Time to read:5 minutes
If you’ve spotted a roach crawling in your home, you probably wonder how to get rid of cockroaches for good — and fast. These tips, and the natural homemade cockroach killer recipe
Sometimes, our first reaction is denial: My home is clean, so I can’t possibly have a cockroach problem! But, unfortunately, cockroaches can infest even spotless homes and often because we brought them inside ourselves.
These tips will show you how to get rid of cockroaches naturally and keep them away for good. Plus, there’s a Homemade Natural Cockroach Killer recipe at the end that’s safe to use around pets and kids. With a little effort and attention, your home can be cockroach free.
How to Get Rid of Cockroaches
Cockroaches Carry Diseases
Cockroaches aren’t just unsightly bugs — they also harbor a number of vicious bacteria.
There is a substantial list of bacteria, funguses, molds and a couple of viruses that cockroaches can carry from place to place, not to mention an amoeba that causes dysentery, another parasite that causes giardiasis and the virus that causes polio.New York Times
Cockroaches carry salmonella, staphylococcus, and streptococcus. Because of this, they can cause food poisoning by depositing bacteria on food and cooking utensils.
More commonly, cockroaches trigger human allergies and asthma. So, if someone in your home has these issues, you need to get rid of cockroaches ASAP.
How Roaches Cause Disease is Gross
Cockroaches aren’t picky about what they eat: they’ll feast on everything from crumbs to fecal matter.
They’re also not picky about where they poop. If you’ve got cockroaches, you should know they poop on food that’s left out, your kitchen counters, your toothbrush — wherever.
Also, cockroach poop contains bacteria that can survive in their digestive system for months. When that bacteria makes its way to your body — by eating contaminated food or touching contaminated surfaces — you get sick.
Cockroaches Can Multiply Without Breeding
That one cockroach you saw skittering across the kitchen floor can produce hundreds of offspring — without breeding — if it’s an American cockroach.
Known as parthenogenesis, this reproductive strategy is common among some insects. It means that females can reproduce on their own when mating partners are in short supply.
So, if you’ve seen one cockroach, it’s time to find out how to get rid of cockroaches. Otherwise, you may be dealing with a major infestation before long.
How To Keep Cockroaches out of Your Home
1. Be Careful about What You Bring Indoors
Paper and Boxes Can Carry Cockroaches Inside
Roaches love paper. It’s not just one of their favorite snacks, it’s also a surface on which they like pooping. When they do so, they leave behind a pheromone that tells other cockroaches they’ve found a feast.
Roaches frequently enter our homes by hitching a ride on paper goods (.pdf) stored in poorly-maintained stores, warehouses, and long-distance shipping facilities.
Consequently, one of the easiest ways to get rid of cockroaches is by keeping potential sources of infestation from entering. Like:
- Paper bags from the grocery store
- Cardboard shipping boxes
- Bulk item packaging (for example, cases of wrapped goods from Costco)
Second-Hand Items May Contain Roaches
That gorgeous piece of furniture you found on the roadside won’t seem like such a good deal if it leads to a cockroach infestation. The same goes for the huge set of used paperbacks you bought on eBay or the super cheap microwave you got at the thrift store.
After all, how much of a savings is it if you’ve got to spend time and effort trying to get rid of cockroaches that came along with your “deal?”
- Don’t pick up furniture from the roadside. It’s usually thrown out for a good reason.
- Immediately launder all used clothing from thrift stores or online. If you can’t wash it immediately, double bag it in plastic and keep it in your garage or another outdoor location.
- Freeze used books and other similar items for 72 hours to kill hidden pests. Wrap them in two plastic bags, each tied tightly, to protect the books from moisture.
2. Deprive Roaches of Hiding Spots
While even clean homes can have roaches, they’re more likely to infest cluttered homes. In other words, to get rid of cockroaches and keep them from returning, you need to clean regularly and keep your home decluttered.
- Clean under appliances regularly. Crumbs, spills and other kitchen debris accumulates under refrigerators and ovens. At least once a season — and more often if you’ve seen roaches — pull your appliances out from the wall to clean behind and beneath them.
- Don’t let laundry pile up on the floor. Even last night’s pajamas can provide a warm, safe breeding spot for roaches. Keep dirty clothes in hampers and hang up clothes you plan to wear again.
- Declutter cupboards and closets. Crammed spaces provide roaches with a ready place to breed. Don’t know where to start decluttering? Follow my free 30-day home organizing series.
3. Deny them Food
A fast way to get rid of cockroaches is to stop feeding them.
- Don’t leave food sitting out on your counters, including fruit bowls.
- Use air-tight containers to store dry goods, including cereals and baking supplies.
- Wipe spills immediately on counters, floors, and shelves.
- Don’t keep dirty dishes in the sink. Wash them or, at the very least, rinse all the food off immediately after use.
- Keep your stinky drains clean and grime-free. (Here’s how.)
- Run your garbage disposal often. Food debris can build up after doing dishes or cooking then serve as a buffet for roaches. Clean your garbage disposal weekly, too.
- Rinse recyclables like cans, bottles, and plastics before putting them in your recycling containers. Keep your bins in the garage.
- Don’t let garbage pile up. Empty trash cans, diaper pails, and litter boxes daily.
- Don’t leave pet food sitting out, either.
How to Kill Cockroaches
Once you’ve eliminated the clutter, food sources and breeding areas through the above steps, this roach killer recipe will help destroy the rest.
Homemade Cockroach Killer Recipe
The Crisco or bacon grease and powdered sugar in these balls attract the roaches and give them something to eat. But Borax has very sharp edges, so it tears up their insides and kills them. The result? Dead bugs!
You will need:
- 1/8 cup Crisco or bacon grease, room temperature
- 1/8 cup powdered (confectioners’) sugar
- 1 cup Borax
- 1/2 cup flour (white or wheat)
- Plastic berry boxes (optional, see safety note below)
- Combine the first four ingredients then add water slowly to form a soft dough that still holds shape.
- Roll into balls about the size of an olive.
- Stash two or three balls in each place roaches like to hang out: under sinks, behind appliances, in the corner of food cupboards, etc.
- Lightly mist the Cockroach Killer balls with water daily to keep them soft and their scent fresh.
- Replace with new balls as needed.
Kid and Pet Safety Using Homemade Roach Killer
Borax is an all-natural substance that is considered safe for use around humans and animals. Like any substance — even water — it can be harmful if ingested in large quantities.
Using plastic berry containers, which already have vent holes, can keep kids and pets from easily getting to them. Tape the containers shut before use. You can also simply put them down at night after the kids go to bed, which is when cockroaches usually come out, anyway.
Remember, keeping your home pest-free requires diligence, so even when the roach balls start to work you’ll want to stay clutter-free and clean to keep roaches out of your home.
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