How to Easily Kill a Cockroach in Your House

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Any bug infestation is unpleasant. But there's something especially stomach-churning about turning on your kitchen light and hearing the sound of cockroaches scurrying for cover. If you find yourself in that situation, you must know how to kill a cockroach easily.

Cockroach hiding in a kitchen

Cockroaches aren’t just ugly to look at. They can also spread disease over food, surfaces, and kitchen utensils. When cockroaches carry pathogens, they can cause illnesses like food poisoning. Additionally, cockroaches shed their skin and leave droppings, both of which can cause an allergic reaction in some people.

In short, if you have an infestation, you need to figure out how to kill roaches before the problem gets out of control and threatens your and your family's health.

Common types of cockroach

Of the almost 5,000 varieties of cockroaches worldwide, there are about 30 that live in human habitats. However, there are four species that you are likely to encounter in Texas. Each different kind can cause its own set of problems.

If you notice cockroaches in your home, use this list to identify which kind you have. It can help you decide which method will be most effective.

American cockroaches

American cockroach

American cockroaches like warm, damp areas with a fair degree of moisture. They're reddish brown and the largest roach, with bodies of around 1.5 inches. Typically, you'll find them in bathrooms and kitchens.

German cockroaches

German cockroach

German cockroaches are light brown and about one-third of an inch in size. They have small wings, but they can't fly. Generally, you'll see them in bathrooms or kitchen pantries. 

Oriental cockroaches

Oriental cockroach

Oriental cockroaches are around 1-inch, with shiny black bodies. You can find these creatures in yards, garbage bins, walls, crawl spaces, and basements. They can migrate indoors when the weather gets too hot. 

Flying cockroaches

Flying cockroach

While most cockroaches have wings, only a few species can actually fly. Because these cockroaches can move around freely, they can spread disease quickly.  

The Smokey Brown is the most common flying roach. They can grow larger than 1.5 inches and have a mahogany body. Generally, you'll encounter them around the perimeter of your home, but they can move indoors.

How to kill roaches

The bad news is that roaches are very durable. They can survive almost anything you throw at them. To make things worse, they can reproduce quickly and even survive without a food source for up to a month! 

The good news is that they aren't entirely indestructible. Thankfully, there is a mix of home remedies and specially designed commercially available products that you can use to kill roaches.

When you need to know how to easily kill a cockroach, use one of these methods.

1. Use your foot

The simplest method on this list involves literally putting your foot down. Cockroaches are pretty quick, so if you have a large infestation, you can only get so far with this technique. However, if you do manage to crush one, ensure you clean the area (and your shoe) with an antibacterial cleaner to stop the spread of germs.

2. Boric acid

Boric acid can be used as an antiseptic and a preservative. But it's also fatal to cockroaches. 

Roaches need to consume boric acid for them to work. The best way to encourage them to eat it is by mixing it in a solution that is equal part sugar and water. Leave the mixture in an open jar in any area you've seen them frequently.

Another way boric acid can work is if you spread the powder down and cockroaches walk through it. The acid sticks to their legs and wings, so they'll consume the poison when they clean themselves.

If you are spreading this powder, a good rule of thumb is that if you can see it, you've used too much. Cockroaches will avoid large clumps of the material. 

3. Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous Earth (DE) is a readily available insecticide. DE is made from fossilized algae, and the powder will stick to a cockroach exoskeleton and dehydrate them. 

You can spread it out over surfaces where you see cockroaches running. However, a light touch is required. Otherwise, pests will avoid it.

4. Baking soda

When you need to learn how to easily kill a cockroach, baking soda is one of your best choices. The compound is something you probably have lying around, and it's pretty effective at killing cockroaches.

When you mix baking soda with moisture, it produces bubbles of carbon dioxide. If cockroaches consume this powder, the chemical reaction produces gasses in their stomach that cause them to explode.

You can make a DIY bait by mixing baking soda with some sugar or onions and leaving it on a plate near the areas you've seen cockroaches. 

Pest control pro tip: While baking soda is a good way to kill roaches, it's not as effective as boric acid. However, studies show that mixing the two compounds works well and can kill a cockroach in around five hours.

5. Bait stations

Bait stations are another method to consider when figuring out how to kill roaches. They can be very fast-acting and are easy to set up. 

There are a few different kinds of bait stations to consider. Some of these boxes contain poisoned bait that attracts roaches. Once consumed, they die. 

Alternatively, some bait stations use a strong adhesive that traps cockroaches when they enter the object. 

Cockroaches love to seek refuge in dark spaces with shelter from above. Bait stations take advantage of that natural inclination. However, the downside of bait stations is that they can look unsightly, and the poison can be toxic to kids and pets.

6. Use a liquid concentrate pest killer

Liquid concentrate pest killers can be used for various pests around the home. You can buy bottles of this insecticide from many home or hardware stores. It generally contains an active ingredient like Esfenvalerate.

Applying it is fairly simple. You mix the liquid with water in a spray bottle and squirt it into the areas where cockroaches like to hide. However, you can also mix it in a bucket and mop the floors with it. This method can be pretty effective at keeping cockroaches at bay, but it's not a long-term solution.

7. Insect growth regulator

As we mentioned above, cockroaches can reproduce quickly. If you don't learn how to kill roaches, your problems can magnify, and soon you'll be dealing with an infestation. If you find yourself overrun with roaches, you need to get creative, and this method can be perfect.

An insect growth regulator is perfect for when roaches are reproducing in your home. Some of the most effective kinds use Pyriproxyfen to spray areas where roach eggs and nymphs hide. These sprays can leave the roaches unable to grow into adults or reproduce. As a result, it can dramatically reduce the cockroach population.

While insect growth regulators are effective on young cockroaches, they don't take care of larger ones. So, if you are going down this route, ensure that you combine it with one of the other methods on our how to easily kill a cockroach list.

8. Chemical baits

Chemical baits are another effective way to kill roaches. They use similar compounds that you can find in bait stations; however, instead, you place them around your home in the areas that cockroaches frequent.

When cockroaches eat the bait, they return to their rest and die. Interestingly, cockroaches eat their dead. So the poison will act on the other roaches, creating a cascading effect that reduces their numbers.

Chemical baits are a good option for when you want to kill roaches, but you don't fancy checking the traps and disposing of insects every day.

9. Cockroach gel

Cockroach gels are a type of bait that you can apply to the cracks and crevices of your kitchen or bathroom. These products contain a powerful bait that attracts cockroaches and infects them with a fatal poison. It's easy to apply and doesn't ruin the aesthetic of your home. 

10. Roach and ant spray

Roach and ant spray come in an aerosol bottle, meaning they can reach deep into the areas where cockroaches hide. The spray kills roaches on contact, and some products promise to offer effectiveness on a surface for up to four weeks.

Roach and ant spray is a good product to have around the house at all times. You can use it on a variety of insects, so you never know when it will come in handy.

11. Hire a green pest control professional

While all these methods work, nothing beats hiring a professional green pest control expert to help. Pest control teams deal with cockroach infestations all the time, so they have the knowledge and equipment necessary to deal with the issue.

The problem with using some of the above-mentioned methods is that toxic chemicals can harm your kids or pets. Green pest control professionals know how to kill roaches without using synthetic compounds. You don't want to invite cockroaches into your home, but you equally don't want your kitchen and bathroom swirling with toxic chemicals.

Another bonus of hiring a pest control specialist is that they can advise you on how to get rid of your cockroach problem permanently. While many of the methods listed above work, most of them will only stem the crisis.

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