Got Roaches? Try These 4 Solutions

by Team HomeServe
a worker using a broom and dust pan Clean up a cockroach

Nothing can make your heart sink faster than the sight of live cockroaches or cockroach feces in your home. Cockroach infestations are a major problem because they are destructive insects that spread diseases, trigger allergies and contaminate food.

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It's essential to know how to get rid of cockroaches so that you're ready to act as soon as you notice an issue. Below, you can find simple and effective tips for making your home less attractive to roaches and getting rid of them if they find their way inside.

How Do You Know If You Have Roaches?

The most obvious indication that you've got a cockroach problem is if you see live roaches in your home. However, there are a few other signs to look out for:

  • Droppings around your home that look like coffee grounds, especially around the edge of the room and under furniture
  • Egg casings, which are light brown and elongated
  • An unpleasant musky or decomposing smell
  • Known cases of cockroach infestation among your immediate neighbors, especially if you share walls

Why Do I Have Roaches in My Clean House?

Unfortunately, having a clean house is no guarantee that you won't get cockroaches. Roaches can enter your home through the tiniest of cracks. They’re also attracted to moist areas, so an undiscovered leak or even leaving water out for your pet could make your clean home an attractive place for them to live.

Another factor that many homeowners are unaware of is that cockroaches can live on a surprising range of items that you wouldn't consider food. Although keeping your food in airtight containers and cleaning up discarded food quickly is a good way to reduce the chances of a cockroach infestation, roaches can eat a wide range of non-food materials, including soap, cardboard and leather.

Is It Hard to Get Rid of Roaches?

Roaches are a relatively stubborn infestation to get rid of because they are resilient insects that can live in various environments. They also reproduce quickly, which means that a few roaches can turn into a serious problem fast. Sometimes, cockroaches can also become immune to cockroach exterminator pesticides.

As a cockroach infestation can spiral quickly, it's important to know how to get rid of roaches and act quickly as soon as you notice signs of infestation.

What Are Some Ways to Get Rid of Roaches?

There are several quick and effective ways to get rid of roaches. Combining several of the following methods can help you get a cockroach infestation under control as fast as possible.

1. Set Bait

As cockroaches will eat virtually anything, there are several affordable ingredients you can use that will kill them. One of the cheapest and most widely available is baking soda, which will expand rapidly after ingestion and kill the cockroach. Mixing baking soda with chopped onions makes a bait that is highly attractive to cockroaches.

Alternatively, you could use diatomaceous earth, an insecticide that kills roaches by dehydrating them. Baking soda and diatomaceous earth are both pet-safe and child-safe, but you shouldn't leave chopped onions within reach of pets.

Try sprinkling your DIY bait in areas where you see evidence of cockroach activity, and consider putting bowls of bait down. You could also consider laying store-bought bait stations; however, these can be hazardous to children and animals. It's essential to look for and dispose of dead cockroaches regularly. If you find a full egg casing, flush it down the toilet to get rid of the eggs.

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2. Seal Potential Entry Points

If you have a large roach population in your area, it's important to prevent new cockroaches from getting inside while dealing with the roaches already in your home. Thoroughly inspect your doors, windows and other areas where a cockroach could potentially get inside and seal any potential entry points.

While you're roach-proofing your home, check your plumbing fixtures for leaks. Fixing leaks prevents moisture from building up inside your home and makes it less attractive to cockroaches.

3. Use Glue Traps

Glue traps have an aroma that attracts cockroaches. When they enter the trap, the glue stops them from escaping. Place glue traps anywhere you've noticed signs of cockroaches. Glue traps are suitable for homes with pets and children, but it's important to empty any dead cockroaches regularly.

4. Call a Professional

If you have a serious cockroach infestation or DIY methods aren't working, it's probably best to call a professional cockroach exterminator service. Pest exterminators can quickly and safely get rid of roaches, but their services are more expensive than DIY options.

What Smell Keeps Roaches Away?

Roaches find certain smells repellent, so spraying these scents around your home can help keep them at bay. Fortunately, they are also smells that are pleasant to humans. Citrus, lemongrass and peppermint essential oils are particularly good for keeping roaches away. Mix a small amount of essential oil with water in a spray bottle and apply it liberally to areas where you think cockroaches live or feed.

Aside from essential oils, there are some other safe and effective cockroach deterrents that you probably already have in your home. Fabric softener, garlic powder and even catnip all have scents that send cockroaches packing.