Roaches also known as Cockroaches are common pests that infest homes and they actually pose more serious health hazards than what most people realize. While these crawling insects do not cause diseases on their own, they’re vectors or carriers of infectious microorganisms. This means they can transmit diseases and spread bacteria all over your home. Therefore, it’s important to get rid of them.
It’s estimated that roaches can spread about 33 kinds of bacteria, 6 types of parasitic worms, and 7 other human related pathogens. From bathroom floors and sewage pipes, to rodent nests and decaying matter, the places roaches pass through before getting to your home are far from clean. Usually, they carry all kinds of germs on the spines of their legs. These insects can therefore contaminate countertops, cooking surfaces, utensils, and even food. What’s even worse is their saliva, droppings, and dead skin tend to worsen asthma attacks or trigger allergic reactions.
Besides posing serious health hazards, roaches can be an embarrassment, especially when neighbors or friends find out that your home is infested. Additionally, roaches are a nuisance because they tend to snack on your food, damage books, wallpaper, and electronics. Once these unwelcome house guests make themselves at home, they can multiply and prove difficult to eliminate.
Fortunately, there are ways of getting rid of cockroaches and even preventing them from re-infesting your home. Generally, these methods may involve the use of baits, traps, insecticides, or repellents that ward off roaches. Before using any cockroach killing method, it’s first important to find out what type of species you’re dealing with.
Types of Roaches
Depending on the species, roaches prefer different climates and living conditions. Identifying the type of species that has infested your home is therefore helpful when it comes to choosing spots for bait placement.
Although there are about 4000 known species of roaches, the following are the top four varieties that invade homes:
- German Cockroach
Because of their high reproductive rates, German roaches are the most widespread species found all over the world. They like to live in warm and humid places like kitchens and bathrooms.
These small roaches typically grow to about 13 to 16mm long and vary in colors ranging from light brown to tan. They usually have two dark stripes behind the head. In ideal conditions, they can survive for up to twelve months.
- American Cockroach
Known for being one of the largest cockroach species, adult American roaches can be as long as 29 to 53mm. They’re easily identified by their long antennas, reddish brown color, and yellowish heads that take on a number 8 figure.
American roaches like to live in moist places like basements, foundations, around pipes or drains, manholes adjacent to buildings, as well as crawl between spaces and crevices of porches.
These species of roaches do not tolerate cold weather and instead move to warmer hiding places inside homes that have temperatures of about 29 degrees Celsius. With the right conditions, American roaches can live for up to 2 years. They also produce odorous secretions, which can leave your home with a mild, musty smell if the infestation is severe.
- Brown-banded Cockroach
Brown-banded roaches prefer warmer, drier, and higher locations. They can often be found in upper cabinets or in dry rooms.
It’s common to find egg cases of these roaches underneath furniture. Brown-banded roaches are typically small, ranging between 10 and 14mm long. They can be tan to light brown and get their name from the two light colored bands that run across the wings and abdomen. Wings on the male are larger and cover the back plus abdomen.
- Oriental Cockroach
Oriental roaches are colloquially known as “water bugs” because they emerge from drains. Alternatively, some people call them “black beetle roaches” due to their shiny dark colored bodies.
Although not as large as their American counterparts, oriental cockroaches are still relatively big, reaching up to 18 to 29mm long. They thrive in dark, moist places and you will often see them in sewers.
Upon entering homes, they like to take residence in damp basements, drains, and crawl spaces.
How to Get Rid of Cockroaches with Natural Home Remedies
There are many effective ways to get rid of roaches without using chemicals or resorting to hiring an expensive professional exterminator. Here are some of the tried and tested methods that you may want to try when dealing with a roach infestation.
- Starve and Dehydrate the Roaches (Permanent and Best Solution)
Roaches love human dwellings because they get to feed on remnants of people’s food. There’s also an abundance of water in people’s homes. By denying roaches water and food, this will effectively eliminate them from your home.
With that in mind, here are a few tips to keep your home clean and dry in order to create hostile conditions for roaches:
- Tips to Deplete Food Sources for Roaches
Starving roaches simply involves keeping your home clean. Keep in mind that many things you consider as garbage can provide a food fest for roaches.
- Spills can provide roaches with food for months. Therefore, keep your home thoroughly clean. Make sure that kitchen floors, countertops and cabinets are spotless. Additionally, leave no food remnants or crumbs around your kitchen appliances.
- Create a habit of eating food in only one room. When you move food from the kitchen, tiny spills and crumbs find their way in other rooms, which in turn attract roaches and allow them to spread.
- Store your food in tightly sealed plastic bags to prevent contamination from roaches. Avoid leaving dirty dishes or uncovered food containers overnight, as roaches tend to be active during this time.
- Empty and clean pet food containers every evening and refill them when needed.
- Do not leave disposed garbage sitting for too long. Instead, take out the trash every evening. Collect rubbish in plastic bags and opt for trashcans that have a lid instead of those that remain open.
- Tips to Keep Your Home Dry
Roaches can go for a month without food but they will only survive for a week without water. Some of the effective ways to deny them of water include:
- Always wipe dry utensils and pet dishes with clean separate towels after cleaning them.
- Sinks, bathtubs, and showers can be kept dry by wiping them with paper towel.
- Remember to throw away the damp paper towels in plastic bags when done.
- Fix any leaking pipes and ensure to tighten loose water or drainage connections.
- Avoid slopping water behind large appliances like dishwashers, refrigerators and ovens, as this can provide roaches with water without you even noticing.
- Lure the Roaches with Poisoned Bait
The concept of using bait to kill roaches is simple. All you need to do is add a poisonous agent to food that cockroaches like to eat. The roaches will be lured into eating the poisoned bait, which then kills them.
Although you can use commercially-made bait, there are a few natural ingredients that would also make excellent bait for roaches without the need for chemicals. These include:
- Boric Acid, White Flour and White Sugar Granules/Cocoa
The working mechanism of this concoction is quite simple. Sugar and white flour or cocoa serve as bait while boric acid is the killing agent.
- Mix boric acid, white flour and white sugar granules in equal parts. Alternatively, prepare the bait by mixing 2 parts cocoa with 1 part boric acid.
- Add a few drops of water to the powdered mixture to make a paste.
- Apply the paste in front of nests or places where roaches make standard visits.
- Continue this pest control treatment for several weeks to reduce the cockroach population in your home.
- Baking Soda and Sugar
Much like boric acid, baking soda is also a killing agent for roaches. Baking soda is a great alternative for boric acid because it’s much less toxic to pets and humans. When roaches eat the baking soda, it bloats their digestive systems, which leads to their death.
- Mix baking soda and sugar in equal portions.
- Sprinkle the powdered mixture within easy access for roaches.
- Leave the mixture to stay in place overnight and vacuum in the morning. The roaches will die when they eat it.
- Repeat this regimen for several weeks to decrease the number of roaches in your home.
- Use Homemade Insecticide
If you prefer to kill roaches instantly but don’t want to use chemical laden pesticides, you can create your own homemade insecticide. All you need is a few organic ingredients that are lethal to cockroaches.
To make your own cockroach killing insecticide at home, use one or more of the following options:
- Soap and Water
The simple mixture of soap and water is deadly to roaches. Soap creates a film over breathing pores of roaches, thereby suffocating the roaches.
How to Kill Roaches with Soapy Water:
- Make a simple solution of soap and water (bath soap or dishwasher detergent will work just fine).
- Splash the water directly onto any visible roaches. You can also use a spray bottle, but make sure the solution is thin enough to spray.
- When killing cockroaches with soapy water, ensure that the solution hits the head, belly, or lower abdomen. Depending on the soap used, this method can kill roaches instantly. Sometimes the cockroach will try to run to a safe hiding place, but it will drop dead within one minute.
- Be sure to kill any incapacitated roaches manually since they could recover if the soapy water dries up and hasn’t touched a large percentage of its body.
- Fabric softener/ detergent
Just like the soap and water solution, fabric softener seals the breathing orifices of roaches thus causing them to suffocate and die. Again, the trick is to expose the cockroach’s lower body to fabric softener.
Since these insects breathe with their abdomens, the fabric softener will effectively cut off air supply.
Preparation and Application Method:
- Mix fabric softener and water in the ratio of 2:1 and pour the solution in a spray bottle.
- Next, scout for roaches in infested areas or nests and spray them directly with the solution. Make sure that the diluted fabric softener hits the roaches’ abdomen when spraying.
- Squash all sprayed roaches to ensure that they’re completely dead and throw them away in the dustbin or flush them down the toilet pipe.
- Hair Spray
Hair spray is another agent that will suffocate roaches. It works in the same way as fabric softener and soapy water. The added advantage of using this remedy is that it traps roaches.
Since hairspray is sticky, it essentially glues the wings of roaches together. This allows you to catch roaches as they scamper for safety. You’ll even have time to turn them over and apply the killing agent easily on their abdomens.
Using Hair Spray to Kill Roaches:
- When roaches emerge from hiding, spray them with the hair spray solution.
- Give the solution time to kill the roaches but make sure to apply it on the abdomens.
- When the insects die, throw them away in the trashcan. Make sure to clean the sprayed area with a damp cloth, as hair spray can contain substances that are toxic to pets and children.