In this 5-step Roach-Free Recipe, you’ll follow a simple plan to eliminate most cockroach problems in your home. You’ll use insecticides alongside basic, inexpensive tools, then put a plan in place to make your efforts stick.
Step 1. Find Cockroach Hiding Spots in your Home
Using a notebook and insect sticky traps, you’ll find where roaches are currently hiding in your home, then target those areas for treatment.
Killing Roaches Outside with Spray Insecticide and Granular Bait
Active Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours
Some roach species aren’t just problems inside the house but outside, too. Luckily, insecticide sprays and granular baits make it easy to create a pest-free perimeter around your home. We’ll show you how to measure and mix insecticide products, apply them with a sprayer and spread granular bait in some key areas.
Before you start, it’s important to identify exactly how cockroaches are getting in and where their entry points are. For more on this step, see our printable Roach-Free Recipe for finding roaches. Then, take a few minutes to rake or sweep any leaves, twigs or other debris away from areas you’re going to treat.
B. Purchase Supplies and Read Product Labels
Purchase a 1-gallon spray tank. Liquid insecticide needs to be diluted with plenty of water for spraying.
Purchase a package of disposable gloves and a pair of safety glasses.
Read all instructions and warnings on product labels before using an insecticide or bait.
C. Mix the Insecticide Spray
Start by filling your spray tank about halfway with water.
Measure the appropriate amount of insecticide (usually 1/2–1 oz) according to the label.
If the bottle features a squeeze-and-pour mechanism, remove the cap and seal from the side with the small compartment and gently squeeze until the liquid reaches the appropriate measurement mark.
If the bottle features a tip-and-pour mechanism, tip the bottle slowly so that the liquid pours from the large compartment into the small compartment. Then, tip it back so the right amount remains in the measuring compartment.
Add the insecticide to the spray tank. Continue filling the spray tank with water until you reach its fill line (or the required amount).
D. Use the Sprayer to Apply the Insecticide
Pressurize the sprayer by pumping the handle repeatedly.
Hold the trigger on the wand to activate the sprayer.
The Chapin sprayer also has a locking mechanism to enable a continuous spray.
Simply carry the tank by the handle in one hand and aim the hose with the other.
Twist the nozzle to adjust between a narrow and wide spray.
E. Where to Apply Insecticide Spray
It’s important to spray all of the target locations you identified in the first step.
Treat air conditioning lines, pipes and wires thoroughly.
Also, spray around any bathroom, stove or laundry vents near the ground. Turn the nozzle upside down to reach beneath those that stick out from the wall.
Treat all cracks and crevices in the ground or foundation around your home.
Spray window and door frames that might be worn or cracked.
Apply the insecticide to the mulch or stone along exterior walls and gutters where leaves and debris tend to gather.
F. How to Apply Granular Roach Bait
If applying by hand, use a plastic scoop (or wear durable, disposable gloves) to sprinkle the granules in wide arcs around the perimeter of your house. Some ice melt shakers will work, too.
Walk slowly all the way around your home, spreading granules evenly in the mulch, soil and grass along walls.
Treat fence lines, crevices in pavements, flower beds and the areas around your garage or shed.
If you’re treating a large area of land, use a spreader (handheld or on wheels) to apply the granules evenly.
If you apply around sidewalks or other nonporous surfaces, sweep the granules into the grass or soil after you’ve finished spreading.
Apply extra granules to high-risk areas, including flower beds, sprinkler valves and hose bibbs.
If your bait recommends wetting the granules after spreading, just fill your sprayer from before with clean water and lightly wet the areas you’ve treated.
Don’t let pets play in areas you’ve treated with spray or granules until after the product label’s recommended waiting period.
Some homeowners report seeing dead roaches after only 3 days but it could take multiple applications for bait to completely eliminate an infestation. Don’t apply granular bait in areas where it could wash into reservoirs or streams. Don’t use a hose to wet bait because it could cause runoff.
Gel bait is a professional exterminator’s favorite tool for eliminating cockroaches. With only a few tiny drops, it kills more insects per drop than other methods by spreading from insect to insect.
And, since it’s bait, it brings the cockroaches running right to it!
In this Roach-Free Recipe, you’ll learn how to use Advion Cockroach Gel Bait to eliminate a roach infestation in as little as 1 month. Use gel bait alongside other pest control methods, including sanitation and natural roach killers, for whole-home success.
Gel bait is generally safe to use in homes with small children or pets, as long as you apply it in areas that are out of reach.
By design, these products don’t kill roaches immediately, so you might not see results in the first week. Don’t use any repellents or other pest control solutions in areas where you’ve applied bait, as they could cause roaches to spread and avoid the baited locations. Always read the instructions and warnings on gel bait products before applying.
In this Roach-Free Recipe, you’ll learn how to prevent roaches through exclusion. We’ll show you how to seal up cracks and crevices, removing all potential cockroach entry points and hiding spots. Plus, you’ll learn how to seal foods and other items so roaches can’t get to them.
Most of the materials on this list are available at grocery stores and supermarkets. You’ll find other items at your local home improvement store or, of course, online.
B. Seal All Potential Entry Points for Cockroaches
Fill all cracks, crevices and holes you find in walls and floors with caulk to eliminate cockroach entry points.
If necessary, move appliances away from walls to reach the high-risk areas behind and under them.
Pay close attention to cracks in outdoor, ground-level walls, where outdoor roaches tend to enter.
For larger holes—especially the gaps around pipes or wiring where these utilities enter a room—use expanding foam sealant. You can also further plug entrances with copper (or steel) wool.
Measure doors with a tape measure and fit them with weatherstripping or a door sweep. You can also use soft draft stoppers as long as they provide a good seal.
C. Repair Leaks and Stop Drains
Use a wrench to tighten leaky pipes inside sink cabinets. Fix dripping faucets. These become easy water sources for roaches (and create ugly stains over time).
To seal stubborn leaks, dry the surface thoroughly and apply anti-leak tape or glue. Add drain covers to your bathtub, shower and sink drains to keep sewer roaches out. Make sure the covers are mesh or feature very tiny holes to prevent small roaches from crawling through.
D. Seal All Pantry Food and Items in Storage
Seal all pantry items in hard plastic, metal or glass containers with tight-fitting lids. Loose bags and boxes might not keep roaches out.
Choose hard, sealed containers to store leftovers in the fridge or at room temperature.
Attach your garbage can’s lid to seal off one of a cockroach’s favorite food sources—the trash.
Make sure your outside garbage can is sealed, too. If possible, store it away from your house to stop roaches from hanging around.
Replace cardboard boxes in storage areas with plastic bins that feature lids. Store documents, books and other keepsakes in these containers, as roaches feed on starchy materials like paper and love laying eggs in boxes.
Exclusion is an ongoing project. Continue to monitor your home for cracks, holes and other damage, especially as the weather changes from season to season. Regular inspections will help prevent cockroaches from returning in the future.
Purchase a box of heavy-duty garbage bags. You'll be throwing out lots of stuff, some that's possibly infested. Contractor bags work best.
Turn on Lights. Put on Music.
Music may not sound like a roach removal tool, but a pair of earbuds and your favorite tunes will make this chore much easier. There's also something to be said for a positive attitude going in, especially in tasks like this where a little elbow grease can directly improve your quality of life. Lighting up the space is also a good idea. It may not do anything to motivate you, but is going to help you see.
Grab Your Box of Garbage Bags and Do a Thorough Purge
Unless you're dealing with a very small problem, roaches have probably soiled your stuff. Some of it may be worth salvaging, but much of it (especially involving food) may not.
In this step, you'll work room-by-room, identifying soiled items and throwing them away. At the same time, you'll do a more general clean-out, tossing items that might be attracting roaches, or could attract them in the future.
Since kitchens are a little different from other rooms—and in several ways more important, you may want to start there:
In the Kitchen (Where You'll Want to Work Extra Hard)
Grab your garbage bags and step stool and head to your kitchen cabinets. Empty them of everything and transfer those items to a workspace like a countertop or a table.
Separate items into four piles: Food in Boxes;Food in Jars, Storage Containers and Cans;Loose Unpackaged Food; and Non-Food Items (dishes, utensils, paper products, etc). Then do this:
Food in Boxes. If a box is open - even slightly - roaches could have gotten in. Do you take a chance? No. Just throw the item out. If the box is stained with roach debris, the porous cardboard creates a health hazard. You should throw that box out, too. If the box is unopened and undamaged (and you're sure, right?), you can leave it on the workspace for now.
Food in Jars, Storage Containers and Cans. If a jar or can has been opened, roaches may have contaminated the space between the jar and lid—and you should throw it out. If sealed but roaches have soiled the outside, it may be possible to wash it later, so you can keep it if you want.
Loose, Unpackaged Food. Foods like fresh fruits and vegetables or uncovered bowls of snacks are easy targets for roaches and may be absolutely crawling with them when you're not looking, especially at night. If it's something like a thick-skinned banana, you can try to wash it later, but your safest bet is to throw most unpackaged foods out.
Non-Food Items. Most non-porous items (like dishes and utensils) can probably be cleaned of roach debris (you'll do it later). Porous items like paper goods become a health hazard when soiled by roaches. So definitely throw those items out.
With the contaminated items thrown away, scan what remains on your workspace and consider—do you really need all that stuff? Roaches are attracted not only to food, but to clutter. Grab your garbage bag again and pitch items you can probably live without.
Next, move on to other areas of your kitchen - to shelves, cubbies, the top of the fridge, etc., sorting and throwing out in the same way. When you're done, seal up the garbage bags you've filled, leave your workspace (you'll be returning to it later), and move onto another room—
In the Bathroom, Bedroom (And Every Other Room)
Since food handling isn't as much an issue outside the kitchen, cleaning out other rooms is a little simpler.
With your garbage bag in hand, do a walk-through in the room, bagging up obvious items that have been soiled, and anything that looks like trash.
Open drawers, cabinets, trunks, and storage boxes, doing the same thing - first throwing away roach-damaged items, then anything you consider trash.
Kneel down and do the same for the spaces underneath things (like under couches, chairs and beds). Then use your step stool to go through higher areas like shelf tops and the tops of bookcases.
One you've bagged up the most obvious stuff, you're going to want to tackle clutter, throwing away anything you don't really care about or need. Pay special attention to:
Paper clutter, including magazines, newspapers, catalogs, cardboard boxes, and piles of paperwork and mail. Roaches don't just hide inside these things. They eat them.
Toys, playthings, puzzles, old homework, and kids artwork. Lots of kids stuff is made from paper that roaches eat, along with paints, inks, and glue (that they eat, too). If you can stand to part with it, get rid of it.
Old clothes, boots, gloves, and shoes. Roaches like to hide in clothes and can eat the leather in your footwear.
Whew! Nice Work!
After you've gotten rid of as much clutter and infested stuff as you can... Congratulations! You're another step closer to living in a permanently roach-free home. So seal up the garbage bags you've filled, take them outside, and give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back. You're ready for the next step!
Next Sanitation Step 2: Cleaning What Roaches Left Behind
Insecticidal dust is a fine powder applied to areas that roaches frequent. It clings to their bodies, damaging the waxy coating that protects them, eventually causing them to die.
In this Roach-Free Recipe, you'll learn how to kill roaches with CimeXa, a man-made silica dust that's not only effective, but extremely safe for humans and pets. CimeXa isn't designed for wet areas, and should be targeted to cracks and crevices.
Like other dusts, it performs best when used alongside other methods, including baits, sanitation and exclusion.
If you haven't done so yet, inspect your home, preferably with the help of sticky traps and a notebook, to find where roaches hide. You'll find a printable Roach-Free Recipe for that here.
B. Purchase Supplies and Read Product Labels and Instructions
Purchase a 4 oz. tube of CimeXa insecticidal dust. Probably known best as a bed bug killer, CimeXa works for roaches, too.
Purchase a handheld bulb duster with separate attachment tips. Though CimeXa's squeeze bottle can double as a simple duster, a specialized dusting tool will do a better job.
Purchase a few pairs of latex gloves. CimeXa dust won't hurt you, but can be very drying to the skin.
If you used sticky traps in a previous step to find where roaches hide, purchase a few large Ziploc bags to safely throw used sticky traps away.
Read the instructions that accompanied your dusting tool, and as with any insecticide, thoroughly read CimeXa's product label.
C. Prepare Your Duster
Find a room with minimal airflow (to avoid blowing the dust around) and put on latex gloves.
Fill your duster half full with CimeXa and secure the cap to seal.
D. Lay Down Dust
Insecticidal dust should be deposited in a super-thin film, so light that you barely see it coming from the duster's tip. When using a bulb duster, tilt the tool at a slight angle when you squeeze, and shake it a little between puffs, which helps the dust to flow. Expect to get about 50 squeezes from 2 ounces of dust, 50 more from the remaining CimeXa in your bottle.
Scan a 5-6 square foot area around an area where roaches travel or infest. This could be indirect signs of roaches such as droppings, or roaches captured at that location in a sticky trap.
Scan first for cracks and crevices, then select a duster tip that could fit at least partially inside. Do a single light squeeze of your duster in each crack, pulling the tip out before the duster is allowed to fill again with air.
Look for nearby electrical boxes and remove the face plates with your screwdriver. Do a single light squeeze (with a plastic tip) inside the void, then pry the exposed sheet rock up slightly with the screwdriver and squeeze two more puffs of dust into the wall void itself.
Scan for nearby baseboards and look for gaps between the baseboard and the floor. Select a duster tip that fits in that gap and squeeze a puff of dust every 12 inches or so.
Scan for exposed pipes and plumbing and look for where pipes enter walls. Squeeze a puff of dust into the wall voids and around the base of the pipes themselves.
Scan for voids and gaps in and around appliances and squeeze dust inside.
For an extensive list of potential cockroach hot spots, click here.
E. Clean up
Use a brush and a moist rag to wipe up any powder that spills from cracks and gaps. At worst the small amount of powder is unsightly, but won't harm you or cause stains.
If you've used Ziploc bags to bag up sticky traps, seal and dispose of them. You can also drop them in the freezer for a few hours to kill any living cockroaches or their eggs.
Store your duster and unused dust in a dry place out of reach of children.
You'll be inspecting your space room-by-room. When you find signs of infestation, you'll jot the location down in your notebook, mark the area itself with a piece of chalk, then set a sticky trap, which you'll return to in several days.
In the Kitchen
Start with the refrigerator, moving it away from the wall if you can. Using your flashlight or mirrored light stick, examine the floor area beneath it and the walls behind and beside it. Look at the fridge itself, including the top, sides and underside (if possible). Examine the motor, the cord, the condenser coils, and where it plugs into the wall. Examine the rubber liner inside the door.
Using the same approach, look behind and underneath the stove, only moving it if safe. Lift the stove top and inspect the burner areas. Check the insulation of the oven.
Check inside and around your stove's ventilation hood, especially gaps around the edges.
Look behind, underneath, and around the microwave, coffee maker, blender, toaster, toaster oven, and other counter top appliances.
Look underneath the dishwasher and into any gaps on either side.
Using your step stool, remove food, dishes, and other items from cupboards, and examine exterior and interior surfaces, including undersides and corners. Also use the opportunity to inspect and throw away any infested food.
Open drawers and remove contents. Inspect surfaces, including slider mechanisms, fixtures, and undersides. Pay special attention to corners and deep recesses.
Examine the area around the sink, especially the gaps at the top and along the sides of the back splash
Open up under-sink cabinets and remove any items stored there. Examine interior surfaces, pipes, the holes where pipes enter, and the underside of your sink. Crouch down and examine where the kick plate meets the floor.
Check the undersides of kitchen chairs and furniture.
Look behind any wall clocks, behind wall calendars, and behind any other paper on the walls,
Check the inside and underside of pet food bowls and under any mats beneath them.
Look inside kitchen garbage cans, beneath, and behind them.
Check storage areas where you keep mops, buckets,and things made of cardboard.
In the Bathroom
Check inside cupboards, medicine cabinets and vanity and inspect visible surfaces, especially where there are drips or condensation. Check pipes, mounting hardware, and the areas around them.
Check any areas where paper goods such as toilet paper are stored.
Check door hinges.
Look under the bathroom scale.
Scan the bathroom for exposed pipes, especially where they emerge from walls.
Examine sinks, counter tops, shower heads, bathtubs, and toilets. Not only obvious surfaces, but undersides, lips, edges, recesses, and caulking, then using your flashlight, peer into the sink and bathtub drain. Check underneath the lid of the toilet reservoir and around the water intake valve.
Using your step stool and flashlight, check bathroom vents, vent covers, flaps, fans, and light fixtures.
Check the floor for loose or damaged tile or flooring, especially where it meets the wall or fixtures.
In the Basement and Laundry Room
Look for cracks in the foundation and holes or cracks in walls. Peer inside the cracks themselves and immediately around them.
Check corners of walls, especially down low.
Examine washers, dryers, hot water tanks, and the areas around, underneath, and behind them.
Examine floor drains and grates.
Check dryer exhaust vents and any other holes in the walls,
Examine pipes as they enter and exit walls, and look beneath insulation wrapping them.
Around the House
Check behind pictures, posters, wall hangings, mirrors, and wall-mounted clocks. Look under and on top of picture moldings.
Examine electrical outlets, light switches, circuit breaker boxes, baseboards, and electric baseboard heaters.
Check spaces where radiator pipes enter the wall.
Remove books from bookshelves and examine both books and shelves.
Examine the interiors of closets, cabinets, and linen closets, particularly those with cardboard boxes.
Shine your flashlight inside televisions, radios, computers, air conditioners, and video game consoles.
Examine the seams of upholstered furniture where crumbs and spills accumulate.
Examine live plants, including the pots, soil, and the plant itself.
Check around door frames and hinges.
Look behind curtains and inside pleats.
Examine wallpaper and paneling, especially areas that are loose, curled, or pulling free.
Check areas that have lots of paper such as saved newspapers, magazine collections, books, photographs, and cardboard boxes. Open filing cabinets and poke around.
Look around the fireplace, especially around cracks, gaps, and loose mortar. Move loose firewood, then examine the bark and wood debris underneath it.
Using your step stool, look inside overhead light fixtures and check around the motor areas of ceiling fans.
Using your knee pads and flashlight, check the voids beneath stairs.
Using your flashlight, look inside gaps where gas and water lines come into the house.
Check behind, in gaps underneath, and around air conditioning units and garbage receptacles.
Poke mulch and wood piles with a stick.
Double-Check Your Traps
If you forgot to place any traps, go ahead and do it now. If you forgot to note locations in your notebook, or mark locations with a piece of chalk, do that now, too.
Sure. Roaches can be controlled with chemical pesticides, but many of us don’t want unnecessary chemicals in our homes. Luckily, roaches can be repelled naturally—and yes, killed naturally, too.
The best natural roach killer? There are a few. We’ll tell you about them along with how they work and how to easily use them.
Ready to learn how to kill roaches naturally, safely, and effectively?
Killing Roaches with Natural, Eco-Friendly Powders
Natural or otherwise, there are two kinds of products for killing roaches: Contact sprays for when you want to kill a single roach outright, and strategic treatments that kill them in far larger numbers, including the roaches that are hiding and you seldom ever see.
For a strategic natural roach killer, your absolute best choice would be an all-natural cockroach killer powder—boric acid, borax, or diatomaceous earth. So let’s look at how to use these products.
How to kill cockroaches naturally with food-grade diatomaceous earth
Diatomaceous earth (DE) is an abrasive, naturally occurring powder made from ground up shells.
Sold in two grades (“food-grade” is the one you want) DE is used in everything from toothpaste to supplements to facial scrubs and is safe to touch and even eat (take care not to inhale the stuff, though—it can damage your lungs).
For our purposes and in addition to its other uses, DE powder is also a great natural way to kill cockroaches!
DE works by damaging a cockroach’s hard exoskeleton, killing it by dehydration. When a cockroach crawls through DE, the abrasive powder adheres to its body, gradually weakening the roach until it dies. Sometimes the powder gets carried back to the cockroach nest, where other roaches die from it, too.
To use DE, you sprinkle a thin layer onto surfaces where roaches are likely to walk, then let it do its job from there. Light coatings work best, and the more places you can find to use it, like wall cavities, cracks and crevices, and gaps in the floor, the more successful you’ll be. Also consider DE for roaches in your car, sprinkling it under mats and seats.
DE has to stay dry to work. If you’re using it in a humid room (or if it gets wet), wipe it away and reapply once the area is dry. During dry weather, you can sprinkle DE outside, too! It’s a great natural way to kill roaches before they even make it inside.
How to kill cockroaches naturally with borax and sugar
Borax is another natural roach killer dust, one you might already have in the laundry room. Unlike DE, borax kills roaches when they eat it.
Using borax takes a bit more work than DE because you’ll have to convince the pests that it’s a food source. To do that, you’ll need to mix in a little bait. Equal parts borax and powdered or granular sugar works fine for this, sprinkled near an entry point or where roaches like to feed. Don’t forget to reapply as the roaches eat it—the more they eat, the better it works!
Note: although borax is less toxic than many chemical pesticides, it still needs to be handled with care. Try to apply only in areas where children and pets can’t access it.
Boric acid is the refined and purified version of borax. Like borax, boric acid is a natural roach killer that needs to be ingested. But unlike borax, boric acid is more finely ground, making it easier for roaches to eat, and as a result, more deadly.
You’re not likely to find boric acid in your laundry room, but its effectiveness makes it worth a special trip to the store.
Boric acid is used in the same way as borax. You spread a light dusting of a boric acid/sugar mixture across surfaces (so slight that you shouldn’t even see the powder from a few feet away). Or mix it with some other sweet or fatty bait. You should notice a difference in the number of cockroaches within a few days.
How to kill roaches naturally with baking soda and sugar
If there’s one thing on this list you almost certainly have in your pantry it’s baking soda. It’s the all natural cockroach killer hidden in plain sight—baking soda and sugar really does kill roaches!
This homemade roach killer is just as simple as the previous powders. Just sprinkle baking soda onto dry surfaces or fill a small bowl with it and add a little sugar. Ingesting baking soda kills roaches quickly. What’s even better about baking soda is that the small amount you need is perfectly safe for kids and pets!
Spot Treatments with All-Natural Roach Killer Spray
Spray roach killers aren’t particularly helpful for a bad cockroach infestation, but they certainly have their place. Natural sprays use combinations of herbs and essential oils to individually kill cockroaches or keep them away.
1. Wondercide Natural Spray
One of these is Wondercide Peppermint Indoor Pest Control Spray. It’s eco-friendly and safe for dogs and cats (and kids!) so you can use it around your home without worrying about harmful chemicals. Wondercide makes natural outdoor spray, as well.
You’ve probably seen Hot Shot products at most stores and supermarkets. Hot Shot Natural Insect Control products are non-toxic, pet-safe when dry and, according to reviewers, effective at killing roaches.
Zevo sprays use cinnamon, lemongrass and geraniol essential oils as active ingredients to kill roaches and other insects on contact. Again, you’ll have to use the spray bottle to hit roaches directly, so Zevo sprays should be a part of your integrated pest management system.
4. NatureShield Natural Spray
One more outdoor way to kill cockroaches naturally is American Hydro Systems NatureShield spray. It blends essential oils to kill pests that try to sneak into your house while they’re still outside. This one’s designed to be used with specific feeders and sprayers, though, so it comes with more overhead than the others. It guards your house for up to 5 days, making it a better long-term solution.
You don’t have to live with cockroaches. And you don’t always need chemical pesticides to get rid of them.
With any of the natural roach killer powders—borax, boric acid, or diatomaceous earth—you can eliminate roaches for the long-term.
With a natural cockroach killer spray, you can kill the occasional roach, saving yourself a little peace of mind.
With some excellent alternatives to chemical pest control, you’ve got a great head start to ending your cockroach problem. Now all that’s left is to do it—naturally.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is vinegar a natural cockroach killer?
Nope, vinegar doesn’t kill roaches. It can, however, help prevent them. It’s powerful for cleaning sinks, countertops and garbage disposals, all places where roaches often look for food.
Does Dawn soap kill roaches?
There’s not much evidence to suggest that dish soap kills roaches. However, it does kill tinier garden insects, including aphids, mealybugs and spider mites.
Bunch, T. R. et al. (2013) Diatomaceous Earth General Fact Sheet. National Pesticide Information Center. Retrieved from http://npic.orst.edu/factsheets/degen.html
Strong, Charles A. et al. (1993) Oral Toxicity and Repellency of Borates to German Cockroaches (Dictyoptera: Blattellidae). Journal of Economic Entomology. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1093/jee/86.5.1458
Boric Acid: General Fact Sheet. National Pesticide Information Center. Retrieved from http://www.npic.orst.edu/factsheets/boricgen.html
Huffstetler, Erin (2019) You Don’t Have to Use Unnatural Methods to Rid Your Home of Roaches. The Spruce. Retrieved from https://www.thespruce.com/get-rid-of-roaches-naturally–1388145
Insecticidal Soaps for Garden Pest Control (2019) Clemson Cooperative Extension. Retrieved from https://hgic.clemson.edu/factsheet/insecticidal-soaps-for-garden-pest-control/
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Like the legendary sewer gators of New York City, the Arizona sewer roach strikes a note of fear and horror in the hearts of many Arizonians. Unlike those fictional reptiles however, sewer roaches are a real and serious problem in areas like Pima and Maricopa county.
Need Product Recommendations?
A handful of easy-to-use products can solve most cockroach problems.
Read on to learn more about the problem and how to get rid of sewer roaches in your home.
Sewer Cockroaches: Stuff of Nightmares
The Arizona sewer roach—a disgusting, trouble-making, knee-quaking monster of a bug, emerges from the muck of sewers to invade homes and apartments across the state.
They’re a homegrown nightmare, or so some think given that few people outside the state have ever heard of them. But in fact they’re not.
Sewer roaches, as it turns out, are the very same American cockroach species that infests numerous other regions across the country. Arizonians have simply given them a particularly descriptive (and disgustingly accurate) nickname—which only they tend to use.
Like everybody else who has to deal with American roaches, Arizonians really want to get rid of them, which we’ll shortly show you how to do.
Fun fact: If you’re familiar with sewer-dwelling “water bugs,” you already know all about sewer cockroaches—it’s just another nickname for the same species of cockroach.
What Sewer Roaches Look Like
Sewer roaches are generally 2 to 3 inches long and relatively flat.They have reddish-brown to dark-brown bodies, six legs and two long antennae.
Their hard exoskeletons make them difficult to squish and allow them to slip through small crevices. On their backs they carry a pair of long, transparent wings. Though big bugs, they’re fast runners, and remarkably good at surviving the ways that people try to kill them.
And by the way… do sewer roaches fly?
When you ask an Arizona native for advice on sewer roaches, the response you don’t want to hear is:
“Have they flown at you yet?”
Yep, these creatures of the abyss can unfold those long wings on their backs and fly—for a few feet, at least. Though they usually run away when spotted, there’s a chance they’ll fly straight toward you! (They’re only trying to escape through the door behind you, but still…)
Baby sewer roaches
Baby sewer roaches’ tiny size makes them no less dangerous. Baby cockroaches are only about 1/4 inch long but generally the same reddish-brown color as the adults. They can appear white or gray just after they’ve molted, though. If the sewer roaches have started reproducing, it’s time to act fast.
Why You Keep Finding Sewer Roaches in Your Bathroom, and Why You Have to Get Them Out
Why and how they come inside
A sewer roach’s preferred habitat is outside, among the wet, rotting material on forest floors and in alleyways and sewers. Unfortunately, heavy rain or a backed-up sewer line can cause these bugs to climb up sewer pipes, drain pipes, and up through the sink or floor drain.
Indoors, they look for damp, dark, moist areas—kitchen cabinets, utility closets, basements, etc. Since your bathroom is directly connected to the sewer system, it’s often where homeowners first start noticing roaches and cockroach infestations.
Vacant rooms are especially at risk because, when the water’s turned off and the pipes are dry, it’s easy for sewer roaches to crawl up through the drains and start laying eggs in the nearest cracks and crevices.
Tip: Even sewer cockroaches can’t come up through the toilet. While they can hold their breath for up to 40 minutes, they can’t swim very well. So long as your toilet is filled with water, you’re safe on that seat, at least.
Why you really need to get them out
The reason sewer cockroaches live shamelessly in the sewers is the same reason you never want them crawling around your house: they eat down there.
Think about all of the things that find their way to sewers. Beyond all the “number one’s” and “number two’s,” they’re feeding on heaps of sludge and grease, water overflow, and more.
When they finally do come up into your home, they don’t leave all those dangerous germs, bacteria, and allergens behind. They bring it all with them, depositing it onto everything they touch.
So if you have a sewer roach problem, you really need to take care of it, especially of it’s getting worse.
How to Get Rid of Sewer Roaches Step 1: Killing Them
Now that you know how to identify them and why they’re not a pest you want to keep around, how do you get rid of sewer roaches, possibly for good? The good news is you can, but you’ll need the right tools… and a little patience.
Here are the tools and approaches you can use for a basic indoor plan:
Glue traps to find their entry points
Gel bait to kill the sewer roach colony
Drain treatments: bleach, foam and more
How to get rid of sewer roaches naturally
To Find Their Hiding Spots and Kill Them 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.
To Kill Them Outdoors Before They Have a Chance to Get Inside
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.
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.
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.
To stand a chance against an invasion of sewer cockroaches, you have to know where they’re coming from. Place sticky glue traps in corners and along the walls in different rooms. Check which traps have caught more roaches to narrow down your targeted area.
Besides kitchen sinks, bathroom sinks and shower drains, sewer roaches’ most likely entry points are heating or utility vents, plumbing penetrations and cracks in exterior walls.
2. Apply a gel bait to kill a sewer roach colony inside
A good cockroach gel bait is an unmatched sewer roach killer. Gel bait kills cockroaches after they’ve eaten it and returned to their nest. There, other cockroaches will feed on the dead insect and that’s where gel bait really shines.
Its insecticide is strong enough to kill those roaches that eat it secondhand—and even third-hand! A few drops of gel bait can do serious damage to a sewer roach infestation.
3. Treat your drains
Cities might try to treat the sewer systems for cockroaches but it’s virtually impossible to eliminate these pests city-wide. Protect your home or apartment by regularly cleaning and treating your drains.
Use a foam cleaner—cautiously
Use a foam cleaner or similar product to remove traces of food and grease that could attract roaches. Read labels ahead of time for cautions and proper use.
Bleach not only cleans and disinfects your drains, but kills roaches hiding there.
Avoid bleach if you have a septic system, and never combine it with ammonia, vinegar, rubbing alcohol, acetone, other cleaners, or pesticides (which combined with bleach could harm you). To treat a drain with bleach, pour 1/4 to 1/2 cup into the drain and plug it. Let it sit in the drain trap for 30 minutes, then flush thoroughly with water.
This is the easiest, and possibly most effective trick of all. Running water regularly down your drains keeps drain traps filled, and prevents roaches from crawling up.
4. Kill Sewer roaches naturally
If you’d prefer to avoid chemicals, there are two all-natural, easy-to-use options: borax and diatomaceous earth (DE).
Borax mixed with a little powdered sugar acts just like gel bait, attracting sewer roaches and then killing them. It’s easy to find in the laundry aisle at many stores. For more tips, check out our overview of the best borax recipes for roaches.
DE is another amazingly effective sewer roach killer. They don’t even have to eat it! Just walking through DE kills cockroaches by dehydrating them. It’s virtually non-toxic, too!
5. Call Professional Pest Control
If you’re at all worried about a sewer roach infestation getting out of hand, call your local pest control company. You can discuss treatment options and learn more about what might be causing the problem from a visit by a professional.
How to Get Rid of Sewer Cockroaches Step 2: Preventing Them from Coming Back
The first step is eliminating sewer roaches that have already invaded. The next, equally important step is keeping them away.
Here’s how to prevent sewer roaches:
1. Block the drains.
Before you do anything else, buy some drain covers for every sink and bathtub in the house. Your drain stops don’t have to be anything fancy. They just have to feature holes small enough that roaches can’t fit through.
2. Check the perimeter of your house and seal openings.
Pipes collect condensation and that moisture can attract sewer roaches on the ground outside. If there are gaps where these pipes come into your house, seal them with expanding foam or steel wool. Fill other cracks and holes you spot in the walls, doors and windows, and foundation, too.
3. Fix leaks and dripping faucets.
Before sewer roaches make themselves comfortable sipping from that pesky dripping sink at night, repair the leak (and save yourself money on the water bill). Stuff some of that leftover steel wool into the overflow holes in your bathroom sinks, too.
4. Wash the dishes and clean the garbage disposal.
Maybe the sewer roaches didn’t climb up through the pipes but are simply dipping into them for a snack. Your garbage disposal collects a ton of grease and food particles over time—a veritable silver platter for a hungry roach. Make sure you’re cleaning it regularly.
Dirty dishes can feed these pests, too. Washing dishes and giving the counters and floors a quick wipe-and-sweep each day is a simple habit that reduces the risk of attracting cockroaches.
Now that you’ve learned how to get rid of sewer roaches and picked up some tips for preventing them, you’re ready to give yourself the pest-free home you deserve.
Go for it!
Cockroaches Fact Sheet. Sacramento Area Sewer District. Retrieved from https://www.sacsewer.com/sites/main/files/file-attachments/final_cockroaches_fact_sheet_–for_website_0.pdf?1579220772
Reichardt, Klaus (2017) A Wet Drain Keeps the Cockroaches Away. Cleaning & Maintenance Management. Retrieved from https://www.cmmonline.com/articles/a-wet-drain-keeps-the-cockroaches-away
Lupo, Lisa (2017) Cockroaches in Drains. PCT Magazine. Retrieved from https://www.pctonline.com/article/cockroaches-in-drains/
Vector (Roach) Control Program. Pima County. Retrieved from https://webcms.pima.gov/government/wastewaterreclamation/roach_control/
You may already know about cockroach gel bait and its success in killing roaches, but with several brands on the market, why Advion cockroach gel bait instead of other products?
Let’s take a look at Advion: What it promises, how to use it, how it might work well for you—and why sometimes it might not.
Introducing Advion Roach Gel Bait
Advion Cockroach Gel bait was first introduced in 2006. Once eaten, its active ingredient indoxacarb, reacts with a cockroach’s enzymes to kill it with a delayed effect. The bait is sold and used in syringes, is packaged for multiple applications, and lasts up to a year after being opened.
How Roach Bait Gels Work
Killing cockroaches can be difficult, and without the right supplies, feels a lot like a game of whack-a-mole. No sooner do you think you’ve wiped the roaches out, than a whole new crop arrive to take their place.
That’s partly because roaches are resilient and breed quickly, and partly because they’re crafty. It takes a major trick to get them all.
Enter cockroach gel bait, which first tricks roaches into eating a lethal poison, then kills roaches that eat the poisoned bodies when they die. It’s not a pretty trick, but can be a game changer for folks fed up with cockroach whack-a-mole.
To be clear, every major gel bait brand is effective at killing roaches. They just have different active ingredients and work in slightly different ways.
The active ingredient in Advion cockroach gel—indoxacarb—is worth a second look however. Not because it kills more effectively than other ingredients, but because cockroaches like the German cockroach appear to like it more.
That’s important because you want as many cockroaches as possible to eat the stuff, and want them to keep eating until they consume a lethal dose.
So while Advion isn’t the only high performing bait to consider, it is an excellent, proven one to try.
How to Use Advion Roach Gel in Your Home
A little goes a long way when you’re using Advion cockroach gel bait. Not scoops, not even spoonfuls—we’re talking drops, pea-sized drops, about 0.5 grams at a time.
The Advion tube has a thin dropper tip that lets you apply tiny amounts to the surfaces, cracks, and crevices that you’re treating.
Using Advion gel is easy:
Light to moderate infestations: Apply 1 to 3 drops, spread out across about 10 linear feet, in all areas where you’ve seen cockroach activity.
Large infestations: Spread 3 to 5 drops across every 10 linear feet.
The application tip is perfect for dropping the bait right into some of cockroaches’ favorite hiding places—out of reach corners in the kitchen and bathroom, cluttered cupboards and tiny holes and spaces.
Tip: If you have pets in the house, it’s best to use the bait only inside of these cracks, where pets can’t reach it.
Once you’ve applied the correct number of drops, you’re done. All you have to do is wait for the roaches to smell and eat the bait.
If you’re lucky, you’ll notice a difference in roach activity within a few days, possibly even hours. In most cases, you’ll notice a dramatic difference in roach populations within the first week.
When applied correctly and used as part of a complete pest control system (more on this soon), Advion roach bait gel can eliminate nearly 100% of cockroaches in 2 weeks to 1 month.
How long does Advion cockroach gel last?
It depends on the size of the infestation and the conditions in the areas you’ve applied it, but Advion cockroach gel should last between 3 days and a week. With a larger infestation, you might have to reapply Advion more often.
As the roach population shrinks, your gel bait drops will last longer and longer. You should still refresh them if you think they’re drying out, as they’ll be less effective.
Can Advion Roach Killer Be Used Outdoors, Too?
Advion gel is safe for use in homes, businesses, food-handling facilities, pet shops, supermarkets, hospitals and many other locations.2 It’s a versatile but powerful pest control tool.
And yes—Advion cockroach gel bait works both indoors and outdoors. Just keep an eye on it when using it outside: it might dry out and need to be refreshed much more quickly.
Common Problems and Solutions
Is Advion a miracle product?
No, and there are circumstances where it sometimes fails to meet expectations. Here are some tips to help fast-track you for success.
Issue 1. Advion gel bait may fail outside an overall pest control plan.
Keep in mind that while Advion can be a powerful tool, it’s not a “set it and forget it” solution, and works less well on its own than as part of a multi-part pest control plan.
In addition to simply applying Advion roach bait gel, you’ll want to:
Inspect and Exclude
It’s vital that you don your detective glasses and thoroughly inspect your whole house, inside and out. Only when you’ve narrowed down the roaches’ haunts can you effectively target—and eliminate—them.
Exclusion involves sealing off any entry points you find outside and treating any potential nesting places inside. Every nook and cranny, every crack and crevice that could harbor a roach colony has to be filled in or treated with Advion gel.
Clean Up the Problem
While you’re bolstering your defenses against the invaders, you’ll also want to eliminate as many food and water sources as possible. Focus on building habits of washing the dishes, changing the garbage bag, sweeping the floors and wiping the counters and stovetop.
Expand Your Toolset
Don’t settle for one product—boost the effectiveness of Advion roach bait gel by pairing it with other excellent cockroach killers.
Use a granular product or an insecticide spray in areas where you’re not baiting. Or, go the all-natural route: use diatomaceous earth, borax or boric acid to kill any cockroaches that escape the bait.
Note: Make sure none of your chosen products contain repellents—that would cancel out the bait’s attraction and ruin its effectiveness.
Issue 2. Bait Aversion
Applying too much Advion roach killer can cause bait aversion, where the roaches are put off from eating the bait and won’t approach it. Worse, they might move to a different area of your home, making the infestation more difficult to contain.
Cleaning with chemicals or using repellent products could also repel roaches or warn them to stay away from the bait. Then, you won’t see the results you want.
Issue 3. False Alarms: Return of the Roaches
Remember: Advion won’t work unless a cockroach eats it. That means it won’t kill roach eggs. Even after you think you’ve eliminated a roach infestation, dozens of eggs could hatch, kickstarting a new roach problem.
Again, it’s important to diversify your tools. Using an insect growth regulator (IGR) alongside Advion cockroach gel helps solve this problem by preventing eggs and nymphs from reaching adulthood.
Issue 4. Freshness Not Guaranteed
Some customers blamed old or stale gel for their disappointing results. It’s true that gel bait can dry out and lose its effectiveness. But does Advion expire?
When stored unopened and at room temperature, Advion gel is good for up to five years. Once it’s opened, you should use it within a year. That’s according to the maker of Advion, Syngenta. Cockroach gel bait should be replaced if it’s more than a year old. You don’t want to take any risks when trying to get rid of roaches!
If there’s one tool that’s proven to be extremely successful against cockroaches, it’s Advion cockroach gel bait. Luckily, it’s easy to buy online and at many supermarkets and home supply stores. So, if you’re worried about roaches in your home, pick up a package and start fighting back!
We’re rooting for you!
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Advion cockroach gel bait safe for pets?
According to the product label, “Advion Cockroach Gel Bait should be applied in areas inaccessible to children, pets and non-target organisms.” It’s been designated a “reduced-risk” pesticide [by the EPA][epa]. Ingesting a small amount does not cause life-threatening problems. However, Advion’s labels highly recommend using it only in places where pets can’t reach.
Can I use Advion gel on countertops?
You should keep the product away from counters and tabletops. The label warns users not to let the gel touch any food items. It also warns against using it on food-preparation or cooking surfaces.
Martin, Nicholas (2014) Advion Cockroach Gel Bait: The Cockroach Fights Ultimate Champion. Pest Control Hacks. Retrieved from https://pestcontrolhacks.com/advion-cockroach-gel-bait-the-cockroach-fights-ultimate-champion/
Advion Cockroach Gel (Label). Syngenta. Retrieved from https://www.syngentappm.com/sites/g/files/zhg781/f/new_folder_1/New%20folder/Advion_Cockroach_Gel_GB_label2.pdf
Indoxacarb. DoMyOwn. Retrieved from https://www.domyown.com/indoxacarb-a–286.html