Roach Control


So it’s come to this… bringing out the big guns. You’re fed up with cockroaches and you’re ready to get rid of them! For good.

Hiring a roach exterminator can seem disruptive and expensive but if your gut’s telling you it’s time, you’ll thank yourself for doing it sooner rather than later. And with the right information, it’s not as bad as you think.

Here are all the details and tips you need to hire a cockroach exterminator, including how to prepare yourself and your home and what to expect from a professional cockroach treatment. Let’s get started!

When to Call An Exterminator for Roaches

Illustration of a German cockroach on a kitchen counter. In the background, a horrified homeowner looks on.
When should you call an exterminator for roaches?

Seeing that first cockroach is a shock, especially if you’ve never dealt with these bugs before. If you’re lucky and you’ve only got a few stragglers to deal with, you can probably handle it on your own.

But in most cases, seeing one or two cockroaches tells you that there are more (maybe lots more) hiding nearby. You might even have a hidden roach infestation on your hands.

Watch out for these other signs that usually mean it’s time to call a roach exterminator:

You might be hesitant to make the call, but when it’s time to get serious about killing roaches, it’s the single best choice you can make to get rid of an infestation. And the sooner you call, the sooner you’ll get rid of the bugs—and the easier it will be on your wallet.

How Do Exterminators Get Rid of Roaches?

Photograph of an exterminator assessing kitchen drawers with a flashlight
What does an exterminator do for cockroaches?

The type of treatment will vary depending on your home and the type of roach problem you’re facing. Different roaches require different approaches but there are a few basic tools and techniques that all professional roach extermination services use to kill cockroaches.

Roach Extermination Basics: Step-by-Step

  1. Inspect the kitchen, bathroom, closets and basement/attic
  2. Use glue traps to estimate how many roaches there are and where they’re concentrated
  3. Use gel baits to kill roaches and gradually reduce the population
  4. (For outdoor roaches) Treat outdoor perimeter with spray or granular baits
  5. In some cases, apply a follow-up treatment

Exterminators often start in the kitchen—it’s the most common source of cockroach infestations because it’s where both food sources and water are within easy reach.

The pest controller will start by inspecting the stove and refrigerator, inside and out. If possible, they’ll pull these and other appliances, like the dishwasher, away from the wall to look behind and under them.

In the bathroom, they’ll look for signs of roaches around the lighting and electrical fixtures, in the cabinets and around the drains. Oriental cockroaches are a frequent problem in drains, so the exterminator might ask you to install drain covers.

An exterminator’s next stop will probably be the utility closet. Not only is it usually warm but it’ll also have piping and wiring running through the walls. Those gaps could let cockroaches enter your home.

Exterminators use wet-and-dry vacuums to suck up dirt, small debris and any cockroaches hiding in these areas. Then, they seal holes and openings with mesh or caulk to keep bugs out.

Finally, an exterminator will look at storage areas and bedrooms, exploring every crack and crevice. They might remove outlets or ask you to empty cupboards and cabinets. If you have an attic or basement, they’ll inspect for entry points or signs of colonies living there.

Double Trouble: The Outdoor-Indoor Cockroach Problem

Recent industry statistics show a rise in peridomestic cockroach infestations—that’s a fancy word for species that live both outdoors and indoors.

In these cases, cockroach pest control operators will apply treatments outside, too. That could make the process a bit longer and more expensive but it would be a lot more difficult to handle on your own.

The Tools of the Trade

Cockroach control specialist spraying beneath cabinets
What do exterminators use for cockroaches? A variety of tools.

Every exterminator’s arsenal includes a few basic tools:

  • Glue traps
  • Gel baits
  • Dusts
  • Sprays

Traps are important for gauging the size of an infestation. By placing several glue traps in different areas, a pest controller can pinpoint where the roaches are hiding.

Baits come in gel form and as bait stations. They don’t kill them instantly but that’s the point—the roach dies back in its nest. Then, as the other roaches feed on its body, they eat the insecticide, too.

Some exterminators use dusts in hard-to-reach areas. The most common dusts are diatomaceous earth and boric acid (which are both all-natural!).

Baits are generally the best option; nearly half of the cockroach exterminators in the U.S. report using them as their primary tool. They just work.

Many of these tools are available at hardware and home improvement stores for you to use yourself. But if you’ve seen enough signs to make you think about calling a roach company, it’s probably best left to them.

What to Expect From an Exterminator

Photograph of a cockroach exterminator smiling at the camera
How effective is pest control for roaches?

Hiring a roach exterminator means starting a relationship.

An exterminator will do their best to eliminate the problem on the first visit but, sometimes, it’s just not enough. About 5% of cockroach jobs receive requests for do-overs. If the infestation was large, a second treatment should be enough to eradicate the remaining roaches. The great thing about baits is that they keep working in between visits!

Not the Worst-Case Scenario

Believe it or not, cockroaches actually aren’t the most difficult pest to eradicate, according to most pest control professionals. That title goes to bed bugs. (Even ants ranked higher on the difficulty scale.)

Hopefully, that news helps you feel a little better!

How Long Does Treatment Take?

One of the most stressful parts of hiring a cockroach exterminator is worrying about the disruption it could cause. How long is all of this going to take?

The average service call takes only about 45 minutes. That’s not bad! However, jobs can take longer with certain cockroach species, and if the infestation is large or its location is difficult to access. An outdoor/indoor problem will take more time, too.

Plan a few hours of availability to answer questions and give the exterminator access to different parts of your home.

Is It Going to Make a Mess?

Exterminators don’t use “roach bombs”; these are the super-messy—and ineffective—products you’re probably fearing. Don’t worry, you’ll be able to stay home during most professional pest control treatments.

What to Expect After an Exterminator Sprays for Roaches

You’ll have to be especially careful if you have young children or pets in the house, as there could be dangerous pesticides on floors or other areas they could reach. Your exterminator will tell you what chemicals were used and when it’s safe for kids to play freely again.

You should also prepare yourself to see dead roaches around the house. Some of the roaches might not die in their nest (sometimes, they seem drawn to the open as they die). Wherever they die, it’s a sign that the roach control service is working!

How Long Does It Take to Get Rid of Roaches After Extermination?

When can you expect the roaches to be gone? That’s a different story.

A cockroach pest control technician could get rid of a small infestation in a week or two. In more severe cases—like a resistant German roach infestation, it might take months for the bait and insecticides to work through the whole colony and completely eliminate the problem.

How Much Does an Exterminator Cost for Roaches?

Illustrations over a photo of a dead roach on a sink of a roach control professional and a pile of dollar bills and coins
How much does pest control cost for roaches?

Oh boy, the moment we all dread: what is this going to cost me?

The obligatory non-answer is: “It depends.” But you want to know if you’re getting a good deal (or a good exterminator—someone who knows what they’re doing will charge for the work they know they’re going to cover).

The cost of cockroach control could be as little as $100 or more than $300, depending on what’s involved. Sometimes, the first visit is only the inspection, which could cost $50–100.

What you pay for professional roach extermination in the end depends on the size of your home, the size of the infestation and the type of cockroach. Peridomestic species (indoor and outdoor) cost more to treat than strictly-domestic roaches.

Some companies bundle their roach services into general pest control plans. That could increase the price (maybe unnecessarily). They might also offer ongoing plans, with monthly or quarterly treatments that could cost $100 each.

What Can Change the Cost

Repeat visits: If the roach exterminator has to come back for a second treatment, your expenses could double. Poor sanitation is the main reason they’d have to return. If you don’t keep up on regular cleaning and organization, the roaches will have no problem re-establishing their colonies.

Trying your own DIY techniques: It might sound like a good idea to add some of your own pest control methods on top of what the service provider did. However, over-applying things like bait can make them ineffective.

Worse, using the wrong advice you found on the internet could end up repelling roaches from the baits or simply spreading them out further—and making it more difficult for the pest controller when you have to call them to come back.

Your Part of the Bargain: How You’re Involved in Pest Control

To make the most of professional cockroach control services, you’ll need to chip in. No, they’re not going to ask you to take a shift with the vacuum or bait stations. But a good cockroach exterminator will make a list of “chores” that will make their treatment as effective as possible in the long run.

That might include repairs that you can do yourself or that require help from a contractor. Major damage to a wall or leaking pipes could be making things easy for the roaches.

Your most crucial job before and after you call a cockroach specialist is sanitation. Keeping things clean, neat and tidy truly is the best way to keep cockroaches out of your house for good. The exterminator should give you a specific list of areas that need attention.

For example, one pest controller recommends to his clients that, for German cockroaches, they should carefully seal all food after cooking and cover the stove’s burners with foil in between uses so the roaches can’t eat the grease.

Next Steps: Start Your Search

Illustration of a geo pointer on top of a map superimposed over a photo of a dead cockroach on the floor.
How do I find a good roach exterminator near me?

Hiring an exterminator is the best way to get rid of roaches. As you research companies in your area, don’t be afraid to call for information, verify certifications and compare each service before making any appointments.

The best value isn’t necessarily the cheapest option; it’s the best quality for your budget.

How to Recognize a Good Exterminator

First of all, you should verify that the cockroach control company is licensed and certified. Then, you can explore their website for testimonials and information about their expertise. You can also search quite a few customer review sites (Yelp, Angie’s List, etc.) for ratings and feedback.

Ask Questions

If you’re worried about pesticides, just ask the company about their products and if they offer any eco-friendly treatments. You can request labels to see the specific ingredients they use.

Get Their Guarantees Guaranteed

You should also inquire about a roach removal service’s guarantees. Some companies offer warranties or promises to return at no extra charge if the first treatment isn’t entirely successful. Just make sure these things are clearly defined before you hire a roach exterminator.

Signs You’ve Found a Good Exterminator

A good exterminator has their ears open to their client’s needs. They’re as invested in the relationship as the client is and they’re ready to make adjustments to their methods if necessary.

A good exterminator is eager to educate their clients about what might have caused the infestation and how to keep pests out of their home in the future.

You should expect transparency from a high-quality exterminator service. They’ll be willing to give you a reasonable price quote and time estimate before starting the work.

What Good Exterminators Don’t Do

First, they won’t bundle roach removal into a broader home-improvement package. Landscaping and tree trimming are not cockroach control techniques and you shouldn’t pay extra for things you don’t need.

Second, quality pest control companies don’t make false claims about their results, any unique or secret pesticides or their speed. Good exterminators are honest and experienced; they know what to expect and communicate realistic expectations to customers. And there are no “secret” formulas for pesticides; they’re all regulated by the EPA.

Finally, good exterminators don’t leave a mess. You’ll know all you need to know about a company’s cleanliness by their reviews because that’s one thing customers never stay quiet about.

Tips for Talking to an Exterminator

Professional exterminators want to solve your cockroach problem—it’s their job! But without your help, they’re walking in blindly. The more information you can give them about your problem, the better.

1. It’s All in the Details

You probably have lots of questions about their service and they’ll have lots of questions about your home, the signs you’ve noticed and the places you think the roaches are coming from. Exterminators know that all of these factors can affect their treatments, the cost and the length of time needed. More information leads to more accurate estimates and better service.

2. Be Observant

If you’ve seen a cockroach and can describe it with a few details, they’ll have a better idea of what species it is before they even arrive.

3. Patience Goes a Long Way

We all want to get rid of cockroaches as quickly as possible but it’s not always as simple as a once-and-done visit. Part of that pest control relationship is trusting that the professional knows best. If they recommend quarterly treatments, it’s up to you to trust that they’re doing it out of precaution, not to nickel-and-dime you.

Find Out More About Cockroach Prevention

Once you’ve had to hire a roach exterminator, you’ll want to avoid dealing with cockroaches forever. We have all of the information you need to keep cockroaches away for good, including guides on where they come from, what attracts them and more!

Good luck!


  1. 2019 State of the Cockroach Control Market. Syngenta.
  2. State of the Cockroach Market (2019) Zoecon/Central Life Sciences.
  3. 2019 Cockroach Management Supplement. Pest Management Professional.
  4. 2017 Cockroach Management Supplement. Pest Management Professional.
  5. Tips for Selecting a Pest Control Service. EPA. Retrieved from https://www.epa.gov/safepestcontrol/tips-selecting-pest-control-service

Found a cockroach in your home or business and now your mind is racing? Is your stomach sinking, wondering if there are more?

Don’t panic—you’re in the right place! We’ll help you recognize a roach infestation (if there is one), show you what might be causing it, and help you solve your cockroach problems either way.

A Simple 5-Step Guide For Getting Rid of Roaches

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The Signs of Cockroach Infestation

Illustration of an iceberg with a cockroach at the tip and an infestation below the water line, with a house and a restaurant floating on either side.

Few things are more horrifying than finding your cupboards full of cockroach droppings, or a cockroach inside your food.

The unfortunate fact is that finding even one cockroach should have you concerned about an infestation.

Imagine an iceberg, the tip of which is the one roach you’ve seen. The others, the ones you haven’t stumbled onto, are being much more careful. They don’t always reveal themselves directly, but they do leave certain signs.

So what are the signs of cockroach infestation?

1. Seeing a Cockroach! (Dead or Alive.)

Illustration of one German cockroach in closeup on a kitchen floor

Seeing a cockroach is never a good thing, but does it mean you have a roach-infested house? Not necessarily. But the presence of roaches—even a single one—is among the surest signs of roach infestation.

Roaches are wily creatures that are good at hiding, and make it a way of life. Also, cockroaches are nocturnal, doing most of their business when you and your family are asleep.

So just because you haven’t seen a lot of them, it doesn’t mean there aren’t lots of them around.

If it was a dead roach you saw, it doesn’t mean your nightmare is over, either. The real problem could be the living cockroaches that are silently multiplying behind your walls and fixtures.

2. Finding Roach Droppings

Illustration of cockroach poop on a wall, under a magnifying glass, beside a light switch

Roach droppings might be hiding right under your nose at first (at least until it starts to stink—that’s up next) because it tends to look like certain other things—spilled coffee grounds, ground black pepper, or just everyday smears and smudges.

You’ll find cockroach droppings in clusters where roaches frequently travel, on both horizontal and vertical surfaces, especially those that are hidden.

Here’s the thing: seeing roach feces—as in, there’s enough that you noticed it—is a strong indicator that you’re dealing with an infestation.

3. Cockroach Odors

Illustration of  a roach infestation with stylized green bad smell clouds rising above

Roaches produce scents using chemicals in their bodies, called cuticular hydrocarbons, to communicate with each other.

They leave behind these strong, musty odors as they crawl on surfaces and food. Food touched by a roach will smell spoiled or just not-quite-right. That off smell is a warning you should heed!

Dead roaches also release fatty acids that can also stink up a room as more and more roaches… expire.

Will you smell a single cockroach? It’s not likely. But you will smell a roach infested house (and probably never forget it).

4. Finding Egg Cases and Shed Skins

Less common, but a strong sign of cockroach infestation is finding roach egg cases and shed skins from molting.

Called oothecae, the egg cases are purse-shaped and look like tiny beans or grains of rice. When it comes to cockroaches, bad things come in small packages. Because finding egg cases means just one thing—that the roaches in your space are multiplying.

Discovering shed skins is a bad sign too, because roaches gobble up each other’s molted skins, and you’re only finding a fraction of the skins they originally left behind.

What does it mean to be infested?

A roach infestation doesn’t necessarily mean your hygiene is bad. Cockroaches are frustratingly resourceful and need very little to survive. A few crumbs or a leaky faucet in an otherwise clean house is often enough.

However, it does mean that you and your family are at risk for picking up bacteria that cockroaches leave behind. Roaches can also trigger allergic reactions, especially if you have asthma.

How many roaches make up an infestation?

Basically, an infestation begins with anything more than one cockroach. A couple is all it takes to multiply into dozens of roaches in just a few months.

When is one roach really one roach?

If all you’ve seen is one cockroach, there’s a chance that one is all you’re dealing with. And if the roach is big—say, 1 1/2 inches or bigger—it could be an outdoor species that’s less likely to thrive indoors.

The problem is that even if it is all alone, it could be a pregnant female, or the first of a colony that’s living right outside your home. When that happens, even if it is alone, more are likely to follow.

How bad of an infestation is it?

Cockroach infestations can keep growing and growing as long as there’s food and water for them. If you’re seeing cockroaches regularly (especially during the daytime), it could mean that they’re being forced into the open by too many others in their hiding place.

Hint: Using traps or sticky baits can help you track roach’s movement and get a better idea of how many you’re dealing with.

How Do You Get Cockroaches in Your House?

Illustration of an Oriental cockroach in a basement beside an egg case

Unfortunately, cockroach infestations happen easily, and usually out of sight. Some types of roaches—like American and Oriental cockroaches—hang out around homes, feeding on mulch and leaf litter. Then they look for ways inside as they search for more food. They can enter your home through anything from a tiny hole in the wall or window screen to a laundry vent or water pipe.

If you live in a city apartment, a cockroach infestation could be completely out of your control. Apartment buildings are like heaven to roaches because they can run from unit to unit through the walls or pipes.

It’s easier than you probably think to bring a brown-banded or German roach problem home in grocery bags or your child’s school backpack. They might also hide in the firewood you carry into your house and scurry away at the first sign of a flame.

How did my space get infested with roaches in the first place?

The first step in stopping an infestation is figuring out how roaches are getting in, and why they’re staying. Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  1. Do I tend to leave leftovers, desserts, dirty pots and pans or pet food out overnight?
  2. Are there any cracks or crevices in the walls that could let cockroaches in?
  3. Is my garden or landscaping overgrown or full of fallen leaves and branches?
  4. Have I sealed all my open pantry items in plastic, glass or metal containers, bug-proofing them?

Cockroaches can sneak in through the smallest of holes. Sometimes, they take advantage of the gaps where pipes or wiring passes through a wall. Other times, flying cockroaches land on the roof and manage to squeeze beneath shingles.

If they come inside and find easy access to food, that’s when an infestation begins.

It’s up to you to remove their food sources so they can’t make themselves comfortable. Let’s break down how to prevent a roach infestation from growing—

How to Get Rid of a Cockroach Infestation

Stylized illustration of a bomb about to explode in a cockroach infestation

If you think you have a cockroach infested house, it’s time to act. Don’t be afraid! These bugs won’t bite you. Start now to prevent them from spoiling your food, spreading bacteria and spreading themselves in an even worse infestation.

Next Steps:

  1. Identify how roaches are getting in and what’s attracting them.
  2. Find out where they’re hiding.
  3. Decide whether you want to use a natural pest control method such as boric acid, or other methods like sprays and roach baits.
  4. Create a plan for keeping them away, with simple supplies like steel wool and caulk.


Realizing that you may have an infestation can be stressful, and even a little scary. But you’re not alone. Thousands of households and businesses face the same situation every year. In fact, in some cities, more than 40% of households have cockroach problems.

With our tips and your determination, you can eliminate your roach infestation and stop them from ever coming back.

Good luck!

Frequently Asked Questions

Will roaches leave a clean house?

Roaches won’t automatically leave a clean house, but cleaning up is a super-effective way to start getting rid of them.

How long does it take to get rid of a roach infestation?

That really depends on the size of the infestation. If you’re only dealing with a few roaches, you can get rid of them in a matter of weeks. A large infestation, on the other hand, can take months to fully eliminate, even with the help of an exterminator.

Do roaches come back after extermination?

There are always more cockroaches out there. But a professional exterminator can reapply treatments throughout the year to keep roaches away permanently.


  1. Why do I have cockroaches in my home? (2016) National Pesticide Information Center. Retrieved from http://npic.orst.edu/faq/roach.html
  2. Bonnefoy, Xavier et al. (2008) Public Health Significance of Urban Pests. World Health Organization. Retrieved from http://www.euro.who.int/__data/assets/pdf_file/0011/98426/E91435.pdf

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You’ve probably heard warnings about how quickly cockroaches can reproduce and spread through a house. When cockroaches take up residence in a home, it’s because they’ve found conditions they like. A lot.

But do cockroaches really nest in homes? And what does a cockroach nest even look like?

In this short guide, we’ll teach you:

  1. How cockroaches hide
  2. How to find a roach nest, and
  3. How to get rid of a cockroach nest – possibly forever.

Need Product Recommendations?

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

Ready? Let’s go.

What Does a Cockroach Nest Look Like?

Illustration of a nest of Oriental cockroaches on the floor of a basement, egg case in the foreground.
Illustration of a roach colony. Living roaches, nymphs and egg cases alongside dead roaches, shell casings and debris.

A roach nest isn’t a tightly wound basket of twigs and grass like you might expect from a bird. And it’s not the sort of carefully gathered nest of materials that you might expect from a mouse or rat.

Cockroaches “nest” wherever they find a hiding place near food and water. A better word is colony: cockroaches live in colonies and their “nest” is simply the colony’s hotspot, where the roaches lay their eggs and hide from daylight (and people).

Basically, a cockroach “nest” looks nothing like a nest. It’s more like the roaches’ messy bedroom, where everything’s lying around in the same general area.

Finding a cockroach nest means finding several (or several dozen) cockroaches and, probably, a few dead ones.

You’ll also see plenty of roach droppings and old egg cases lying around. Cockroach droppings are tiny and look like coffee grounds or black pepper. Droppings start to collect in areas with high activity. You might even find it inside kitchen appliances.

Egg cases meanwhile, are usually brown and less than 1/4 inch long. Every egg case you can see might equal 40 or more baby cockroaches.

A cockroach “nest” also contains old skins that the baby cockroaches have molted. These young roaches, called nymphs, shed their exoskeletons 6 times or more before they’re fully grown. There might be dozens or hundreds of molted exoskeletons lying around, depending on the size of the infestation.

When a large number of roaches are present, you might even see some of the nymphs. And you might just mistake them for completely different insects. Nymphs sometimes appear white right after they’ve molted, while their new exoskeletons are still developing.

If the roach population continues to grow, you might see more and more adults out in the open as they’re pushed out or forced to cover more ground looking for food. They’ll also give off a strong, musty odor. Not only that, but everything they touch—including food items—will start to smell oily and stale, too. It’s a pungent odor that you can’t miss, but if you hadn’t seen a roach, you might’ve mistaken it for something else.

Where Do Roaches Live?

Most cockroaches love humid places. Depending on the type of cockroach, some like it hot and some stick to cooler, damp places. But one thing just about all of them have in common is a need for moisture.

For that reason, cockroaches almost always live near sources of food and water. Wherever they have easy access to snacks and drinks, they’ll find a hiding place nearby.

And hiding isn’t just something that cockroaches do. It’s one of their most effective adaptations, a skill they’re good at and spend most of their lives doing!

Even the largest roaches (like the Oriental cockroach, or the even bigger American cockroach) are small enough to squeeze into cracks and crevices you probably hadn’t noticed before. They’ll live beneath carpets and floor mats, too. Small species can even squeeze beneath loose wallpaper and use that tiny space as their hiding place.

It’s hard to find cockroaches because they make it hard; they like tight, hemmed-in places where they won’t be seen and won’t be disturbed. That’s why they often build colonies in crawl spaces and basements. It’s also why discovering even one cockroach, living or dead, is a warning sign you should heed. Because there could be many, many more only barely out of sight.

Hint: If you’ve come here because you’ve already found a cockroach in your home, you can identify and learn about the worst 8 Types of Roaches here.

How to Find a Roach Nest

Illustration of a lower kitchen cabinet with a cluster of German cockroaches in hiding
Roaches nest in out-of-the-way spaces near sources of water and food.

Brace yourself for this one, because finding roaches means thinking like them too. You’ll need to get down on your hands and knees and poke around places that are hard to reach, and sometimes aren’t pleasant. You’ll probably get a little dirty, so put on some old work clothes and possibly a pair of gloves – because ready? You’re going in.

Thinking like a cockroach means identifying sources of food and water, so you’re going to want to begin in the kitchen and bathrooms where one or both are plentiful.

You’ll want to be thorough and check all of your cabinets, your pantry and any shelving or storage containers. You’ll want to look behind and under things, as well as inside of things. It helps to use a handheld mirror and a flashlight to check under appliances and behind the refrigerator.

Hint: If the thought of opening a cabinet door to suddenly see an active roach nest is giving you anxiety, remember: they won’t hurt you. The worst they’ll do is scurry away as fast as possible. You can do this.

Beyond the kitchen and bathrooms, the most common nest areas are dark, cluttered and damp places. If you found a roach in the attic or basement, you’ll have to check all of the boxes and bins stored there – they could be in all or just one of them- to make sure they haven’t “nested” inside.

It’s a lot of work but it’s better to be safe than sorry when you’re dealing with pests! Plus, it’ll only get more difficult to control the problem if it continues to grow.

How to Get Rid of a Cockroach Nest

If you’ve found a roach nest in your home, all hope is not lost! With a combination of baits, pesticides and wits, you can beat a cockroach infestation.

Suggested Products

To Find Cockroach Hiding Spots and Kill Them Quickly When You Have Just a Few

Recommended for all cockroaches

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 Cockroaches Inside Your Home When You Have a Serious Problem

Recommended for German cockroaches and Brown banded cockroaches, as well as American cockroaches (Palmetto bugs, Water bugs, Tree roaches, Sewer roaches), and Oriental cockroaches when they enter in large numbers.

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 Cockroaches Outdoors Before They Have a Chance to Get Inside

Recommended for American cockroaches (Palmetto bugs, Water bugs, Tree roaches, Sewer roaches), Oriental cockroaches, and Smokybrown cockroaches.

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.

Start with Gel Baits

Safe, inexpensive, and easy to use, roach gel bait is a good first start. Use tiny dabs of bait around the most likely entry points roaches are using, whether they’re holes in the wall or gaps between the oven and the cabinets.

Baits are effective and easy to use because roaches do most of the job themselves, first eating the poison, then carrying it back to their “nest,” where others in the colony also get to it.

Baits will help you begin to kill roaches, but for long-term roach control, look to a combination of products, including insecticidal dust and IGR.

Insecticidal dust works alongside bait by killing roaches in a different way, damaging their bodies as they crawl through it, eventually causing them to dehydrate (to death).

Boric acid and food-grade diatomaceous earth are popular dusts that work well, but an even better product is CimeXa, which is both faster and safer. Dust in conjunction with gel bait is a seriously effective way to cut back roach populations.

The third part of the trio is insect growth regulator (IGR), which renders newborn roaches infertile. IGR products like Gentrol are easy to use, and complete a very potent roach control plan.

Finally, you or a pest control professional (who ought to be consulted in the event of an overwhelming roach infestation) can use outdoor baits, dust, and insecticidal sprays if necessary to treat the perimeter of your home.

The best long-term plan is a good defense. That means cleaning your home regularly and keeping things organized. You’ll also want to keep an eye on the areas just outside of your house—including the garage, garden, patio and yard—for debris and clutter that can attract cockroaches and other pests.

It’s scary to think about a cockroach colony living in your home, sneaking out at night and crawling around the kitchen. But it’s a problem you can handle! Armed with the information in this article, you’re ready to find the cockroach nest and get rid of it forever.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where do roaches nest?

When cockroaches take hold in a house, their go-to habitats are in kitchens and bathrooms. Roaches spend most of their time hiding, so they’ll look for dark, out-of-reach places to build their colonies. Large appliances can hide cockroach colonies. These tiny insects can hide behind appliances, live in furniture and squeeze into cabinets and crevices.

What are the signs of a roach nest?

Usually the first sign there are cockroaches present is… seeing a cockroach! Otherwise, you might not even think about a roach nest being in your home. Other signs include dead roaches or old, molted exoskeletons, roach droppings (which looks like black pepper) and the musty odor roaches tend to produce. Keep a close eye on any signs you see to find out the size and location of any infestation you could be dealing with.

How many roaches nest at one time?

A cockroach colony can contain anywhere from a few roaches to a few hundred. If you find any kind of established “nest” in your home (that means multiple roaches, droppings and evidence of molting) you should treat it as a serious infestation. Cockroaches reproduce quickly and just a few females can produce hundreds of offspring in a year.

Where do German roaches nest?

German cockroaches don’t build nests, but these extremely common pests usually live very close to their sources of food. They’re widespread pests that gather in warm, humid places. German roach colonies hide around appliances like stoves and dishwashers, in cabinets and anywhere else that’s dark and hidden from humans.


  1. Evans, Judith (2018) How to Kill Cockroaches Behind Appliances. SFGate Home Guides. Retrieved from https://homeguides.sfgate.com/kill-cockroaches-behind-appliances–32052.html
  2. Briseno, Terri. 10 Cockroach Hiding Spaces. HowStuffWorks. Retrieved from https://home.howstuffworks.com/home-improvement/household-hints-tips/insect-control/10-cockroach-hiding-spots.htm

Borax has been used in laundry products, household cleaners and more for decades. You might already have a box at home. It’s a versatile, natural mineral and, you’ll be happy to hear, an effective tool in your pest control arsenal!

It’s easy to get started.

Here’s your super simple breakdown of this simple and effective product—everything you need to know about borax for roaches, and how to put it to use it in your home.

Refresher: What’s Borax Anyway?

Borax is a naturally occurring mineral that’s common in quite a few household items: flame retardants, laundry detergent, cleaning sprays and more. If you have kids, there’s a chance you’ve already used it to make slime!

Borax is also a great natural cockroach killer. Compared to most chemical pest control treatments, it’s a relatively low-risk product. You should still keep it out of reach of children and pets (they might be more sensitive to it, especially if eaten) but you can use it carefully around your house without leaving chemical residue or nasty smells everywhere.

Are Borax and Boric Acid the Same Thing?

Nope—well, not quite. Borax (sodium borate) is a natural mineral. Boric acid is the chemical that comes from borax when it’s processed and purified with hydrochloric acid. Borax is the more common household item but both borax and boric acid will help get rid of roaches.

How Borax Kills Roaches

Cartoon illustration of a cockroach sadly looking at the pile of borax powder it's walked through.

For borax to work as an effective cockroach killer, the roaches have to eat it. Borax doesn’t attract roaches but we’ve got some recipes for baits that the roaches won’t be able to resist (see below!).

Borax works by sticking to a cockroach’s legs via static electricity—that’s the same thing that makes your hair stand up when you rub a balloon on your head. Later, once it’s gone back to its hiding place, the roach will clean itself by eating the white powder. Once it’s eaten it, the borax acts like poison in the roach’s stomach.

It also damages a cockroach’s exoskeleton (and its digestive system). Borax is technically sodium tetraborate and the “sodium” part penetrates the roaches’ exoskeletons and dehydrates them. Cockroaches already dehydrate easily, which is why borax is so effective at killing them.

Does borax kill roaches instantly?

A roach that steps in borax won’t die instantly. Instead, they’ll go back to their hiding place before eating the borax dust their legs picked up. You might not see the dead bugs lying around out in the open but you should notice a drop in their numbers in a week or two.

How to Use Borax to Kill Roaches

Illustration of a cupboard shelf with a bowl of sugar, a box of borax, and a box of baking soda, roach character unhappily looking on.

You can buy borax powder in many grocery stores, often in the laundry or soap aisle. Hardware and pool supply stores might also carry large tubs of the powder. Some stores even sell it as a liquid or a spray.

In general, borax is most effective as a powder. That way, it’s easy to spread and mix with other baits and it sticks better to roaches’ legs.

Here are a few simple recipes for borax dusts and other baits that’ll kill cockroaches in your house!

1. Borax and Sugar

Will borax and sugar kill roaches? It sure will, and it’s one of the easiest recipes for borax pest control. It’s as easy as mixing equal parts borax and sugar, pouring the mixture into a squeezable bottle and dusting the areas where you’ve seen roaches. A powdered sugar dispenser or similar container will also work, as long as you can spread a light dusting. Just don’t use the same dispenser to put powdered sugar on your pancakes!

In this recipe, the sugar attracts the roaches and the borax that’s mixed in gets eaten along with the sugar. That’s all it takes!

Expert tip: Add a couple of pennies, marbles or tiny rocks to the bottle to break up clumps when you shake it.

2. Baking Soda and Borax Bug Killer

If you’re already using either borax or baking soda, it might be overkill to use both. Baking soda is a roach killer, itself. It’s already deadly to roaches and could even be used as a substitute for borax. Baking soda kills cockroaches by causing gas to build up in their digestive systems.

But both products are pretty easy to find and inexpensive, so there isn’t really a downside to combining them. So you can mix borax and baking soda but you’d be better off adding one of the other baits in this article to attract the roaches.

3. How to Get Rid of Roaches with Borax and Tasty Cockroach Baits

Try to think of some kind of food that cockroaches aren’t attracted to. We’ll wait.

While there are some natural cockroach repellents out there, pretty much everything that’s at all edible will bring hungry cockroaches scurrying. To make your borax cockroach baits as effective as possible, you’ll want to use the foods they love the most.

  1. Egg yolks – Place a raw egg yolk in a small cup, shot glass or similar container and lightly sprinkle borax powder onto it.
  2. Peanut butter – Leave a spoonful of peanut butter in a bowl or on a plastic lid and sprinkle borax onto it.
  3. Cocoa powder – Just like sugar, it’s a sweet bait that roaches can’t resist and mixes well with the borax powder.
  4. Liquid baits – As you’ll see in a moment, you probably don’t want to mix borax with liquid baits. Instead, you can sprinkle borax dust around the container you’ve put the bait in so the roaches will walk through it.

All of these bait-and-borax combos can be hidden in corners, cupboards, electrical outlets, and by applying borax to other strategic areas.

Other Borax Solutions

Cartoon illustration of a cockroach shaking its fist at a bottle of borax roach spray

Not every claim about using borax for roaches is entirely accurate. We’ve got the details on some of the most common homeowner questions.

Does borax spray work?

Probably not. You can dissolve borax in water to use in a spray bottle. However, mixing it with water will probably cancel out the dehydrating effects that make it so powerful against roaches. It could still be effective if they ingest it, but it’s less likely to work than a powder that sticks to their legs.

Do borax and vinegar work together?

Nope. Vinegar has been touted as a cockroach repellent and killer but neither is true.

Vinegar can clean cooking surfaces and your garbage disposal, reducing the chances that roaches will be attracted by food smells or that they’ll spread bacteria. However, it doesn’t have any negative effects on the roaches. Mixing borax powder with vinegar will only reduce the effectiveness of the borax. And roaches may end up the winners.

Borax balls for roaches

This method works but it requires some very attractive bait because you need the cockroaches to eat the mixture on the spot. One simple recipe includes borax powder and flour or sugar mixed with cornstarch and onion powder. Then, you slowly stir in water until you can form balls from the “dough.”

Once you’ve made a few balls, you can put them in small bowls or baggies and hide them in areas where you’ve seen roach activity (but where kids and pets can’t get to them).

Expert tip: You can also use boric acid and milk as substitutes for water and borax – cockroaches won’t know the difference.

Using Borax for Roaches – Some Quick Tips

Illustration of a dead cockroach beside a borax box. Label reads: "Quick Tips."
  1. It’s better to use a light dusting of borax powder so that the roaches don’t notice and avoid it.
  2. Stick to dry mixtures or use boric acid, instead.
  3. Keep replacing your baits and add a fresh coating of borax dust regularly to kill more cockroaches.
  4. Be aware that while borax is a naturally occurring mineral, it is NOT safe for you, your children, or your pets to ingest. So keep it far away from pet food, people food, and anywhere little hands might get hold of it.


Borax won’t be a one-and-done solution. You’ll have to keep up with the cockroaches, especially if there are more than a few hiding in your house.

Keep in mind that for true infestations, you’d be wise to leave the job to a professional pest control service. But by beginning your own borax pest control program – with a good mixture of borax and roach bait – you’ll have what it takes to start kicking cockroaches out for good!

Want to learn about other all-natural solutions for your cockroach problems? Check out our overview of natural cockroach repellents and our breakdown of the essential oils that can keep roaches away.


  1. Strong, Charles A., et al. (1993) Oral Toxicity and Repellency of Borates to German Cockroaches. Journal of Economic Entomology. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1093/jee/86.5.1458
  2. Helmenstine, Anne Marie Ph.D. (2020) What Is Borax and How Is It Used? ThoughtCo. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/what-is-borax-where-to-get–608509
  3. Miley, Michelle (2017) How to Use 20 Mule Team Borax -Roaches. Hunker. Retrieved from https://www.hunker.com/13420313/how-to-use–20-mule-team-borax-to-kill-roaches

If you’ve seen one cockroach or signs of a few hanging around your home, you’re probably looking for an easy, natural solution to deal with them before you start calling the local pest control service.

Could peppermint essential oil be an effective natural way to get rid of cockroaches?

Well, there are just a few things to know before you start wiping down every surface in your home with the stuff.

So we put together the scoop on peppermint oil for roaches right here.

Hint: Need more natural ways to control cockroaches? Try our Essential Oils for Roaches, Natural Cockroach Repellent, Borax for Roaches, and How to Keep Roaches Away guides!

How Does Peppermint Oil Repel Roaches?

If there’s one thing no one doubts, it’s that peppermint oil has a strong smell. It’s a refreshing fragrance, one that’s unmistakable and potent with a capital “P”.

Is that enough to send roaches packing? Indeed, several studies suggest it is.

The Scientific Evidence

A 2001 study by researchers at Auburn University tested the effects of mint oil on two of the most common species of cockroaches: American roaches and German roaches.

What they found is surprising—and great news for the millions of homeowners across the U.S. looking for an easy, safe, natural way to repel cockroaches.

During each day of their 14-day experiment, the mint oil repelled 100% of the roaches. 100%! That’s a significant result.

It’s also big news for anyone dealing with a cockroach problem who’s nervous about using dangerous chemicals or who’s not yet ready to call a professional pest control service.

Peppermint oil poses relatively little risk to children and pets (though you should still keep them from ingesting it). And it comes with another benefit: it’ll quickly freshen up an entire room!

What’s really interesting is that peppermint oil has another trick up its sleeve: its effects go beyond repelling cockroaches.

Does Peppermint Oil Kill Roaches?

Not only is peppermint oil a natural cockroach repellent—it’s also toxic to roaches (and for the record, to bed bugs, too).

The same Auburn University study found that mint oil killed both German and American cockroaches when they came into contact with it for an extended period.

What Makes Peppermint Oil Toxic to Insects?

Research shows that menthone (which is a compound similar to menthol) is the ingredient that makes peppermint oil a potential roach killer. Menthone is the compound that gives mint oil its “minty” fragrance and it’s present in the oils of most common mint plants.

What does that mean for your DIY pest control system? Unfortunately, you probably won’t kill many cockroaches with peppermint oil. In the experiment, the roaches were continuously exposed to the mint oil.

Under normal circumstances, cockroaches are simply too fast to be affected by brief contact. Plus, mint oil is a repellent, so the roaches will likely stay away from it. It’s possible that cockroaches avoid the scent of mint oil because it’s poisonous to them.

The bottom line is it would take much more physical exposure to kill the cockroaches than you’re likely to get with a spray bottle.

How to use peppermint oil to repel roaches in your home

Peppermint oil is super-easy to use in your home. It’s not foolproof but it’s relatively inexpensive and easy to experiment with to see what works best.

You don’t need any fancy equipment to start; just mix 10 to 15 drops of the pure peppermint essential oil with water in a spray bottle. (You can also use other kinds of mint essential oil as they’ll also contain menthone.) Then, spray generously on walls, counters and other surfaces where you’ve seen cockroach activity. This should be enough to deter roaches, at least for a time.

As an alternative to peppermint oil spray, you can also wet cotton balls with peppermint oil and water and place them in cupboards, along walls or in closets.

You will have to reapply pretty frequently so the fragrance doesn’t wear off. Since cockroaches are nocturnal, your best bet is to reapply each night before you go to bed. That way, when the roaches are most active, your peppermint oil repellent is at its strongest.

For a stronger solution, you can even mix in some white vinegar. If you didn’t believe us before, believe us now: that’s a strong scent. Use 1 part vinegar to 2 parts water and then mix in those 10 or 15 drops of peppermint oil. Then, spray away. Don’t be afraid to spray in your cabinets and pantry, your bathroom and other areas where you don’t want to find roaches.

Tip: If you’re also using baits to kill cockroaches, don’t spray peppermint oil on the baits. You might think it’ll make the baits more effective but because peppermint oil is also an insect repellent, it will instead convince roaches to avoid the baits. You can use both peppermint oil and baits but you should apply them in separate areas of your home. (The same goes for traps: you’ll want to put baits in your traps, not a repellent like peppermint oil.)

The Verdict: Will Peppermint Oil Repel Roaches in Your Home?

Finally, the moment you’ve been waiting for: does peppermint oil for roaches make sense?

The answer is yes!

Peppermint essential oil can likely deter roaches in your household.

Like all pest control solutions, it depends on your specific circumstances, the size of your roach problem and the way you apply the treatment. But with patience and perseverance, there’s a good chance you’ll see at least some difference by using peppermint oil to repel roaches.

Hopefully, you’ll see quick results! You can learn more about where cockroaches hide, how to keep them away for good and lots more in our other articles.

Good luck!


  1. Appel, Arthur G. et al. (2001) Repellency and Toxicity of Mint Oil to American and German Cockroaches. Auburn University Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology. Retrieved from https://scentsoc.org/Volumes/JAUE/v18/149.pdf
  2. Phillips, Alicia Kyser (2009) Toxicity and Repellency of Essential Oils to the German Cockroach. Auburn University. Retrieved from https://etd.auburn.edu/bitstream/handle/10415/1942/thesis%20draft%209.pdf?sequence=1&ts=1424397356350

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It’s a common question, one that’s both horrifying and well – sort of bravely optimistic:

“I saw one cockroach. Should I be worried?”

So should you? Should you be worried? Honestly, you probably should be.

But if there really is a problem, you’ll know how to handle it. Because by the end of this short 5 minute read, you’ll know exactly what to do if you see a cockroach.

Need Product Recommendations?

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

Ready? Let’s go.

Is It Possible to Have Just One Cockroach?

Illustration of one German cockroach in closeup on a kitchen floor

Seriously, is it possible to have just one cockroach in a home or apartment? Sure.

It could be a loner of some sort, or the last of its colony, or even a cockroach scout. It could even be a hapless, relatively harmless wood roach that got carried in along with the firewood – a bug that never wanted to be in your home in the first place.

But without proof, those would be some pretty risky assumptions. Cockroaches are nocturnal so you don’t see them when they’re most active, they rarely live alone, several species will actively try to infest your home – and there are consequences for making a wrong or overly-slow decision.

Having found one cockroach in your house or apartment, how do you know if it’s the only one or an actual cockroach problem? By putting on your detective gear and inspecting the scene for clues – particularly for where they hide, and the evidence they leave behind.

Discovering if There are More

Illustration depicting many cockroaches on a black wall, with a front-facing cockroach in the foreground

Hiding is one of the things that cockroaches do quite well. There are lots of things that want to kill or eat them, and they know they’re safer if predators (like you) never even know that they’re around.

So to begin to understand what you’re dealing with, you need to find those potential hiding places, and you need to look for signs. Do you have to turn your house upside down to find them? No. You only need to know what to look for and where to start your search.

Finding Their Hiding Spots

Illustration of a nest of hiding cockroaches

So, where do roaches hide?

It’s probably no surprise that cockroaches prefer dark, out-of-reach places. After all, they’re more afraid of you than you are of them! But most home-infesting roaches typically live pretty close to food and water sources, and you’ll want to hunt these down.

Poke around the back of kitchen cabinets and underneath refrigerators. Look in trash cans and behind pet food bowls. Look underneath sinks in the kitchen and bathroom and carry a flashlight to the basement where roaches might be hiding around leaking pipes.

As you explore, don’t underestimate their ability to hide in tiny, out-of-sight places. German cockroaches and other small species can squeeze through tiny holes and live anywhere from sink drains to gaps beneath the floor.

Recognizing the Signs

Cockroach poop from small species such as the German roach and the Brown-Banded cockroach

Sometimes, you have more than intuition to go on in your search for creepy crawlies–sometimes, you have evidence.

Roach Droppings

One roach infestation indicator is feces. Roaches leave tiny droppings in the areas they frequent. That’s gross—and it’s one of the reasons they’re dangerous. Cockroach droppings look like tiny black specks.

If enough roaches are present, their droppings can look like crushed pepper or scattered coffee grounds. The amount of feces you find is a good indicator of the size of the roach infestation.

Cockroach Body Parts

Roaches leave body parts of every kind behind. As young or baby roaches grow, they slough off their old, outgrown exoskeletons. You may find these entirely intact, or in bits and pieces after other cockroaches have fed on them.

Cockroaches also simply die of course, and other roaches readily eat their bodies, leaving body parts, bits of wings, and antennae in areas in your home.

Cockroach Eggs

A rarer piece of evidence is an egg case. Cockroach egg cases are typically about 1/4 inch long or smaller and brown or reddish-brown. Cockroaches take special care when hiding them, so you’re unlikely to find them without some serious sleuthing.

Adult female roaches hide egg cases in cracks, crevices and, sometimes, inside cardboard boxes. Some species such as the brown banded cockroach also stick them to walls, and if it’s a brown banded roach you’re dealing with, you’ll want to look on the tops of picture frames, and in areas closer to the ceiling.

It’s also possible that you’ll start to smell cockroaches in your home. As the roach problem grows, you might notice a sharp, oily odor. If you start to sense this kind of musty smell, don’t ignore it. It’s a good signal that they’re nearby and also a warning that there are probably more than one.

By following these clues, you can start to narrow down their potential hiding places and begin to assess the actual level of the problem.

Next Steps: Getting Rid of Them

You won’t have to actually find more roaches to know if something needs to be done. Finding signs of their presence will be enough.

If you’ve found those, the next step is to begin a thorough pest management plan. You’ll use a combination of baits, liquid pesticides and preventative measures to eliminate roaches and keep them out.

Insecticides and Other Chemical Cockroach Killers

Comprehensive cockroach control involves more than scrambling for the bug-killer spray any time you happen to spot one. You’re savvier than that.

You’ll use strategy, perseverance and the knowledge you now have about cockroaches’ habits and habitats to target them efficiently.

Cockroach control products come in several forms:

  1. Traps
  2. Baits
  3. Insecticidal Dusts
  4. Residual sprays
  5. Non-Residual Sprays
  6. Perimeter treatments

A few roaches probably doesn’t warrant a full-on chemical assault. That’s a lot of work for a problem that’s potentially very small.

Instead, consider starting with roach traps. A few strategically placed traps can help you diagnose the size of the problem and find its epicenter.

Cockroach baits contain insecticides that kill roaches after they’ve gone back to their hiding place and, ideally, spread the poison to other roaches. In combination with a residual spray, which can kill on contact, baits can effectively reduce a cockroach population without requiring too much work on your part.

If you’re worried you’re facing a cockroach infestation on the larger end of the scale, it’s probably a better idea to call a professional pest control service than to take on the problem yourself. A professional can treat your whole home with a perimeter spray and better target cockroach habitats indoors and outdoors.

Suggested Products

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

Recommended for all cockroaches

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 Cockroaches Inside Your Home When You Have a Serious Problem

Recommended for German cockroaches and Brown banded cockroaches, as well as American cockroaches (Palmetto bugs, Water bugs, Tree roaches, Sewer roaches), and Oriental cockroaches when they enter in large numbers.

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 Cockroaches Outdoors Before They Have a Chance to Get Inside

Recommended for American cockroaches (Palmetto bugs, Water bugs, Tree roaches, Sewer roaches), Oriental cockroaches, and Smokybrown cockroaches.

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.

Natural Cockroach Control

There are a few natural ways to kill cockroaches, too.

Food-grade diatomaceous earth is safe for people and pets (though you should take care not to breathe it) but lethal to cockroaches. Sprinkling this around areas you suspect they’re hiding is a good way to eliminate some of them.

You can also mix boric acid and sugar to make a mixture that’s a natural bait and insecticide.

Preventative Measures: How to Keep Roaches Out

You might be asking yourself, why did that cockroach you saw have to pick your house? In all likelihood, it’s nothing you did. The cockroach only came in for its basic survival needs: food, water and shelter. Finding a cockroach in your house doesn’t necessarily mean your home is dirty.

That said, it won’t hurt to be a little more deliberate in your cleaning routine after you’ve found a roach. Eliminating food sources is an effective way to keep them away. You can also make a few external changes—such as clearing piles of sticks and leaves and organizing boxes in the garage—to keep cockroaches outside.

Oh, and always keep windows covered with screens if you like to leave them open, especially at night. Many flying cockroaches are attracted to lights and they’ll fly straight through an open window to get to your living room lights.

These simple preventative measures can make a big difference in your cockroach control efforts.


You saw one cockroach; should you be worried?

It’s important to pay attention to the evidence and do a careful inspection before you start fearing the worst.

Try to find their hiding place, be strategic with baits or natural pesticides and up your cleaning game until you’re confident the roaches aren’t interested in coming back.

By using the information in this article, you can win back your peace of mind and protect your house from future cockroach break-ins.

Explore the site for more information about cockroaches, facts about the most common species and answers to your questions about how to get rid of them.

Frequently Asked Questions

I found a dead cockroach in my house. What does that mean?

Finding a dead roach means the same thing as finding a living one: it’s time to inspect for evidence of more cockroaches and, if there are more, determine the extent of the problem. Then, you’ll know if you should set baits and spray pesticides or call a professional pest control service.

Can one cockroach cause an infestation?

In a word, yes. Some cockroach females don’t actually need a mate to reproduce. On top of that, it’s unlikely that the lone cockroach you’ve seen is the only one in your home. Cockroaches are excellent at hiding and the one you’ve seen may be a sign that there are others nearby.

I found one cockroach in my apartment. Is that different from finding a cockroach in a house?

Whether an apartment or a house, the steps for identifying a cockroach problem and treating it if necessary is the same. Since you may not have access to all the areas roaches may be hiding, you’ll want to have your landlord take the proper steps.


  1. Wizzie Brown, Michael Merchant, and Kerry Siders, Cockroach Biology and Management. Retrieved from https://agrilifeextension.tamu.edu/library/insects-of-homes-schools-businesses/cockroach-biology-and-management/

Want to hear the joke about the flying cockroach? Probably not. Because if you’ve ever come face-to-face with one, as in literally face-to-face – you know the utter horror that a flying roach can bring.

Let’s look at the kinds of flying roaches, and then afterward – show you how to get rid of them for good.

A Simple 5-Step Guide For Getting Rid of Roaches

“Print or Follow on Your Phone. It’s FREE!”

Cockroaches That Fly and Cockroaches That Don’t

Some cockroaches fly. Others don’t. The first step toward solving your cockroach problem, is identifying the ones you have.

Cockroaches That Fly

American Roaches

American cockroach illustration with label: Flies only awkwardly and for short distances.
American cockroaches fly, but do so awkwardly – and only for short distances.

The American cockroach is the largest flying cockroach you’ll encounter in the United States. They prefer to live outside, but when they enter homes, they can cause big problems. They’re awkward flyers, but even so, an American cockroach flying around your kitchen can easily reach counter tops and upper cabinets.

American roaches love warm, dark places. Indoors, common hiding places include attics, cabinets and drains. Controlling them starts with identifying their entry points and targeting these hotspots with baits and pesticides.

Wood Roaches

Wood cockroach illustration with label: "Only males fly. Attracted to light."
Only wood roach males fly. They’re often attracted to nighttime light sources.

By the name, you can guess that flying wood roaches are usually found outdoors. They live in and around wooded areas, often inhabiting tree trunks, woodpiles, and decaying organic matter.

The males glide from trees or shrubs into nearby homes. They’re especially active at night during breeding season, and are attracted by nighttime lights. Preventing them begins outside by removing firewood and leaf litter from the area around your house.

Smoky Brown Roaches

Smoky brown cockroach illustration with label: "Flies at night toward lights."
Like wood roaches, smoky brown cockroaches are drawn to lights.

Smoky brown cockroaches are only slightly smaller than American roaches. They’re dark reddish-brown in color with long antennae and long wings.

This flying roach hangs out in gardens, woodpiles, and other humid environments, occasionally coming inside when temperatures cool down. You might accidentally bring them in with firewood from outside, or in boxes that were stored in the garage. Then, it’s important to control them quickly before they can reproduce and spread.

Australian Roaches

Auatralian cockroach illustration with label: "Excellent flying ability."
Australian cockroaches are prodigious flyers.

The Australian cockroach is a big flying cockroach that looks quite similar to the American cockroach, but carries characteristic yellow markings around its head and wings. Australian cockroaches are decent fliers and often live in tree hollows and other damp places.

If flying Australian cockroaches take hold in a home or business, they’ll hide near sources of water, such as leaking pipes or faucets.

Asian Roaches

Asian cockroach illustration with label: "Strong fliers.Will  fly through open doors."
Asian cockroaches fly well and are known for flying through open windows and doors.

The Asian cockroach is a tiny flying roach that lives primarily along the U.S. Gulf Coast, hiding and laying egg capsules in mulch, grass and other shady areas.

Light brown in color and about the size of German roaches (in fact, they’re nearly identical-looking), they’re strong flyers, and big fans of artificial light. If the lights are on and a window is open, they’ll fly straight inside to find it.

Cuban Roaches

Cuban flying cockroaches feeding
Cuban roaches are excellent, agile flyers. Image via Wikimedia

Cuban cockroaches are excellent, agile, and frequent flyers. They’re about an inch long and often inhabit elevated locations. They like hanging out in trees and shrubs and occasionally glide into homes through open windows.

If you live in an area where these green flying roaches are prevalent, it’s important to cover all open windows with screens, and keep your gutters clear of anything they’d want to eat.

German Cockroaches

German cockroach illustration with label: "Possess long wings but rarely fly."
German cockroaches are capable of flying, but don’t often do.

German cockroaches are one of the world’s most common indoor pests. If you’ve ever seen a cockroach anywhere, chances are it was one of these.

Do German cockroaches fly? Yes, they have the ability to fly, and that only makes them more of a risk to homeowners. Beyond climbing into buildings through holes and crevices in walls, they can also fly in through windows.

However– German roaches rarely fly; they’re quick on their feet and will usually crawl to where they need to go.

Cockroaches That Don’t Fly (But That You Might Also Have)

Oriental Cockroaches

Oriental cockroach illustration with label: "Short, under- developed wings."
Oriental cockroaches have wings that are underdeveloped and incapable of flight.

Oriental roaches are medium-sized bugs with glossy, dark bodies. They’re slower than other species and don’t crawl up steep surfaces very well. Although they do have wings, Oriental cockroaches can’t fly.

This means they’re primarily ground pests that look for ground-level ways into buildings. If your home has a few tiny holes in its exterior walls, these roaches have an easy way in.

Baby Roaches

Baby cockroach illustration with label: "Wingless, and unable to fly."
Baby cockroaches are unable to fly.

Do baby cockroaches fly? No. If you think you’ve seen a baby flying cockroach, it had to be something else. Baby roaches don’t have fully-developed wings until adulthood, and don’t fly (if they come from a flying species) until then.

How to Keep Flying Roaches Away

To keep flying cockroaches away, you’ll have to add a few steps to your normal cockroach prevention plan.

Air-Level Prevention

You’ll want to begin by installing screens on all the windows you tend to leave open. If windows and doors already have screens, great! Just make sure they’re intact, with no tears or holes that a persistent cockroach could climb through.

American roaches, Asian roaches and Cuban roaches (in some areas) are the most likely to fly in through open doors and windows. Other flying species are more likely to come in on foot.

Ground-Level Prevention

Keeping flying cockroaches away means protecting your home at ground-level, too. Outdoors, use caulking to seal gaps around pipes and wires that enter your home. Inside, block sink drains with stoppers to prevent cockroaches from crawling in through pipes.

Many flying cockroach species like to live outdoors in wet mulch or piles of leaves or wood. You should keep the area around your house clear of leaves, twigs and other materials. These kinds of debris give roaches perfect places to hide. You can also spread mulch more thinly so it doesn’t retain moisture and invite cockroaches to live in it.

Regularly cleaning floors, counter tops and dishes is vital to keeping cockroaches away. Flying roaches eat much more than just crumbs (think paper, glue, garbage, pet food, and other insects) but reducing their access to easy food sources will make them think twice about staying.

How to Get Rid of Flying Roaches

If you’ve seen a cockroach flying in your house, it’s important to act quickly. While some species are greater threats than others, all pose health risks by contaminating food and spreading bacteria.

Though flying insect sprays containing pyrethroids (a common ingredient in household pesticides) are effective for killing roaches as you find them, they don’t solve cockroach infestations. For that, you need to target them at the source.

Taking Action

Start by identifying their hiding places in your home (see “Where do roaches hide?“), paying special attention to signs like cockroach droppings and discarded skin or shells.

Begin with areas that are dark, warm and humid, such as your cabinets, crawl space, attic and bathroom. Kitchen appliances offer perfect habitats–they produce heat and any roaches hiding beneath them are well protected. Plus, they’re usually right next to easy food sources.

You might not be able to pinpoint every area, but once you’ve identified the most likely ones, you can start taking action.

  • Distributing cockroach baits in these areas will kill any cockroaches that come out to feed.
  • A pesticide such as boric acid can be effective against cockroaches and other insects. Spray it carefully along walls or in cracks and crevices where you suspect the roaches are hiding.

Remember to carefully read all warnings when using pesticides and keep them far away from children and pets.

How to Get Rid of Flying Cockroaches Naturally

Food-grade diatomaceous earth is an excellent natural pest control product. It’s safe for people and pets but deadly for flying cockroaches. Sprinkling it in areas where these pests hide is an easy and effective way to get rid of roaches.

Sugar mixed with baking soda is another natural cockroach control solution that you can make with ingredients you probably already have. Baking soda is toxic to flying cockroaches when eaten. Applying a little of this homemade pesticide near the roaches’ hiding places both attracts and kills them.

When using any type of bait or homemade solution, you’ll have to replace it from time to time as the roaches eat it. If it’s working, the flying cockroach population will gradually decrease and your baits and sprays will last longer.


Flying roaches add another dimension to the threat of a pest infestation. Although most live outdoors, they won’t hesitate entering buildings when temperatures change or food becomes scarce. Indoors, cockroaches can trigger allergies and spread bacteria that cause food poisoning and other illnesses, so they’re best kept out and as far away as possible.

If you think you have a serious flying cockroach infestation, you should call a professional pest control service to inspect your home and create a comprehensive plan for elimination. Professionals can treat the inside and outside of your home with pesticides that kill cockroaches and prevent them from coming back.

With these tips and, if needed, the help of a professional, you can get rid of flying cockroaches in your house and keep them out.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do all cockroaches with wings fly?

No, not every cockroach with wings is capable of flight. Some female cockroaches have wings that aren’t developed enough for flying. Cockroach nymphs also don’t fly, even if their wings have begun to develop.

Why do cockroaches fly?

Cockroaches fly to escape from danger and to reach food and water. Some roaches will fly into gutters where leaves and twigs provide food and trap water.

Others fly toward lights, attracted by lamps and TV screens in homes.
Many flying cockroaches will take to the air when faced with danger. That danger could be you spotting it in your kitchen or a hungry predator hunting it out in the wild.

There are flying roaches in my house. How do they get in?

Flying roaches can fly through windows and onto roofs, giving them more opportunities to find their way inside. Some roaches can squeeze through gaps between roof shingles, then make their way into the attic–which is often a perfect cockroach habitat.

Since some roaches fly toward lights, it’s especially important to keep windows closed at night to avoid attracting flying roaches inside.


  1. Green Banana Cockroach/Cuban Cockroach. Texas State University System. Retrieved from http://www.tsusinvasives.org/home/database/panchlora-nivea
  2. Guthrie, Brinke (2016) 10 Ways To Keep Cockroaches Out Of Your Home. Simplemost. Retrieved from https://www.simplemost.com/ways-naturally-give-cockroaches-boot/
  3. What is a pyrethroid insecticide? (2018) Texas A&M AgriLife Extension. Retrieved from https://citybugs.tamu.edu/factsheets/ipm/ent-6003/
  4. Diatomaceous Earth General Fact Sheet. National Pesticide Information Center http://npic.orst.edu/factsheets/degen.html

The library below contains manufacturer labels and safety data sheets (MSDS) for the most popular cockroach baits, dusts, and sprays. Click the pdf icon PDF download to download.

Product NameEPA Reg. #LabelSDSOther
Advance Cockroach Gel Bait 499-507 PDF downloadPDF download
Advion Cockroach Bait Arena100-1486 PDF downloadPDF download
Advion Cockroach Gel Bait352-652 PDF downloadPDF download
Advion Evolution Cockroach Gel Bait100-1484 PDF downloadPDF download
Advion Insect Granule100-1483 PDF downloadPDF download
Air Devil HPX Residual9444-182 PDF downloadPDF download
Alpine WSG499-561 PDF downloadPDF downloadPDF download
Archer Insect Growth Regulator 100-1111 PDF downloadPDF download
Arilon100-1501 PDF downloadPDF download
Avert Cockroach Gel Bait499-410 PDF downloadPDF download
CB-80 Extra 9444-175 PDF downloadPDF download
Cy-Kick CS Pressurized Crack & Crevice Residual 499-303 PDF downloadPDF download
Cy-Kick CS Controlled Release Cyfluthrin Specimen 499-304 PDF downloadPDF download
Cyhalocap 499-535 PDF downloadPDF download
D-Foam 279-3443 PDF downloadPDF download
D-Force HPX 279-9554PDF downloadPDF download
DeltaDust 432-772 PDF downloadPDF download
Demand CS Insecticide 100-1066 PDF downloadPDF download
Dupont Advion Cockroach Gel Bait 352-652 PDF downloadPDF download
Dupont Arilon 352-776 PDF downloadPDF download
EcoEXEMPT GN/APDF downloadPDF download
EcoEXEMPT IC2N/APDF downloadPDF download
EcoPCO ACU67425-14PDF downloadPDF download
EcoPCO D-X Dust Insecticide67425-16 PDF downloadPDF download
Gentrol – IGR Concentrate2724-351PDF downloadPDF downloadPDF download
Gentrol Point Source Roach Control Device2724-469 PDF downloadPDF download
Intice 10 Perimeter Bait73079-6 PDF downloadPDF download
Invader HPX9444-186PDF downloadPDF download
Maxforce FC Magnum Roach Killer Bait Gel432-1460PDF downloadPDF download
Maxforce FC Professional Roach Killer Bait Stations432-1257 PDF downloadPDF download
Maxforce FC Roach Killer Bait Gel432-1259PDF downloadPDF download
Maxforce Fine Granule Insect Bait 432-1262 PDF downloadPDF download
Maxforce Impact Roach Gel Bait 432-1531432-1531PDF downloadPDF download
Niban Granular Bait64405-2PDF downloadPDF download
Nibor-D64405-8 PDF downloadPDF download
NyGuard IGR Concentrate1021-1603PDF downloadPDF download
Onslaught Fast Cap1021-2574PDF downloadPDF download
Onslaught Microencapsulated Insecticide1021-1815PDF downloadPDF download
Perma-Dust PT 240499-384 PDF downloadPDF download
Phantom Termiticide-Insecticide241-392 PDF downloadPDF download
PI Contact Insecticide499-444PDF downloadPDF download
PT 221L Residual Insecticide499-473PDF downloadPDF download
PT 565 Plus XLO499-290PDF downloadPDF download
PT Microcare499-539PDF downloadPDF download
Shockwave 1 Flushing, Killing & Residual Aerosol1021-2804PDF downloadPDF download
Talstar P Professional Insecticide 279-3206PDF downloadPDF download
Tandem Insecticide100-1437PDF downloadPDF download
Tempo 1% Dust432-1373PDF downloadPDF download
Temprid FX432-1544PDF downloadPDF download
Temprid SC Insecticide432-1483PDF downloadPDF download
Termidor SC Termiticide-Insecticide7969-210PDF downloadPDF download
Transport Mikron8033-109-279PDF downloadPDF download
Transport Termiticide Insecticide8033-96-279PDF downloadPDF download
Tri-Die Pressurized Silica + Pyrethrin Dust499-385PDF downloadPDF download
ULD HydroPy-300499-427PDF downloadPDF download
Vendetta Plus Cockroach Gel Bait1021-2593PDF downloadPDF download