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05 February, 2009

How To-93: "How to Get Rid of Cockroaches"

How to Get Rid of Cockroaches

from wikiHow - The How to Manual That You Can Edit

They're among nature's most vile, disgusting critters, and they can be nearly impossible to kick out of your house. Cockroaches live all over the world, but their favorite residence is your house, where they can snack on your food, damage wallpaper and books, and spread germs to you and your family. Follow these steps to serve these pests an eviction notice and keep them from coming back.


  1. Find out if you have cockroaches. Cockroaches (see picture) are generally medium-sized insects, although in some parts of the world they can get quite large. They have spiny legs and long antennae. If you see even one roach, you've undoubtedly got a lot more. The problem is they generally hide during the day, so you may need to look for them at night with a flashlight. Even if you can't find any of the insects, check cupboards and pantries for their droppings -- tiny brown slime stains or pellets.
  2. Try to figure out where they're coming from. If you see cockroaches, try to follow them to figure out where they go. This is easier said than done, however, so you might need to do a little sleuthing. Check all around the house for cracks and holes through which roaches may enter. Roaches often enter through drains or vents, so you can't seal up everything.
  3. Kill the roaches. There are a variety of do-it-yourself options for killing cockroaches. Some of the more well regarded of these are listed below. Try one at a time, or try them all.
    • Dust with boric acid, flour and cocoa (1 part acid, 2 parts flour and 1 part cocoa). While still dangerous for kids and pets, this product is not as toxic as many insecticides, and the roaches aren't repelled by it so they drag it home and feed it to their hatchlings. Dust a fine coat in cupboards, under sinks, around toilets and any cracks, corners or hollow spaces. Avoid breathing the powder; like any acid, it can irritate the lungs.
    • Use an insecticide spray. Get some insecticide that is labeled for use against cockroaches, and spray wherever cockroaches may be hiding or entering the house, including along walls, in cracks, and in vents. Keep pets out of the way when you are spraying, and follow all safety instructions on the product's label.
    • Use cockroach bait. Cockroach bait is either housed in a childproof case or applied as a gel and contains a slow-working poison mixed in with an attractive (for cockroaches) food. The roaches eat the poison and bring it back to the nest, where it eventually kills all the roaches. Place the bait in an area where you know cockroaches will encounter it.
    • Use cockroach traps. Cockroach traps lure cockroaches in and then trap them with an adhesive. Get several of these, and place them wherever cockroaches are known to frequent.
    • Use water jars. A simple and effective homemade way to lure and trap roaches is with a jar placed next to a wall, allowing the roaches to get in, but not escape. Any bait can be placed in the jar, including coffee grounds and water, but it also works with just plain water in drier climates.
    • Apply a liquid concentrate. Liquid concentrates, once the exclusive domain of professional exterminators, are now being made for use by the public. The concentrate is a poison or deterrent chemical that is diluted with water and then sprayed, wiped, or mopped onto just about any surface. Concentrates can be particularly effective providing protection against re-infestation, as they usually deter roaches for 1-2 weeks or more.
    • Get professional grade pesticides. Don't go to the local home improvement store, all the stuff they sell there is weak. Search the web for it. Get something with Cypermerthrin, perhaps Demon WP or something along those lines. The will kill live bugs, as well as provide a residual effect for three months. Spray it around the perimeter of your home and in places like your basement. The bugs won't be back. The downside is that this will kill all bugs, even ones that eat roaches, like spiders and millipedes. But if you have lots of roaches, you probably don't care.
  4. Use a simple solution of soap and water. This, to some, is the easiest thing to do. Just make a light solution of soap (bath soap is fine) and water. You can splash this, spray this or just throw this on the roach. Just a little water will do , even 2 or 3 drops can kill, if used effectively. Ensure that it makes contact with the roaches head and lower abdomen (its belly if you can turn the roach over). The roach will run or try to run, but will suddenly stop and die or be almost dead in one minute. It is best to throw it out as soon as possible, as it may revive. This happens because the roach breathes through its skin. The soapy water forms a thin film on the breathing pores, and effectively blocks them (surface tension), causing the roach to suffocate to death or to near death, although it could recover if the water dries up or has not touched a large percentage of its body. Try this and you will have amazing results for free.
  5. Prevent re-infestation. A clean house is key to keeping cockroaches away.
    • Keep the kitchen clean. Clean up crumbs and spills promptly, and generally keep the area clean. Pay special attention to range tops, as cockroaches love grease.
    • Put food away. Keep food containers sealed, and don't leave food out for extended periods -- don't even leave dirty dishes overnight.
    • Empty trash regularly, and keep trash away from the house.
    • Fix dripping faucets or leaks. Cockroaches are attracted to water.
    • Put naphthalene balls on corners. Roaches hate their smell.
    • Prevent bugs from coming up the drain. If you believe that the cockroaches are coming up your drains, pour regular, cheap bleach down the drains before leaving the house in the morning. For a stronger solution, mix 1 part borax with 3 parts bleach.
    • Move logs and other debris away from the outside of the house. Cockroaches love piles of wood and other convenient hiding places, and as the weather turns colder, they'll migrate inside the house to keep warm.
    • Seal cracks in exterior walls. Keep roaches out of the house by blocking their entrance.
    • Seal cracks everywhere you can inside your house. This takes time, but the payoff is great, because you eliminate most of their favorite hiding/breeding places. You'll need a lot of caulking, so use the big tubes with a caulking gun. Fill every crack inside every cabinet; fill the cracks on both sides of floor, door, and window moldings; fill all openings around pipes in bathrooms and kitchens. This makes a big difference and makes the whole house feel cleaner.
    • Use a professional product. You can find many professional products online. Professional baits, glue traps with pheromones, and professional sprays are far more effective then products bought at a local home store. Cy-Kick CS is a micro-encapsulated product that is very effective against roaches.
  6. Call a professional. If the above methods don't work, call a pest-control expert. Exterminators are licensed to use stronger chemicals and to apply chemicals more widely, and they can do so while keeping your family safe.


  • Cockroaches breed incredibly quickly. Take action to get rid of them immediately, or you could find yourself with a major infestation on your hands.
  • Want to avoid harmful chemicals? Many traps allow you to do so, as do a wide variety of natural pest control products, ranging from boric acid to eucalyptus oil to coffee grounds. Do some research to find out more about these options, and try them out. They may not work for all infestations, but you should be able to at least control the roach population, and most don't cost nearly as much as chemicals.
  • Baits and traps are most effective if placed in several areas, particularly near known roach paths or where droppings are present. Try not to disturb the area too much by cleaning, or the roaches may reroute their trips.
  • Clean up dog and cat feces in the yard, as cockroaches may eat it or may simply track it through the house, contaminating the home interior.
  • Don't accumulate clutter. They will nest in anything from paper to clothing. This includes the garage, attic, or basement. There is no limit.
  • If you see at least one during the daylight or after switching on the lights, this means you have a problem. Fix it as soon as possible or you will have an extra guest at your next dinner party.
  • Never step on a cockroach with your shoe, because pregnant females carry their eggs beneath their tough exoskeleton, and smashing a cockroach will spread them, especially if you track the residue onto carpeted areas or around your house. If you kill a cockroach be sure to thoroughly clean the surface around the bug and dispose of or thoroughly clean whatever you killed it with. To dispose of dead cockroaches, flush them down the toilet so it's out of your house. Don't think that tossing it in the trash can is enough. The eggs can still hatch.
  • If you're cheap (or just lazy) and live in a small apartment, you can also use everyday plastic grocery bags as an easy and inexpensive alternative to caulking. Simply find cracks and openings along floors, walls, and baseboards where the little buggers might be getting in, and stuff one or two bags along each opening to effectively "seal" it. If this doesn't convince the roaches to find another apartment to invade, it should at least limit the area through which they can enter your space. Use the opportunity to apply other methods of killing and trapping with greater results.


  • Insecticides, cockroach bait and other chemicals can be extremely poisonous to people (especially children) and pets, so be sure to heed the warnings on the label, and follow the manufacturer's instructions to the letter.

Things You'll Need

  • Insecticidal spray
  • Cockroach bait
  • Cockroach trap
  • Liquid concentrate

Related wikiHows

Sources and Citations

  • A video on dealing with cockroaches. The original source of this article. Shared with permission.
  • Roach Info More than you wanted to know about roaches and how to get rid of them, with product advice.

Article provided by wikiHow, a wiki how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Get Rid of Roaches. All content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons license.

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