Cockroaches are distressingly resilient. These nasty pests can run up to 3 miles per hour, quickly spreading disease and germs all over your home. They’re able to survive up to four hours without their heads and can hold their breath for up to 30 minutes. There are over 4,000 species of cockroaches in the world but U.S. homes are most frequently plagued with German cockroaches, American cockroaches, or the brown-banded variety.
What kind of roaches are you dealing with and can you take care of the problem without help?
Getting Rid of Roaches on Your Own
Unfortunately, many home remedies for cockroach infestations have been proven relatively ineffective. As a species, roaches are highly adaptable and some have even developed an immunity to certain over-the-counter products. Before you decide how to treat your cockroach issue it’s important you identify exactly what kind of bugs you’re dealing with.
Identifying a Cockroach Problem
- If you see a cockroach with your own eyes, particularly during daylight hours, you’ve likely got a problem. Cockroaches are inherently nocturnal and like dark, cool places.
- Cockroaches will leave feces behind as they roam. Each species’ droppings has different features but cockroach feces is typically small and round or tubular, similar in appearance to ground pepper.
- If an infestation is truly severe it may be possible to smell the roaches. They put off a stale, musty smell in large groups and finding dead roaches means there are likely many more behind the walls.
Once you’ve determined you’ve got a problem, figuring out how to get rid of cockroaches greatly depends on the species you’re dealing with. If you’re unsure whether or not you’ve got German roaches, American roaches, or some other species, it’s probably best to call in a professional exterminator to help you identify the pests.
Attempt to Kill the Roaches
Before bringing in a professional you may want to attempt to take care of your roach problem yourself. While minor infestations may be able to be contained with home treatment it’s important to call in the pros if you’re still noticing cockroaches for weeks or months after treatment.
Clean Your Home: Of course, the more food and refuse you leave out for roaches, the less reason they’ll have to leave your home. It’s smart to deep clean your home, lock up all food air-tight, and take care to seal all cracks in your doors, windows, and baseboards.
Put Out Bait: It’s possible to “bait” roaches with a substance that is toxic. Boric acid is a popular home solution (but can be dangerous around kids or pets). An age-old home cure involves placing coffee ground inside a jar of water which traps the roach when he tries to take a drink. There are many brands of cockroach bait available at home improvement stores, but be aware they will only work on certain species.
Use an Insecticide: Likewise, it’s entirely possible to stamp out a tiny infestation with sprays, powders, and gels. It’s important to treat both the inside and outside of your home as these over-the-counter insecticides are meant to deter cockroaches, not kill them
Call a Professional Exterminator
If you’ve tried and failed to get rid of roaches on your own, don’t panic. Exterminators know exactly how to get rid of cockroaches and they’re often equipped with higher-grade insecticides than are available to the general public. A quality exterminator should be able to identify the type of roach you’re dealing with then help you come up with a plan for keeping the pests out for good.
Professional cockroach extermination usually includes sprays, powders, and/or baits. Since roaches themselves are so resilient, it may be necessary to use harsh chemical compounds to truly get rid of them once and for all.
No one wants to see roaches in their home. If you’re having trouble nailing down a cockroach problem on your own it might be smart to let a highly-trained professional take care of the problem quickly and efficiently to ensure your family stays healthy and safe.