How To Get Rid Of Cockroaches

cockroach on floor in your home

Cockroaches have been around for at least 120 million years, are extremely adaptable, and can be one of the trickiest pests to boot from your home. They’re mostly nocturnal and hard to get rid of once they find their way inside. It goes without saying that nobody wants to share their home with these unsightly creatures, especially because they are known to spread germs and disease! Read on to learn how roaches find their way into your home, what they need to survive, and how you can get them out.

Jump To A Section: 

How Do Cockroaches Get Inside 

Do Cockroaches Only Go To Dirty Places?

What Attracts Cockroaches To Your Home?

Do Cockroaches Bite?

How To Prevent Cockroaches

How Do Cockroaches Get Inside

To start, let’s make one thing clear: Cockroaches are creative insects. They can squeeze through cracks as small as 3 mm (⅛ inch)—the width of a quarter!—and hold their breath for an obscene amount of time. This gives them plenty of options when it comes to getting into homes and apartments.

Cockroaches find their way inside by:

  • Squeezing through a crack in the foundation or walls.
  • Coming through tiny gaps around windows or doors.
  • Hitching a ride in on paper grocery bags, cardboard boxes shipped to your home from warehouse suppliers, or soda boxes.
  • Crawling through plumbing from one apartment to another (yes, this means they could come in through your shower drain)!
  • Hiding in firewood you bring in from outside.
  • Stowing away on pet food kept outside your home before bringing it in.

These resourceful insects might find their way into a home in other ways, too, but these are some scenarios that don’t require much imagination to believe.

Do Cockroaches Only Go To Dirty Places? 

Let’s bust the myth that cockroaches are only attracted to dirty homes. As extremely versatile creatures—able to go a month without food, cover up to 3 miles in an hour, and eat cardboard to survive—cockroaches can get by on the scantest resources in even the cleanest house.

However, it should be noted that a messy home provides roaches with more places to shelter and breed, both of which obviously make the infestation worse. So while even a clean home is vulnerable to cockroaches, managing, tracking, and getting rid of them is made easier in a clean rather than cluttered home. 

What Attracts Cockroaches To Your Home? 

Pests don’t show up in our homes for no reason. As is true for all house pests, cockroaches only inhabit homes because they can find food, water, or shelter—or all of the above—there. If your home provides any of these necessities, the likelihood of cockroaches moving in increases.

More specifically, cockroaches are often attracted to: 

  • Warm, humid, and dark hiding places (like your boiler room).
  • Moisture in general.
  • Cardboard and newspaper.
  • Food (crumbs, grease, spills, etc.).
  • Unsealed trash cans (inside and outside your home).
  • Dirty dishes left out overnight.
  • Pet food crumbs around bowls.
  • A yard cluttered with leaf litter, long grass, and standing water.
  • Tight hiding places, like behind cabinets, picture frames, or baseboards.

Even everyday activity in a clean home is enough to draw a pest as adaptable as a cockroach. Don’t worry! It’s not you, it’s them.

Do Cockroaches Bite? 

While cockroaches can bite humans, they almost never do. Humans have documented cockroach bites only a few times in history, and only a handful of stories exist of humans being bitten by cockroaches.

So it’s probably most accurate to say—for all intents and purposes—No, cockroaches do not bite humans. It has happened once in a blue moon, but these insects have very little to gain from biting a human. 

Many people do have allergic reactions to cockroaches (this blog post goes more in-depth), which can trigger asthma, a runny nose, red eyes, and even skin rashes. These rashes often look like bug bites, which could be one reason people think cockroaches bite. 

How To Prevent Cockroaches

Your best bet at keeping cockroaches out of your home is careful exclusion. This means sealing up any and all gaps in the exterior of your home so cockroaches can’t get in if they try.

You can seal your home against cockroaches by:

  • Putting fine wire mesh behind attic or crawlspace vents.
  • Repair large gaps in your home’s exterior with wood and screws, sheet metal, etc.
  • Carefully weather-strip doors and windows.
  • Ensuring screens for doors and windows have no holes and are flush around the edges.
  • Using expanding foam or pipe collars to seal around gas and water pipes that go through walls.
  • Silicone small cracks in the foundation, siding, kitchen, bathrooms, etc.

Other measures you can take to make your home less attractive to cockroaches include:

  • Sanitize countertops, shelves, and floors on a regular basis.
  • Wash dishes right after meals so they don’t sit overnight.
  • Regularly clean behind/under fridges, ovens, stoves, dishwashers, and furniture.
  • Store belongings in resealable containers, instead of in cardboard boxes.
  • Repair leaky pipes, faucets, and outdoor spigots to deny roaches access to water.
  • Store pantry items and pet food in sealed plastic containers.
  • Make sure pet food bowls are empty at night.
  • Keep a tidy yard with short grass, minimal leaf litter, and no pooled water (which will also keep mosquitoes down!).

If—despite your best efforts—cockroaches do find their way into your home, you don’t have to fend for yourself. Our experienced cockroach exterminators specialize in cockroach control and removal. We’ll use years of experience and specialized training to get rid of cockroaches and help protect your home so they don’t come back. Get in touch with Big Time Pest Control for professional help that makes your cockroach problem a thing of the past.

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