How To Get Rid Of Unwanted Roaches

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Any sort of unwanted insect in your home can cause major problems, especially roaches. These pests bring in diseases, damage your belongings, and harm your animals, according to The Spruce. Roaches can be hard to get rid of if you don't act fast at first sight. If you let roaches live too long in your home, they could multiply and cause you to need to fumigate your home with a professional, according to The Pest Rangers. Roaches thrive on food and water, so once they make their way into your home, that's the first thing they'll be searching for.

It's best to try to prevent them from multiplying when they enter your home because it's easier to get rid of them when there are fewer to deal with. You can block off any small entrances they might be able to squeeze through, especially in the walls of your home. They're nocturnal insects, so they're most active during the night.

Types of roaches

There are 4,500 species of roaches, but about 69 of the species live in the United States, according to Smith's Pest Management. Although 69 live in the U.S., not all of them will invade your home. Familiarizing yourself with the types of roaches that could invade your home will make it easy to identify which ones are in your home and the methods you can use to remove them. Or, if you've decided to call a professional, you can let them know which type is in your home to speed up the process.

German roaches are the most common cockroach since they lay eggs extremely quickly. They are black or brown with flat bodies and long hind legs and have their wings lay flat on their back. Their determining feature is they have two black stripes that start from their head to their back.

Brown-banded cockroaches are flying roaches that hate water and love moist, warm spots such as inside walls or under refrigerators. They're dark brown with yellow bands on their wings and half an inch in length.

American roaches are the largest roaches in the U.S. and can live up to two years. They are brown with yellow edges and can grow from 1 to 3 inches in length.

Baking soda and onion mixture

DIY remedies are always the most affordable methods for getting rid of unwanted roaches since you're using things you already have in your home. You'll need a handful of chopped onion and baking soda for this method, according to Smith's Pest Management.

Place your chopped onion on a plate and sprinkle baking soda over the onion enough to have a thin layer. Put the dish where the roaches have been hanging out the most, and wait for them to make their way over and eat the onions. When the roaches ingest the baking soda, it bubbles up in their stomachs and causes them to burst. You'll find the dead roaches easier once they've ingested it since the baking soda will act quickly. Since this method targets one roach at a time for those that make their way up to the plate, you'll need to redo the method a few times until you've eradicated all of them. You might have to use the mixture if they ever reappear in your home since it's a temporary fix.

DIY roach traps

When roaches enter your home in groups, they eat and excrete as they move throughout the space, according to The Spruce. They'll pick up what another roach left behind and continue on their way. In order to trap them, you're going to need the roaches' droppings, a container, tweezers, and a roach trap. There are various roach traps to buy, but any will work.

Pick up roaches' droppings in a container you don't use. Place the droppings in areas you think the roaches are passing through with the tweezers. Once you place all the droppings, wait and see which roaches pass by in which they'll eat the bait and land in the roach trap.

By using the droppings, the roaches are eating more than they normally would since they're consuming the bait and their findings. This is just one way to lure them to the traps. It'll be a recurring process since it won't capture all of the roaches at once.

Use boric acid

Just like baking soda, boric acid kills the roaches when they consume it. You'll need boric acid, flour, and sugar, according to Anti-Pesto Bug Killers.

Mix equal parts of the boric acid, flour, and sugar, which will form a dough. From the dough, make small round balls and place them in areas where roaches are likely to pass by. The sugar and flour will attract the roaches to eat them, and once they ingest the dough, the boric acid will kill them. It takes a little while for the boric acid to do its work, so the roaches will most likely go back to where the rest of the group is and die. The other roaches will then feed off of the dead roach and also die from the consumption.

This method is a more permanent solution than baking soda since the other roaches get involved as well. Boric acid can be harmful to pets, so if you have furry friends, make sure they're not around the dough or skip this method altogether.

Use fabric softener

Any choice of fabric softener will work for this method to kill roaches. You'll need your fabric softener, water, and a spray bottle, according to Family Handyman. Mix three parts of fabric softener with two parts of water and put it in a spray bottle. Whenever you see a roach, you simply spray it with the mixture.

This method is a little more time-consuming since you have to keep an eye out for the roaches because they need to have direct contact with the spray. You'll need to be close by any enclosed quarters such as the fridge, stove, pipes, or small openings in the wall. The mixture will kill the roaches instantly since they'll be suffocated by the scent of the fabric softener. It is a temporary method that will need to be redone to be able to get all of the roaches. Since they come out at night, you can prepare for it better around that time and try to catch more.

Clean out dark hiding spots

Roaches love to hide out in dark corners of your home, such as behind the fridge, the stove, under the sink, in the trash, in basements, or attics. Any place without light will attract roaches, according to The Pest Rangers. You'll need to clean out all those areas regularly in order to prevent roaches from arriving. Throw out any unwanted trash such as cans, papers, and food. Roaches are always on the hunt for food and water, so if there are any crumbs or open containers left on the counter, they'll come for them.

Keeping things clean and tidy will discourage the roaches from invading your home. It could also lead you to find a few if you've found one roaming around your home. By then, you'll be able to use the other methods to lure them out. Normally roaches will leave on their own if they can't find what they're looking for, so you can always count on a clean house to keep them away.

Buy roach traps

There are a variety of roach traps you can find at the store, Family Handyman suggests a few that will be worth the money. The Combat brand offers small black squared traps with holes big enough for large roaches to fit through and get infected. They are $12.99 on Amazon for eight traps that can be placed around the house. The Roach Motel are small rectangles with special glue inside that traps the roaches and kills them over time. They're $3.27 for two traps on Amazon.

Hot Shot Ultra Roach Bait provides six traps that contain a water and food combination to lure the roaches and kill them when they ingest the bait. They are $8.34 on Amazon and can kill small and large roaches. If you don't want to invest in any traps, you can try direct sprays such as Raid, which helps kill the roaches instantly when they're sprayed the first time. A two-pack roach raid is $10.99 on Amazon.

Call a pest control professional

If none of the methods above help to permanently remove the roaches, then you can get in contact with your local pest control professional. They will be able to evaluate the situation if your house has been infested with roaches and help you remove them forever. The Spruce claims that you will probably spend between $200 and $500 for the process, depending on what pest you're dealing with and the location of your home.

The professional should be able to quickly identify the type of roach in your home and the best way to remove them. They'll be able to give you a breakdown of the cost and how long it'll take for the process to be complete. You always want to do your research and go with someone you trust that will make sure the roaches won't return instead of overcharging you and not solving the issue. It's best to ask friends or family for advice or read reviews.

Try Epsom salt

Epsom salt is often used for alleviating body aches. The magnesium sulfate that makes it so effective at loosening tension and decreasing inflammation is also what makes it an effective solution when you're looking to combat a cockroach problem. This compound has a crystal-like structure, with lots of small protrusions. These poke the exoskeleton of roaches that come into contact with it, much like a bunch of tiny needles. Once this shell has been penetrated, the pests will become dehydrated, eventually drying up and dying.

To use Epsom salt to get rid of cockroaches, add it to a shallow bowl or plate, and place it in an area where you've noticed the insects. To make it easier for the roaches to "take the bait" and climb into the bowl, consider making a few small ramps using sticks or cardboard. Another way you can use Epsom salt to kill cockroaches is by adding it to a spray bottle with some water. You can spray any intruders you see with the salty solution. Even when mixed with water, the crystals will still be sharp and pointy enough to puncture the exoskeleton. 

Sprinkle diatomaceous earth around infested areas

Diatomaceous earth, which is a white powder made up of prehistoric algae fossils, can be helpful when dealing with a roach infestation. The microscopic fossilized remains have very sharp edges that will pierce the pests' exoskeletons. Once pierced, the internal oils and fats will be quickly absorbed by the powder, causing them to become dehydrated and eventually die.

Using diatomaceous earth is simple and relatively safe, but you'll want to take a few precautions to protect yourself and others. Because the tiny fossils are so sharp, breathing in the fine powder can pose a risk to your eyes, throat, skin, and other areas. For this reason, wear gloves and a mask and make sure that your skin is covered when applying it. You should also keep children and pets away from any areas where it is applied. Sprinkle it where you've noticed evidence of roaches, and then vacuum up any excess once the infestation has been cleared up.

Seal potential entry points

Roaches are small and can gain entry to your home more easily than you might think. Their tiny bodies can crawl through cracks or holes in the foundation, openings around your windows and doors, or broken window screens. An opening as small as 1/16-inch is enough to let them inside. So, one way to prevent future infestations is to deny them access to your home in the first place by sealing all of these openings.

You'll want to perform a thorough inspection of your home, looking for any cracks in the wall or foundation, such as near pipes or utilities, that these bugs might be able to enter through. Then use a caulking gun to close off these entry points. Applying weather stripping around your doors and windows to seal gaps will also help. Similarly, if you have any broken screens, you'll either want to replace them or fix them using a mesh repair kit.

Make a repellent spray using citrus fruits

Cockroaches despise the scent of lemons, limes, oranges, and other citrus fruits. You can use this to your advantage by making a roach-deterrent spray. Not only will the spray help keep the pests away from the areas where they are invading, but it will also leave behind a fresh and invigorating scent. To make a deterrent spray, simply mix a few drops of lemon or orange essential oil with some water and add it to a spray bottle. Apply the solution anywhere you've seen roaches or noticed signs of their presence. 

Adding citrus essential oils to your mop solution is another way to benefit from their power. You'll spread the scent across the entire floor, making it unappealing for roaches. Just take note that this approach will not kill the roaches, so you'll still need to do something else to actually clear up the infestation. However, it can be helpful as a preventative measure to deter them in the first place.

Roach-proof your pantry

Roaches, just like other animals, need food to survive. Eliminating potential food sources can go a long way in helping you clear up an infestation and prevent future ones from occurring. One of the most important areas of your home that you'll want to pay attention to is the pantry. If there are any crumbs or open packages, you're welcoming roaches to settle in for a big feast.

Instead of leaving a tempting invitation for these pests, take measures to roach-proof the space. Start by clearing off the shelves and wiping them down to get rid of any crumbs. Then, throw out spoiled food or packages that aren't sealed. Place everything else in airtight containers that the roaches won't be able to get into. Every time to put something back in the pantry, make sure that it is tightly sealed. Similarly, you'll also want to make sure that any dog or cat food is in a sealed container since the roaches aren't picky about what they eat.