The last thing any homeowner wants to deal with is a cockroach infestation. Roaches multiply quickly and are highly adaptive making their populations grow rapidly. They are known to carry and transmit several serious diseases to humans, contaminate their food and other household surfaces, and can even trigger allergies and asthma.
The most common types of cockroaches found in homes are the German cockroach, the American cockroach, the brown-banded cockroach, and the Oriental cockroach. German roaches are one of the most common species. They are brown with 2 dark stripes behind their heads. They are smaller in size than the other types and can reproduce faster than any other roach species. American cockroaches are the largest type found in homes. They are reddish brown with light yellow bands. Both males and females have wings and can fly short distances. They are commonly found where food is stored. Brown-banded cockroaches are smaller in size and often mistaken for German cockroaches. They are also brown in color with 2 light yellow bands across their bodies. Both males and females have wings but only males can fly. They will jump when they are disturbed. Oriental cockroaches have glossy, dark brown or black bodies. They cannot fly and feed on decaying organic matter. They are usually found outdoors.
Roaches thrive in warm, humid climates. What attracts cockroaches are food, water, shelter, and warmth, all of which they can find in abundance in your home. Some of the most common household attractants to cockroaches are dirty dishes, garbage, crumbs and spills, pet food, open food containers, excess moisture, cardboard, paper, and glue.
The best way to keep roaches out of your home is to make it as unattractive to them as possible. Here are 6 of the best ways to get rid of cockroaches.
1. Clean Thoroughly
Roaches are attracted to dirt and filth because it provides a food source for them. Keeping your home clean helps eliminate these food sources, making them go elsewhere in search of something to eat. Wash your dishes and put them away after meals. Clean up any crumbs and spills. Empty the garbage before going to bed. Clean grease from your stovetop. Seal any leftover food in containers. Sweep, mop, and vacuum on a regular basis. Don’t leave pet food out overnight.
2. Clear Out Clutter
The less clutter in your home, the fewer places roaches have to hide. Not only that, cockroaches also love to breed in newspaper and cardboard. Keep your home as clutter free as possible. Dust regularly. Get rid of any old newspapers and magazines. Use plastic storage bins instead of cardboard boxes whenever possible.
3. Eliminate Entry Points
Roaches can squeeze through the tiniest of gaps and holes, especially around windows and doors, along foundations and roofs, in attics and crawlspaces, through vents, and into holes used for gas, electric, and plumbing. Inspect your home for any possible entry points and seal them. For smaller holes seal with caulk; for larger holes seal with steel wool or foam; and for vents and chimneys cover with fine wire mesh.
4. Check Plumbing
Roaches love moisture and need water to survive. Routinely check your home for leaks and plumbing issues, especially around faucets, sinks, refrigerators, and other appliances. Repair any leaks you find immediately. Keep basements and crawlspaces dry and well ventilated.
5. Consider Natural Alternatives
Cockroach prevention doesn’t have to rely solely on chemicals. There are several natural roach repellent and elimination products available today. Some of the most common include:
- Boric acid. Mix equal amounts of boric acid, sugar, and flour to make a dough. Roll out balls of dough and place them around your home. Roaches are attracted to the flour and sugar and the boric acid kills them. Use caution with boric acid – it is not recommended for use in areas with children or pets.
- Fabric softener. Roaches don’t like the smell of fabric softener so it makes a good repellent. Mix with water in a spray bottle and apply where you see roach activity.
- Fresh coffee grounds. Roaches are attracted to the caffeine but it is toxic to them. Place coffee grounds wherever you see roach activity.
- Baking soda and sugar. This combination works the same as boric acid but is safer to use with children and pets. Mix equal parts baking soda and sugar and sprinkle in areas where you’ve seen roaches. The sugar attracts them and the baking soda kills them.
- Cayenne, Garlic, and Onion Powder. Roaches hate the smell of each of these spices. Sprinkle it around your home for an effective roach repellent.
- Essential Oils. The most effective essential oils to use against roaches are tea tree, mint, and clove oils. Dilute each of these with water and spray anywhere you see roaches in your home.
6. Call a Pro
For the most effective preventative and ongoing roach control, have your home inspected and treated on a regular basis – usually monthly or quarterly – by a professional pest control company. Request a free quote now to get started.