Nobody likes to see a roach in their kitchen, but they find their way in from time to time. If you see one, there are probably more lurking in the corners and shadows of your home, which means you’ll need to take action if you want your home to be pest-free. Fortunately, dealing with a roach infestation is fairly straightforward, and you’ll have several options on how to approach it.
Phase One: Eliminate Food, Water, and Hiding Places
The first phase is arguably the most important. If you have cockroaches in your home, it’s undeniably because your home is attractive to them. They’ve found a way in, through holes and cracks in your exterior, and they’ve decided to stay because they have access to food, water, and convenient hiding places. If you can eliminate some or all of these convenient roach amenities, they’ll likely lose interest and move along. And if you kill your existing roach population with traps, baits, and sprays, eliminating these things will prevent them from coming back—otherwise, you’ll be trapped in a never-ending cycle.
Most roaches originate in the kitchen, where food particles, crumbs, and residue are common. Make sure all of your food is tightly sealed in containers, and clean all the nooks and crannies of your kitchen, including cupboards, drawers, and behind and under appliances. Moving forward, give the kitchen a good wipe-down at the end of each day, and while you’re at it, limit food consumption in other areas of the house.
It’s also a good idea to make sure all sources of moisture are dry. Fix any plumbing leaks, and get rid of any leftover water in your sinks and tubs. You can also eliminate roach hiding places and prevent them from getting in by sealing up hiding places like cracks or holes. The fewer gaps in your home, the better.
Phase Two: Set Up Gel Baits
Once you’re confident your roaches no longer have easy access to food, water, and hiding places, you can move onto the next phase of your plan: elimination. The best way to kill an existing roach population is with the use of gel baits. Gel bait is highly attractive to roaches, drawing them out and incentivizing them to consume it. However, it’s deadly to them; any roach that eats it or comes in contact with it should die.
Even better, gel baits have a ripple effect; roaches are communicative animals, so when one roach finds a source of food, they usually tell others about it. Accordingly, if even one roach finds one of your gel baits, it will start a domino effect, ultimately reaching dozens of roaches or more. Be sure to set up gel baits at commonly trafficked areas of your home (i.e., wherever you’ve seen roaches in the past).
Phase Three: Monitor and Evaluate
Next, you’ll need to monitor your progress and evaluate the problem. Don’t be worried or angry if your efforts aren’t immediately effective; it sometimes takes many weeks, or even many months to completely get rid of an infestation.
There are a few ways to monitor the results of your efforts, but the easiest is through the help of a few well-placed glue traps. These glue traps will trap roaches so you can see how many are traveling through a given area. Ideally, with your gel baits in place, you’ll start to see these populations decline over time. After a few weeks, you should notice a discernable difference. If you don’t, you may need to reconsider your cleanliness and gel bait placement strategies.
Phase Four: Call a Professional
If you follow the steps above, you should be able to control and/or eliminate the problem on your own. Most types of cockroaches will go away on their own if they don’t have access to food, and if you set up poisoned bait traps, it’s only a matter of time before your existing cockroach population disappears. Still, there are fringe cases where the cockroach infestation is so severe that your baseline strategies won’t work. If it’s been a month or more with no measurable change in your apparent cockroach population, it may be time to call in a professional exterminator. This likely means you have some point of entry and/or some food source that you haven’t been able to eliminate. The exterminator may be able to track down the true root of the problem and make a recommendation on how to proceed.
The next time you see a roach, try not to freak out. These insects usually keep to themselves, even if they’re annoying and they get things a little dirty. Follow these basic steps, and in a matter of weeks to months, your problem with practically disappear.