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Cockroaches a concern? 6 ways to make sure they don’t invade

If you’ve ever had a roach problem, you know they can be difficult to get rid of. Cockroaches are certainly unpleasant, but they also introduce all sorts of bacteria to your home and can cause illness or flare-ups in existing health issues.

In the case of a growing cockroach problem in your home, there are preventative pest control solutions that can help you eradicate them before they invade. While these remedies are effective most of the time, a reoccurring problem with these pests may require the assistance of a professional exterminator.

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How to prevent a cockroach infestation

In order to keep cockroaches from multiplying in your home, be diligent in keeping it clean and free of exposed food. Roaches don’t have a strict diet and will munch on anything you leave out, from the leftovers on your dirty plates to the remnants in your cat’s food dish. Keeping your space spick-and-span is the best method of prevention.

Clean thoroughly

Leaving food out overnight or putting off doing the dishes until the next morning are habits that will attract cockroaches and other pests. Being diligent with cleaning up after every meal will go a long way in preventing invasion. For a deeper dive into cleaning your kitchen, here are some steps for making sure your kitchen is completely sanitary and unwelcoming to roaches.

Clean white kitchen with hardwood floors
Mark Mccammon/Pexels

Examine your cupboards and pantry

If you open your pantry and smell strong food aromas, chances are there is food in there that is not properly sealed. Whether it’s a loose spice cap or an open box of pancake mix, examine each item to be sure its seal is airtight, making it scent-free and impenetrable.

It’s also a good idea to wipe down both your cupboard shelves and food containers with disinfecting spray or wipes to remove spills or sticky substances that might attract the pests.

Clean or replace trash receptacles

Your trash bin can get grimy from food splashes and leaky trash bags. Give your bin a good wipe down or simply replace it with a new one to eliminate the issue of sticky substances that attract cockroaches.

Limit eating spaces

While it’s tempting to have breakfast in bed or eat in the living room while having a movie night, this is a practice you should eliminate if you are seeing a problem with cockroaches. Limiting where you eat will ultimately limit the areas in your home that cockroaches will be attracted to and you can contain the problem better to prevent an infestation.

Tray of breakfast food on bed next to woman's legs

DIY cockroach extermination

If you’re seeing roaches in your home but you’re not quite ready to call in a professional, there are a few DIY solutions that may tackle your roach problem for good. If you continue seeing roaches after trying these remedies, though, consider calling a local exterminator.

Baking soda

Ingesting baking soda will create gas inside of the roach that will cause it to burst. To attract the roaches to the baking soda, combine it with sugar or sprinkle it on some onions or citrus peel.

Boric acid

Boric acid attacks roaches’ digestive systems and kills them within a couple of days. Combine it with sugar or simply place it on a paper plate with some bait in the middle to attract the roaches.

When should you call an exterminator?

While meticulous cleaning can help prevent infestation and keep cockroaches at bay, it can’t always solve the problem completely. If you live in an apartment, for example, infestations in other units may bleed into your space, due to no fault of your own.

Exterminators can be pricey, and it can be hard to tell when it is absolutely essential to bring one in, but before you make the leap to hiring a professional, there are some ways to tell if your roach problem is just one critter or a full infestation.

How many cockroaches have you seen?

If you have only seen one roach so far, it may just be one wanderer that made its way into your kitchen. If you see two, however, the likelihood is high that there are dozens more in hiding. When multiple cockroaches have been spotted, it may be time to call an exterminator.

When did you see the cockroach?

Roaches are nocturnal and like dark spaces, so if you see one during daylight hours, this means there are many more lurking about. A cockroach out and about midday means its home has become too crowded and it’s been forced out into unfavorable light conditions.

Telltale signs

A roach infestation leaves evidence in your home. You might see or even smell this evidence, particularly in the kitchen. Roaches’ feces are easy to spot and look a lot like coffee grounds, and believe it or not, their entrails actually give off a distinct odor that is musky and similar to wet towels. If you start to see or smell this evidence, it might be time to consult a professional.

Woman in PPE spraying cleaner on counter
Matilda Wormwood / Pexels

A roach problem is no joke, and an infestation is nothing short of a nightmare. Proper cleaning, sanitizing, and food containment are a great start in preventing a roach invasion. If you’re seeing signs of a roach army growing, our DIY methods can go a long way in wiping it out, but know that there may come a time when an exterminator is necessary.

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Veronica Sparks
Veronica Sparks is a writer from Milwaukee, Wisconsin who loves writing about gardening, home décor, and DIY life. She’s…
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