How to get rid of cockroaches?

Clean To Prevent, Use Cockroach Baits To Help Control

Although it is tricky to completely get rid of cockroaches, a combination of cleaning, home repairs, on-the-spot treatment, and products can certainly help. First, clean your home to eliminate any exposed foods that may attract cockroaches. Then, apply spray treatments to attack the cockroaches you see as well as the areas where they hide (such as cracks and crevices). Next, control the problem with cockroach baits to kill the cockroaches you do not see. Finally, use a barrier product to create a line of defense around your home to keep cockroaches out.

Start With a Clean Slate

The Ultimate Cockroach Approach

kitchen cockroaches

Because cockroaches love to eat the same things we do, prevent them from becoming dinner guests with thorough cleaning. Wipe up food or drink spills (especially if they are sugary, starchy, or greasy). Clean behind the oven, fridge, and other appliances, and store food in sealed, airtight containers. Be sure to throw away old boxes and newspapers, where cockroaches like to hide. Also, remember to remove pet food once they finish eating.

5 Tips for Baiting and Waiting
  1. For best results, use all of the roach baits in a package at one time. Be sure to read the label before use.
  2. Never spray the bait or the area around the bait with an aerosol or liquid insecticide, because then cockroaches will not eat the bait. Also, never place the baits where an aerosol product has been sprayed.
  3. Replace roach baits every three months or sooner if depleted.
  4. Cockroach baits do not kill on contact, nor do cockroaches die inside the bait. Actually, the cockroaches eat the bait product and then some return to the nest to kill the ones in hiding. So do not fret if you see a cockroach right after placing the baits!
  5. Cockroach baits are designed to compete with other food sources. That said, the more you can do to clean up food and drink residue, the better.
Did You Know?

Cockroaches are notoriously tough to control, because they reproduce so quickly. One German cockroach (the smaller kind) can lay 40 eggs at a time!


Remove the Cockroach Welcome Mat


Don’t make it easy for cockroaches to enter your home. Seal exterior openings to keep large cockroaches from invading. Most cockroaches are found in dark, moist areas like basements, cupboards, under kitchen sinks, bathrooms, and in openings where pipes enter walls. Keeping the basement dry and plumbing in good repair can help as well.


Expert Tip

Don’t Spray Over Baits (Or Bait Over Spray)

Do not place cockroach baits on surfaces which have been sprayed with an aerosol or liquid insecticide. This may prevent cockroaches from returning to the nest and transferring the bait to others. Conversely, never spray over baits, because this may make the baits inedible to cockroaches.


Creatures of Darkness

light bulb 

Cockroaches have evolved to survive when fewer of their natural predators can see them, so they are more likely to come out in the dark when humans are less likely to squash them. Interestingly enough, just turning on a light will not scare a cockroach away. It is actually the vibrations, noise, and air currents that scare them back into hiding, not light itself.

Where do cockroaches come from?


German cockroaches (the smaller kind) live indoors and can come in from neighboring homes, apartments, condos, garbage areas, or basements. They may also be brought in with foods or other packaging such as cardboard cartons or paper bags. American cockroaches (the larger kind) usually wander in from the outdoors. They may be found outdoors around the foundation, near patios, under mulch, or in the sewer systems. Learn more about German cockroaches here and American cockroaches here.