Best Treatments For Cockroaches

There are many remedies for cockroaches out there, but which treatments are recipes for success? Are you tired of having your home invaded by these cringe-worthy insects? 

There are various insecticides and DIY home remedies available for getting rid of and controlling cockroaches.  Most treatments are sold as liquid or aerosol sprays, while some treatments are formulated as edible baits or dust you can apply. Although good housekeeping is helpful, you will most probably need insecticides to eliminate cockroach infestations permanently.

There are a few things more frustrating than a cockroach infestation. Suppose you are not sure how to get rid of cockroaches in your home. You’re not alone. Cockroaches are the most disgusting and common pests infesting homes in the world. Let’s find out how to get rid of cockroaches.

All About Cockroaches

In North America, there are 69 species of cockroaches found. Cockroaches are flat, brow, fast-running insects with long antennae. Cockroaches have three life stages of a cockroach: egg, nymph, and adult.

The female cockroach will lay small, brown, bean-shaped egg cases that are deposited in hidden places around your area. Around 40 nymphs emerge from the eggs case. These nymphs resemble adults, except that they are smaller and don’t have wings.

The nymphs gradually grow larger and live in the same places as the adult cockroaches. Cockroaches are prolific breeders. Cockroaches are capable of producing thousands of offspring in less than a year.

Cockroaches don’t live in nests or colonies like bees, ants, or termites do. However, cockroaches will congregate in distinct areas in response to aggregating odors in their feces. Cockroach droppings appear as pepper-like specks in areas of current or previous activity.

How Do Cockroaches Affect Us?

Cockroaches are a vast and ever-present problem in residential and industrial buildings, despite the range of chemical treatments available to eliminate cockroaches. Cockroach populations often become well established before being seen by anyone.

These four main problems are associated with cockroach infestations.

  • Mechanical damage – Cockroaches contaminate food, surfaces and stain clothes.
  • Disease transmission – Cockroaches have been known to transmit diseases.
  • Allergies & asthma – Cockroaches are the number one cause of asthma in children.
  • Aesthetic damage – Detritus around infested areas can be unsightly and embarrassing.

Where Do Cockroaches Hide?

Cockroaches are active at night and not so much during the daytime. However, you might spot the occasional roach during the day. In the daytime, cockroaches usually remain hidden away in cracks and dark places. At night, cockroaches will leave the hiding places and search for food.

Cockroaches will eat human food and many other items like pet food, toothpaste, soap, glue, hair, excrement, and dirt.

To get rid of cockroaches, it helps to know where cockroaches are hiding. Cockroaches prefer locations like warm, moist, dark areas, especially in kitchens and bathrooms. However, depending on the extent of the infestation, cockroaches can be found anywhere in your home.

Make Sure To Keep Your Home Clean

Cockroaches are attracted to dirt, and they are always on the lookout for any leftover food. Clean to get rid of cockroaches’ hiding places and remove any available food and water sources.

This step is one of the most important things to do to eliminate cockroaches in your home. The best way to keep cockroaches out of your home is to keep it clean. Make sure you do the following regularly:

  • Wash any dishes and put them away after meals
  • Clean crumbs and food spills immediately
  • Take out the garbage before going to bed at night.
  • Wipe away and remove grease from the stovetop.
  • Seal leftover food in containers and pack it away in the fridge.
  • Mop the kitchen floor regularly.
  • Don’t leave pet food out overnight.
  • Discard stacks of paper bags, cartons, and newspapers or store them in sealed plastic bags

Most cockroach treatment programs will fail if you skip these steps. You must eliminate what attracts cockroaches and seal off and eliminate places that cockroaches like to hide. Cleaning is the best and easiest natural cockroach control solution.

How Do Cockroaches Get Into Your Home?

Cockroaches can variously enter your home and buildings. You may have introduced them in infested grocery bags, drink cartons, or furniture. Cockroaches can also gain entry into your home through gaps around windows, doors, vents, and utility openings, and in firewood.

Cockroaches will travel between units through shared walls, ceilings, and plumbing in multi-unit homes like apartments. Consequently, while cockroaches usually thrive where sanitation is poor, even clean homes can get infested.

Best Popular Ways To Get Rid Of Cockroaches

Now that we have all of the essential information out of the way, we will be going over the ways to get rid of these pests. Let us dive deep into it!

1. Store-bought Cockroach Traps

There are many kinds of store-bought cockroach traps available to use. Poisoned bait traps, sticky traps, and mechanical traps are all available in stores to eliminate your cockroach infestation.

Cockroaches can do a lot of harm, and many kinds of traps were designed over the years to deal with these insects. All roaches traps use some form of glue, poison, body-damaging powder, or mechanical method.

Each of these methods focuses on one of three outcomes or a combination of them:

  • Killing cockroaches one at a time.
  • Going after the whole cockroach harborage.
  • Providing intelligence about cockroach infestations that can inform a larger strategy later on.

2. Sticky Cockroach Trap

A very effective method of getting rid of cockroaches is the trap you can buy in supermarkets or home improvement stores. This trap uses a scent or food bait to attract the cockroaches.

When the cockroaches investigate the bait, they get caught and become caught in the sticky substance, effectively trapped. It can take a while to see results, so check your traps periodically.

Cockroach sticky traps may seem a little primitive, but these traps are one of the most ingenious cockroach control purchases you can make when used correctly.

Sticky traps are good for reducing low-level infestations and catching the occasional cockroach or two. Sticky cockroach traps won’t wipe out an entire cockroach harborage on their own. However, they complement more aggressive treatments nicely. 

When the traps are tucked inside a kitchen cabinet or under your refrigerator, a sticky cockroach trap becomes a sort of watchful sentry.  Sticky traps quietly, ruthlessly kill cockroaches one by one.

Keep monitoring the sticky cockroach traps. They will show you how bad your cockroach problem is and where to concentrate your efforts.

Sticky cockroach traps are simple and easy to use, cheap, and pesticide-free. The only downsides to sticky cockroach traps are occasionally getting glue on your hands and the likelihood of catching other animals like a mouse that you may not have intended to capture.

3. Poisoned Bait Traps

Another great way to get rid of cockroaches includes store-bought poisoned baits. Poison cockroach bait traps are incredibly effective cockroach-killing tools.

Unlike sticky cockroach traps that only target cockroaches individually, poisoned cockroach bait traps have active insecticide disguised as a food source that slowly poisons the cockroaches that eat it and then return to their harborage, where they die. 

Other cockroaches eat them, so spreading the poison to the rest of the colony.  You can place chemical bait traps near your garbage cans or underneath sinks and cabinets in your kitchen and bathroom.

4. Cockroach Gel Bait

Cockroaches are not drawn to baits from long distances; they happen upon them during their food search. Therefore, the more drops of gel bait you put out, the more likely they will be found and eaten by the cockroaches. Usually, more than a dozen placements will be necessary to treat corners and edges in your cabinets under your kitchen sink.

Cockroach gel bait is popular with homeowners and professional pest exterminators. They are formulated with a pheromone lure; gel bait is easy to use and so strong that a few well-placed drops will eliminate a small or self-contained infestation of cockroaches.

Cockroach gel bait is placed in trouble areas, where cockroaches are frequently spotted. The larger the infestation, the more placements of gel bait will be needed and require you to replenishment the bait consumed by the roaches periodically.

When you use the syringe-type applicators, don’t put out large globs or lines of the gel bait. It is best to place many smaller-sized placements of the bait. Besides treating cracks, corners and edges, make sure to bait wherever you see fecal spotting or cockroaches themselves. 

Do not spray around your gel bait placements with any cleaning agents or other insecticides, as this could discourage cockroaches from eating the gel bait.

You can also create a trap bait station yourself with little mess. Place a single drop of the gel inside a large matchbox, and you are good to go until the gel dries up after a few weeks, after which you can re-apply the gel bait.

5. Mechanical Cockroach Traps

Mechanical cockroach bait traps are easy to use. They are low profile making it easy to place under and within equipment like under ovens, fridges, and inside cupboards. Mechanical cockroach traps contain dry touch glue for long-lasting cockroach trapping without getting your fingers sticky. 

These traps have a tablet lure that uses a known flavor compound found in food ingredients that cockroaches prefer.

They are simple and easy to fold and assemble.  Mechanical bait traps have angled entry ramps folded at both ends that ensure cockroaches enter the first time and cannot escape again. 

They also have side entry windows for additional access points.  When these traps are placed against a wall, the printed text facing in one direction helps technicians determine the cockroaches approaching the trap.

The attractant inside the mechanical cockroach traps is designed to be an irresistible lure for the cockroach.  They contain glue that is designed to catch adults and nymphs of all pest species.

Benefits of using mechanical cockroach traps:

  • It helps understand cockroach distribution.
  • Mechanical bait traps identify cockroach population size and species.
  • Can find the earliest signs of cockroach presence and activity.
  • It will track down sources of cockroach infestation fast.
  • Locate small cockroach numbers before they multiply.
  • It enables you to assess the efficiency of pest control measures.
  • Using mechanical traps helps reduce the number of control treatments.
  • You can use them where pesticides cannot be used.
  • Completely pesticide-free method of control.  Safe for children and the environment.

Home Remedies To Eliminate Cockroach Infestations In Your Home

These are some at-home remedies to start with:

  • Baking soda and onions.
  • Duct tape.
  • Cockroach cookies.
  • Boric acid and peanut butter.
  • Diatomaceous earth.
  • Cornstarch and Plaster of Paris.
  • Borax.
  • Petroleum jelly.
  • Ammonia or Bleach in drains.
Baking Soda

1. Killing Cockroaches With Baking Soda & Onions

Baking soda and onions are the quickest and easiest “make it right now” home remedy for cockroaches. Both of these ingredients you might already have in your fridge. Slice a handful of onion, sprinkle it with deadly baking soda, and there you have it.  A great, natural cockroach-killing snack to serve anywhere cockroaches like to eat.

2. Duct Tape, Aka The Easiest Sticky Trap

The old-fashioned duct tape trap, the best of cockroach control reduced to its simplest ingredients: a sticky surface with something to bait the cockroaches onto that sticky surface.

  • For the trap:  A upside-down strip of cut duct tape is placed around the house.
  • For the bait:  A piece of food is placed in the middle of the tape.

Spread the duct tape strips all over your house for a ruthless cockroach killer home remedy.  Duct tape traps will kill cockroaches overnight and show you the most infested areas to trap again.

Boric Acid

3. Boric Acid & Peanut Butter Bait

Boric acid is even better than baking soda when it comes to killing cockroaches. With a little sprinkle on the floor, boric acid acts as an all-natural poison to take down cockroaches in just a few days.

You can also spread a dusting on a paper plate and bait it right in the middle with a piece of food. Cockroaches can’t resist this deadly, easy-to-make boric acid and peanut butter cockroach bait.

Derived from borax, boric acid is a potent powder that kills roaches when eaten. Boric acid poses no threat to humans. When boric acid is mixed with peanut butter, cockroaches become attracted to the bait, eat it, and eventually die.

Boric Acid & Peanut Butter Homemade Recipe

In this recipe, you mix up a batch of boric acid and peanut butter bait for cockroaches and leave tiny bits of portions around your home for them to find. Once a cockroach has found and eaten the bait, it will typically die within 1-3 days.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup of peanut butter
  • 1/8 cup of boric acid powder
  • A mixing bowl and spoon
  • A pair of latex gloves
  • 12 bottle caps

Instructions:

  1. Work in an area away from where food is prepared.
  2. Use latex gloves. While boric acid is safe for humans, it can irritate your skin.
  3. Mix peanut butter and boric acid powder in a bowl.
  4. Press the peanut butter mixture into bottle caps and transfer it to a tray for easy transporting.
  5. Place the filled bottle caps in areas that cockroaches have been frequently seen. Take care to push the bottle caps back where kids and pets can’t reach them. Place them in areas like under and behind the fridge, stove, dishwasher, under-sink areas, and inside cabinets.
  6. Be sure to clean and wipe down your work area thoroughly, wash your utensils and mixing spoon, make sure to clean up any mixture left behind, and wash your hands if you came in contact with the powder.

Take Note:

  • Try to be patient. Boric acid is a slow-acting but effective cockroach killer.  It can take up to 72 hours for a cockroach to die after it ingested the bait.
  • Use all remaining boric acid powder as light dust near areas of infestation. Cockroaches don’t just die from eating boric acid but also from just walking through it.
  • While this is a powerful bait, peanut butter cockroach baits are unlikely to resolve severe cockroach infestations.  There are other recipes available for more aggressive pest control strategies.

4. Irresistible Cockroach Cookies

Here is a recipe for one of the deadliest home remedies to kill cockroaches ever; it is packed in a delicious cockroach sweet dessert. This simple no-bake cockroach cookie recipe combines the irresistible draw of raw cookie dough with the strength of cockroach-killing boric acid.

Cockroaches won’t resist or survive this killer recipe made from deadly Boric Acid. This powder is natural and has low toxicity to humans but kills cockroaches when eaten.

Cockroach Cookie Recipe

This recipe will make a tasty poisonous cookie dough that can be pressed into valuable shapes and placed in areas where cockroaches will find it.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 cup of flour
  • 1/2 cup of Crisco shortening
  • 1/2 cup of boric acid powder
  • A mixing bowl and spoon
  • A pair of latex gloves
  • A few old jar lids or cut wax paper squares to keep greasy cookies off your shelves and floors.

Instructions:

Work in an area separate from where food is prepared.

  1. Use latex gloves when preparing the ingredients. Coming in contact with small amounts of boric acid is usually considered safe for humans; it could irritate when it comes in contact with your skin.
  2. Combine all the ingredients and mix them into a thick dough.
  3. Press the cookie dough into jar lids or roll out shapes and place the pieces on wax paper, then wipe down your work area and wash your utensils.
  4. Place the cookies on floor areas around your home. Make sure they are placed well away from pets and children.  You should place the cookies in familiar places to the cockroaches like under the stove, fridge, sinks, and cabinets.
  5. Also, place in elevated areas like pantry shelves, on top of cabinets, and the top of your fridge.  
  6. Check cookie locations every couple of weeks, and replace them when the cookie dough dries out.

Notes:  For a double-dose natural solution, combine cockroach cookies with a sprinkle of boric acid powder as a speck of fine dust applied near cockroach hangouts. 

As soon as a cockroach has found and ingested the bait, the cockroach typically dies within 1-3 days. For severe cockroach infestations, you can combine cockroach cookies with a gel cockroach bait.

Diatomaceous Earth

5. Diatomaceous Earth (DE)

Diatomaceous earth is a little less common than baking soda. An EPA-registered, food-grade Diatomaceous earth is the one you want to buy.  DE is an excellent cockroach killer.  With just a light dusting of DE, you will damage a cockroach’s exoskeleton and dehydrate it to death.

Mix: equal parts DE and powdered sugar and spread a very light coating on all at-risk surfaces to kill any cockroaches searching and craving sweets.

Safety tip: DE may be natural, but even the food-grade variety can hurt your lungs if you breathe it in. Wear a protective mask when you are working with or using Diatomaceous earth powder.

6. Kill Cockroaches With Borax

Another super-powered powder that is easily found, easy to use, and effective is borax powder. Use this laundry product as one ingredient in various cockroach-killing recipes, like sugar and borax, cocoa dust, and borax balls.

Borax is used in laundry products, household cleaners for decades. Borax is a natural mineral, versatile, and an effective tool in pest control.

Compared to most chemical pest control treatments, borax is a relatively low-risk product. However, it would be best if you still kept it out of pets and outreach of children. You can use borax around your house without leaving chemical residue or nasty smells everywhere.

Are Borax & Boric Acid The Same?

No, it is not the same. Borax (sodium borate) is a naturally occurring mineral.

Boric acid is the chemical derived from borax when it’s processed and purified with Hydrochloric Acid. Borax is the more common household item used, but both borax and boric acid will help get rid of cockroaches in your home.

For borax to effectively kill cockroaches, the cockroaches have to eat it. Borax doesn’t attract roaches but mixing up some recipes for bait that the insects won’t resist will.

How Does Borax Work?

The borax powder works by sticking to a cockroach’s legs.  Later, once the cockroach has gone back to its hiding place, it will clean itself ingesting the white powder. Once it has eaten it, the borax acts as a poison in the cockroach’s stomach.  

Borax also damages the cockroach’s exoskeleton and its digestive system.   Borax penetrates the cockroaches’ exoskeletons and dehydrates them.

Does Borax Kill Cockroaches Immediately?

Cockroaches that step in borax will not die immediately. The cockroaches will return to their hiding place before cleaning and eating the borax dust off their legs. You might not see the dead cockroaches lying around out in the open areas, but you should, in a week or two, notice a drop in their numbers.

Where Can You Find Borax?

The borax powder can easily be found in many grocery stores, most often in the laundry or soap aisles.  Pool and hardware supply stores will also carry large tubs of the powder.  Some stores might even sell borax as a liquid or a spray.

Generally, borax is very effective as a powder.  When using borax as a powder, it is easy to spread and mix with other baits as it sticks better to cockroaches’ legs.

While there are many treatments out there, almost everything edible will bring hungry cockroaches running. For an effective borax cockroach bait, you should use the foods cockroaches loves the most.

  • Egg yolks – Pour e a raw egg yolk in a small cup or a shot glass and lightly sprinkle the borax powder over it.
  • Peanut butter – Leave a spoonful of peanut butter in a bowl or on a plastic jar lid and sprinkle a little borax onto it.
  • Cocoa powder – Just like sugar, cocoa is a sweet bait that cockroaches can’t resist and cocoa mixes well with borax powder.

These borax bait combos can be easily hidden in cupboards, corners, electrical outlets, and by applying borax to other strategic areas frequented by the cockroaches, you will get them effectively.

Borax won’t be the one-all solution. You will have to keep up with the cockroaches, especially if there is a severe infestation if you want to stay on top of the extermination process.  Keep in mind that it would be wise to contact a professional pest control service for severe infestations.

But by starting your borax pest control program with a good mixture of borax and cockroach bait, you will have what it takes to kick cockroaches out of your home for good.

Exterminator

7. Call A Licensed Pest Control Exterminator

The truth is cockroaches are ever-present and persistent creatures. Even when following these DIY tips and recipes, you may still have an infestation of cockroaches in your home.

If you have given these tried-and-tested tricks and recipes a try, and it hasn’t helped, you should probably call a professional pest control exterminator to treat your home.

Conclusion

Exterminating cockroaches involves more than just putting down bait, dust, or spraying an insecticide around the house.  Cockroaches get into everything; they breed and multiply rapidly, and cockroaches can live for several months without food and two weeks without water. 

These pests pose a considerable challenge, but with the proper cockroach-killing tools, you can get rid of cockroaches by following the tips listed above.  If all else fails and you are serious about quickly getting rid of a cockroach infestation in your home, it is best to call a trained and licensed pest control exterminator.

Hubert Miles

I've been conducting home inspections for 17 years. I'm a licensed Home Inspector, Certified Master Inspector (CMI), and an FHA 203k Consultant. I started PestControlInsider.com to help people better understand pest control and what they can do about invasive insects, rodents, reptiles, and other mammals around their homes.

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