How To Get Rid Of Cockroaches At Home
According to Forbes, below are the steps you can follow on how to get rid of cockroaches at home.
If you’re dealing with cockroaches in your home, you don’t want to mess around. These bugs are big and their reputation is unfavorable. They’re also unsanitary, potentially dangerous and are notoriously difficult to crunch under the heel of a boot. But we’re here for you, and we have the scoop on how to get rid of cockroaches in this article.
What Are Cockroaches?
Cockroaches are scavenger bugs that commonly infest homes. In general, these insects have flattened, oval-shaped bodies, long antennae and long, spiny legs. They’re also omnivorous, meaning they’ll eat anything from food scraps around the home to each other’s bodies or even waste. They’re really quite disgusting.
Cockroaches have three stages during their life cycle. They start as an egg and become a nymph once hatched. Nymphs are flat and oval, but smaller than adults, and they do not have wings. Adults are, again, flat and oval, but they’re larger and have fully-developed wings (though some species do not fly).
Adults lay egg cases, and each egg case can contain anywhere between 10 and 50 eggs. For this reason, infestations spread quickly and can become a serious problem in a short amount of time. Some experts estimate that a fertile adult can go from one cockroach to 30,000 in one year.
How to Identify Cockroaches
As with most insects, there are multiple types of cockroaches. In the U.S., the most common are the German cockroach and the American cockroach, but Smokybrown, Brownbanded and Asian cockroaches are also a possibility.
German cockroaches are small, with adults measuring between ½ and ¾ inches in length. They’re typically light brown and tan and have two parallel stripes located on their backs. They’re the most common cockroach in the U.S. and are found all over.
American cockroaches are large, with some adults measuring more than two inches long from head to folded wingtip. They’re generally reddish-brown in color, and feature raccoon-like coloration on the backs of their heads. They’re found all over the U.S.
Smokybrown cockroaches look similar to American cockroach nymphs, as adults are typically one to one and 1/2 inches. They are slightly rounded, dark brown or reddish in color, excellent flyers and they’re commonly found in the southern U.S. where they can find the warm, humid environment they thrive in.
Asian cockroaches are similar in shape, size, and color to German cockroaches, but have longer and more narrow wings. They’re originally from Japan, but are now common in the southern U.S. and moving west.
Brown-banded cockroaches are small and hide in furniture. They measure about ½ inch long, and feature light brown bands across their body and wings. They’re widespread throughout the U.S.
What Do Cockroaches Look Like?
Each cockroach species looks a bit different than the rest, but some tell-tale indicators help identify a cockroach. Look for shiny wings on a flat, oval-shaped body, as well as long antennae and spines on the legs. They’re generally brown, tan or reddish brown in color, depending on the species.
What Do Cockroach Droppings Look Like?
It’s not a pleasant topic, but identifying cockroach droppings is fairly easy. Small cockroaches and nymphs drop small black flakes that look like ground coffee or pepper. Large cockroaches drop dark cylinders with ridges down their sides. Cockroach smears are liquified poop, and they appear like greasy discoloring.
Where Are Cockroaches Usually Found?
Cockroaches are found throughout the U.S., with the German, American and Brown-banded varieties being common from coast to coast. However, Asian and Smokybrown cockroaches are common in the hot, humid states of the southern U.S.
Some places are common hangouts for cockroaches, as well. Dark spaces like drawers, cabinets and under appliances are typical spaces, as are stacks of cardboard, wet environments like basements and closets, or cabinets with leaky pipes.
Cockroaches aren’t just indoor insects, though. They often live in landscaping around the home or may come into the home in a shipping box. However, they need food and water to survive, so it’s most common to find them in kitchens and bathrooms.
What Are the Signs You Have a Cockroach Infestation?
Cockroach problems are fairly tell-tale. Signs include finding droppings or egg cases in cabinets and drawers, shed skins, foul odors, smear marks (liquified poop left behind as they crawl) and even damage to leather or cardboard goods within the home.
The most telling sign, however, is the sign of roaches scurrying for cover at the flip of a light switch.
What Damage Can Cockroaches Cause to Your Home?
The damage that cockroaches can do to a home is relatively minimal. They may damage cardboard or leather goods, or leave unsightly droppings and smears about. However, there are other dangers involved with a cockroach infestation.
The spines on the legs of cockroaches are ideal for picking up diseases and germs. These bugs are known to spread salmonella, cholera, dysentery, gastroenteritis, giardia, leprosy, listeria and even Typhoid fever. Also, they can spread E. coli, staphylococcus aureus and streptococcus. Finally, their droppings can trigger allergic reactions and asthma attacks.
How to Get Rid of Cockroaches
There are a few different ways to get rid of cockroaches, and many are DIY-friendly. Some infestations may require a combination of the following approaches to eradicate them all together.
Step on Them
This might seem obvious, but stepping on a cockroach whenever one is present is a smart idea. However, these bugs can handle up to 900 times their weight, so it’s important to really bear down and smash the thing to smithereens (we apologize for the intensity).
Immediately after killing the cockroach, disinfect the area and the shoe to minimize the spread of any harmful diseases or germs.
Baking soda is one of the most effective ways to kill cockroaches. If enticed to ingest baking soda, gasses will build up in the cockroach’s body and cause it to die. However, baking soda is not all that appealing on its own.
To entice cockroaches to consume baking soda, mix equal parts with ordinary table sugar, place it on a plate, and place the trap in an area where cockroaches are likely to be found. It’s also possible to convince cockroaches to consume onion with baking soda sprinkled on top, but onions are toxic for dogs.
Boric acid can quickly kick a roach infestation to the curb. It’s extremely toxic and can kill multiple generations of roaches.
Mix a combination of equal parts of boric acid, sugar and water to make a dough. Roll that dough into balls or cylinders and place them where roaches will find them. The first roaches will eat the dough, head back to their home, and die. As other roaches find the poisoned roaches’ droppings and bodies, they’ll consume them and subsequently perish, as well.
Citrus or Peppermint Sprays
One way to shoo cockroaches away is to utilize a citrus or peppermint spray. Despite most folks enjoying these rather pleasant scents, cockroaches dislike them and are likely to pack their bags (and egg cases).
There are a few ways to apply these scents. First, users can purchase essential oils and mix a few drops with water in a spray bottle and apply it anywhere they might expect roaches. The other method is to apply a few drops of lemon juice or mint oil to a bucket of water and mop floors and countertops with it.
Another tried-and-true method of killing cockroaches and other insects includes using diatomaceous earth. This naturally-occurring substance contains the bodies of fossilized sea organisms, and their sharp edges will cut insects as they crawl over top, causing them to dehydrate. Otherwise, DE is totally safe for pets and humans.
Applying DE is extremely easy. All the user has to do is apply a thin layer of dust on the surfaces cockroaches are likely to crawl, so areas like cabinet interiors, under appliances and basement floors.
Professional Cockroach Services
Since cockroach egg cases generally contain dozens of eggs, they multiply quickly and can cause large infestations. If a large infestation is in place, or cockroaches are still present despite using all of the techniques above, it might be worth using a professional service.
Types of Treatment
One of the benefits of using a professional service like Orkin is the company’s range of treatment options. Orkin uses several different products to help control and kill cockroaches:
Cockroach baits that attract the cockroaches and poison them
Insect growth regulators that target eggs and nymphs
Insecticides to repel or kill cockroaches, applied to cracks and crevices
Dusts that scratch and dehydrate cockroaches
Orkin also uses monitor cards that verify the effectiveness of the treatments. Also, the company will help homeowners with improving cleaning standards and eliminating sources of water, food and shelter.
How Much Does It Cost to Get Rid of Cockroaches?
The cost to get rid of cockroaches varies based on the infestation. However, homeowners can expect to pay anywhere from $100 to $400 for a one-time treatment, and around $1,100 for a yearly treatment plan.
How to Prevent Cockroaches
There are plenty of options for trying to get rid of cockroaches, but the best approach is to avoid them in the first place. Here are some helpful tips for preventing cockroaches:
Keep the House Clean
One of the best ways to prevent cockroaches is to ensure that the house is clean. Cockroaches can survive quite well on food scraps, crumbs and spilled messes. They will come out in dark conditions, snack on the food on counters, floors or even in garbage cans, and then disappear when the lights come back on.
Be sure to clean up after meal preparation, wipe up any spills and take out the garbage at the end of the day. One way to help keep the house clean of food litter is to limit eating to only the kitchen or dining room rather than on the couch, office or other areas.
Fix Leaks and Moist Areas
Cockroaches need moisture to survive. Be sure to fix any leaky pipes, leaking roof vents, and other sources of moisture right away. Also, consider a dehumidifier for any basement moisture that may exist.
Keep the Landscaping Trimmed Back
Many cockroach species use landscaping to survive around the home. Keep any shrubs, plants, or even wood piles away from the house to prevent them from sheltering outside in the warm months and forcing their way in during the colder months.
Be sure to seal any gaps around the home’s doors, windows and foundation. When the temperatures drop, cockroaches and other pests can use even very small gaps to make their way into the home.