I AM A ROACH KILLER.
But I am not an exterminator. I am not a pest control professional. I do, however, have years of experience at being a roach killer as well as fighting bugs, pests, and other creepy crawlies.
Sub-standard living conditions as a child and an overall lazy approach to cleaning, led to years of roaches being part of my everyday life.
Until I got married.
Now it is my duty to “check that noise” in the middle of the night and to keep all the things that go bump in the night and skitter underneath the fridge away from my wife and my home.
I have learned, from years of trial and error, how to kill roaches safely and permanently, and I’ve shared my experiences in this roach killer guide.
There is a ton of information out there about getting rid of roaches – but it is scattered, and littered with old wives’ tales and outdated home remedies.
We have crawled (see what I did there?) the internet to show you the best roach killer products, methods, and techniques to kill roaches once and for all.
Step 1. Know Your Enemy
First, unless you have spotted the roach red (brown) handed (legged), you will need to search for signs of infestation.
How To Tell If You Have Cockroaches:
Fecal matter/Oral secretions – dark-colored specks are fecal pellets and regurgitated food, and look like grains of ground pepper. Sometimes visible “slime trails” are found as well in heavy infestations. These look similar to what is left behind by slugs or snails.
Egg cases – small dark brown oval-shaped casings.
Carcasses – Yes, dead cockroaches are a bad sign.
Odor – oily, musky (a single roach has almost no detectable smell, so if you can smell them, there a lots of them!)
Once you have established that yes, you indeed have a bit of a roach problem, it is time to identify the type of roach that we are dealing with.
The world’s largest roach (Megaloblatta longipennis – don’t laugh, actual name) which lives in South America, is six inches long with a one-foot wingspan:
Luckily, we are not dealing with these behemoths here in the States.
While there are over 4,500 species, we mostly wring our hands at 4 common types of roaches:
Blatella germanica, the German cockroach:
A.K.A. “Das Bug”
Periplaneta americana, the American cockroach:
Supella longipalpa, the brown-banded cockroach:
A.K.A. “Bad, Bad, LeRoy Brown”
Blatta orientalis, the oriental cockroach:
Step 2. Plan Your Roach Killer Attack Strategy
There are two schools of thought on the best roach killer strategies: Natural Approaches VS Chemical Solutions.
Let’s take a look at each.
How To Kill Roaches With Natural Roach Killer Products
If you are asking yourself, “why do I have roaches?”, just think about how awesome your house is for the little guys.
Roaches love your home. Its temperature controlled, has nice dark hiding spaces and contains enough food/waste to keep roaches happy for generations to come.
However, your house also contains many convenient products that help to kill roaches without using dangerous insecticides.
The main advantage of the natural approach is that by not using toxic chemicals, you keep your family (and pets) safe from products that could harm them unintentionally.
The natural approach is also typically cheaper than a chemical approach in that many of the following techniques can be used with items found in your house already.
How To Kill Roaches With Natural Cockroach Baits
Pinterest is filled with delicious recipes but they won’t help you get rid of your roach problem.
So I put together my own list of the Top 3 homemade roach killer recipes in order of potency (lowest – highest)
Roaches release pheromones to communicate with each other. One of the ways they tell each other about nearby food sources is by releasing a pheromone that is similar to old stale beer.
Grab an empty bottle and fill it ¼ of the way with beer. Drop in about a Tbsp. of vegetable oil and leave it in a “high traffic” area.
The roaches will cannon ball into this beer swimming pool (and let’s be honest, who wouldn’t?) and won’t be able to climb back out (sorry, no lifeguard on duty).
I tried out lots of various “roach killer ball” recipes out there and this one was the most effective:
2 Tbsp. of meat drippings (bacon, hamburgers, chicken, etc.) – Crisco can be used here but the meat worked better
2 Tbsp. of white sugar
1 Cup of Boric Acid Powder
½ Cup of white flour
About 1/4 cup of Water
In a medium sized bowl, combine meat drippings, sugar, Boric acid powder, and flour.
Pour in water until the mixture begins to form a dough.
Roll the dough into balls the size of a grape and place in areas where roaches have been spotted
Note: This method took time (about 2 weeks) but completely got rid of my roaches.
B.A.P. (Boric Acid Paste)
Boric Acid is an all-natural insecticide and is often used as the “secret ingredient” in commercially available insect prevention sprays. It is no more dangerous to humans than table salt. But as one of the best roach killers, it is fantastic.
Boric acid attacks the insect’s nervous system and dehydrates them as well.
Combine equal parts Boric Acid, sugar, and water to form a paste as shown in this video from CupRockTV:
Place dabs of the paste in your “problem areas” around your house.
From experience, placing a very thin layer seems to work better than globing it on. Less is more. Try to spread a thin even layer (like jelly on a sandwich) instead of creating piles of the stuff.
The roaches eat the paste (drawn by sweet, sweet sugar) and inadvertently get the mixture stuck to their bodies and legs.
They bring the paste with them when they return to the nest where the young eat the left over mixture and die as well.
This method may take a couple of re-applications to work, but it is highly effective.
Pets – Release the Kitten
We have two cats. Our cats are highly skilled bug killing ninjas. They are able to spot bugs in our home before we ever even know that they are there (and sometimes do that thing were they stare a blank spot on a wall for a long time which creeps us out) and easily dispatch them with minimal effort.
And they should be good at catching bugs. Forget about being descended from alpha predators like lions and tigers, we have been training our cats for years to catch lasers (which they haven’t yet by the way, but they get oh so close).
The point is, pets (especially cats) are technically natural roach killers and will take out cockroaches and any other bugs that may squirm their way into your home.
Plus – cuddles.
How To Kill Roaches With Chemicals & Insecticides
The chemical method of roach management involves the use of insecticides, as well as chemical traps and baits.
The great part about chemical warfare (may have just got myself put on a government list somewhere for that phrase) is that chemicals are extremely effective at killing roaches.
The problem is that the chemicals that can kill a roach can also harm us humans (and our pets).
How to safely use chemicals and insecticides to kill roaches:
How To Kill Roaches With Chemical Cockroach Baits
Chemical cockroach baits operate with the same ideas as using a natural roach bait, only these bad boys are formulated specifically to be as deadly to roaches as possible.
All chemical roach baits work well, but you may find that your particular group of roaches prefers one over another. I typically buy 3 different types, see which traps are the most “popular”, and then layout my minefield or roach killer bait traps.
The key to using roach baits is placement. For maximum effectiveness, bait traps should be located in the highest roach traffic areas such as:
- Behind stationary objects (cabinets, pictures on the wall, clocks, decorations)
- Underneath and beside the stove and refrigerator
- Under the sink (especially the corners)
- Any obvious cracks or gaps in walls that lead outside
Caution: Chemical roach traps contain poison. Educate children on their dangers and place traps in locations not accessible to pets.
Insecticides & Pesticides
Insecticides are considered one of the best roach killer methods because they are highly poisonous to bugs. Insecticides become necessary when there is a large scale infestation, and there are just too many hiding places, cracks, crevices, etc. to effectively set traps and baits to eliminate the swarm.
Insecticides for homes are usually available in 2 forms: Foggers and Aerosol pesticide sprays.
Pesticide sprays are safer in that you pick and choose where the poison is placed and contained. They are typically used to kill individual roaches on contact or as a preventative measure and help to set up a “barrier” between the outside world and your home.
They are not as effective as foggers at actually killing roaches. Whereas Pesticide sprays give you more control over where you are laying down chemicals, foggers reach everywhere (which may not be totally a good thing)
The most effective roach killer fogger that I found was the Raid Maxx Deep Reach Fogger. Quick and easy set up and got rid of our roach problem. That being said, we did have to plan our day for us (and our pets) to be out of the house, and upon returning, you are greeted with that acidic leftover bug spray smell, but hey, no more roaches.
Foggers are great if your roach problem is contained to say, the garage. But when it comes to using them inside of your home, there are just as effective and safer ways to go about it.
If you must use a fogger, be sure to check out the EPA’s safety precaution guide to ensure that you are using them safely.
Yes, using an insecticide as a roach killer is highly effective, but those same chemicals that work on roaches also contaminate every surface that they touch. I recommend staying away from them if possible and believe that you are much better off using chemical cockroach baits.
Step 3. Prevent Re-infestation
Remember when your mom would yell at you to clean your room? This is why:
The roach loves your house and all of the nooks and crannies it provides for the bug to live comfortably.
Newspapers, boxes, grocery bags, piles of clothing can all turn into apartments for roaches. Bulldoze these and any other items where a roach can remain relatively undisturbed.
Vacuum often (every 2-3 days). Not only does this help to suck up potential food sources, but you also are able to eliminate parts of dead roaches (skin, shells, limbs, etc.) and egg sacs, which all give off the “roach scent” to attract other roaches to the area.
Cleaning is not a direct roach killer method, but it is a very good roach prevention technique and should be practiced regardless of roach problems!
The Kitchen Is Closed
Couple the convenient shelter that clutter and garbage provides, with bits of leftover food, spills, and organic trash that piles up, and your roach turns into a permanent roommate.
Remove all those easily accessible food sources (especially before you go to bed – roaches like to find food at night). Clean the dishes in the sink, take out the trash (and invest in a lid for the trash can if you do not have one) and wipe down surfaces, especially where food is prepared. Be sure to pick up pet food bowls as well as these can turn into all night roach buffets.
Water, Water Everywhere…
Locate and eliminate standing water in your home. Roaches cannot survive more than a week without water, so get rid of easily accessible sources within your home (pet food dishes, open toilets, un-drained sinks & tubs).
And don’t forget to get rid of those roaches in your Keurig!
Removing their easy food & water sources means that you have created hungry & thirsty roaches. And hungry, thirsty roaches are more likely to creep out of the shadows and eat up that roach killer bait that you put out for them.
So What Did We Learn?
Ultimately, the best roach killer method is to use a combination of both natural defenses and chemical cockroach baits.
IPM, or Integrated Pest Management, is a method of pest prevention that focuses on natural techniques with chemical solutions used when necessary.
IPM is most often used by farmers who need to control the pest population and protect their crops from bugs, while keeping their produce safe for human consumption.
This cumulative approach to pest control is a great (and safe) strategy for your home as well.
Based on my experiences using multiple methods, products, and techniques, the most effective way to kill roaches is to use an initial attack with either chemical or natural bait traps, followed by the long term natural prevention techniques.
We are never going to completely get rid of roaches, however, we can manage their populations and presence within our homes. Prevention of re-infestation is just as important as becoming the best roach killer that you can be! What is the point of killing all those roaches if they just keep coming back?
By following the guidelines listed above, you will become the best roach killer you can be and be able to safely and effectively free your home of your unwanted house guests – and keep them out!