How should I kill cockroaches? (with photos)

An American cockroach, also sometimes called a bed bug.

Many people who have encountered a cockroach infestation in the past would say that the best way to kill them is early and often. As cockroaches tend to remain hidden in their nesting areas, it is often said that the sight of one cockroach outdoors indicates the presence of at least 100 more that remain hidden behind walls and under the ground. Fortunately, there are several ways to kill cockroaches that address both the visible and the invisible variety.

A person using repellent to kill cockroaches.

One way to kill cockroaches is through aerosol or non-aerosol sprays. These chemical sprays are designed to kill many cockroaches on contact and then create a line of venom that individual cockroaches drag into their nesting areas. Some insecticides act as deadly nerve agents, attacking the cockroaches’ central nervous system and killing them within seconds. However, these spray insecticides can have minimal effect on reproduction and can be toxic to animals and children.

Fumigation is a common way of controlling cockroaches.

Another popular method of killing cockroaches is the use of bait traps, or so-called “cockroach motels”. These traps usually contain a small amount of a chemical bait, which tricks cockroaches into entering the trap through small openings. Once inside, however, it is nearly impossible for the cockroaches to escape and they die from exposure to poisoned bait or the effects of starvation. At least these cockroaches cannot return to their original nests to breed or continue foraging.

There are some insecticidal products available that address the reproductive side of a cockroach infestation. The active ingredients not only kill the adult cockroach, but also neutralize the hatchlings that have not yet hatched inside the cockroach’s egg pouch. Killing all visible cockroaches in an infested area can eliminate some immediate problems, but the bigger problem cannot be solved until the breeding cycle is stopped. This is why many pest control experts do not recommend stepping on cockroaches as a method of extermination. This action can release the egg sac, allowing many more baby cockroaches to take up the cause.

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If all else fails, the infested area may have to be fumigated or sprayed by professional exterminators. Professional exterminators have access to chemicals that kill virtually every living thing in a prescribed area, which usually means a complete evacuation of the entire home and several days of cleaning all exposed objects after treatment. They can also determine the main areas of infestation and introduce powerful insecticides capable of killing eggs directly onto walls and floors. These services are not cheap, but they will usually get the job done when other methods fail.

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