Cockroaches. These disgusting little insects are perennial pests that have been irritating humans for as long as we’ve lived indoors. Few sights are more disheartening for a homeowner or business owner than discovering a roach infestation on their property.
And why not? In addition to being quite ugly to look at they can cause all kinds of problems for the people whose homes or businesses they infest.
For one, they’re a very social insect. Where you see one or two (or twelve) roaches, there are likely many, many more nearby but out of sight. For another they eat our food. For yet another, they spread allergens that can trigger allergic reactions. Most seriously, roaches, in addition to spreading allergens, can spread germs and other disease causing microbes around a home or office quickly. Very quickly. Some roaches can run up to 3mph which may not sound fast to you, but it means that they can traverse the length and width of a building very quickly and spread the allergens and germs they carry all over the place.
Cockroaches are also very tough. They’re a very old species who have developed the resiliency to survive and thrive in all kinds of different environments. They can survive for several weeks without food and they can utilize as food a variety of substances that you might not think of like the glue on the back of postage stamp. Some roaches can survive for almost an hour without air. Some roaches can retain limited functionality even after decapitation!
A popular urban legend states that cockroaches can survive the elevated radiation levels that would come from nuclear fallout. While this last one is exaggerated (roaches can withstand considerably more radiation than humans but are not immune to it) it is not entirely false.
The point? Cockroaches are tough. That being said, they are not impossible to kill and infestations of the little beasts can be exterminated with the right tools and expertise. If you’re reading this blog it’s probably because you’ve been asking yourself how to get rid of roaches in your home, apartment or business.
Well gentle reader you’ve come to the right place. We’ve been in the pest control business for a few decades now and we can help. In this blog we’ll discuss common questions about roach infestations and provide some suggestions on how to get rid of roaches on your own or help you figure out if you’ll need our help.
Frequently Asked Questions about How to Get Rid of Cockroaches in Your Home
How do you get rid of cockroaches in your home? People have a lot of questions ranging from what is the best way to kill cockroaches to when to call an exterminator. We’ve got answers.
How Do I Get Rid of Cockroaches?
When you’re asking yourself how to get rid of roaches, a good thing to consider is trying to prevent the infestation in the first place. While there’s no guaranteed way to prevent cockroaches from invading your home, there are a few steps that you can take to make your house or apartment a less inviting place for roaches to live.
Keep It Clean
Like virtually all other living things, roaches need shelter. Try to minimize the places in your home where they can find it. Regular cleaning and decluttering of your home can reduce the number of places where roaches can find safety and shelter.
Deprive Roaches of Food Sources
As we mentioned earlier, roaches are tough and resourceful. They can make food out of all kinds of things that you might not expect. That being said, the importance of denying them as many food sources as possible cannot be overemphasized. Clean up food messes quickly. Take out the trash frequently. Clean out your fridge and pantries regularly. When possible, keep food in an airtight container. This won’t take away all of the food supplies a roach can be drawn to, but keeping those supplies to a minimum will certainly help!
Maintain the Structure of Your Home
Like most pests, roaches will take advantage of an easy entryway into your home. Make sure your windows have intact screens so roaches can’t get in when you open your windows on a nice day. Examine doors and windows for cracks in the wood or gaps in the weather stripping and remedy any large holes right away. Mind less obvious points of entry like the gaps in the wall where pipes or wires enter your home. Make sure these spaces are tightly sealed!
Why Do I Have Roaches in My Clean House?
This one is frustrating! “I keep my house clean! Why do I have roaches in my clean house?” The conventional wisdom says that if you follow a few basic housekeeping steps like regularly taking the trash out, keeping food in airtight containers, cleaning up messes right away, that this will keep roaches away. While this certainly helps and we encourage all of these things, the fact is that you can still get roach infestations.
Remember that some species of cockroaches are not associated with uncleanliness!
These resourceful little bugs can enter a house, apartment, office, warehouse or any other structure through drains or open windows and make a place for themselves even if you keep your home or office in immaculate condition. In the introduction we said that roaches are resilient. We simply cannot emphasize just how resilient cockroaches really are.
Cockroaches can make food out of all kinds of substances. They have a remarkable ability to find water sources. Your home or business can be a picture of hygiene and cleanliness and roaches can still find a way to survive!
As frustrating as it is, you should remember that you are not necessarily doing anything wrong! It’s just that roaches have been surviving and thriving in the world for a lot longer than we’ve been killing them. They know how to survive! Even if you make every effort to keep them away! When you’re wondering how to get rid of roaches, do everything you can to keep them out in the first place.
What Is the Best Way to Kill Cockroaches?
Some people love crunching through fall leaves. The sound and feel of a crunchy leaf being crushed under their shoes is almost therapeutic to them. For some, this extends to crunchy bugs as well. As satisfying as some people may find it to stamp their shoe down on a cockroach, killing individual roaches is not an effective solution to a roach infestation.
Where there is one (now squashed) roach, there are many others that you cannot see. If you want to get rid of an infestation, it is going to require the use of some kind of substance that is lethal to roaches whether it is a pesticide developed for the purpose of killing roaches, or the use of some other chemical or naturally occurring substance. Wondering how to get rid of roaches around your home? Here are some effective do-it-yourself methods that you can try with stuff you probably have on hand!
Put Baking Soda in a Bowl
To humans, baking soda is a household staple that has many effective uses. To cockroaches however, this versatile white powder is lethal! When cockroaches consume baking soda, they die.
How does this work? Baking soda expands when it is mixed with water. When a cockroach consumes baking soda, the baking soda interacts with the water inside the roach’s stomach and expands.
This happens with other living things as well. The difference is that, unlike humans, cockroaches are encased in an exoskeleton. These hard shells make them highly resistant to outside damage, but it also means that their bodies cannot expand when internal pressure builds up. So the cockroach eats the baking soda, their bodies expand but are contained by their exoskeleton and finally the pressure of the expanded baking soda crushes their internal organs and kills them. What a way to go!
There is a trick to this however! Cockroaches will not generally eat straight baking soda. In fact they’re generally repulsed by it. The baking soda will need to be mixed with a substance that roaches like to eat.
There are several options but sugar is one of the best. Cockroaches love and are highly attracted to sugar! Plus, sugar also looks very similar to baking soda giving the roach no visual cues that it is eating something lethal. You may need to experiment a bit with the ratio of sugar to soda in your mix, but this combination can be an effective way of killing cockroaches.
Use Boric Acid on a Paper Plate
Boric acid is an active ingredient in many pesticides. And for good reason! Boric acid is safe for humans in small doses but is lethal to many insects including cockroaches. You can buy one of these pesticides, but a less expensive option is to buy straight boric acid and apply it to an area in your home where roaches are known to roam.
How does this work? It is important to remember that boric acid does not kill on contact so if you see a roach casually walk over an area that you treated with boric acid with no harm done, don’t get discouraged! When a cockroach walks through boric acid, the dust of the acid clings to their bodies. Later, when they clean themselves, they ingest the acid. Once inside of them, the boric acid has highly disruptive effects on the roaches’ nervous and digestive system. These disruptions to their vital systems ultimately kill the roach.
It does not stop there however! We mentioned a few times that roaches are resilient and adept at finding food sources. Grisly as it may be, a dead cockroach is as much a meal to a living cockroach as a bowl of sugar! When one cockroach dies of boric acid poisoning, there is a good chance that it will be eaten by other roaches that will then be killed by the acid themselves. This cycle can repeat itself many times!
Boric acid is safe for humans and other mammals at low doses but exercise caution when using it! It is a poison that can cause harm if ingested in large amounts.
When Should You Call an Exterminator to Get Rid of Cockroaches?
These and other do-it-yourself methods may get you results but sometimes they don’t or the results are good, just not complete. Sometimes a roach infestation is too extensive to be done away with by yourself and you will need the aid of an exterminator. When do you need an exterminator to get rid of a roach problem? Here are some insights that may help you decide you need professional help.
Sometimes Roaches Are Resistant to Traditional Methods of Extermination
The two methods described above are effective and can get results. That being said, both methods are largely dependent on the cockroaches themselves being attracted to or coming into contact with the poison or a tainted dead roach. This may not always happen. Exterminators have more training and tools that enable them to proactively attack your roach infestation problem.
Exterminators Have Specialized Training
A good exterminator knows how to identify different types of cockroaches and they understand their species-specific behavior and weaknesses. They can see the tell-tale signs of infestation. They know where to look to find where the roaches are living and from where they are getting their food and water. They know how to identify points of entry into your home. Most importantly, they know what methods will be the most effective way of killing the roaches that invade your home.
Exterminators Have the Best Chemicals and Kill Methods
Pesticides are readily available at most hardware stores but exterminators have access to the best, most potent and newest pesticides. More than that, they know how to use them to the greatest effect. An exterminator can examine your home, assess your infestation problem and recommend the best pesticide solution and then apply in the way that will get the best results.
A Good Exterminator Won’t Stop until the Problem Is Gone
Killing bad insects is what an exterminator does for a living. We aren’t going to stop treating the problem until it’s gone. Roaches are resilient! They know how to survive and we understand that it sometimes takes several tries to fully expunge an infestation! A good exterminator will do what it takes to rid your home of these odious pests.
We’re Here to Help With Cockroach Extermination
We get it. Outside of work we are regular people who try to find the best and most inexpensive way to deal with issues around the house. When you’re figuring out how to get rid of roaches on your own, we encourage you to try the DIY method of your choice. However, when it comes to an insect as tough and resilient as a cockroach, you will probably need professional help at some point. That’s why we’re here! If you need an exterminator, just reach out or fill out a roach extermination form here.