If you’ve found a dreaded cockroach or two crawling around your house, you’re no doubt wondering what in the world attracted these roaches to your home.
So first of all you’ll know what causes roaches in your house. Then what you can do to get rid of roaches permanently.
The Reasons Why Cockroaches to Start Living in Your House?
Cockroaches invade for a simple reason: they want something from your house. In fact, that’s one of 3 primary reasons for cockroaches to enter homes: food, moisture and shelter.
Food Fit for a Roach
A cockroach’s hunger is never satisfied and its sense of smell is finely tuned to detect anything edible. And what they consider edible truly stretches the definition of food.
Roaches will feed on just about anything organic, including paper, glue, pet waste and garbage. They’ll even eat pet hair that’s collected under furniture and grime stuck in the garbage disposal.
Once they’ve found all those crumbs and other tasty morsels, they’re going to stick around. So what causes roaches in a clean house?
Moisture and Humidity
Most cockroaches are very sensitive to dehydration and need water to survive. That’s why they live in humid places and why you’ll often find them under the kitchen sink or in the bathroom. American roaches, especially, love damp locations, like sewers and gutters.
Just a few drops of water from a leaky pipe, dripping faucet or wet shower mat are enough. If there’s a room in your house that traps humidity, that’s where roaches will go to breed.
Shelter: Safe and Out of Sight
Shelter is more than just a hiding place for roaches—it’s a safe location to lay eggs. When they find the right place, they reproduce quickly.
Clutter only makes a room attract cockroaches more. They love a closet filled with photos and books, where they can hide their egg sacs undisturbed.
Some Cockroaches are Attracted to Lights
While many species of cockroaches spend their days hiding in the dark, a few flying roaches—like smokybrowns and wood roaches—are strongly attracted to lights. Neglect a torn window screen or forget about the gap under your old front door and roaches can crawl—or fly—right in.
So How to Make Them Go Away?
An effective way to do that is with a method we call “CIAO” based on an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach.” CIAO stands for Clean, Inspect, Attack and Outsmart—the four components of long-term roach control.
Clean and Sanitize
You might have a clean home, but this first step is about more than just sweeping: you’ll need to empty out cabinets, move furniture and vacuum everywhere.
You should also throw out any opened, damaged or unsealed food that could have been contaminated by roaches. Use a disinfectant spray to sanitize surfaces.
Use a towel to kneel on the floor and vacuum under appliances, behind furniture and along floorboards. This is where our first two steps—cleaning and inspecting—overlap. Before you vacuum these hard-to-reach areas of the home, write down every place where you find evidence of roaches (droppings, dead roaches or a musty stench).
Do the same as you clean and empty out cabinets. You’ll probably discover quite a few food sources and potential hiding places, which you’ll target in steps three and four.
Inspect for Hotspots and Entry Points
With everything cleaned out, it’s much easier to thoroughly inspect these areas to find out where roaches are hiding and how they’re surviving.
Every time you find more evidence, write the location down on a notepad and clean it up. Keep vacuuming and disinfecting as you discover other locations.
Then, near each hotspot, place a store-bought sticky trap. This will attract and trap any roaches hiding nearby to help you determine where they’re most active and how big the problem is. It’ll also give you a head start on the next step by killing roaches overnight.
If you’re dealing with outdoor cockroaches, now is the time to inspect the area outside of your house.
Walk the perimeter, looking for cracks and crevices less than half an inch wide. Add these to your list. Check for torn window screens and gaps around wiring. Make a note of any puddles or areas of saturated soil that you’ll need to address later.
Attack the Existing Roach Infestation
To get rid of existing roaches, you’re going to use four proven tools:
- Gel bait
- Insecticidal dust
You’ve already set some traps in areas where you found evidence of roaches. Now, add some more near other typical cockroach hiding places: around the fridge, dishwasher and washing machine, in the pantry, along basement walls and around pipes.
In the small cracks and holes that roaches use to get inside walls or under floorboards, apply drops of gel bait. This powerful pest control product spreads from roach to roach, so a single drop could kill a number of the pest.
Use insecticidal dust to treat inaccessible places like wall cavities and electronics. Did you know tiny roaches could hide in your microwave’s clock or inside your air fryer? Squeeze a puff of the dust inside to kill any roaches that touch it.
An IGR is a bonus product that stops roaches from reproducing. It might not kill the adults, but it makes them sluggish and weak enough that they won’t survive long. More importantly, it prevents baby roaches.
Outsmart and Outwit to Prevent Future Roaches
The only thing worse than finding roaches once is finding them twice.
But now you’ve got a file on them. You know where they come from and what they’re looking for. You know their habits and their hideouts.
Let’s turn that knowledge into strategy.
Keep Roaches Out
You’ll need to plug every opening in exterior walls with steel wool and weatherproof caulking. Repair screens, seal up window frames and install weatherstripping to guard the spaces under doors.
Then, work on eliminating excess moisture by spreading mulch more thinly and clearing clogged gutters that might be dumping water into a moat around your walls. Stack firewood neatly to help it dry and rake any leaves and debris away from your house.
Preventing indoor roaches comes down to vigilance because they depend on you to bring them in. Check everything before you bring it into the house.
Take Away the Things Roaches Want
Use fans to ventilate rooms, like the attic and basement, that become especially humid. In the bathroom, hang the shower mat after use and try to reduce lingering humidity.
As you restock your pantry and open new food items, seal them in hard containers instead of trying to fold or clip things closed. Try to organize things neatly so you can clean around them on a regular basis.
Make sure you wash the dishes daily and replace your garbage bag as soon as it’s full. After you’
ve cooked, wipe down countertops to remove crumbs and grease. Don’t leave any food or dirty pots and pans out in the open. Empty pet water bowls and discard their food each night.
Repair any faucets that drip to remove that water source and save money. While you’re there, fix any leaky pipes under sinks or attached to appliances, dry up damp areas, and mop up standing water.
Set Long-Term Traps
There’s one more way you can outsmart roaches: set long-term cockroach traps that’ll catch them before they can get settled.
Sticky traps are great for this because they can catch quite a few roaches before you have to replace them. Just check on them from time to time to make sure there aren’t any fresh catches. If there are, scroll back to the first step to get rid of any others.
Insecticidal dust is another great long-term solution. This stuff remains potent as long as it stays dry, so it can kill roaches for over a year in the right conditions. Dust into walls and behind furniture (where pets can’t get to it) for added peace of mind. Set an appointment on your phone’s calendar every six months to a year to refresh it.
A cockroach infestation makes even a clean home feel dirty, contaminating food and putting you at risk of allergy and asthma attacks.
Now that you’ve learned what causes cockroaches, you also know what you need to do to get rid of them. Eliminating the things that attract roaches gives you the upper hand right now and helps prevent them in the future.