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How to Get Rid of Cockroaches

Family on couch in cockroach-free home

Few things are more frustrating than a roach infestation. These persistent pests will make themselves at home in your kitchen, bathroom, and other living spaces as they search for food. Unfortunately, they multiply fast and can spread diseases. If you’re tired of sharing your home with these cringe-worthy critters, then let's figure out how to get rid of roaches for you!! But before we can do that, here's everything you need to know about getting rid of cockroaches in Florida:


Most Common Cockroaches in the US

There are a few different species of roaches that are present here in Florida, but the most common are the German cockroach and the American cockroach. These two are what you'll most likely deal with the most. 

German Cockroach

The German cockroach is light brown and usually 1/2” – 5/8” in size. This is the most common type species of cockroach worldwide, and Florida is no exception. They're easily identified by the two dark, parallel stripes on their backs. They typically live in warm, humid places where food is easily found and readily available, so infestations are likely found in both residential and commercial kitchens. Like most cockroaches, they're difficult to kill, so having an exterminator on your side is helpful when getting rid of them.

American Cockroach

American cockroaches are darker and bigger at 1-1/2” to 2” and are the most common among the residential infesting roaches. These roaches are typically reddish-brown and have a figure 8 pattern on the back of the head. This species does have wings and can fly short distances. They can also bite, but their bites are harmless unless they become infected. You may first notice an infection of American cockroaches by seeing their droppings around your house. These droppings are small and have characteristic ridges on the sides.


What Attracts Cockroaches to Your Home

No matter the type of pest - whether it’s roaches, ants, termites, or rodents - they’re all most likely searching for food and water sources which they can easily find in your home. Roaches, in particular, are drawn to warm, humid climates like Florida.

Roaches are attracted to: 

1. Dirty dishes in the sink

Dirty dishes in the sink often have leftover food on them, which is exactly what cockroaches are looking for. Roaches are either in your home for one of two reasons: they're seeking shelter or they want food. Letting dirty dishes sit in your sink gives these pests food to go after.

2. Crumbs on the floors or counters

Leaving crumbs on your floor or counters is another source of food that cockroaches will be attracted to. The goal is to cut out any opportunity for these pests to find food in your home. This means wiping down your counters and sweeping the floor when you notice crumbs. 

3. Garbage

Garbage is yet another source of food, so be sure to take your garbage out consistently and keep your garbage can sealed so there are no access points. Some garbage bags even claim to give off a smell that wards off pests. 

4. Pet food on the floor

Pet food on the floor is a big cockroach attraction that is often overlooked. If you have a pet that often doesn't eat all of its food and leaves it lying around for later, you may want to invest in a sealable bowl or simply put the bowl up high where it's not easily accessible. 

5. Excess moisture

Cockroaches need moisture to survive. Dripping faucets or cracked shower doors are some of the most common things attracting cockroaches in residential homes. If you have a source of excess moisture in your home, make sure it's taken care of!

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How Roaches Enter Your Home

Roaches are attracted to your home for a variety of reasons (listed above), but attraction is only the first part. They have to actually be able to get INTO your home to wreak havoc. The most common way these sly pests enter your home is through cracks and crevices in doors, windows, and other areas of your house.

Here's how roaches enter your home:

1. Cracks and crevices 

Cracks and crevices in your windows and doors are some of the most common ways cockroaches will find their way into your home. The biggest problems we see with homeowners are doors that haven't been sealed properly or windows that don't close all the way.

2. Holes in vents and pipes

Another common way these pests will make an appearance is by coming through your vents and pipes. This is especially common with older vents that may have holes or that don't properly seal. Make sure you check your vents when you switch them out and keep an eye on pipes under your sink for any potential entryways.

3. Hitching a ride onto items

While not as common, cockroaches have been known to hitch a ride onto things like old furniture if you're moving it into your home. Make sure you check that old table for pests next time you move it from your garage to your dining room. 


How to Get Rid of Roaches

If you want to get rid of cockroaches in your home, there are a few different effective methods.

Here's how to get rid of cockroaches:

1. Thoroughly Clean Your Home

Woman cleaning her home to get rid of cockroachesThis may seem like a given, but roaches are attracted to dirt and filth because they’re always on the lookout for new sources of food. The easiest way to get rid of roaches is by making sure your home is clean. Make sure to do the following:

  • Wash dishes and put them away after meals

  • Clean crumbs and spills immediately

  • Take out the garbage before going to bed

  • Remove grease from the stovetop

  • Seal food in containers

  • Mop on a regular basis

2. Use Store-Bought Traps

One effective method of eliminating roaches is the type of trap found in supermarkets or home improvement stores. The device uses a scent or other bait to attract roaches. When they investigate the bait, roaches become caught in a sticky substance, effectively trapped inside. It can take up to two weeks to see results, so traps should be checked for dead roaches periodically.

3. Use Store-Bought Baits

Another common way to get rid of roaches includes utilizing store-bought baits. Chemical baits disguise insecticide as a food source. Roaches ingest the insecticide and return to their nests, where they die. Other roaches eat them, spreading the poison to the rest of the nest. Place chemical baits near garbage cans and underneath sinks and cabinets in kitchens and bathrooms.

4. Use Liquid Concentrates

Another product available in stores is a liquid concentrate designed to deter roaches. Once diluted, the liquid can be sprayed into cracks and crevices and other areas where roaches like to hide. You can also mop the floor and wipe counters with the solution!  If you're wondering how to get rid of roaches overnight, this will be one of your best bets!  


How to Get Rid of Roaches Naturally

If you want to get rid of roaches naturally, there are a handful of methods we recommend.

Here's how to get rid of roaches naturally:

1. Boric Acid

Boric acid is one of the best home remedies to get rid of roaches naturally. Mix equal amounts of boric acid, flour, and sugar to make a dough. Set balls of dough around the home where cockroaches can feed on it. The flour and sugar will attract the roaches while the boric acid will kill them. Simply place the dough where you know roaches are normally present, or under your refrigerator, stove, and the backs of cabinets and drawers. The boric acid will kill the roaches that will then become food for other roaches. While this is extremely effective at killing roaches, boric acid can be extremely dangerous for pets. If you have a furry friend around your house, do not try this at home.

Benefits of using boric acid:

  • Extremely effective
  • You only need to apply it once

2. Baking Soda

Baking soda, similar to Boric acid, is deadly to cockroaches. If you want to use this method to get rid of roaches, combine baking soda with something they would be attracted to, like sugar or onions. Place this mixture in high traffic areas and wait. You'll start to see dead roaches once they start eating the mixture. 

Benefits of using baking soda:

  • It's a common baking ingredient. You probably already have it!
  • One of the fastest ways to kill cockroaches

3. Citrus

While citrus doesn't kill cockroaches, it does deter them. If you want to take preventative measures before the cockroaches appear, mix citrus acid with some water and add it to high-traffic areas. Cockroaches will steer clear of this area as they don't like the smell. You can even leave a few citrus peels around your kitchen so the smell lingers.

Benefits of using citrus:

  • Preventative method
  • Deters cockroaches before they become a problem

Pro Tip: Call a Licensed Exterminator

The truth of the matter is roaches are persistent creatures – even following all of these DIY tips, you may still have an infestation. If you have given these tried-and-tested tricks a try and it hasn’t helped, you probably need a professional exterminator to treat your home.

An Important Note: DIY solutions are not guaranteed to work, especially against pests like cockroaches that can breed and multiply quickly. If you're serious about getting rid of a roach infestation fast, it is always best to work with a trained and licensed exterminator. 


How to Prevent Cockroaches

There are lots of methods used to ward off roaches, and we will discuss a few of the most successful strategies many people use to make their houses less hospitable for these cringe-worthy bugs.

Here's how to prevent cockroaches:

1. Nix Newspapers & Cardboard Boxes

Roaches adore cardboard boxes and newspapers. If these items are lying around your home, you’re inviting roaches in the vicinity into your home. Roaches love to breed in these items, so it is best to clear all newspapers and cardboard boxes out of your home. 

2. Clear Out the Clutter

One of the best strategies for roach control is to make sure your home is kept in tip-top shape, especially when it comes to items that are just lying around. Keeping your house free of clutter means there are less places for roaches to hide out during the day. With no cover for their midday scurrying, these bugs will have to work harder to hide their presence.

3. Seal Cracks & Install Door Sweeps

Roaches gain entry to homes by crawling in under doors and cracks in your home’s foundation. You may not even notice the easy access areas as they can be hard to see, but a professional should be able to identify entry points for you. Problem areas include:

  • Around windows and doors
  • Along the foundation or roof
  • Attic and crawl space vents
  • Around holes used for electric, gas, and plumbing lines

We recommend you inspect these problem areas at least once a year and if you do notice cracks and holes, make sure to seal them. You can use caulk to seal small ones, while steel wool and foam are best to fill larger gaps, especially around pipes. For bigger openings around chimneys or attic vents, you can use a fine wire mesh to create a barrier.

learn more about how pests enter your home

4. Regularly Inspect and Fix Any Plumbing Issues or Leaks

Moisture is a huge attractant for bugs – just like humans, they need water in order to survive. Oftentimes homeowners have leaks or water problems that attract bugs and they don’t even know. If you do notice leaks or plumbing issues, get them fixed as soon as possible. It's not a bad idea to regularly inspect the faucets, sinks, refrigerators, and appliances in your home to make sure they aren't leaking or producing excess moisture.

5. Don't Feed the Roaches 

If you leave treats like an uneaten dog or cat food lying around, you are bound to attract a bug or two. We recommend using a dog food dispenser and/or removing any food your pet doesn’t eat right away from the floor so that roaches don't have easy access to food sources.

Pro Tip: Get Professional Help

Because roaches are such a problem pest here in Florida, prevention can only get you so far. The truth of the matter is, most homeowners are going to deal with a roach infestation in their home at some point. While there are many things you can do to make your home an inhospitable environment for bugs, nothing prevents a pest infestation like employing professional exterminators. 


Pest Control as Low as $31/Month

Here at Anti-Pesto Bug Killers, we offer the highest-rated pest control in Tampa and surrounding areas. Our pest control programs start as low as $31/month and can protect your home from a variety of pests all year long - including roaches! If you are tired of sharing your home with roaches, our experts can help you.

This blog was written by Howard Bright, Owner of Anti-Pesto Bug Killers.

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