What should I do to control the cockroach problem in my house?

Pest Management In and Around Structures April 04, 2012 Print Friendly and PDF

You really have two options for cockroach control: Do-it-yourself, or call a pest control service.

If you decide to hire a pest control service, ask them how they will approach the problem. If they plan to use insecticide sprays alone, you may want to keep looking.

The best professionals will:

  • Conduct a thorough inspection of your home
  • Identify the type or kind of cockroach present 
  • Use cockroach baits in targeted areas
  • Use sticky traps to monitor the situation
  • Will make recommendations of other measures you should put in place to prevent recurrence (e.g. proper cleaning, storing food in sealable containers etc.).

If you decide to handle the problem yourself, here are a few tips:

  • Find out where the cockroaches are hiding. Look for:
    • Dead or live cockroaches
    • Little black specks (feces) around cracks or gaps in furniture or cabinets
    • Egg cases
  • Start by keeping kitchen counters and floors extra clean, washing dishes before bed and reducing clutter in the kitchen and bath.
  • For German cockroaches, effective baits can be found in most grocery and hardware stores.
  • Make sure to use enough stations or bait placements and use the baits within inches of the cracks and voids where you suspect the cockroaches are hiding.
  • Baits work best when there is little other food for the roaches to eat (i.e. in a clean environment).
  • If you use a gel bait, it is better to use many small dabs, rather than a few big globs.
  • Larger bait stations are available for larger cockroach species.
  • Boric acid dusts can help control cockroaches, but are difficult to apply properly. 
  • Consider use of "roach hotels" or sticky traps to monitor the effectiveness of your efforts.
  • When using any pesticide, always read and follow all label directions.


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Find more information about pests in eXtensions Pest Management In and Around Structures Resource Area.



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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.