How to get rid of cockroaches

The cockroach. Nothing says, “Yuck”, like the sight of a cockroach; dead or alive. Roches can be found in our homes, our favorite restaurants, our places of work, and even in our schools and libraries. No place is safe from a cockroach. They are equal opportunity cockroachinhabitants. If they have food, water and shelter, the cockroach will set up residence just about anywhere if allowed to.

Once they have infested an area, they multiply quickly. This is where the real danger resides. Cockroaches pose a serious health threat if left to spread and populate. Cockroaches carry bacteria that can cause food poisoning, diarrhea, allergies and even skin rash. It is important to get rid of them BEFORE they infest your home or business.

Keeping cockroaches from invading your home is one thing, it is an entirely different matter once they’ve already infested your home. Getting rid of roaches involves more than just spraying insecticides or setting bait traps. You need preventive measures, so they don’t have a reason to enter the home and professional remediation services for when they do. In this blog, we’ll discuss both preventive AND remediation strategies.

What type of cockroach is in my house?

There are over 4,000 species of cockroach on the planet. Lucky for us, only a couple types of roach call the United States home. The most popular are the German and American cockroach.


The American cockroach has a reddish-brown color and is often larger than its German cousin; about 1.5 inches. American cockroaches are most common in homes, sewers and basements, particularly around pipes and drains. American cockroaches are resourceful feeders and will eat cheese, beer, tea, leather, bakery products, starch in book bindings, manuscripts, glue, hair, flakes of dried skin, dead animals, plant materials, and soiled clothing.

They prefer moist, warm areas above 84 degrees and thrive in crawl spaces, sewers and summer weather.

The German cockroach has a light-brown body with two black stripes down the sides of its backside. This roach variety measures less than a half inch in length. They are attracted particularly to meats, starches, sugars, and fatty foods. Where a shortage of foodstuff exists, they may eat household items such as soap, glue, and toothpaste. 

The German cockroach is the most common cockroach species on the planet. They are most often associated with restaurants, food processing facilities, hotels, nursing homes and other institutional facilities. 

How to make sure cockroaches do not invade your home

The best defense against cockroaches, is a strong offense to eliminate the very things that attract cockroaches to your home in the first place.dead cockroach sigma pest control

  1. Remove sources of food – all earths creatures need sustenance (food) to survive. But when it comes to cockroaches, they can (and will) each just about anything. Start by cleaning up spilled or leftover food. In the pantry, rotate your food so you don’t forget about the cereal box at the back. Don’t leave dishes on the county or sink, wipe down countertops, empty and clean cabinets, behind the refrigerator, under the oven, store your garbage in a bin with tight fitting lid – and empty regularly.
    1. Clean your kitchen appliances
    2. Keep food in sealed containers
    3. Limit food consumption to one room in your home
    4. Clean your floors frequently
    5. Empty pet food containers when not in use
  2. Seek out and address water issues
    1. Fix leaky plumbing and pipes
    2. Dry sinks, tubs, and showers after use
    3. Empty the pet water dish
  3. Eliminate their hiding places – In addition to food and water, roaches need shelter so they can breed and grow. Cockroaches are small, so they can hide easily. Their favorite hiding places include stacks of paper, cardboard boxes, and just about any cluttered space they can find.
  4. Keep your home or work clean – Removing clutter, sweeping floors, wiping down counters … these all make for a cleaner/healthier living environment, and at the same time it makes your home less enticing to them.

What are the signs of cockroach infestation?

Cockroaches like it warm and humid. During winter, they seek shelter from the cold, and your home is the perfect place to bed down. They enter the house through sewer connections, under doors, around plumbing, and through air ducts.

The first sign of a problem is seeing a cockroach. They prefer to come out and feed in the darkness, but if you see one during the day then you most likely have a serious cockroach problem.

Cockroach feces look like coffee grounds or black pepper. They like to stay out of sight, so they often travel along the baseboards, under appliances, and in the cracks and crevices of your pantry and counters. Look for the coffee ground like feces trail they’ll most likely leave behind.

If the infestation is bad, you’ll most likely catch wind of a strong, musty odor in the home as well.

How long does it take to get rid of cockroaches?

Cockroaches have lived on this planet for over 350 million years. They outlived the dinosaurs and countless other species, but just because they’ve lived this long doesn’t mean you can’t rid them from your home. As a matter of fact, it doesn’t take long to get rid of them when they invade your home.

If you followed the preventive measures listed earlier in this post, and still you have cockroaches in your home, then a multi-step remediation strategy, administered by a certified pest professional, is your next best solution.

The following steps are most popular for ridding your home of cockroaches, but options vary between different pest control companies:

  1. Spray/Barrier – this is a very popular option, but mixing the chemicals correctly, for proper coverage, is essential and should be handled by professionals.
  2. Bait – this is an easy DIY approach, but on it’s own it will only kill roaches that come across it. There are still eggs to kill as well.
  3. Clean-up – clean the house, inside and out. Especially the kitchen and anywhere else you store or consume food.
  4. Repair – fix leaks around plumbing and dripping faucets, seal cracks and openings to the home.

The last word ...

Cockroaches are the gift that keeps on giving if not addressed properly. Preventive measures are your best defense, but if you find you still have them then call Sigma Pest Control.

At Sigma Pest Control, our pest technicians are trained to help manage pests of all kinds, including cockroaches. Regardless of whether you have one cockroach or a thousand, we will design a right program for your situation.

We offer free inspections, and our professional and courteous customer service speaks for itself. No sales pressure, no gimmicks, and no hidden costs. You get first rate service and an end to your cockroach problems. Call Sigma Pest Control for a free inspection – 540-94-SIGMA.

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Are cockroaches dangerous?

In general, cockroaches are shy pests and prefer to stay clear of anything larger than they are. They hide during the day, when humans are most active, and come out at night to feast on the crumbs left behind. They certainly won’t do battle with you for food. They would much rather eat something that won’t fight back and is easy to find.

Cockroaches aren’t the cleanest of pests, and because they are drawn to human food, they are often a cause of food contamination. Cockroaches both defecate and regurgitate on the food that they eat. They have no respect for a fine meal made up of toast crumbs, chip dust, and cereal.

As a result of their lack of cleanliness, it is highly possible that they will spread bacteria and parasites that may be living inside of them. These diseases can be transmitted through infecting open wounds or inhalation. The Salmonella bacteria can be spread by cockroaches, resulting in food poisoning or even typhoid.

Can cockroaches make you sick?

Cockroaches do not transmit diseases directly to humans through bites like mosquitoesticks, and fleas. Instead, they pass disease indirectly via contaminated food. When a human eats something from a contaminated surface, they may unknowingly ingest feces or body parts from the cockroach.

Cockroaches can contaminate food with their waste and saliva which contains bacteria that can cause food poisoning, diarrhea, and infections. The cockroach’s preferred food source is often discarded, or spoiled food found in garbage bins. When dumpster diving for food, they pick up bacterial organisms on their legs. If they get into your home, they can deposit bacteria onto uncovered food.

Cockroaches eat just about everything, including dead skin, dead animal flesh, rotten and fresh food. Roaches are known to defecate where they eat, leaving droppings directly on food that you may consume. They pick up contaminants on their legs and then spread them around the areas where they walk. If food is contaminated by cockroaches and later consumed by a person, food poisoning may occur.

Breathing dust containing cockroach feces or body parts can cause an allergic reaction and asthma, especially in children. Tiny pathogens and proteins deposited in the dried feces and body parts can produce an allergic reaction in certain people. In addition, the particles are so small that they can be spread through the air via dust and trigger asthma in some people.

Cockroaches can spread many kinds of diseases, but the most common are Salmonella, Listeria, E.coli. Touching items contaminated with bacteria from a cockroach is a common way of transferring disease. If you touch your eyes, nose, mouth or an open wound after touching a contaminated item, the pathogen can enter the body and cause infection.

Some species of cockroaches have been found to bite humans. These cases are rare but if your home is heavily infested with these insects then you should be careful because they can nibble on fingernails, toes and soft parts of the skin causing wounds.

What happens if a cockroach bites you?

Cockroaches will eat just about anything, but they’ll rarely bite humans. If you are bitten, the bite may cause irritation, lesions and swelling.

Larger infestations of roaches, however, increase the likelihood you’ll be bitten. When a cockroach infestation is large, and the food supply scarce, the chances of being bitten increase. In most situations, however, cockroaches will not bite humans if there are other food sources available.

Compared to mosquito or tick bites, cockroach bites aren’t dangerous. Unlike other biting insects, cockroaches don’t transmit any diseases through their bites.

Cockroach bites are not generally life-threatening. They generally cause only minor irritation, swelling, or infection. If you are bitten by a cockroach, thoroughly clean the wound ASAP with rubbing alcohol or an antiseptic and seek medical attention if the bite doesn’t clear within a week.

Do cockroaches spread disease?

Yes, cockroaches can spread disease. You can catch a disease from a cockroach in a variety of ways, the most common of which occurs when eating or encountering items that a cockroach has contaminated.

Like the household fly, the cockroach will eat virtually anything ranging from food spills on a kitchen floor to fecal matter. Bacteria from ingested food can survive in the cockroach’s digestive system and is eventually passed on in its fecal matter.

Cockroaches will vomit and defecate on food and it is believed that diseases can be transmitted to humans when humans eat food contaminated by cockroaches.

How do you prevent cockroaches from spreading disease?

People can protect themselves from the health hazards caused by cockroaches simply by keeping a clean home and by closing off their entry points into the home. Having a clean and sanitary home will make it less inviting to cockroaches and sealing cracks in the walls and spaces near electric sockets, and up through drain traps will close off entry points.

  • Keep counters, sinks, tables and floors clean and free of clutter. Clean dishes, crumbs and spills right away.
  • Store food in airtight containers, and always avoid leaving food out (including pet food!).
  • Seal cracks and gaps in walls, floors and openings around or inside cabinets. Condo- and apartment-dwellers should also seal gaps around plumbing, wall outlets, and switch plates.
  • Empty bins regularly
  • Clean up any and all food and drink spillages
  • Rinse cans, bottles and plastics before recycling

If despite all these measures, you discover a cockroach infestation in your home, contact a pest professional for assistance with elimination and prevention.

The last word ...

Once you see a cockroach, you most likely have a bigger problem. Where there’s one, there are always more. Removal and remediation of cockroaches can be very difficult, especially if you are trying to do it on your own. There are many pesticides and baits for cockroaches, but the chemicals used may not be safe or effective for inexperienced users.

At Sigma Pest Control, our pest technicians are trained to help manage pests of all kinds, including cockroaches. Regardless of whether you have one cockroach or a thousand, we will design a right program for your situation.

Please note, however, that remediation cockroach infestation is not a one-time solution. Cockroaches multiply quickly. Timing is everything. Sigma’s Quarterly Pest Control Service provides a continuing cycle of protection, implementation, and monitoring.

Images provided by:
Achim Thiemermann
Michal Adamczyk
Garbiel Bulla
Luis Cuellar

What attracts cockroaches to my home?

Clean house or dirty house, it doesn’t matter when cockroaches are around. Often, cockroaches are associated with dirty homes, when in fact they are happy to be around any place that provides them with food, shelter and water.

Cockroaches have simple need: food, water and shelter. Dirty homes are more likely to attract cockroaches than clean homes, but we all keep food and water in our house, and a nice roof over our head.

From pantries stocked with food, sinks and showers supplying water, and cracks and crevices in windows and foundation where cockroaches can hide and lay their eggs, our homes are perfect for attracting cockroaches.

What do cockroaches like?

The number one thing that attracts cockroaches to your home is food. Food found on the floor, left out on the counter, crumbs, garbage, disposal waste, cupboards and pantries are all places where cockroaches can find food.

Tips for eliminating, cleaning, and storing food:

  • Don’t leave food out of the kitchen counter for too long. Throw away, refrigerate, or store it as soon as you can.
  • Rinse drink containers, soup cans, and recyclable materials before discarding.
  • Wipe food prep areas and sweep floor each night.
  • Clean underneath and behind oven, refrigerator, and garbage cans.
  • Store food in airtight containers. This includes pet food.
  • Use zip lock bags instead of keeping items in cardboard boxes.

Besides food, cockroaches must have water to survive. Standing water, leaky pipes and faucets, condensation, and basement sump pumps are the most common attractants for cockroaches. Which is why you’ll most often see them in kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry rooms.

 Cockroaches seek dark places like the basement, or dark corners of the kitchen cabinet, and under appliances.

Tips for preventing water attractors:

  • Remove standing water, inside and out.
  • Wipe down showers and sinks when you are done using them.
  • Rinse sponges, empty half full drinking glasses, and plant or pet bowls.
  • Fix leaking pipes.

Cockroaches are a year-round problem. There is no seasonal period where cockroaches are more likely to infest your home. Therefore, there is no time like the present to secure your home against cockroaches.

  • Use caulk to block any gaps or crevices where roaches may enter the home (cracks in the foundation, plumbing, vents).
  • Apply weather stripping on all windows and doors that lead into the house.
  • Remove clutter, both inside and outside.

How do cockroaches get in my house?

In most cases, cockroaches were already in the house from the day you moved in. But because they are so small, they are easily transported between locations. They can also come from a neighbor’s property and the great outdoors in general.

  • Get rid of empty corrugated boxes immediately, because these can be a favorite breeding ground for roaches.
  • Cockroaches can hitch a ride on people, in backpacks, on pets, grocery bags, and food containers.
  • They can come in from crawls spaces, chimneys, plumbing pipes and sewer drains.

… just about any way imaginable.

Signs of infestation

Cockroaches are nocturnal creatures, which means they prefer dark places and only come out at night. You might not even know they are around until you have an infestation on your hands.

Cockroaches that you see during the day have been pushed out of the available hiding places by other roaches. However, besides live roaches, there are other signs you can look out for. These include:

  • Roach droppings, which will resemble pepper or coffee grounds
  • The bodies of dead cockroaches
  • Oval-shaped egg casings
  • An oily or musty odor in your kitchen, bathroom, or other areas of your home

The last word ...

These pests can carry disease and can cause food poisoning and trigger allergies and even asthma attacks as a result of the dander of discarded exoskeletons and feces.  

You don’t have to worry about where cockroaches came from when you have Sigma Pest Control on your side. Our trained specialists know where to look for these pests, determine how they got in, where they are hiding, and how to get rid of them.

Regardless of whether you have one cockroach or a thousand, removal is not a one-time solution. Cockroaches multiply quickly. Timing is everything. Sigma’s Quarterly Pest Control Service provides a continuing cycle of protection, implementation, and monitoring.

Call the cockroach experts – call Sigma Pest Control!

quarterly pest control
cockroach - sigma pest control

Where do cockroaches live?

These creepy crawling pests are often associated with garbage, dirty kitchens, and filth. They are also know for spreading a range of diseases and triggering asthma and other allergies.

Keeping a clean house is useful and very important in order to reduce food sources used by cockroaches, but regardless of how clean your house is they may still get inside and cause an infestation.

A cockroach can enter your home by catching a ride on items brought inside, or via open doors and windows, gaps in the home’s exterior, and even water drains and sewer pipes.

Usually, you don’t realize you have cockroaches until you see them crawling around our homes and businesses, but have you ever stopped to wonder where these crawling insects live?

Common types of cockroaches

In order to find where cockroaches live, we first must understand the type of cockroach we are dealing with. There are three main species of cockroaches which can be found in our homes and businesses are:

  1. American cockroach (Periplaneta Americana)
  2. Oriental cockroach (Blatta orientalis)
  3. German cockroach (Blatella germanica)

American cockroaches

American cockroaches prefer to live in warm environments. Because it is warm, they prefer the outdoors and can often be found in and around drains, sewer systems, garbage bins, trees and wood piles.

Oriental cockroaches

Like the American cockroach, the Oriental cockroach prefers the warm outdoors. However, they’re know too shy away from the light and seek out dark, moist spaces such as mulch pits, leaf piles, and under rocks and stones.

German cockroaches

German cockroaches prefer the indoors and will live in areas which are warm and humid. The kitchen or a bathroom are prime locations, but it isn’t uncommon to find in other parts of the home if food and moisture are available.

Where do look?

Think about where you keep your trash when you throw it away … is it in a garbage can close to the house? In the garage? Because cockroaches prefer food and warmth, they’ll often move into kitchens and bathrooms. You can find them:

  • Inside cabinets and under sinks
  • Behind refrigerators and under stoves
  • Near food prep areas
  • Along floor base boards and corners

Outside, cockroaches are often found in moist, shady areas under decks and places where plumbing and sewer leaks. You’ll also find the:

  • Under brush piles and mulch
  • Crawl spaces
  • Dumpsters & Garbage cans
  • Hollow trees and fallen logs
  • Wood piles
  • Inside storage sheds

Cockroach control:


The best do-it-yourself preventive measure for keeping cockroaches out of your home or business is to keep it clean. Review the ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ target areas mentioned in this blog and keep those areas clean of food debris. Dirty dishes and garbage also attract cockroaches so clean those dishes before putting them in the dishwasher to site and take the garbage out before it gets rank. Here are some more prevention tips:

  • Store foods in airtight containers
  • Empty bins regularly
  • Clean up any and all food and drink spillages
  • Rinse cans, bottles and plastics before recycling
  • Seal all potential entry points with expanding foam


Once you see a cockroach, you most likely have a bigger problem. Where there’s one, there are always more. Removal and remediation of cockroaches can be very difficult, especially if you are trying to do it on your own. There are many pesticides and baits for cockroaches, but the chemicals used may not be safe or effective for inexperienced users.

Regardless of whether you have one cockroach or a thousand, removal is not a one-time solution. Cockroaches multiply quickly. Timing is everything. Sigma’s Quarterly Pest Control Service provides a continuing cycle of protection, implementation, and monitoring.

Call the cockroach experts – call Sigma Pest Control!