You can control a roach infestation yourself using a combination of smart practices and the right products. An effective roach control program consists of four parts. Identification, Inspection, Treatment, and Prevention.
Identification is important to be sure you are dealing with roaches and not a beetle infestation, for instance, as the treatments are very different for these two pests.
Next, you’ll need to know how to inspect your home for roaches and learn the signs of a roach infestation. This will help you access the level of infestation in your home and ensure they don’t return. The only tool you’ll need for a roach inspection is a flashlight. Roaches love dark, moist areas to live and breed in, so kitchens and bathrooms should be inspected first. Use your flashlight to look behind or under refrigerators, stoves, microwaves, dishwashers, sinks, or cabinets. Roaches may also be found in or around floor drains, inside motor areas of refrigerators and microwaves, behind wall-mounted pictures or clocks, under floor mats, behind wallpaper, and in cracks and crevices in cabinets. You will also be able to detect roaches by the feces they leave behind. Feces are often the size of coffee grounds or specs of black pepper. Check inside cabinets around the hinges, the cracks and crevices in drawers, the door gasket of the refrigerator, and in other suspected hiding places. The quantity of visible feces is normally a good indicator of infestation level. Roaches will also lay egg cases called oothecae. Each egg casing can hold 10 to 50 eggs. If you see egg casings, this is a sign an infestation is present. If you’ve determined you have a roach infestation, it’s time to move on to treatment. Roach treatment includes proper cleaning practices, roach bait, roach spray, and insect growth regulators.
First, clean your home as much as possible to eliminate the food and water sources the roaches need to survive. To prepare your kitchen and bathrooms for treatment, remove everything out of the cabinets and drawers and sweep and clean them out to remove all crumbs and debris. Do not use harsh chemical cleaners while doing this clean-out as it could interfere with the roach bait. While cleaning the kitchen, don’t forget to clean and sweep behind and beneath all appliances. If an appliance can be moved, like the refrigerator and stove, do so to make sure no crumbs are left behind. Ensure the bathroom shower, tub, and sinks are dry, removing all moisture from the room. Before you go to bed each night, remove any food or water sources that might attract roaches. Keep all food, including pet food, in tightly sealed containers. Wash and put away all dishes, leaving the sink empty. Wipe down countertops, store sponges in zip-top bags, and empty pet food and water bowls, or keep them covered overnight. Keep garbage cans covered, sweep floors, and wipe inside and around sinks to be sure they are dry. If you do not clean nightly, your roach treatment will not be as effective.
Once you have cleaned and prepared your home properly, begin with roach bait gel treatment. Roach bait gel is an essential step in any roach treatment program. Most roach bait gels come in tubes. Tubes typically have a stopper at the end of the tube that you will unscrew, and some have a screw-on applicator tip. Use the plunger included with your bait and insert it in the end of the tube opposite the stopper. You will press the plunger to release the bait. For a more precise application, you can also use a professional bait gun to apply the roach bait gel. You may also want to keep a paper towel handy to wipe the application tip of the gel, keeping the tube clean in case the bait leaks slightly when applying. Roaches have small mouth parts and look for small crumbs of food. When applying roach bait gel, remember to apply many small spots of gel instead of one or two large spots. Roaches will mistake the small spots of gel for crumbs they can eat.
Make each spot no larger than a small pea. Do not apply the bait in a long bead-like caulk or in large spots. To roaches, these large gel placements will look like food that is too big for roaches’ mouths to eat, and they will avoid this bait. Each bait placement should be placed 8 to 10 inches apart. In the kitchen, apply bait to the back corners and along the shelves of emptied cabinets. Also, along the underside of the shelves and on the door hinges of the cabinets. In drawers, apply the gel on the back and front corners of each drawer and on the top of the drawer slide. Often kitchens will have an exposed crack where cabinets and countertops are connected to the wall. These cracks are a perfect hiding spot for roaches. Apply gel along the crack where the cabinets are connected to the wall, and on the side and underneath each cabinet. If there is a lip where the countertop meets the cabinet, apply the gel every 8-10 inches along the underside of the countertop, but not on the top of the counter where food will be prepared. The vents and cracks of appliances in the kitchen also need to be baited. Add a spot on the hinges of the refrigerator and in the vents below the refrigerator. Bait where the dishwasher meets the wall and around the wall void of electrical boxes throughout the kitchen.In the bathroom, bait where the toilet pipe and sink pipe enter the wall. Add bait where the mirror meets the wall, on the corners of cabinets, on the hinges of cabinets, and underneath the lip of the countertop. There are many varieties of roach bait gel, so be sure to read and follow the instructions on the product label to apply the bait properly.
Next, make sure to apply an Insect Growth Regulator. IGRs work by interrupting the growth cycle of any listed immature insects that come in contact with the IGR. The insects will not mature into breeding adults and therefore will not be able to repopulate, which in turn helps control future roach infestations. Available in aerosol, liquid, and station form, IGRs can be sprayed or placed where roaches most commonly hide, including the corners of rooms and cabinets, beneath sinks and appliances, around the door and window frames, in pantries, and in drawers.
Roaches are much easier to prevent than get rid of! Preventing roaches from being attracted to and infesting your home will almost always come down to proper sanitation. You may notice that many of the prevention steps are the same as the treatment steps, so make sure to eliminate food and water sources going forward even after you have treated for roaches.
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