Cockroach Infestation

This page outlines the steps for getting rid of a roach infestation.  Follow all of the steps to deal with an infestation.  We also recommended traps that can be purchased on Amazon.

Here an outline of the topics covered:




How Do I Know if I Have Roaches?

  • You have spotted more than one roach during the daytime
  • Serious infestations can give off a bad smell
  • Check the following areas for excrement, shed skin, or vacant egg cases:
    • basements
    • crawlspaces
    • ceilings
    • sinks
    • bathtubs
    • electrical areas
    • behind appliances
    • in wallpaper
    • inside walls

Roach droppings are the most obvious sign of a problem. Their feces can look like coffee grounds or cylinder shaped droppings. The amount of excrement typically represents the scale of the infestation.

If you want more information about these indicators, here is an in depth look at signs of cockroaches in the house.

Why are Roaches in My Home?

Cockroaches occupy homes and shelters simply because they need water, food and shelter.  They are attracted to warm, dark, moist environments (they cant survive temps below 45 degrees).

Other Ways They Get In

The small roaches get into the home in packages and backpacks. Inspect items from flea markets, thrift shops, and yard sales. Check backpacks that have been at school or day care.

What Problems Do They Cause?

Why Try to Remove Them?

  • Cockroaches are known to carry disease.
  • They can cause asthma and trigger allergies.
  • They contaminate food and dishes.
  • And, maybe worst of all, many people think that they are frightening to look at and embarrassing if the neighbors find out.

How Do I Get Rid of Them?

Step 1: Sanitation

Indoors

Take Away Their Food

The first step is to take away the food and water that the roaches have gotten used to.

  • Wipe up spills promptly.
  • Put away leftover food, and wash dishes before going to bed (roaches are active at night).
  • Remove pet food before going to bed
  • Store food in containers that can be sealed.
  • Make sure garbage cans have lids
  • Rinse cans and bottles before they go into the recycle bin and move the recycle bin out of the house and the garage
  • Vacuum the house thoroughly

Corners & Crevices

If the roaches are the small (0.5″ long) German roaches, use the vacuum cleaner to remove them from as many of the cracks and crevices as possible. Take the vacuum bag outside and wrap it in a trash bag before discarding it.

Walls

In condos and apartments, roaches often travel inside the walls from one unit to another. Tiny holes in the wall above the baseboard are all that is needed.

It may be necessary to apply a dust inside the walls. Either diatomaceous earth or silica gel will be best, but boric acid will work too.

Outdoors

If there are large roaches outdoors, pick up any un-eaten pet food after the pet has eaten. Clean out the leaves in the gutters. Keep a lid on the trashcan and pick up anything that falls out of the trashcan.

Step 2: Exclusion

Indoors

Perform a thorough “spring cleaning” or home inspection that address the following:

  • Take care of any plumbing problems, such as addressing leaks or insulating pipes to circumvent condensation.
  • In the kitchen and bathroom, caulk cracks and crevices, especially around the sink.
  • Remove clutter, as paper, cardboard, insulation, and cloth offer ideal hiding places for cockroaches.
  • Seal off small spaces, like wall cracks, holes in cabinets and furniture, and pipes, with caulk.

Outdoors

Move the firewood away from the house and stack it on a rack. In the flowerbeds, rake the mulch and dead leaves 12″-24″ away from the foundation. Trim grass and ivy away from the foundation to prevent roaches from nesting next to the house.

Entryways

Closing up cockroach entryways will help prevent a re-infestation. Make sure exterior doors close tightly. If a dime can slide under a door, a cockroach might be able to get in. Use weather-stripping to eliminate gaps under the doors. Secure the access door into the crawl space and make sure the vents are screened. Check the screens on the attic vents. Since many large roaches are attracted to light, it may be necessary to change to porch light bulb to a yellow “bug light”.

Step 3: Killing Them with Baits

How Baits Work

Cockroach baits are effective control tools because cockroaches are scavengers. The bait contains a food material that the roaches will eat readily.

The bait also contains an active ingredient. This is the part that actually kills the roach. The bait is designed to be slow acting so that the roaches eat it and then go back to their hiding place.

After they eat the bait, the roaches can spread the active ingredient in their droppings and their sputum. After a roach dies, the other roaches often eat it. The bait also makes the roach carcass toxic to its nest mates.

How to Use Them

Cockroach baits are easy to use. There is less risk of misapplication than with sprays or aerosols.

Bait does not pose a great risk to the homeowner, the children, or the pets. Bait does not require mixing and it does not require special application equipment.

In order to control cockroaches successfully using bait, there must not be any other food available for the roaches. Wipe away crumbs, store food in sealed containers, empty the trash, wash the dishes, and move the recycling bin outside (you should’ve already taken care of this as part of the sanitation step).

Types of Baits

Cockroach baits are effective and fairly easy to use. In order to get complete control, the baits require monitoring and follow-up.

Cockroach baits come in four forms. Baits are available as gel, as solid pellets, as plastic bait stations, and as a powder. Each type has advantages and disadvantages.

Gels

Gel cockroach baits are attractive to roaches because the gel baits are moist. Roaches eat the gel readily.

Gel baits usually come with an applicator that works like a syringe. Small placements of gel are injected into the cracks and crevices where the roaches have been active.

Savitri Cockroach Gel Bait

  • Indoxacarb (0.6%)
  • Kills all cockroach species
  • One application works for 3 months
  • Can be used anywhere

Sale
TERRO T502

  • Easy to apply dispenser
  • Terro is a trusted brand
  • See results in 48 hours

Depending on the weather, gel bait will dry out after a few weeks. When gel bait becomes dry and hard, roaches are not likely to eat it. Fresh bait should be available as long as roaches are feeding.

Bait Stations

Plastic cockroach bait stations are easy to use. They are ideal for placing under appliances, under the sink, and in the back of drawers. The stations will remain effective for about three months if the roaches do not eat the bait immediately.

Solid cockroach baits are usually sold as small granules. Many of these are water-resistant so they can be used outdoors. These are especially good for the large outdoor roaches. These baits can be applied in flowerbeds and in ground cover. This treatment will control the roaches before they get into the house.

Combat Max 12

  • Active ingredient is the insecticide called Fiprinoal
  • 12 month life span
  • contains 18 bait stations that you place near roach activity

Powders & Boric Acid

Boric acid dust is really not cockroach bait, but it works like bait. Pest control product dealers usually sell powdered cockroach bait.

Boric acid dust is a product that is available to homeowners in grocery stores. The roaches must swallow the powdered bait or the boric acid for it to work. After they walk through the dust or powder, the roaches swallow it when they groom themselves.

A light application of powdered bait or boric acid dust under cabinet bases or dishwashers will be effective. Boric acid dust can also be effective inside of walls, but this usually requires drilling tiny holes into the wall.

Cockroach Repellent Materials

Some materials actually are repellant to cockroaches. Silica gel and diatomaceous earth are natural products.

Silica gel may be hard to find, but diatomaceous earth should be available wherever swimming pool supplies are sold.

These powders can be applied in wall voids, cabinet bases, and similar places. They will last a very long time and they will repel roaches.

Harris Diatomaceous Earth Powder

  • Great for killing bugs inside walls
  • Kills roaches within 48 hrs
  • Works for a very long time (after all it’s just a powder), just keep it dry

Sale
Safer Home Diatomaceous Earth

  • Great for killing bugs inside walls
  • Causes roaches (and other bugs) to dehydrate and then die
  • SH51703 OMRI Listed

Plant extracts, like pyrethrum, are very repellant to cockroaches. A quick spray of an aerosol that contains pyrethrum will send cockroaches running. The trouble with pyrethrum or diatomaceous earth is that they often cause roaches to run from one hiding place to another.

Common Invaders

American Cockroach

large american cockroach
American Cockroach

As the largest cockroach species to infest home, American cockroaches often prove easy to identify. Reddish-brown in color and measuring up to 5 cm in length, the American cockroach is larger than any other pest cockroach.

Like other cockroach species, American cockroaches typically remain out of sight in the home and force residents to look for other signs of infestation. The insects prefer to hide out in dark environments offering ample warmth and moisture. Nocturnal by nature, American cockroaches that emerge to move about the home during the day often signal the presence of a large infestation.

Even when American cockroaches evade human detection, the pest insects frequently leave behind evidence of an infestation problem. One of the most obvious signs of an American cockroach infestation is the feces the insects deposit on countertops and other household surfaces.

Similar in size and shape to mouse droppings, the feces of American cockroaches appears blunt and ridged when magnified.

American cockroach infestations also produce evidence of reproductive activity. When American cockroaches reproduce, females lay the eggs in a distinctively shaped case called an ootheca, which the insects deposit in concealed areas around the home.

After the newly hatched American cockroaches depart the ootheca, the abandoned egg case serves as further evidence of the infestation. Other signs of a cockroach infestation include the cast skins of molting American cockroach nymphs.

Many different food sources make up the American cockroach diet. The insects feed on things like baked goods, beer, cosmetics, flakes of dead skin, glue, hair, manuscripts and bookbindings, pet food, soap, and wallpaper paste. In particular, the pests tend to prefer fermenting food and other decaying organic matter.

German Cockroach

german roach picThe German cockroach prefers environments with ample warmth and humidity. As scavengers, the insects also prefer to reside near established sources of food and moisture. Consequently, when German cockroaches gain access to the indoors, the pests tend to infest kitchen and bathroom areas most commonly. Generally preferring to hide together in clusters, German cockroaches remain concealed in cracks, crevices, and other small spaces during the day. Ideal hiding places include areas in or around kitchen cabinets, drawers, and appliances. Moist locations under sinks and around plumbing fixtures also make suitable habitats for German cockroaches. Although the household pests are found most frequently in bathrooms and kitchens, German cockroaches may seek refuge in other areas of buildings when infestations become severe.

Diet

German cockroaches scavenge for food and demonstrate particular fondness for starchy or sugary items, grease, and meats. In addition to foods found in the kitchen, the German cockroach diet often includes household commodities like glue, soap, and toothpaste. The pests frequently locate suitable food sources in garbage discarded by humans.

Brown-banded Cockroach

The brown-banded cockroach, a relatively petite cockroach species, boasts an average adult length of around ½ inch. Its coloration varies from light to dark brown and features two distinctive light-colored bands that run laterally across its wings and abdomen. These characteristic light bands can be observed in all life stages and among both male and female cockroaches, including nymphs (the wingless juvenile stage). While both genders possess wings, female cockroaches have shorter wings. When provoked, male cockroaches can take flight, and all stages of this species may jump before swiftly retreating.

Dealing with Roach Droppings

Please read carefully cleaning as roach droppings can be a hazard to your health.

Cleaning droppings involves safe, proper methods.

Read tips for how to clean and remove feces below:

  1. If there is a lot of feces in a small space with little air flow, put on a face mask.
  2. Second, protect your hands with gloves
  3. If there is a lot of waste, then douse it with a mixture of bleach and water, or some kind of major disinfectant. Otherwise spray it with disinfectant and wipe it up
  4. Wipe up the feces with paper towels, rags, old t shirts, etc. and throw them in a garbage bag.
  5. Wash the area again with a disinfectant.
  6. While the gloves are still on, wash your gloved hands with the disinfectant or bleach solution before taking them off.  Or spray them with a similar solution.
  7. Throw the gloves in the garbage bag, and then double bag the same garbage bag.
  8. Scrub your hands with soap and water.

You cant be too safe when it comes to dealing with pest droppings.