Found a cockroach? Try this homemade roach killer and steps that get rid of cockroaches naturally to put an end to the problem for good.
Are Cockroaches Dangerous?
Cockroaches can be a dangerous source of allergens and asthma triggers. Their feces, saliva, and shedded skins are all irritants that act like dust mites and can spread in your home’s air the same way. They also carry dangerous bacteria, molds, funguses, and viruses, including the one which causes polio.
They’re Also Gross
Cockroaches will feast on everything from crumbs to fecal matter. They’re also not picky about where they poop. They’ll do it on food that’s left out, your kitchen counters, your toothbrush, wherever. And their poop contains salmonella, staphylococcus, and streptococcus bacteria that can make you very sick.
Plus, They Can Multiply Without Mating
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 allows females to reproduce solo 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 it fast. Otherwise, you may be dealing with a major infestation before long.
Why Do Cockroaches Invade Your Home?
Like most household pests, cockroaches search for a comfortable, safe spot to breed where there’s also a ready food supply. The average household provides all of these things:
Sources of food: Dirty dishes, full garbage cans, pet food on the floor, and crumbs.
Hiding places: Cardboard boxes, clutter, heavy appliances, dark cabinets, and closets.
Breeding spots: Warm, humid areas like refrigerator drip pans, damp basements, sweaty pipes.
How Cockroaches Get Into Your Home
Like most pests, cockroaches get into your home in predictable ways. They often get in through cracks in your home’s foundation or gaps around windows, beneath doors, or where pipes and utility wires enter your home. Sometimes, the things you bring into your home also bring in cockroaches.
Roaches often hitch a ride indoors in delivery packages left on the front step, cardboard boxes or paper bags from stores, and newspapers that sat in your driveway. Buying second-hand items or picking up furniture from the roadside can also introduce them into your home. It’s even possible for cockroaches to fly or jump in through open windows and doors.
How To Get Rid of Cockroaches
To get rid of cockroaches in your home, you need to kill the ones inside and do something about the things in your home that attract them.
1. Starve Them Out by Cleaning
While cockroaches don’t necessarily mean you’re a bad housekeeper, they do mean something is attracting them. So, cleaning your home thoroughly should be your first response to get rid of a cockroach infestation. By cleaning, you’ll deprive them of food and places to breed.
In the kitchen: Clean your counters and backsplash, moving everything that’s sitting out, so you don’t overlook any crumbs or spills that might attract pests. Clean behind and beneath your appliances, too. Your refrigerator’s drip tray is a favorite hiding spot for cockroaches. So is the drawer under your stove, which often collects crumbs and spills. If you’re concerned about missing any spots, use a kitchen deep cleaning checklist.
In the bathroom: Hair, makeup, and other messes in the bathroom provide an abundance of food sources for cockroaches. Clean all surfaces thoroughly, including cabinets beneath the sinks. Adding one of the cockroach-repelling scents below to a homemade bathroom cleaner can keep them out of this room.
In the family room: If your family likes to snack in front of the TV, you need to be vigilant about crumbs and dirty dishes they leave behind. Be sure to tidy this area as part of a daily cleaning routine, so you can get rid of food sources before cockroaches find them.
In bedrooms: Dirty dishes and food wrappers aren’t the only things that attract cockroaches to bedrooms. They also seek out piles of laundry on the floor and other types of clutter. Since roaches are drawn to dark, humid areas, they may also invade your bed or piles of blankets left on the floor.
2. Seal the Gaps
Check your home’s exterior for cracks and holes where pests can enter. Use caulk for gaps around windows and doors and also to fill any gap between your home’s siding and foundation. Add door sweeps and weatherstripping as needed, too. You may need to add foam insulation, backer rod, or steel wool before caulking larger gaps.
3. Use Cockroach Repellents to Keep them Away
There are some scents that cockroaches and other household pests don’t like. You can use these to keep cockroaches out of your home by adding them to a homemade all-purpose spray and using it to clean household surfaces and entrances.
Some scents that cockroaches don’t like include lavender (which also repels mosquitoes) and peppermint (which also helps get rid of ants). In your kitchen, try leaving whole bay leaves on pantry shelves: they’ll deter cockroaches and also prevent pantry moths.
4. Bait and Kill Cockroaches in Your Home
It’s tempting to reach for a can of bug killer when you see a cockroach or other pest in your home. But those sprays are no more effective than squashing a bug: you’ll kill the one you see but won’t do anything about the ones you don’t.
If you want to get rid of cockroaches in your home and put an end to the infestation, you need to lure them to their death. You can easily make this homemade cockroach killer that attracts cockroaches then kills them. Put it in places where cockroaches like to hide: under sinks, behind appliances, in the corner of cupboards, etc.
Homemade Cockroach Killer
2 tablespoons of Crisco or cooking grease
2 tablespoons of powdered confectioner’s sugar
1/2 cup flour
1 cup borax or diatomaceous earth
Combine the grease, sugar, flour, and borax with just enough water to make a soft dough that holds its shape. Roll the dough into olive-sized balls and put them where roaches like to hide. Tuck them into plastic berry containers first if you want to keep kids or pets from getting to them.
You might see a surge of pest activity when you first use the homemade roach killer balls. That’s because the grease lures bugs from their hiding places. Then, since both borax and diatomaceous earth have microscopically sharp edges that tear up their digestive tracts, they’ll dehydrate and die.
Keep refreshing the roach killer balls with a daily mist of water so their scent remains active and replace them when they completely lose their smell. Using them in combination with the other steps to eliminate cockroaches should have your problem under control in a couple of weeks.