How to Get Rid of Cockroaches

learn expert tips on how to get rid of cockroaches

how to get rid of cockroaches

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Was it the dots scattering across the room when you turned on the light? Was it the dead roach in the corner of the room or the musty smell? Whatever tipped you off you need to know how to get rid of cockroaches fast! This article will help you learn what to use to get rid of cockroaches! When possible we’ll also point out natural, non-toxic options.

If you are in the middle of a cockroach infestation you probably just want to know what you need. If so check out the links below. Once you order the tools continue reading to learn how to nitty gritty details of battling cockroaches.

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Identify the Type of Cockroach

There are over 4,500 varieties of cockroaches around the world, and 69 of these live in the USA. The good news is that only a few types of roaches want to live in your house. Once you know the type of cockroach you are dealing with you can customize your plan of attack for that particular species.

The German Cockroach

  • Size: Half to one inch long
  • Color: Tan to black with two dark parallel lines running from its head to the base of its wings
  • Diet: Meat, starch, sugar, fatty food. When starving they will eat soap, glue, toothpaste, and each other.
  • Region: Entire USA
  • Hiding Spots: Near water sources with food such as kitchens and bathrooms
  • Flight: Jumping and gliding, They can not fly far

Brown-banded Cockroach

  • Size: Half an inch long
  • Color: Dark brown to golden tan at wing tips, females have reddish brown wings. Both males and females have light yellow bands on their wings
  • Diet: Meat, starch, sugar, fatty food. When starving they will eat soap, glue, toothpaste, and each other
  • Region: Entire USA
  • Hiding Spots: Dry warm areas such as ceilings, behind pictures, and inside electronics
  • Flight: Males can fly females can not

American Cockroach

  • Size: One to three inch long
  • Color: Brown to reddish brown
  • Diet: Meat, starch, sugar, fatty food. When starving they will eat soap, glue, toothpaste, and each other
  • Region: Entire USA
  • Hiding Spots: Warm damp ares such as kitchens, laundry rooms and sewers
  • Flight: Males and females can fly

Along with various physical characteristics cockroaches hid in different spots depending on the species. If you are trying to figure out where the roaches are hiding and what type you are dealing with use a few glue traps. Place the traps in the areas mentioned above, kitchen, bathroom, behind the TV or electronics. Make sure you have an even mix of warm dry and warm humid locations.


Cockroaches are attracted by the same thing that attracts most living things, good living conditions. For roaches this means access to food, water, and a safe place to hide. Getting rid of food, water, and shelter is the first step when fighting cockroaches.

Now that we know a bit more about the enemy lets review a simple three step plan to get rid of cockroaches.

  1. Cleaning and sealing
  2. Placing pesticide
  3. Tracking Your Progress


Keeping a neat and tidy house is essential with fighting cockroaches. The funny thing with bugs is that what we consider good living conditions will actually help get rid of cockroaches. Everyone in the house needs to understand this, and the importance of not leaving a single crumb or drop of water behind. Lets break this down to a few simple steps.

  1. Food- Keep all food and drinks in the kitchen. This is an easy way to limit crumbs and spills, which are potential cockroach food and water sources. Even old spills and crumbs behind appliances could provide food for cockroaches. You should also examine all cabinets and food storage areas. Cockroaches can chew through paper so all food should be stored in metal, glass, or hard plastic containers.

  2. Water- Next to food, cockroaches need access to water. You need to carefully examine every room in the house for mositure. Everything from damp pipes to water drops around sinks can provide water for cockroaches. Every drop of water should be wiped up. This means not leaving cups of water unattended and drying sinks, tubs, and showers after each use.

  3. Clutter- In addition to cleaning up food and water its also essential to reduce house hold clutter. Almost anything you leave out can become a new hiding place for cockroaches. Even pictures on the wall can offer a hiding spot. Daily vacuuming is also essential. When trying to figure out how to get rid of cockroaches the first step should always be cleanding and putting stuff away. Below is a clean up check list of items to review each day:

    Cockroach Clean Up Checklist

    • Seal food in roach proof containers
    • Clean dirty dishes
    • Dry all dishes and kitchen sink
    • seal up sink sponges and wet rags
    • Take out the trash and seal trash cans
    • Empty cups of water
    • Dry all sinks, tubs and showers
    • - Check for wet pipes
    • Place tooth brushes in plastic containers
    • Cover all drains
    • Empty, clean and dry pet food bowls
    • Vacuum


After eliminating access to food sources try to determine how cockroaches got into your house and where they are hiding. Roaches usually live in tight dark spaces. To get rid of cockroaches use a caulk gun and seal up as many open cracks as possible. Pay special attention to cracks in cabinets, windows sills, openings around pipes in the kitchen and bathroom. If the opening is too large for caulk try using Stuf It Copper Mesh.

Since some types of cockroaches seek out warm dry spaces you may want to also use tape to seal up appliances and electrical devices. Just make sure you don't completely close the ventilation holes or you could end up with over heating electronics! Taping wire screening over electronics ventalation might be a better idea.


Like it or not some form of pesticide is needed when dealing with cockroaches. We will look at a few natural pesticides and a few not so natural pesticides.

Bait for Cockroaches

Most professional exterminators recommend using bait for combating cockroaches. Bait is poised food that kills the bugs eating it and other bugs they come in contact with. Combat Roach Killing Bait is one of the most popular and recommend baits on Amazon.

Combat Roach Killing Bait

  • Get rid of cockroach problems at the source with this specially designed large roach bait product containing Hydramethylnon
  • Easy to use, no mess baits do not require activation
  • Simply place them wherever you see or have seen roaches and relax while they kill non stop day and night
  • Best used in areas like under sinks, behind toilets, and behind appliances, killing the ones you see and the ones you don't and destroys the nest
  • Eight child resistant bait stations are included

Once the roach takes the bait back to its its nest it kills the carrier and many others that come in contact with it. The other nice part of using bait is that they can simply be placed around the house with no mess and do not require activation. Baits do take longer to kill roaches then insecticide sprays but are usually odorless and safer then spray. Professionals also recommend rotating different brands of bait. Some roaches may prefer different baits or learn to avoid bait. Rotating bait each month helps combat this problem. When placing bait focus on the following areas:

  • Bathroom, kitchen and laundry room cabinets
  • Kitchen counter tops
  • Behind pictures
  • Around the refrigerator and stove
  • Any small dark areas

As you scare the roaches from one area they my relocate so distribute the baits around the house. Roaches are survivors so make sure you cover all the bases from your basement to attic. Remember to keep bait away from kids and pets.

Diatomaceous Earth for Cockroaches

One of the best pest control products to get rid of cockroaches is diatomaceous earth. What makes diatomaceous earth great is that insects (cockroaches included) can not build up a tolerance for it or avoid it. Diatomaceous earth is like microscopic sandpaper that kills insects by creating small cuts in their exoskeleton. Once its cuts into the cockroaches cuticle, or skin that covers the exoskelton, and then the exoskeleton they eventually die of dehydration.

The one warning for Diatomaceous earth is to buy food or pesticide grade diatomaceous earth and not inhale it. the same small particles that kill cockroaches can also damage your lungs if inhaled. Just make sure its in an area that will not be disturbed people or pets and let diatomaceous earth work its magic. Once you purchase diatomaceous earth make sure you apply it correctly.

How to Apply Diatomaceous Earth

To apply diatomaceous earth indoors use a duster to pepper it along base boards and other areas you noticed cockroaches. Roaches litend ke to hide throughout the house in areas such as cracks and crevices, under refrigerators, cabinets, kitchen stoves, garbage containers, and other moist and dark areas. Remember to check the attic and basement. In all of these areas apply a fine layer of diatomaceous earth. For additional instructions checkout our detailed discussion of How to Apply Diatomaceous Earth?.


Peppermint is a herb that grows throughout Europe and North America. Peppermint oil has a long history dating back to ancient Egypt. In recent times peppermint oil is used for digestive issues, head aches, the common cold, as a fragrance, and to repel insects, including cockroaches.

peppermint oil repels cockroackes

Peppermint by: Aleksa Lukic

Peppermint oil can be used to repel and even kill cockroaches. That was the conclusion of a study in 2001 by the Auburn University department of Entomology and Plant Pathology. The researchers tested how cockroaches responded to direct contact with mint oil, mint oil fumes, and mint oil coated surfaces. Concentrations of 3% or greater acctually killed cockroaches when applied with a difuser in confined spaces. When mint oil was applied to a surface near cockroaches over 92% of the roaches avoided the mint coated surface.

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The researchers concluded that “at concentrations of 3% or greater, peppermint oil is toxic and repells both the American and German cockroaches. Peppermint oil also volatilizes rapidly in an open environment unlike most conventional insecticides and leaves little or no residue.” Mint oil is usually considered a pleasing smell and commonly used in food, drink and perfume products throughout the world. The wide spread use of peppermint oil flavored and scented products makes peppermint oil an excellent option for pest control.


After cleaning, sealing, baiting and dusting you should start to seeing less roaches. However that doesn't mean you should stop! Roaches are notoriously difficult to remove and can lay eggs that are just waiting to hatch. Keep an eye on your glue traps. They are often one of the best ways to tell if you still have cockroaches sneaking around. Once your confident the roaches are gone it may be safe to remove the bait and diatomaceous earth. However maintaining a clean home should become part of your permanent daily routine. In addition its usually a good idea to keep a few glue traps around to catch any new uninvited guests!

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