How to Exterminate Cockroaches in 10 Simple Steps

Every homeowner’s nightmare is a roach infestation! If you find one, there’s a small chance there could be a whole army hiding in certain areas of your home. There are about 70 different species found in the United States and over 4,500 in the entire world! This makes them the most common insect found in people’s homes. Your next question might be, “is there pest control near me who exterminates cockroaches?”

Since these pests have survived many changing environments for millions of years, pest control specialists are trained to develop the safest solutions to get rid of cockroaches. Making roach extermination a routine can prevent future infestations. Here’s what you should know about exterminating roaches, why they’re a persistent problem, and what you can do to avoid an infestation.

10 Ways to Exterminate Cockroaches

If a few cockroaches are running around your home, there are some simple solutions to getting rid of them. If you notice them coming back, you might have an infestation that requires the work of a professional. However, before you start searching for “pest control near me,” here are some easy ways to temporarily kill roaches:

Roach Traps

Roach traps are excellent for catching the ones you can’t easily see or quickly access. You can set traps in your home, like behind the refrigerator and stove or under your kitchen sink. There are also many types of traps for you to choose from! The three main kinds are:

  1. Sticky traps
  2. Poison bait traps
  3. Mechanical traps.

Roach Spray

Many people opt for roach spray because it’s easy to use. It can be sprayed directly on cockroaches and other insects to kill them on the spot. It’s a fast-acting solution that most people turn to when they want to get rid of any roaches running around the house quickly.

Roach Gel

Roach gel can be used indoors and outdoors, so this is an ideal solution for keeping roaches out of your house. The gel acts as a bait for these pests, so they’ll gravitate to it thinking it’s food. You should notice a significant reduction in cockroaches in about a week.

Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous Earth is made from tiny, fossilized diatoms, which are aquatic organisms. This exterminating roach method is ideal for households with children or animals since it’s nontoxic to both. Sprinkle the powdery substance near entryways, or anywhere else you’ve previously found cockroaches. Mix it with flour for a better chance of baiting them. Once the roaches try to eat it, the diatomaceous earth will destroy their exoskeletons, slowly killing them.

Boric Acid

Boric acid has been used to treat a wide variety of pests, including cockroaches. It works similarly to diatomaceous earth by attacking them from the inside. However, though boric acid is slightly more effective, it can cause eye irritation and other health problems if used incorrectly. So, do your research or reach out to a professional before trying it.

Baking Soda and Sugar

Mixing baking soda and sugar is a natural yet effective way to kill roaches. Furthermore, it’s also a perfect method for those who don’t like spraying chemicals in their home. The sugar will attract the roach, and the baking soda kills it after ingestion. It’s easy, safe, and doesn’t require purchasing any additional items.

Soap and Water

Soap and water are another natural and easy way to get rid of pesky roaches in your home. Mix the two in a bottle and spray the roach a few times with it. The soap will clog their pores and suffocate them. It’s a lot milder than roach spray, so it’s another ideal choice for those with children or pets.

Pour Bleach in Drains

Cockroaches are likely entering your home through your drainage pipes, so an easy way to get rid of some hiding in there is to pour bleach down the drains. The bleach will kill roaches on contact.


Spraying roaches with borax will attack their exoskeletons and dehydrate them. If you don’t have any on hand, a fabric softener can also do the trick. Borax is an ingredient used in laundry products and other common household items, making it a fairly low-risk method of exterminating roaches.

Squash Them!

If you’re feeling brave and don’t feel like mixing concoctions or buying sprays, another easy and quick way to kill cockroaches is to simply squash them! Step on them, use a notebook, or whatever’s nearby to kill them right then and there. Just make sure to clean up the mess afterward. They can smell less than pleasing.


Where Do Roaches Come From?

Now that you know how to temporarily get rid of roaches, it’s time to learn what you can do to avoid infestations. One way to prevent a cockroach infestation is to determine how they’re getting into your home. These pests like to live in people’s houses for several reasons, and they can get in from practically anywhere. From your doors to your roofs to your kitchen and bathroom sinks, they have multiple ways of entering your home and multiplying.

Two of the main hotspots for roaches to enter your home is through your kitchen and bathroom. They like to crawl through your plumbing, where they can have an abundance of food and water supply. They eat the slime from your pipes, crawl around to explore, and end up entering storage rooms, basements, and other dark rooms in your home.


The Dangers of a Roach Infestation

Having cockroaches inhabit your home does more than making your skin crawl. These pests can be a real hazard to your health and family if an infestation gets out of hand. If you notice a cockroach in your house, check to see if there are any more. If you notice several of them, call an exterminator right away.

Some of the health risks that result from a roach infestation include:

Spreading of Diseases

Cockroaches carry numerous types of bacteria since they like to live in unsanitary areas like garbage cans, sewage drains, and pipelines. As they roam around your home, they spread all those harmful germs around, and you might not even know it. Some of the bacteria roaches carry can cause salmonella, streptococcus, cholera, and typhoid fever.

Triggering Allergies and Asthma

Cockroaches are also a common source of indoor allergens. Their shedding body parts, eggs, and saliva carry enzymes that can trigger allergic reactions in many people. Those with asthma are at risk of having an asthma attack because of roaches or certain pesticides used to kill them. Furthermore, according to research from the Environmental Protection Agency, children are more prone to roach allergies than adults.

Food Contamination

Cockroaches tend to contaminate more food than they eat. They’re constantly walking through the unsanitary environments they inhabit and explore, picking up bacteria and diseases along the way. If they get to your food, they can contaminate it and give you gastroenteritis.

Destroying Your Cabinets

Roaches commonly like to nest in your kitchen cabinets since they provide everything they need to survive. Before you know it, they’ll start multiplying and posing a threat to your health and furniture. Furthermore, cockroaches will begin to drop their feces and pee in your cabinets, which result in costly problems down the line.


What Attracts Roaches?

Roaches make their way to your home for various reasons, but the main things they look for are food, shelter, warmth, and moisture. If you aren’t keeping up with the cleanliness of your home, this can cause an infestation. Common things in your house that attract roaches include:


One of the main things cockroaches look for in your house is food. They’ll eat mostly anything, but they love sweet foods the most. Leaving dessert out overnight, not cleaning up crumbs, and not properly sealing your food will attract these pests.

Strong Odors

Roaches are also attracted to scents, both good and bad. The smell of your piling garbage or dirty laundry stimulates their appetite just as much as fresh food does. Even boxes, grocery bags, and empty containers with the faint smell of food can attract roaches into your home.

Dirty Neighbors

Unfortunately, roach infestations might not be entirely your fault. If you live in a neighborhood or apartment complex where your neighbors aren’t the cleanest, roaches may find their way to your house as well.


Of all the things roaches need to survive, water is the most important. This is because they’re cold-blooded and can only live for a week without water. Roaches commonly inhabit areas with high moisture, like your kitchen, bathroom, or basement, so they can survive. Also, leaks or other things that contribute to mold growth will lure cockroaches.


Roaches are year-round pests, but they need to live in warmer areas to survive since they’re cold-blooded. You’ll see a lot of them in the summer season because of this. Places like attics or closets make the best areas for roaches to comfortably inhabit.


Clutter in your home is the perfect hiding place from the many dangers of the outside world. Drowning in floods and getting eaten by other animals are common issues they deal with. Roaches have a natural survival instinct and go looking for the best havens to keep themselves safe. Unfortunately for you, that could be the pile of boxes sitting in the corner of your home.


How Can I Prevent an Infestation?

The simplest way to prevent an infestation is to do everything in your power not to attract them to your home! If there isn’t any food, water, warmth, or shelter readily available for roaches, they’ll go looking someplace else to inhabit. All it takes is doing the exact opposite of what attracts them.

There are plenty of things you can do to prevent having a cockroach infestation on your hands. To get started, here are a few tips:

Keep Your Home Clean

Cleaning and disinfecting your house is one of the many effective ways to keep roaches out and prevent an infestation. Avoid leaving dishes in the sink for too long, make sure to take out the trash every day, disinfect kitchen counters often, and vacuum your floors regularly. Also, limit the areas where you eat. It’ll prevent food crumbs from ending up in multiple areas around your home.

Remove All Cardboard and Paper

Not only is cardboard an ideal refuge for roaches, but it’s also a good food source for them. Some will go looking for cardboard to eat. Don’t keep too many cardboard boxes in your home, or break down the ones you do have to avoid roaches living and breeding in them.

Don’t Leave Pet Food on the Floor

Roaches want all sorts of food, including your pet’s food. If your pet doesn’t eat everything in their food bowl, discard it immediately. With it being out in the open, cockroaches can easily get to it.

Seal All Entry Points

You can’t get a cockroach infestation if they have no way of entering your home! If you want to make sure those pests can’t enter your house, make sure to seal all possible entryways for them. That includes windows, doors, pipes, and cracks.


When it’s Time to Call an Exterminator

There will come a time when you need to call the experts. You should start searching “pest control near me” if you notice the following things:

Droppings Everywhere

If there are droppings scattered all about your home, it’s likely the infestation has already gotten out of control. This is also when your health can be the most at risk.

Musty Odor

German roaches tend to produce a strong odor and reproduce very quickly. If you have at least one of these roaches in your home, you’ll likely have an infestation in a matter of days. If there are strong odors in your kitchen or bathroom, even after cleaning it, you’ll want to start looking for cockroach pest control near you.

They’re Out in the Open

Roaches like hiding in closed areas like behind the stove or refrigerator. If you see one or several of them crawling about in the open, an infestation has likely already gotten out of control. This is because all the likely spots for roaches to make their habitat are already too full.


Frequently Asked Questions About Cockroaches

There are a lot of questions about cockroaches that people often ask us. The more you know about these pests, the more you’ll understand what attracts them to your home and how dangerous they can be. Below is a list of frequently asked questions.

What Kind of Cockroaches do I Have?

There are thousands of cockroach species, but only three species are commonly found in American homes – German roaches, American roaches, and Brown-banded roaches.

German roaches are light brown to tan and have two dark parallel stripes on their backs. They’re typically found in warm and humid environments close to food and moisture.

American roaches are reddish-brown with a yellowish figure-eight pattern on the back of their head. You will likely find this roach in sewer systems and drains. They’re also capable of flying short distances.

Brown-banded roaches have two lighter bands across their bodies. You’ll find these types of roaches in the upper cabinets in your kitchen and bathroom.

How Often Should I Use Pest Control?

How often you should use roach control in your home depends on the severity of the infestation. If you’re dealing with an ongoing problem, several professional extermination treatments should get it under control. You can begin using store-bought roach spray about once a month afterward to prevent future infestations.

How Long Do Roaches Live?

A roach’s lifespan will vary based on environmental factors and how much food and water is available for it to survive. Most species of roaches typically live for about a year. If they have areas where they can breed and nest in, they will continue to grow and multiply rapidly.

Will Roaches Survive in the Winter?

Roaches are cold-blooded creatures and cannot survive in temperatures below 15 degrees Fahrenheit. This is why they find ways into your home during the colder months to avoid the harsh weather conditions. If these pests find a way to inhabit warmer areas such as your basement, they’ll be able to survive the winter.

Do Roaches Hate the Light?

Most species of roaches prefer darkness, but that doesn’t mean they hate the light. If you have German roaches, they tend to gravitate toward your windowpanes, TVs, or lamps.

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Where Can I Find a Pest Control Near Me?

Is there an ongoing cockroach infestation that you need to get under control? O’Hara Pest Control has many technicians ready to handle your problem. Get in touch with us if you have any questions or if you would like a quote!

O’Haras is the best. They always come with a smile and a conversation. When they leave they take the bugs, I recommend highly! – Steve S.

Thank you so much for your excellent service. O’Hara is the best! They always listen to what I need and come right out if you have any Issues!!! Amazing customer service… Highly recommend – Reyna N.

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