How To Get Rid Of Cockroaches – Your Complete Guide

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Welcome to our guide about eliminating cockroaches for good!  Why are they so hard to get rid of, anyway?

Let’s kick things off with this little tribute to how hard they are to kill, just so we know what we’re up against.

Yeah, right.  So, yes.  Ok.  Damn them.  Can withstand 900 times their body weight in pressure?  Can run 50 body lengths per second?  Whatever shall we do?

Don’t worry, we know what to do.

First, we have included a table of contents here so things are easy to navigate.  Just click what topic you want to know more about.

How to get rid of cockroaches?

  1. What are cockroaches and what do they look like?
  2. 5 interesting facts about cockroaches
  3. What attracts cockroaches to your home?
  4. Where do cockroaches nest in your home?
  5. Why do I have cockroaches in my clean house?
  6. Do cockroaches bite?
  7. Can cockroaches cause disease?
  8. 5 best ways to get rid of roaches
  9. Remove Food Sources for the Pests
  10. Remove Sources of Water
  11. How to Know If You Have Roaches
  12. Where to Place Bait
  13. Natural Methods of Elimination
  14. What About the Eggs?
  15. After Baiting: How Long Until Roaches are Gone?
  16. What if there were no cockroaches?

…and you’re off and running like a roach in a drainage pipe!


What are cockroaches and what do they look like?

cockroach anatomy

Cockroaches are some of the most common pests found in houses. They usually inhabit houses and other buildings because those are the places they can easily find food. Cockroaches look for food in kitchens, drains, sewers, rubbish bins etc.

Cockroaches are categorized as insects whose body is flattened from top to bottom. They usually have two pairs of wings at their back, however most cockroach species are not capable of flying.

Their body color usually varies from brown to black.  Depending on the species, their body size varies anything from 2 or 3 mm to over 80 mm in length.


5 interesting facts about cockroaches

Here are 5 facts about cockroaches that will blow your mind.

Cockroaches are cannibals!

Yes, you read well! They are cannibals! Cockroaches will eat almost anything they find including fruit, vegetables, meat, feces.

Sometimes, they will even eat other cockroaches to fill their stomachs.  It is believed they become cannibals for two reasons, food and regulation.

If there is not enough food or cockroach infestations reach too large numbers, they will turn cannibals, gross right!?

Right.

A cockroach can live without its head!?

Cockroaches have open circulatory system, and they are not dependent on their mouth or head to breath. Instead they breathe through tiny holes spread over their body.

Cockroaches only die of thirst and hunger because without a mouth they can’t drink or feed themselves.

Cockroaches’ max speed is 3 miles per hour!?

Yes, Cockroaches are pretty fast. They can run up to three miles per hour, which is equal to the average walking speed of a human. This means cockroaches can spread germs and bacteria quickly.

Cockroaches can’t fly (sort of)

Although many species of cockroaches have wings, they can’t fly. Instead of using their wings to fly, cockroaches use them to glide over short distances.

Cockroaches can hold their breath for 30 minutes

Many studies have shown that cockroaches can hold their breath and survive underwater for over 30 minutes.

As they breathe through tiny holes spread over their body instead through their mouth, cockroaches can simply shut those holes and use the stored air to survive underwater for over 30 minutes.


What attracts cockroaches to your home?

cockroach 2

Your home is an attractive destination for cockroaches because it has everything cockroaches dream about.

Your home is a place roaches can easily find food. They will eat almost anything that has nutritional value, including crumbs, grease, sugar, meat, cheese.  Imagine your favourite restaurant, with everything served for free, including your favourite dishes.  And when cockroaches hear you scream, they just hear: “Bon Appetite!”

Your home also offers good protection against weather and provides cockroaches with plenty of space to nest and reproduce.  BTW, they don’t care about you living there or what your agenda is.  To them, you’re just a big slow creature that bumbles around preparing them food.


Where do cockroaches nest in your home?

Finding and cleaning cockroach nests will help you control an infestation and will help you get rid of them easily. As cockroaches like warm, moist, damp and tight spaces, it is suggested you start with these areas when looking for cockroach nests.

Nests are usually find in kitchen cabinets, behind kitchen appliances, near leaking pipes and confined spaces. Hit these places and you will hit cockroach headquarters!


Why do I have cockroaches in my clean house?

how to get rid of cockroaches

Finding cockroaches in your house doesn’t necessary mean your house is dirty. Cockroaches can be found in your house even if you clean it regularly. 

Cockroaches are experts in finding food and water without much trouble. This means they can thrive in many environments, including clean houses.  In fact, cleaner the better for them.  Lots of straightaways.


Do cockroaches bite?

cockroach in hand

Yes, they do! Cockroaches are omnivores that eat almost anything.  They bite and feed on both, dead and alive humans.

When humans are alive, cockroaches usually bite them at night time during sleep, when we don’t move too much. When humans are dead…well, they still bite them.

Cockroach bites can cause irritation, lesions and swelling. In some cases, bites can also cause minor wound infections. However, cockroach bites don’t cause significant health issues.


Can cockroaches cause disease?

Since cockroaches are omnivores that eat a wide range of food, including rotting food and garbage, they can cause different diseases.

Unfortunately, cockroaches can carry salmonella or poliomyelitis which can cause Typhoid or Polio.

Cockroaches are also capable of causing Dysentery, a disease that causes severe diarrhea.


5 best ways to get rid of roaches

Getting rid of cockroaches can sometimes be a slow process. Here are some tips that will help you speed up the process:

  1. Keep your house clean and tidy.  Try to clean your house as often as possible. Wipe down the counters, don’t leave dirty dishes in the sink and make sure you store leftover food properly.
  2. Seal up cracks and holes.  Cockroaches tend to inhabit hidden and compact spaces, thus making them hard to detect. They can crawl through even the smallest holes and cracks in your hose. That’s why it’s important to seal all the potential entries into your home. The best way to seal cracks and holes is to use a tube of caulk and a caulking gun.
  3. Fix water leaks.  Cockroaches are attracted to moist and damp places. Cockroaches can survive months without food, but only few days without water. That’s why you will often find them near leaking pipes. Just grab a pair of wrenches and repair your water leaks. By doing this you will cut off cockroaches’ water sources
  4. Use essential oils.  Did you know cockroaches hate the smell of essential oils? Put few drops of peppermint, lavender or eucalyptus oil on a cotton ball and wipe down places where cockroaches usually hide or enter your house. Make cockroaches feel unwelcome by making your home smell wonderful.
  5. Bring in the experts.  When everything fails, bring the experts. Nowadays there are many pest control companies that can easily remove cockroaches from your home.

To elaborate further, there are specific steps to eliminating food and water sources from your home.


Remove Food Sources for the Pests

Preventing roach infestations is often simpler than getting rid of them. But, you can eliminate the things that attract roaches and keep them around.

That’s food sources.

It’s not about just putting food away when you’re done. You have to keep your home free of anything that a roach might find tasty.

Crumbs and Spills

The appliances in your kitchen are harboring spills and crumbs that roaches love. They can live forever on the droppings from your toaster and stove.

It’s important to clean under the stove and behind it. Pick up the toaster and clean the bread crumbs under it. Clean the inside and outside of the microwave. Clean your cabinets of any crumbs or food that might have spilled.

Sealed Containers

Roaches can squeeze into the tiniest spaces. They’re small enough to hide in cardboard. They can travel and hide in bags, too. That might even be how they got into your home in the first place.

To keep roaches from hiding, getting into your home, or living there, you need to remove all cardboard and as much paper as possible.

As soon as you get home, put all your food into containers. Food like cereal, oatmeal, and spaghetti can be stored in glass or plastic containers.

If you recycle boxes and cardboard, make sure it’s kept outside the home for recycle day.

Cleaning Thoroughly

It can be a pain and time consuming, but you have to clean spotlessly every day to rid your home of roaches. These pests come out at night looking for food. Any food or crumbs left out can cause them to live longer and repeatedly come back.

Make sure kitchen counters are wiped down. Sweep floors and remove all food before bed.

Storing Pet Food Long Term

If you like to buy pet food in bulk, it has to be stored properly. You should never leave it in the original containers. Storing it an airtight container keeps all kinds of pests from finding it.

At night, it’s important to clean your pet’s bowls. They should be washed and cleaned completely.

Garbage Cans at Night

Every night, you should remove the food waste from the day. If that isn’t practical, purchase a kitchen garbage can that can be sealed tightly. They should also be cleaned regularly.


Remove Sources of Water

Essentially, roaches are water bugs. They love moist places. Leaking pipes are a huge attraction for roaches. The pests will make their home near the water source.

There are more water sources in your home than you may realize. Pet water dishes should be removed. Place them outside at night. Refill them in the morning.

Wet sponges, towels, and washcloths should be dried or placed in storage bags overnight.


How to Know If You Have Roaches

If you’re wondering if there are roaches in your home, you can tell from their droppings or egg sacs. You might not see an infestation because it’s just started. The roaches come out at night, so you might not see them.

They leave behind droppings and egg sacs, though. You can see these behind objects hung on the wall. It’s easy to see their droppings in cabinets and under the sink.


Where to Place Bait

The above is vital if you want roaches to feed on the bait. They won’t do that if you have other food around for them.

Whether you hire a professional or do it yourself, it’s important to know where to place bait. The roach feeds on the poison bait and brings it back to the others. They will even feed on the dead roach and ingest it that way.

There are many places in the home that the bait needs to go. It should be placed in an area where your pets or children can’t get to it.

  • Back of the counters and cabinets
  • In the back of pictures and clocks
  • Around the stove
  • Around pipes and cords
  • Cracks or crevices
  • Behind medicine cabinet
  • In the back of the vanity
  • In drawers near water sources 
  • Any place you’ve seen roaches

Natural Methods of Elimination

If you’re interested in a more natural method of elimination, you can use other treatments. Boric acid is a common roach killer. It won’t harm pets.

The boric acid isn’t a repellent. Roaches will walk through it over and over until they die. If you add sugar to it, it becomes attractive as a food. Pests will eat it and die in hours.

Repellents might be placed in areas that deter roaches from coming into the home. The edges of cabinets leading outside or to the basement are a good spot.

They include osage orange oil or ceneole. That is found in bay leaves.

Diatomaceous earth (DE) is another natural way to rid your home of cockroaches. The DE slices their exoskeletons and dehydrates the body. It can be spread in thin layers in areas like you would with boric acid.


What About the Eggs?

The adult roaches might be gone in a few months. Around that time, though, the eggs have begun hatching. Those roaches will start laying eggs after some time. That’s often why it’s so tough to get rid of roaches.

You need to interrupt the cycle. That can be done with an insect growth regulator. The IGR will stop eggs from maturing. They’ll stop current roaches from producing eggs, too.


After Baiting: How Long Until Roaches are Gone?

The level of your infestation can influence the time it takes to kill all the roaches. They won’t disappear overnight. It can take 3 weeks to 5 or 6 months to rid the home of all trace of roaches.

To know when roaches are gone, it helps to have glue traps. You’ll find roaches on the traps over time. Once you have a clean trap, you’ll know that the roaches are truly gone.

Many companies now use natural substances or mechanical insecticides to eliminate cockroaches – this method is not harmful for you and your family.


What if there were no cockroaches?

cartoon roach

Have you ever wondered what would happen if all the cockroaches disappeared from the face of earth?  If your answer is yes, then keep reading.

Apart from inhabiting houses and buildings, cockroaches are widespread in their natural habitat – forests. There they feed on decaying wood and leaves. The droppings they leave behind are filled with organic debris and nutrient, excellent organic fertilizer for many plants, including wood.

Also, as many small mammals, birds and reptiles feed on cockroaches, removing even this small link in the well established food chain might prove catastrophic for the world around us.

So, before you smash yet another cockroach in your house, consider the fact that little guy may be helping refuel a local forest or feed other animals.  …and then smash that sucker.

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