How to Get Rid of Cockroaches

Try these expert-recommended pest control solutions for roaches.

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Photo by Yuji Sakai/Getty Images

There’s nothing worse than spotting a cockroach in your bathroom or kitchen—and you know that once you see one, there’s probably more on the way. We asked Blaine Richardson, an associate certified entomologist and COO at EDGE-The Service Company, a pest control company, for his best tips for eliminating these annoying bugs.

How to Prevent a Cockroach Problem:

1. Eliminate Water
Fix any leaks and keep damp areas dry. “This is a large reason for their entry into a home,” Richardson says. “Most importantly, cockroaches can’t go more than a week without water, so it’s crucial to eliminate leaks. Target specific areas like underneath sinks and the kitchen and bathroom in general.”

2. Clean Up
“Cleanliness is key,” he says. “Pay attention to the kitchen as crumbs and water leaks are commonly found there. Avoid leaving food out in the open on your countertops. Promptly clean dishes, countertops, and your stove range as cockroaches are attracted to grease.” Regularly wipe down your kitchen surfaces so there aren’t any sticky substances to attract them.

3. Take Out the Trash
Cockroaches can get into your trashcan, too, so make sure you take it out daily.
 

How to Deal With a Cockroach Problem:

1. Spray It
“Combine water and soap in a spray bottle and apply it to a roach when spotted,” Richardson says. “You’ll get the best results when the mixture is aimed toward the head and lower abdomen of the bug.”

2. Set Up Traps
You can purchase some pesticide-free traps or baits at a local store. Set them up in rooms where you’ve spotted the cockroaches. Boric acid powder is also effective at killing the pests—sprinkle a fine layer into nooks and crannies where the cockroaches appear. You’ll want to be careful when handling the powder, since it shouldn’t be ingested or inhaled.

When to Call the Pros:

If none of the above methods have worked, and if there seems to be an increase in cockroaches, there might be an infestation. In that case, you’ll want to call a pest control expert. “This can be extremely hard to eliminate, as attempting to locate the nest can be a difficult task,” he says.