Article as seen in Redfin.
Cockroaches: a tiny pest with a big reputation. Roaches are one of the most common apartment and household pests, and they're notoriously difficult to get rid of. Even if you keep your space tidy and clean, these pests can still find a way into your home. Not only are they destructive, and unsightly, but they can also carry bacteria and dangerous diseases that can put you and your family at risk. If you're struggling with these pests, you need to know how to get rid of roaches in your apartment or house - fast.
From how to get rid of cockroaches overnight to cockroach prevention tips from pest control experts, this article will break down the steps you need to take to rid your home of roaches for good. Let's dive in.
Five steps to getting rid of roaches in your apartment or house
1. Notify the landlord or property manager
If you're living in a rental property, it's imperative to contact your landlord or property manager as soon as you notice you have a roach infestation. Cockroaches can spread quickly in apartment complexes, so your landlord or property manager will likely have more information on how they want to proceed with the pests.
2. Set up traps
The best way to start killing roaches on your own is to set up traps or baits around your home. Place them in known hiding areas like cabinets, around drains, and behind kitchen appliances. Check traps daily and replace them often. If you see that traps are extremely full regularly, it may be a sign to call an exterminator - this may be a job that's too big for store-bought roach killers.
3. Deep clean
To help keep your roach issue from getting worse, cut off their food and water sources. Be sure to clean up food immediately, avoid leaving dirty dishes out overnight, rinse out food containers, empty garbage cans every night, etc.
Once all pests are dead, it's time to deep clean your home. Cleaning will remove the dead roaches and clear any crumbs that lingering roaches could eat. Finally, make sure to disinfect the surfaces in your home to protect you from contracting any potential diseases or viruses.
4. Seal entry points
To ensure that new roaches don't enter your apartment or house, take time to seal any entry points. Roaches commonly come in through cracks in windows or doors, and through pipes and vents. Fix any leaky faucets or drainpipes and use caulk to seal any cracks or gaps.
Keep in mind that cockroaches are great hitchhikers; they can enter your home on clothes, electronics, furniture, and even people. If you're traveling or moving, check your items for roaches or eggs before entering your home.
5. Call an exterminator
If you're still seeing roaches after performing the above tasks, it may be time to call an extermination company. They'll do an investigation to see where the cockroaches are coming from. Then, they'll figure out how to get rid of roaches in your apartment or house and hopefully end your pest problem, once and for all.
“Once roaches infest, they're tough to remove. You may need a professional exterminator for the job. With cockroaches able to produce more than 300 eggs in their short life span, it's imperative to control their population sooner rather than later.” - Frontino Pest Co.
Comparing the six most common cockroach killers
There are many different products designed to kill cockroaches, each with their own set of pros and cons. To help you decide which is best for you, we'll discuss six of the most common household methods.
1. Roach bombs
Also referred to as 'bug bombs' or 'foggers,' roach bombs kill roaches by releasing a powerful insecticide into the air, which then falls on surfaces and settles into any cracks and crevices.
- Advantages: Easy to use, kills roaches quickly, and is good for severe infestations.
- Disadvantages: Flammable, not as effective as other options, not safe for areas with animals or children, and no residual protection.
2. Roach traps
There are three types of roach traps - sticky, poisoned bait, and mechanical. Each trap kills roaches differently, but they all work by luring pests into the trap with bait where the roach is killed.
- Advantages: Easy to use, most traps are fitted with plastic coverings - making them one of the safer options for homes with pets or children, and roaches are out of sight and killed overnight.
- Disadvantages: Not ideal for large infestations, can be expensive, and precise placement is required.
3. Cockroach gel bait
To use cockroach gel, you'll need to place small dots of the gel on common pest hiding spots. After that, the roaches will eat the bait, ingest the insecticide, and die.
This method works especially well for apartment-dwellers. “When it comes to eliminating roaches in your apartment, it’s best to avoid using contact-killer type spray cans like Raid because your goal is to eliminate them at the source. This can be done most effectively by placing bait such as Advion Roach Gel under cabinets and drawers, as well as behind appliances.” - True Nature Pest Control
- Advantages: Generally very effective, works for a variety of cockroach species, can kill roaches overnight, and reduced-risk ingredients won’t target spiders or bees.
- Disadvantages: Gel baits dry out quickly, so you’ll need to reapply the bait often, toxic to children and pets if ingested, and only works if the bait is the only food source available to the roaches.
4. Roach spray
When roaches eat or walk on surfaces sprayed with roach spray, the chemicals in the spray are ingested or absorbed through the skin, killing the pest.
- Advantages: Cheap, kills on contact, and provides residual protection.
- Disadvantages: Dangerous for children and pets, messy, not a great option for apartment dwellers, and cockroaches that survive the initial spray can become more active after the treatment.
5. Diatomaceous earth
Diatomaceous earth powder is an abrasive substance that works by damaging the roach’s exoskeleton, dehydrating them, and eventually killing them.
- Advantages: Long-lasting, safe for homes with children and animals, cheap, and works for treatment and prevention.
- Disadvantages: Can take up to 2 to 3 weeks to take full effect, the powder must be completely dry to be effective, and easy to misapply.
6. Boric acid for roaches
When cockroaches come into contact with boric acid powder, the powder will cling to their legs and body. Once they clean themselves, they’ll ingest the powder and die.
- Advantages: Affordable, easy, and highly effective.
- Disadvantages: Requires several re-applications, can take up to 72 for roaches to die after ingesting powder, not ideal for homes with pets or children.
Where do roaches come from?
As mentioned previously, roaches can get into your home in many different ways. The most common ways cockroaches can enter your home are through cracks or gaps in the exterior or through drainpipes.
“Roaches can easily move from apartment to apartment, so it’s important to keep and maintain good sanitation within your unit. Making the environment unsafe for roaches is another key factor, so make sure to eliminate hiding and harborage areas by caulking around the base of the sinks in kitchens and bathrooms.” – EM Pest Control
Where do cockroaches tend to live in the home?
Cockroaches prefer moist, warm areas. If you suspect your home has roaches, you’ll likely find them in unfinished and finished basements, crawlspaces, cabinets, and behind appliances or water heaters.
“Cockroaches’ favorite hiding places are dark areas in the kitchen and the bathroom, where they get a continuous supply of food and water. German Cockroaches even eat soap and toothpaste if they can’t find anything else. Be sure to keep an eye out – nobody wants cockroach-infused soap or toothpaste.” – Vester Pest Control
“Don’t use pesticides if cockroaches have found their way into your microwave. Instead, you should lure the roaches out with traps. A deep clean will get rid of any food or grease, drawing them to the microwave while also allowing you to rest easier the next time you put food in there.” – O’Hara Pest Control™
What attracts cockroaches? Five expert roach prevention tips:
So, how can you get rid of roaches in your apartment or house and keep them out? Whether you live in an apartment in Nashville, TN, or a condo in Syracuse, NY, preventing roaches is all about making your home a boring place for roaches to hang out. This means cutting off three main qualities will attract roaches, shelter, food, and water.
“Make sure to keep your kitchen clean; cockroaches are attracted to food, so the cleaner your kitchen is, the less likely they’ll visit. Secondly, store food in sealed containers. Cockroaches can smell food from miles away, so keeping your food sealed tight is essential. Finally, don’t leave any food or dirty dishes out; cockroaches are opportunists and eat just about anything.” – Aries Pest Control
“Keeping your home clean and tidy is the best way to keep those creepy crawlers away. Wash the dishes, sweep food crumbs, and make sure appliances stay clean because that’s typically one of the highest nesting areas for roaches.” – 417 Pest Solutions
“For prevention of cockroach infestation in an apartment, simple things like decluttering kitchen cabinets, removing trash on a daily basis out of your kitchen, degreasing the stove, kitchen counter, and floor will prevent creating an environment in which can cockroaches thrive. If you’re concerned you may have a problem, roll your refrigerator out and check if you have any near the compressor area. Similarly, you can check cupboards, particularly those with food.” – Patrick Wilson, CEO of Centurion Pest Management
“Prevent roaches by repairing leaky pipes or faucets that can provide cockroaches with a source of water, inspecting your home’s exterior walls, sealing up any cracks you find, and placing covers over drains and vents entering your home.” – Quell Pest Control
Cockroaches reproduce rapidly and boast several advantages of survival compared to most other pests. Along with being excellent hiders, they’re nearly impossible to starve and are resistant to most pesticides. To help prevent future infestations, eliminate water accesses such as leaks or standing water, and store trash properly in a sealed container.” – EcoSmart Pest Solutions