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Can you ever completely get rid of roaches? That’s the question every homeowner who’s dealt with these dangerous pests in the past wants to know.

The answer… is yes!

Need Product Recommendations?

A handful of easy-to-use products can solve most cockroach problems.

We’ll show you how to get rid of cockroaches forever with a comprehensive, effective, powerful pest control solution that you can start in your home today.

Discovering Why You Have Roaches

“I keep my house clean, I keep a can of roach spray under the sink and I’ve already used a bug bomb in my kitchen… and I still have roaches!”

If that sounds like you, you’re probably wondering why you even have roaches in your clean house. You might think you’ve sealed up any food sources and killed most of the bugs with the spray. But roach bombs don’t work and those few roaches you’ve killed are signs that there are many more hiding.

To get rid of roaches forever, it takes a strategic, multi-step game plan—and we’ve put one together for you.

Let’s get to it!

The Game Plan: How to Get Rid of Roaches Forever

Cartoon illustration of a cockroach surrounded by the 4 elements of a cockroach elimination game plan.

Our 4-step, highly effective system for killing cockroaches and keeping them out:

  1. Pre-Game: Find the Roaches, Analyze the Opposition
  2. Offense: Gel Bait and Natural Ways to Kill Roaches
  3. Defense: Seal, Repair and Repel
  4. Maintain: Keep Up the Good Work

1. Pre-Game: Find the Roaches, Analyze the Opposition

Cartoon illustration of a detective with a magnifying glass following a cockroach

If you’ve seen one of the cockroaches, try to remember some details about it to help you identify the type of roach you’re dealing with. What color was it? How big or small was it? Did it have wings?

Two of the most common culprits in the U.S. are tiny German cockroaches and large American cockroaches—both multiply quickly and cause major problems in homes and businesses.

Then, try to pinpoint where they’re coming from. Some of the most common entry points include cracks in the walls, gaps around plumbing and spaces around window frames.

Sticky roach traps could help you determine which rooms have been hit the hardest. The traps that catch the most roaches will be those nearest their hiding place—their nest.

2. Offense: Gel Bait, Insecticidal Dust, IGR’s and Natural Ways to Kill Roaches

Cartoon illustration of cockroach-killing products, a dead cockroach in the background

You have a few good choices when it comes to killing cockroaches quickly and effectively at home. The first option is gel bait. We’ve put together a detailed guide to show you exactly how to use gel bait but here are the basics.

Suggested Products


To Find Cockroach Hiding Spots and Kill Roaches Fast When You Have Just a Few

Exterminator’s Choice Sticky Glue Traps

Used to measure and monitor a cockroach infestation and provide some supplemental control.

BASF PT P.I. Contact Insecticide

P.I. is a spray insecticide that kills roaches fast. Best when used as a supplement to other treatments, it’s not inexpensive, but far more effective than off-the-shelf sprays.

To Kill Roaches Inside Your Home When You Have a Serious Problem

Rockwell Labs CimeXa Dust Insecticide

CimeXa is an effective indoor crack and crevice treatment. For best results, use alongside Advion Gel Bait and Gentrol IGR.

HARRIS Diatomaceous Earth Powder Duster

Insecticidal dusts like CimeXa work best when applied with a duster tool. This inexpensive diatomaceous earth duster works fine with CimeXa, Delta Dust, and other recommended dusts.

Syngenta Advion Cockroach Gel Bait

Advion first poisons the roaches that eat it, then others in a secondary kill. For the most effective indoor treatment, combine with CimeXa insecticidal dust and Gentrol IGR.

Gentrol Point Source IGR

Gentrol is an insect growth regulator (IGR) that interferes with roach reproduction. It’s most effective used alongside Advion Gel Bait and CimeXa insecticidal dust.

To Kill Outdoor Roaches

Bayer Polyzone Suspend Insecticide

When used on exterior foundations, entries, and walls, Suspend insecticidal liquid stops outdoor roaches before they get in. It requires a separate sprayer (see below), and works best alongside a granular outdoor bait like Intice and an outdoor crack and crevice treatment like Delta Dust.

Chapin 1 Gallon Multi-Purpose Sprayer

Liquid pesticides require a separate sprayer. This inexpensive pump sprayer works fine for smaller jobs.

InTice Perimeter Insect Control Bait Granules

InTice is a granular bait that kills roaches outdoors and in spaces like your garage or attic. Used alongside a spray treatment like Bayer Suspend and a crack and crevice treatment like Delta Dust, it can protect the entire perimeter of your home.

Delta Dust Insecticide Dust

Waterproof and long-lasting, Delta Dust is a crack and crevice treatment effective in high-moisture areas such as attics, exterior walls, and plumbing lines. Delta Dust is regulated and unavailable in some areas.

Gel Bait

Gel bait (which also comes in bait stations) brings cockroaches out of their hiding spots and then hits them with a powerful dose of insecticide. That poison is so potent, it gets passed onto more roaches within the colony that eat the first.

That effective roach-to-roach transmission is why gel bait can wipe out entire cockroach infestations. Only apply a few drops of roach bait at a time—that’s all it takes. For our more detailed Cockroach Gel Bait Guide look here.

Insecticidal Dust

Insecticidal dusts kill roaches by adhering to their bodies and damaging their shells. Roaches crawl through the dust and die of dehydration within several days. Extremely effective inside cracks and crevices, it’s a perfect complement to gel bait, giving you a powerful one-two punch when you use them both.

Insect Growth Regulator (IGR)

IGR’s deprive roaches of their ability to repopulate, leaving roach colonies that would otherwise explode on their own, to simply… fade away. Alongside baits and dusts, it brings you yet another level of control, for a nearly unbeatable (if you use them right) one-two-three punch.

Outdoor Roaches

Outdoor roach killers work in a similar way. There are special outdoor baits and dusts, and long-lasting waterproof sprays. Be careful with these products, though. They’re so effective, you may end up killing beneficial insects, too.

How to Kill Cockroaches Naturally

Gel bait is an incredibly effective roach killer but if you have young children or curious pets, you might not want to spread pesticides around your home.

Enter all-natural borax, boric acid and diatomaceous earth (DE)!

DE is a fine powder that kills roaches by dehydrating them when they crawl through it, sticking to their legs and damaging their exoskeletons. Borax and Boric acid (which comes from the same mineral as borax), are similar solutions that are deadly to roaches when mixed with baits like sugar or peanut butter and eaten.

For the strongest offense, combine these solutions to hit cockroaches in the open and in their hideouts. And to eliminate any roaches that survive the baits and powders, add an insect growth regulator (IGR) so they can’t continue to reproduce.

With strategic placement and repeated treatments, these easily-accessible products could eliminate your cockroach problem in a month or less.

Does baking soda and sugar really kill roaches?

Yes, baking soda is toxic to cockroaches when enough of it is eaten. Mixing it with sugar attracts the roaches to the baking soda. Just place a little in a shallow dish and leave it out where they can find it. Don’t expect it to work as well as the products above, however.2

Does salt kill cockroaches?

This one’s a myth. Salt doesn’t kill cockroaches.1

However, epsom salt (a.k.a. magnesium sulfate) is toxic to roaches. Use it just like baking soda.3

Does lemon kill cockroaches?

Unfortunately, there’s no evidence that lemons kill or even repel cockroaches.

Does vinegar kill roaches?

Vinegar doesn’t kill cockroaches, either. However, you can use it to clean—a great way to battle roaches.

3. Defense: Seal, Repair and Repel

Cartoon illustration of a cockroach in front of a home. A tube of caulk is about to fill a cockroach entry point

It’s a myth that roaches only infest dirty homes. Roaches will infest any home where they can find food and water and a dark, damp place to hide. Removing the things that attract roaches will help turn their attention away from your home.

For these pests, it’s all about finding a way in. The harder you make that, the lower the risk of a roach infestation.

Your defense starts outside, where you’ll have to seal up every crack, crevice, hole and gap you find in the exterior walls. That includes spaces where plumbing and wiring enter your house as well as vents from the bathroom or the kitchen.

Then, check for leaking faucets, blocked gutters, dripping pipes and other areas of poor drainage that could act as water sources for roaches. If possible, store your garbage away from the house. Roaches love to hide in mulch, too. By spreading your mulch in a thin layer—only about an inch deep—it’ll trap less moisture and attract fewer roaches.

You might also consider using a natural cockroach repellent—such as certain essential oils—to turn roaches away at the door.

When to Consider Professional Extermination

If you’re still not happy with the results you’re seeing or you’re afraid there are just too many roaches to take on alone, call your local pest control service for help. They’ll do the dirty work so you can get back to enjoying your home, roaches not included.

4. Maintain: Keep Up the Good Work

Cartoon illustration of a woman vacuuming, an angry cockroach in the foreground

Even after you’ve successfully eliminated a roach infestation, there’s always a chance more could find their way in if you’re not dedicated to your game plan. Defense is an ongoing project, so keep your eyes open for newly formed cracks, broken window screens or other potential entry points that’ll pop up from time to time.

Simple routines are all it takes to keep cockroaches away for good. That includes cleaning regularly, keeping storage rooms well-ventilated, decluttering cardboard boxes and protecting the outside of your house with caulking, steel wool or a perimeter spray.

In the kitchen, take a minute to clean out the toaster and wipe down the grease pans on the stove. Using drain covers prevents roaches from climbing up from the sewer. Finally, don’t forget to seal all food items in plastic, glass or metal containers—you don’t want roaches feasting on your leftovers or in your pantry.

Conclusion

Whether this is your first face-off against roaches or your fifth, don’t give up hope! We’ve broken down exactly how to get rid of cockroaches forever and with a little determination, you can do it!

Explore the site for even more details about the signs of a cockroach infestation, dealing with flying roaches and lots of other cockroach facts.


Sources

  1. Omg, Barb, et al. (2006) Cockroach Control Manual. University of Nebraska Extension.
  2. How to Kill Roaches Naturally With Sugar and Baking Soda. Hunker. Retrieved from https://www.hunker.com/12137594/how-to-kill-roaches-naturally-with-sugar-and-baking-soda
  3. Knott, Rota L. (2017) Epsom Salt Pest Control Mixture. Garden Guides. Retrieved from https://www.gardenguides.com/info_8673738_epsom-salt-pest-control-mixture.html
  4. How to Get Rid of Roaches. Home Depot. Retrieved from https://www.homedepot.com/c/ab/how-to-get-rid-of-roaches/9ba683603be9fa5395fab90c52d8e9f
  5. Picard, Caroline and Amanda Garrity (2020) How to Get Rid of Roaches in 5 Easy Steps, According to Pest Control Experts. Good Housekeeping. Retrieved from https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/home/a47840/how-to-get-rid-of-roaches/

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