

The most common roach, the German cockroach, carries bacteria that can make household members sick, create a foul odor when their population is large enough, and cause allergies or asthma to flare.

American cockroaches are also known to invade homes, but aren’t as aggressive as German roaches when it comes to infesting a home. In the event you’re seeing small cockroaches around your home, chances are good it’s the German roach.

Getting rid of these pests takes planning and a willingness to stick to the plan. You’ll need multiple pest control products, help from pest control experts and put in your best effort to clean and roach-proof your home.

Cockroaches are bound and determined to survive at all costs and you need to prepare to put in the same amount of effort to get rid of them. Here’s a look at what it takes to get rid of cockroaches and live a pest-free life.

Related: All types of insects that invade homes | The 4 Main Types of Cockroaches

How to Get Rid of German Cockroaches in the Home

A woman spraying bug spray onto a cockroach.

The most common type of roach you find inside the home is the German cockroach. It’s also the most difficult type of roach to control due to their ability to adapt and reproduce. German roaches take up habitat in places where food and water is freely available such as kitchens and bathrooms.

They’re found behind the sink, in drains, stoves, refrigerators and microwaves, and crevices in either of these rooms. German roaches are hitchhikers in that they find their way into your home via a number of ways. You might find that you’ve been tracking German roaches in from another location or that someone brought them into your home.

Once German roaches have colonized your home, you have to plan to get them out. That means taking a multi-pronged approach of finding their nests, sealing off all cracks and crevices, sealing off holes around sinks, and maintaining strict standards of cleanliness and water usage to deprive them of food and water.

You will also need to use different types of insect killers and repellents to kill off adults, eggs and larvae as a female can create 20 to 40 eggs at a time and lay four to five oothecae (egg cases) in her 200 day lifespan. A female cockroach that’s killed or dies of natural causes can lay an oothecae prior to her death.

Her offspring can emerge anywhere between 24 and 215 days after the case was laid which results in a fresh wave of roaches in your home long after you killed off the adults and juveniles.

Starving cockroaches and denying them water is your first line of defense against their encroachment in your home. Seal foods in bug-proof containers, keep shelves free and clear of food debris, and don’t let plates lie out or stay in the sink for any longer than necessary. Make sure the sink is dry and the faucet doesn’t drip or leak.

Clean crumbs from countertop appliances inside and out.  Thoroughly vacuum the home to remove accumulated dust and dirt and vacuum clean appliances that collect dust. German cockroaches are especially attracted to appliances and electronics due to the hiding opportunities and warmth they provide.

Getting German Cockroaches Out of Your Appliances and Electronics

A couple of dead cockroaches inside a laser printer.

Getting roaches out of appliances and electronics is tough. Many people simply throw out anything that’s been overrun by cockroaches instead of trying to salvage the unit or item. All is not lost, however.

Cockroaches can’t survive extreme temperatures on either end and are easily killed with heat or cold. If you have a small appliance that’s been colonized by roaches, seal the appliance in a bag and put it in a freezer for five days. Alternatively, if it’s winter, you can put the appliance in an unheated structure for a few days to freeze all insects and eggs.

Keep in mind that items with LED screens are incapable of handling this kind of treatment and returning to working condition.

For appliances and electronics that can’t be frozen, apply a dollop of roach bait and killer to a sheet of paper and place it next to the item. The roaches will emerge to consume the bait and track it back to the nest. Roaches live in tight quarters with one another. A roach that ingests the bait or carries it back to the nest on its body creates a domino effect of death.

Roaches pick up the bait from the body of the contaminated roach and ingest the poison when they clean themselves. The other aspect is that roaches are carnivorous and eat the bodies of dead roaches that are carrying and/or have ingested bait. Boric acid and diatomaceous earth also work in a similar fashion, but need to be spread around the object in question.

Commercial Products That Kill Cockroaches

An exterminator spraying underneath the oven.

Commercial roach killers are viewed as tough and strong measures to eliminate roaches for once and for all. They’re highly effective in that they kill on direct contact and some have residual properties that keep them working long after application. A commercial product needs to be used carefully due to their high concentrations of active ingredients.

Control Solutions CSI Viper Insecticide

CSI - 82005007 - Viper - Insecticide - 16oz
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CSI’s Viper insecticide is a concentrate containing 25.3% cypermethrin and is mixed at a ratio of 1.3 oz per gallon of water. It’s intended for use as an indoor crack and crevice spray and is applied to non-food areas. For safety, clear the room of people and pets prior to spraying. The product does not have residual effect and needs to be reapplied as needed.

Demon WP Insecticide

Demon WP Insecticide 2 Envelopes Containing 4 Water-Soluble 9.5 Gram Packets Makes 4 Gallons Cypermethrin 40%
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Demon WP Insecticide is a water-soluble product that is also used in a sprayer. One packet contains enough product to make 4 gallons of spray and covers up to 2500 square feet. It contains 40% cypermethrin for fast kill of cockroaches and lasts for at least 90 days after applying. It can be used indoors as a crack and crevice spray and is strong enough to clear out cockroach infestations in non-food preparation areas.

Suspend SC Contact Insecticide

Suspend SC Contact Insecticide
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Suspend SC Contact insecticide uses deltamethrin in a concentrated suspension made from pure micro-crystals. It’s yet another commercial product that’s intended to be used in a sprayer, but has an added benefit in that the micro-crystals prevent the product from being absorbed by porous materials. Suspend SC Contact is made from a third-generation pyrethroid and is made up of a single isomer and works at maximum strength in lower concentrations.

Valent USA Orthene PCO Pellets

Valent USA Orthene PCO Pellets
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Valent’s Orthene PCO pellets are a non-pyrethroid cockroach killer that is highly effective on German cockroaches. It’s labeled for use as a crack and crevice application, use in non-food areas and for perimeter application. It doesn’t knock down cockroaches immediately, but it does kill them over time and has residual effects. The pellets remain active long after they’ve been applied.

Eco-Friendly Roach Killers

Pyrethroids are derived from the chrysanthemum flower and have been synthesized for mass production. It’s a nerve agent in that it disrupts the nervous system of the insect. The agent is mildly toxic to people and humans for the most part, but it’s good to have a non-chemical alternative to effectively kill cockroaches. Pyrethroids don’t discriminate when it comes to the insects it kills and affects bugs that are beneficial to the environment. Here’s some eco-friendly roach killers that can be used in a targeted fashion.

Harris Roach Tablets

Syngenta 383920 Advion Cockroach Gel Bait 4 X 30 Gram Tubes Roach Control, Brown
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Harris Roach Tablets contain 40% boric acid that’s potent enough to kill off an infestation. The product uses an attractant to get the roaches to make a meal out of a tablet, then die after returning to the colony. The tablets are safe for the environment and are effective for over a year. There’s no expiration date on the tablets provided they’re kept sealed until use.

Rockwell Labs Cimexa Dust Insecticide

Rockwell Labs CXID032 Cimexa Dust Insecticide, 4oz, White
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Cimexa Dust is made up of silica dust and works by scratching the outer waxy coating of the cockroach instead of disrupting its nervous system. Roaches, along with many chitinous insects, have a waxy coating around their body that holds in moisture.

When this coating is scratched by silica dust, the cockroach dehydrates and dies as it is unable to repair the damage done by the dust. Cimexa dust gets into the cracks and crevices that roaches call home and stays effective for up to 10 years when left alone.

DiatomaceousEarth DE10

DiatomaceousEarth DE10, 100% Organic Food Grade Diamateous Earth Powder - Safe For Children & Pets 10 LBS
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Diatomaceous earth is a product that has a similar makeup and action to silica dust, and is sometimes also called silica. It’s made up from fossilized diatoms (prehistoric plankton) and ground into a powder that’s used to kill cockroaches and other chitinous bugs. Make sure to purchase food grade diatomaceous earth for safe use in the home.

All-Natural Products That are Proven to Repel and Kill Cockroaches

All-natural roach killers are usually safe and bio-degradable to use. They won’t leave behind unpleasant odors, but they are good at killing cockroaches. Keep in mind that all-natural products aren’t as effective in killing off a large infestation. Non-toxic traps can be added in to help control the population, but stronger methods or an exterminator may ultimately be needed to eliminate cockroaches from the home.

Ortho Home Defense Ant & Roach Killer

Ortho Home Defense Ant & Roach Killer with Essential Oils Aerosol 14 OZ
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Ortho’s Home Defense insecticide contains essential oils in high enough concentrations to kill roaches dead on contact. Oils used include cinnamon, geranoil, castor oil, cornmint oil, and clove oil. It’s safe to use around pets and children when used as directed, and won’t stain surfaces. It doesn’t have residual properties and fresh applications are required when roaches are spotted.

mdxconcepts Magma Organic Home Pest Control Spray

mdxconcepts Organic Home Pest Control Spray - Kills & Repels, Ants, Roaches, Spiders, and Other Pests Guaranteed - All Natural - Pet Safe - Indoor/Outdoor Spray - 16oz
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Magma home pest spray from mdxconcepts uses peppermint oil, spearmint oil and rosemary oil to kill roaches. It works quickly when sprayed directly on any type of cockroach. Safe for pets and leaves behind a strong odor that abates quickly.

Henslow Patent Cockroach Trap

Henslow Patent Latest Invention Intelligent and Effective Cockroach Trap Capture All Kinds of Roaches Non-Toxic and Eco-Friendly.
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The Henslow cockroach trap is a non-toxic and environmentally friendly trap that catches roaches. It allows roaches to enter, but not leave. The trap works with any smelly food as an attractant and can be used anywhere. However, it does not kill the roaches which means you have to put the unit in the freezer to kill its occupants.

Catnip

Catnip Tea - Cat Treats and Toys
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As strange as it sounds, catnip is an effective roach repellent. It won’t kill them, but you can use sachets of catnip to keep cockroaches out of certain areas while you work on eradicating them through other measures. Catnip works because it contains a chemical called nepetalactone that roaches avoid at all costs.

EcoLogic Ant & Roach Killer

EcoLogic’s insecticide uses lemongrass oil as its active ingredient for killing roaches. It works on contact and can also be used to spray along baseboards, appliances, crevices and any other place in the home that cockroaches congregate. The product is for instant kill only and has to be applied when bugs are spotted.

Traps and Baits That Attract and Kill Cockroaches

A cockroach crawling out of a poisoned trap.

Cockroach baits work by attracting roaches to feast on the gel, then track it back to the nest. Baits are popular because they’re easy to use, highly effective, and are easily reapplied until all roaches have been killed off.

Traps attract roaches in, but don’t let them out, and won’t kill a nest like other forms of cockroach killer. They should be used in conjunction with other pest control measures as they can catch individuals who have escaped other methods of eradication.

Advion Cockroach Gel Bait

advion 383920 4 Tubes and 4 Plungers Cockroach German Roach Pest Control Inse, Brown
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Advion Cockroach Gel Bait uses indoxacarb as its active ingredient. It’s intended for use in a variety of settings and easy to apply. Simply insert the plunger into the tube and draw a line of gel as directed by the label. Gels are best applied near suspected infestations, but can also be used where cockroaches are frequently seen moving around and attract them to eat the poison.

Gentrol Point Source

advion 383920 4 Tubes and 4 Plungers Cockroach German Roach Pest Control Inse, Brown
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Sometimes spraying isn’t possible due to sensitive activities such as food preparation or care giving of people with health conditions. The product isn’t a bait nor is it strictly a trap, but it is an insect growth inhibitor. Activate the device and place it near areas of obvious roach activity to attract roaches. The active ingredient of hydropene inhibits the growth of juveniles and prevents them from becoming adults. Cockroaches that can’t mature also can’t reproduce, thus stopping the cycle of infestation.

Black Flag TAT Roach Motel Traps

Black Flag TAT Roach Motel Traps, 2-count Packages (Pack of 6)
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Black Flag’s Roach Motel traps work well for light to moderate cockroach infestations. The traps are effective at luring in cockroaches and preventing them from leaving again, reducing the overall cockroach population. They won’t stop infestations which requires using additional products to attack the problem.

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