How to get rid of cockroaches: Home remedies for a persistent pest

They may be disgusting, but cockroaches aren't hard to get rid of. Act quickly, using the right strategies and home remedies, and you'll be able to get them out of your house quick-smart. Here are some anti-roach home remedies...

Get rid of cockroaches as quickly as possible.
Get rid of cockroaches as quickly as possible.  © 123rf / Wichanshopstock

Cockroaches might be nocturnal, but that doesn't mean you're not going to notice them. These disgusting bugs, with their long antennae, look like the stuff of nightmares. So, how do you get rid of cockroaches, and what home remedies can be used for roaches?

The sad fact of the matter is that many different kinds of cockroach are actually immune to commercial insecticides. As a result, it is often better to use home remedies and preventative measures to deal with a cockroach infestation. This especially goes for a household with pets, as they could get sick from commercial roach traps.

In this guide, TAG24 will show you how to use home remedies to get rid of cockroaches, and will offer some preventative measures to help avoid an infestation.

Do you not have much time? No worries, here's a TL;DR:

  • Cockroaches are hard to kill, incredibly fast, nocturnal, and reproduce at an alarming speed.
  • Roaches thrive in warm and moist environments.
  • The best treatment for cockroaches is prevention, and this will require more than just keeping a clean house.
  • If you see one cockroach, it is more likely than not that there are hundreds hiding in the walls of your house.
  • One of the most dangerous things about cockroaches is that they target food and can therefore transmit diseases.
  • Getting rid of cockroaches isn't too hard if you act quickly and follow up these actions with preventative measures.

Have you got a roach infestation in your house?

Cockroaches will come out at night in search of food.
Cockroaches will come out at night in search of food.  © 123rf / Rhj2017

Cockroaches are nocturnal bugs, generally only coming out at night. If you come across these creepy crawlies, then it is quite likely that there are a lot more hiding in your walls, between kitchen appliances, and elsewhere.

Here are a few signs of a cockroach infestation:

  • Crumbly roach droppings
  • Empty cockroach egg sacks or shed cockroach shells
  • Soiled food that seems to have been gnawed on
  • Cockroaches will often come out at night, searching for food
  • If your neighbors have a cockroach problem, it is quite likely that you do too

If animals even appear during the day, the population must already be very large.

Are cockroaches dangerous?

While cockroaches look disgusting and rather like something that could spell your doom if it happens to bite you, they are not deadly in themselves. Indeed, roaches can and will bite you if they get onto your skin, but they are not poisonous.

That being said, cockroaches can be contaminated with diseases such as salmonella, hepatitis, and mold-related toxins. These can be transferred to people's food or through a cockroach bites, and as a result can pose a great risk to us humans.

It's not just diseases like salmonella that make cockroaches troublesome, but also the risk of asthma and eczema, as well as gastrointestinal issues that could come from eating contaminated foods.

Where do cockroaches come from?

Cockroaches will often live in joints or cracks near food sources.
Cockroaches will often live in joints or cracks near food sources.  © 123rf / Rhj2017

There are a variety of different cockroaches types, and many of them have made their way to the United States. Industry is a particular source of these nasty pests, with many infestations in food processing plants, commercial kitchens and bakeries being particularly susceptible to these li'l rascals.

Ultimately, cockroaches love damp and warm environments, where they will mate multiple times a year and produce many, many eggs. As a result, cockroaches multiply at an alarming speed and will spread between apartments through the walls, rubbish, or sewage.

Cockroaches often enter the apartment through food, packaging, or the sewage system. They will always seek out the perfect living environment, and are especially attracted to places that lack proper sanitation.

Ask yourself: So, should I step on a cockroach when I see one? No, you shouldn't. Their eggs can spread throughout your apartment via the sole of your shoe.

How to prevent cockroaches in the apartment or house

The best way to deal with cockroaches is to try and prevent them from infesting your apartment or house in the first place. To do this, you need to deprive them of their favorite environments.

Here are a few ways to prevent cockroach infestations:

  • Always keep food, as well as pet food, in sealed containers or in the fridge, and not just lying around.
  • Make sure to clean your pet's food bowls immediately after every feed.
  • Keep a small stock of food that needs to be kept outside the fridge, and consume it quickly.
  • Make sure to air out your home regularly and maintain a low level of humidity.
  • Maintain strong hygienic conditions (for example, wash dishes immediately, wipe away crumbs, close organic waste and empty it regularly, sweep the floor relatively often).
  • Regularly clean behind the stove and in any gaps to the side of the stove as well (basically, wherever food may have fallen down and gone unnoticed).
  • Seal cracks in any doors and keep all joints closed.
  • Try to limit the food containers you take into your house, and only bring sealed containers or food that you have purchased immediately prior to taking it home.

If you keep your home clean, tidy, and relatively dry, you will likely prevent future cockroach infestations.

How to get rid of cockroaches with home remedies

The "sticky tape method" is great for detecting cockroaches.
The "sticky tape method" is great for detecting cockroaches.  © 123rf / Tar9

The first and most important step when you want to get rid of cockroaches is to figure out where they are hiding, so that you can target the right location. Roaches will often hide inside warm electrical appliances, air conditioning systems, behind loose wallpaper, and in damp places like under the sink.

Once you have figured out where they're coming from, here's how to get rid of cockroaches:

Step 1: Lower the temperature of the room as much as you can, and extensively ventilate it to disincentivize them from staying there.

Step 2: Organize for some bait boxes to be installed, so that you can determine the extent of the problem.

Step 3: If the issue is within the realms of using home remedies to remove them, you can attract them using sugar and glucose. Surround these "baits" with paper that has been covered in either glue or double-sided tape, so that the cockroaches run onto it and get stuck.

Step 4: Make sure to do an extremely thorough clean of your home. Remove all possible food sources and vacuum all the floors, as well as any nymphs or eggs sacks that you may have found (then proceed to immediately throw away the vacuum bag).

Step 5: Make sure to caulk any points of entrance using glue and bait, and tape of all door frames, window frames, electrical outlets, and other entry points.

Step 6: If using basic trapping, baiting, and catching techniques do not work, then you may be unable to get rid of cockroaches with basic home remedies. In this case, an exterminator / pest controller should be called. They will be able to effectively clean up the infestation.

The best way to deal with cockroaches is, of course, by getting them professionally removed. In addition, using proper bait stations (available at most supermarkets) are incredibly effective alternatives to home remedies.

Get rid of roaches forever

Cockroaches are disgusting, nasty animals. No one wants them in their home, no one wants them on their balconies, and no one wants to see them when they walk down the street. The problem? Well, let's be real: they're not going anywhere any time soon.

That doesn't mean that you can't control them, though. Using the preventative measures we have outlined, you can help to keep roaches away from your apartment and home.

If you need to get rid of cockroach infestation, there are a number of home remedies you can also try out before calling the exterminator. Good luck!

Cover photo: 123rf / Wichanshopstock

More on Guide: