How to Get Rid of Roaches in Your Home

Roaches can be a nuisance in any home. Getting rid of roaches requires patience and persistence, but it can be done with the right techniques. Here is an in-depth guide on how to get rid of roaches in your home.

Identify the Type of Roach Infestation

The first step is identifying what type of roaches you are dealing with, as different roach species may require different removal methods:

German Roaches

  • Small, light brown roaches up to 1/2 inch long
  • Prefer warm, humid areas like kitchens and bathrooms
  • Leave droppings that look like coffee grounds
  • Can produce up to 1,500 offspring in their 3-12 month lifespan

American Roaches

  • Larger roaches up to 1 1/2 inches long
  • Reddish brown in color with yellow bands on head
  • Often found in moist areas like sewers and basements
  • Live 12-18 months and reproduce quickly

Oriental Roaches

  • Dark black roaches up to 1 inch long
  • Foul-smelling and often found in cool, damp places
  • Attracted to water and prefer to live in drains or pipes
  • Can survive for over a year without food

Knowing which type of roach you have can help determine if they are originating inside or outside the home. This will guide your pest removal plan.

Inspect Your Home to Find Roach Nesting Areas

Finding where roaches are entering and nesting in your home is key. Start by thoroughly checking areas like:

  • Kitchen and bathrooms – under sinks, behind appliances
  • Attics and basements – look for cracks along walls or floors
  • Near plumbing pipes – especially under sinks and tubs
  • Inside cabinets and closets – check food containers and clutter
  • Behind furniture and appliances
  • Under doors or window sills

Look for these signs of roach activity:

  • Dark specks that are dried roach droppings
  • Molted roach skin casings
  • Roaches hiding in cracks or crevices
  • An unpleasant sweet odor from roach secretions

This inspection will reveal areas to target with your pest removal efforts.

Seal Cracks, Crevices and Entry Points

Once you locate where roaches are coming from, seal off any cracks, crevices or gaps where they can enter.

  • Use caulk to seal small holes along walls, floors, pipes and cabinets
  • Weather strip doors, windows and screens
  • Install door sweeps under exterior doors
  • Seal openings around utility pipes and electric lines
  • Repair any water leaks or moisture sources attracting roaches
  • Keep drains protected with mesh screens

This helps eliminate access points and forces roaches already inside to come out for food and water where your traps and treatments will be effective.

Reduce Clutter and Food Sources

Roaches thrive on available food sources and places to hide. Do your best to eliminate what attracts roaches in your home:

  • Store food in airtight containers and dispose of garbage regularly
  • Clean dirty dishes, empty bottles and cans right away
  • Vacuum and sweep floors to remove crumbs and debris
  • Avoid leaving out pet food or water bowls overnight
  • Fix any plumbing leaks and drips to remove moisture sources
  • Reduce clutter like stacks of paper, boxes and other potential nesting spots

Cutting off their food supply and habitat makes conditions less welcoming so roaches look to leave your home.

Use Bait and Traps

Using roach baits or traps can be effective for controlling an existing roach population:

  • Boric acid powder or gel: Sprinkle in cracks and entry points. Roaches ingest it as they groom themselves.
  • Roach motels/sticky traps: Place along walls or in cabinets to catch roaches.
  • Bait stations: Use stations loaded with roach bait, ideally with fipronil or hydramethylnon.

Always place traps and bait where children or pets can’t reach. Follow directions carefully and check traps frequently to dispose of dead roaches. Trapping existing roaches helps reduce numbers while you implement other pest control measures.

Apply Insecticide Treatments

Insecticide sprays and dusts help eliminate roaches on contact:

  • Residual sprays: Spray baseboards, cracks, entry points. Active ingredients like fipronil provide long-lasting residuals.
  • Insect growth regulators (IGRs): Prevent baby roaches from reaching maturity. Works on eggs and nymphs.
  • Dusts: Use boric acid or diatomaceous earth dust in wall voids and secluded areas. Abrade roaches’ exoskeleton.
  • Professional treatments: Exterminators can administer stronger chemicals and comprehensive fumigation if needed.

Always read and follow label directions carefully when using insecticides. Eliminating roaches already inside is key while also stopping new ones from entering.

Maintain a Clean Environment

Once you get an infestation under control, maintaining cleanliness and reducing roach appeal is important:

  • Take out trash and recycling regularly
  • Fix any water leaks or moisture sources
  • Keep food sealed and surfaces wiped down
  • Sweep and vacuum floors frequently
  • Monitor and re-apply traps, bait or insecticides as needed

Staying vigilant will help prevent roaches from returning and getting out of hand again. Call a pest management professional if you believe roach populations are getting beyond what you can handle on your own.

When to Call a Professional Exterminator

While many roach control measures can be handled at home, sometimes calling in a pro is the best solution:

  • Severe or long-standing infestations
  • Suspected cockroach populations inside walls and hard to reach locations
  • Keep seeing roaches after thorough at-home treatments
  • Concern about pesticide safety with children or pets
  • Apartment or multi-family building infestations
  • Lack of time for intensive pest control measures

Professional exterminators have commercial-grade insecticides, comprehensive treatment plans and advanced application techniques to fully eliminate roach problems.

Roach Prevention Tips

Stop roaches before they ever become an issue with these proactive measures:

  • Take out the trash regularly
  • Fix water leaks right away
  • Vacuum and mop tile floors often
  • Inspect packages and groceries before bringing inside
  • Limit cardboard boxes and paper clutter
  • Install screens on vents and floor drains
  • Seal cracks and crevices around home
  • Keep kitchen and bathrooms wiped down and dry
  • Avoid leaving out pet food or water bowls
  • Inspect for signs of roaches periodically

Homemade Roach Traps and Bait Recipes

If you want to make your own roach bait and traps:

Borax Bait

  • 3 parts borax powder
  • 1 part flour
  • 1 part powdered sugar
  • Mix together and sprinkle in infested areas

Sugar Yeast Bait

  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • Mix, allow to sit 1-2 days until frothy. Place in lids near roach hideouts.

Flour Trap

  • Sprinkle flour in a thin layer along baseboards and roach trails.
  • The flour sticks to roaches’ legs, slowing them down so you can inspect and kill.

Jar Trap

  • Coat inside of jar with petroleum jelly. Bait with small piece of food.
  • Roaches climb in but can’t climb back out.

Common Questions about Eliminating Roaches

How long does it take to get rid of roaches?

Depending on the severity of your infestation, getting rid of roaches can take 2-4 weeks for initial knockdown, but allow 2-3 months for full elimination. Persistence with sanitation and treatments is key.

What scent keeps roaches away?

Strong smells like vinegar, garlic, onion, citrus oils and mint oil can help deter roaches. But scents alone won’t get rid of existing roaches inside your home.

Does bleach kill roaches?

Bleach is effective for cleaning away roach droppings and smells but does not kill on contact. Insecticides or baits are better for killing roaches.

Do roaches hate light?

Roaches avoid light and are nocturnal. Keeping interior lights on at night can discourage roaches from entering lit areas. Sticky traps near lights can catch the ones that do enter.

Are roaches active at night or day?

Roaches are largely nocturnal and prefer to come out at night. During the day, they hide in cracks, crevices and clutter.

Do roaches play dead?

Roaches don’t intentionally play dead as a defense mechanism. But when exposed to insecticides, roaches often die with legs and antennae twitching, which can appear to be “playing dead.”

The Bottom Line

While eliminating roaches takes effort, sealing entry points, removing food sources, trapping, chemicals and cleaning can get rid of roach problems once and for all. Pay attention to sanitation and maintenance to prevent future infestations. Don’t hesitate to call a pest control professional if DIY efforts aren’t cutting it. With persistence and the right techniques, you can send roaches packing and enjoy a pest-free home.