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Cockroaches: Problems and Solutions

Cockroach Facts

  • Cockroaches need food, water, and shelter to survive and, once found, leave “scent trails” to attract other cockroaches.
  • The three most common cockroaches in the U.S. are the American, German, and Oriental roaches. Identifying the type of cockroach will help with treatment.
  • Cockroaches prefer moist areas with tight spaces to live like cracks and corrugated cardboard, and are common in basements, bathrooms, and kitchens.
  • Cockroaches are most active a night.
  • Cockroaches reproduce very quickly, which can make a small problem quickly grow into a big problem.

Problems With Cockroaches

  • Cockroaches can spread germs and bacteria across surfaces and make people sick.
  • Cockroach droppings and decaying body parts can lead to developing asthma and trigger asthma episodes in people, especially children, when exposed.

Signs of a Cockroach in the House

Fecal spotting is one of the most common signs of cockroaches. They are often found close to food storage and preparation sights or in moist areas such as under sinks in kitchens and bathrooms.

How to Get Rid of Cockroaches


Simple actions will prevent cockroaches from being a problem.

  • Clean up food and spills quickly and thoroughly in areas where food is prepared, stored, and eaten.
  • Keep lids on garbage cans and place outdoor garbage cans and receptacles away from doorways.
  • Caulk cracks and holes to remove cockroach hiding places.
  • Vacuum regularly to remove food debris and force roaches out of their hiding places.
  • Reduce clutter. Clutter hides the signs of a cockroach infestation and makes it more difficult to treat. Throw out cardboard boxes, store food on easily cleanable shelves, and organize dark quiet spaces where cockroaches like to hide.
  • Monitor with sticky traps to see where, what type, and how many cockroaches are present. Focus efforts in areas with high concentrations of roaches. Continue to monitor hotspots even after roaches are gone.


If cockroaches are present, you can control them using some basic tools and actions. Persistence is necessary to achieve success.

  • Vacuum floors, cupboards, cracks, and crevices where roaches may be present. Use vacuum with a High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter if possible, to cut down on dust.
  • Clean “scent trails” where roaches have been identified with a solution of one-part vinegar and one-part water, or a mild soapy solution.
  • Use pesticide bait stations and bait gels. These are safe and effective for eliminating roaches.

Make Safe Product Choices

Gel baits or bait stations work best against cockroaches. They can be purchased at your local hardware store or online. Be sure to choose a product that is made for cockroaches.

Always read labels before using any product and follow directions carefully. Gel baits and bait stations need to be placed where there are signs of cockroaches like droppings or where you have seen activity. Use just pea sized dots of gel bait in areas unlikely to come in contact with occupants. Products should always be out of a child’s reach.

Avoid Using Non-bait Products

Do not use aerosols, sprays, bombs, or foggers. They are less effective at getting rid of cockroaches than baits, tend to scatter roaches, and are more likely to cause harm to health.

Be persistent! Keeping on top of the problem using the prevention and treatment techniques discussed here will control cockroaches. Keep with it, and you’ll be in control and pest free before long.

Need More Help?

Go to Elevate’s IPM webpage at to find other helpful resources and information on how to contact our IPM team.

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