As we all know, cockroaches can contaminate our food and make us sick. These dirty, creepy pests can be present all year round in our homes and are very hard to eliminate.
But contrary to what some people think, using foggers is ineffective in getting rid of cockroaches. More importantly, it is unsafe and very dangerous.
How do you get rid of roaches without fogging? To get rid of roaches without fogging, you can vacuum them, install sticky traps with bait, or use other natural methods. You should also reduce their source of food, water, and harborage. But to be successful, you should know which cockroach species you are dealing with.
In this complete guide, you will learn the different roach species that can enter your house and how to get rid of them.
What Are the Common Cockroaches Infesting Your Home?
The common cockroaches that could be infesting your home are the American cockroach, the German cockroach, the Brown-banded cockroach, and the Oriental cockroach.
All of them may have some physical similarities, but they are somehow different in eating habits, behavior, and favorite hiding places.
American Cockroach Identification and Life Cycle
Scientifically called Periplaneta Americana, the American cockroach measures 1.5 – 2 inches (38 – 51 mm) long and has a reddish-brown or brown, flat body with a yellow or pale brown border around its pronotum (head shield).
Their wings are long and cover their abdomen. Males have slightly longer wings than females.
Females lay 9-10 egg cases, which are usually mahogany brown when laid but will turn black within 1-2 days. Each case is about 3/8 inches long and contains 12-14 offspring.
Nymphs look like adults, except that they are smaller and wingless. Amazingly, these baby roaches can run as their adult counterparts.
Nymphs of American cockroaches molt between 6 and 14 times before becoming adults. Their life cycle is completed within 9-1/2 to 20 months, with an average of 600 days.
Females can produce more than 800 cockroaches in just one year and have an average life span of 15 months. Males tend to live shorter, though.
What Do American Cockroaches Eat?
American cockroaches feed on almost any organic matter available to them. This includes foods such as bread, cheese, bread, fruits, and sweets.
But because they are also opportunistic scavengers, these roaches also eat paper, leather, dead insects, glue, soiled fabric, plant material, and animal and human feces.
Where Are American Cockroaches Most Common?
Adults and nymphs are commonly found in wet and unsanitary places such as sewers, basements, heating ducts, storm drains, garbage disposals, and the ground floor of buildings.
Despite being outdoor pests, they can also be present inside bakeries, restaurants, and houses, especially where food is stored and prepared.
German Cockroach Identification and Life Cycle
Scientifically known as Blattella germanica, the German cockroach measures 1/2 – 5/8 inches (12.7- 15.8 mm). It has a long, thin, tan, or light-brown body with 2 dark, almost parallel bands or stripes on the thorax.
Males are thinner than females. They have a tapered end posterior, while females have a round end.
Females lay 5-8 egg cases, which are brown capsules that measure about 5/16 inch x 1/8 inch x 5/64 inch (8 mm by 3 mm by 2 mm).
Each egg case contains about 30 to 40 baby roaches, and a female can produce 200–250 offspring. Eggs hatch within 28-30 days, and wingless baby roaches will emerge.
German cockroach nymphs undergo an average of 6 instar stages before they become adults. These stages usually last for 60 days, wherein these baby roaches will grow from 1/8 to 9/16 inches (3 to 14 mm) long.
Under ideal conditions, their entire life cycle from egg to adult usually takes about one hundred days.
What Do German Cockroaches Eat?
Just like American cockroaches, adult and nymph German cockroaches are omnivores and will eat almost everything.
This includes bookbinding, feces, garbage, grease, paper, sweets, meat, table scraps, pet food, and dead bodies of other roaches. However, they like wet areas indoors and are rarely outdoors.
Where Are German Cockroaches Most Common?
Inside the house, German cockroaches may infest bathrooms and kitchens, especially around the stove, under the refrigerator, appliances, sink cabinets, and other places where food is stored, prepared, or served.
The creepy critters are also present in bakeries, schools, offices, supermarkets, and restaurants.
Brown-Banded Cockroach Identification and Life Cycle
Scientifically known as Supella longipalpa, the brown-banded cockroach measures about 1/2 inches (12.7 mm.) long, and males are quite longer and stouter than females.
Male adults have a golden brown narrow body, and their wings cover their entire abdomen. They also fly away once you disturbed them.
On the other hand, female adults possess a chestnut brown teardrop-shaped body, but their wings don’t cover the abdomen completely. Both sexes have fluffy wings and unique horizontal yellow bands on their thorax.
However, these stripes are more pronounced in nymphs than in adults. Females cannot fly, though.
Egg cases (or capsules) are yellowish or reddish-brown and are only about 5 mm long. Each case may contain around 13 eggs and hatch after about 70 days.
Nymphs undergo 6-8 instar stages, which last for about 128 days. Adults have an average lifespan of 60 days but can live up to 80 days at 91°F (33°C).
What Do Brown-Banded Cockroaches Eat?
Unlike German cockroaches, brown-banded cockroaches don’t usually eat human food. Instead, they love eating starchy materials such as paste or glue, color dyes, draperies, nylon stockings, and wallpaper.
If food is not available, they will also eat their eggs and nymphs, as well as the bodies of dead roaches.
Where Are Brown-Banded Cockroaches Most Common?
Females deposit their egg cases on walls, ceilings, and under appliances such as refrigerators, radios, and TV, especially if the temperature is above 80°F.
They may also hide in high areas such as behind picture frames and inside closets. But sometimes, you can find them within the hollow legs of upholstered furniture.
Oriental Cockroach Identification and Life Cycle
Scientifically known as Blatta orientalis, the Oriental cockroach measures about 1 to 1-1/4 inches (25.4 to 31.75 mm) long. It has a dark brown to nearly black body and usually has a fairly greasy polish.
Males have fully developed wings that are shorter than their bodies, while females have very short, functionless wings.
Females produce an average of 8 egg cases in their lifetime and can have around 200 offspring. Each egg case may contain around 16 eggs that are lined up in a vertical position and will hatch within 42-81 days.
Nymphs undergo 7 to 10 instar stages, which usually last for 24-130 days, but they can also last for a year.
Egg cases are mostly dark red-brown and are about 3/8 inches long. Females carry them between 12 hours and 5 five days before depositing them in warm and sheltered environments, especially where food is available.
Under ideal weather conditions, Oriental cockroaches can live between 34 and 180 days.
What Do Oriental Cockroaches Eat?
Just like most roach species, Oriental cockroaches are not picky eaters. They eat starchy foods and any kind of decaying organic matter, including garbage.
But then, this roach species prefers contaminating food rather than finishing them. They can survive for a month without food but will die in 2 weeks without water.
Where Are Oriental Cockroaches Most Common?
Despite having wings, male and female Oriental cockroaches do not fly and cannot climb on smooth, vertical surfaces. They also prefer moist areas and temperatures below 84° F.
These roach species are commonly found in kitchens, bathrooms, basements, under sinks, crawl spaces, and sewer pipes.
What Are Cockroaches Afraid Of?
Cockroaches are not afraid of anything. According to entomologists, roaches have no pain receptors and are emotionless. Therefore, they don’t feel fear or pain.
Contrary to popular belief, roaches run away and hide when they see humans moving not because they are scared but because they are startled.
On the other hand, roaches may be irritated and may sense danger through vibrations they feel on their legs. Therefore, they will avoid air currents, sudden changes in light levels, sudden movements, as well as some scents.
This is also why some roaches continue to crawl toward people who are not moving.
Roaches also prefer temperatures between 75°F and 86°F (23.8°C and 30°C). This means that they will tend to leave an area that is above or below this range. However, roaches are more sensitive to heat than cold.
This is because as the temperature rises, water evaporates faster, and roaches will get dehydrated.
Will Keep Lights on Keep Roaches Away?
Keeping the lights on will not keep roaches away. Although cockroaches are nocturnal creatures and are most active at night, you can still see some of them during the daytime.
Roaches are not afraid of light nor attracted to it. But once you suddenly turn the light on in your kitchen, they will immediately run and hide.
But interestingly, a 2017 experiment suggested that cockroaches have different reactions to different colored light bulbs – red, green, yellow, blue, black, and white.
Based on the results, the red bulbs repelled the most number of roaches while the green bulbs ranked second, followed by white, yellow, and blue.
Why Do I Have Roaches in My Clean House?
You have roaches in your house despite being clean simply because they are very attracted to moisture, and they need water to survive.
In short, roaches will enter your house because you have leaky pipes, clogged drains, and similar problems. Also, food does not need to be dirty before cockroaches can eat them.
Where Do Roaches Hide in the Bedroom?
There are a lot of places in the bedroom where roaches can easily hide. This includes inside the cabinet and dresser drawers, under the clothes, or even under the bed.
These areas may not be roaches’ ideal hiding places, but they can sometimes be the best locations where female roaches lay their egg capsules.
Best Way to Get Rid of Cockroaches in Your Home Without Fogging
As mentioned above, fogging is a fire hazard and dangerous to public health. It is also not a permanent solution against cockroaches. The best way to get rid of roaches in your home is to know which species they belong to.
This way, you will have an idea of where they could be hiding. Then, focus on targeting that area.
The Best Way to Get Rid of American Cockroaches
American cockroaches are more prevalent outdoors rather than indoors. Therefore, the best way to get rid of them is to make sure that your surroundings are dry and free of clutter.
Fix clogged outside sewer drain and pipes. Remove wet and decaying wood, tree branches, and leaves scattered on the ground.
To prevent American cockroaches from entering your house, seal all potential points of entry. This includes repairing or replacing damaged window screens and caulking cracks and crevices.
To insulate your doors and windows, try putting durable weather stripping such as Mikosi 3M Silicone Sealing Tape .
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The Best Way to Get Rid of German Cockroaches
Unlike American cockroaches, German cockroaches prefer being indoors rather than outdoors. They are also attracted to areas where food is stored and prepared.
Therefore, the first best way to get rid of them is to place sticky traps such as Catchmaster 72MAX Pest Trap in your kitchen, especially at night.
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Since German cockroaches reproduce very quickly, you might also want to use an insect growth regulator (IGR). Products such as ZOECON Gentrol Insect Growth Regulator don’t kill adult roaches but prevent their eggs from hatching and disrupt the growth of nymphs. Hence, you can control their population.
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The Best Way to Get Rid of Brown-Banded Cockroaches
Brown-banded cockroaches prefer eating things over human food and are less common than German cockroaches. Since this roach species is usually under furniture or on the walls, the best way to get rid of them is to use a bagless vacuum cleaner such as Hoover Windtunnel Upright Vacuum Cleaner .
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However, vacuuming can only catch roaches but is very unlikely to kill them. If you are using a bagless vacuum, pour soapy water into the vacuum before using it.
If you are using a vacuum cleaner with a bag, place the bag inside the freezer for several hours or under the sun the whole day. This way, roaches will soon die.
The Best Way to Get Rid of Oriental Cockroaches
Aside from not being able to fly and crawl vertically, Oriental cockroaches are very slow as compared to the other species mentioned. Therefore, they are the easiest ones to kill.
One of the best ways to kill this roach species is by spreading food-grade Diatomaceous earth (DE) powder on areas where you find them.
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Alternatively, sprinkle the boric acid powder on a paper plate. To produce better results, add some sugar to attract more roaches.
Then, place it in your kitchen or bathroom and leave it overnight. Just like DE, boric acid also kills cockroaches once ingested. Despite being toxic to roaches, its toxic level is low for humans.
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How Do You Get Rid of Roaches in the Kitchen?
Besides the bathroom, the kitchen is also a favorite hiding place for cockroaches. Different strategies of expulsion are required for different cockroach species.
But once they are in the kitchen, there are specific ways to get rid of them. In most cases, one method is not enough, so you have to do all of them. Here they are:
- Make sure all kitchen appliances are clean, dry, and free from grease.
- Wash the dishes right after eating, and remove water from the under-sink drip tray.
- Clean the kitchen drain thoroughly, especially before sleeping.
- Don’t mix food scraps with other trash. Place them outdoors or compost them in your garden.
- Cover your kitchen garbage cans and dispose of garbage properly.
- Spray soapy water on the kitchen table and countertop and wipe it dry. For better results, use Windex Multi-Surface Cleaner and Disinfectant Spray .
- To reduce the humidity level in your kitchen, install a reliable dehumidifier such as Pro Breeze Electric Mini Dehumidifier .
- Empty the pan under your refrigerator frequently and always keep the floor dry.
- Insulate pipes under the kitchen sink, and repair or replace leaky pipes immediately.
- Don’t stack firewood in your kitchen. Instead, place them in an area far from your house.
List of Sources
Garvey, K. K. (2012). Kill It Or Let It Live? University of California – Agriculture and Natural Resources.
Hahn, J., Ascerno, M. (2019). Cockroaches. University of Minnesota Extension.
Barbara, K. A. (2021). American Cockroach, Periplaneta Americana (Linnaeus) (Insecta: Blattodea: Blattidae). University of Florida.
Valles, S. (2021). German cockroach. University of Florida.
Jiang, S., Lucky, A. (2016). Brown-banded cockroach. University of Florida.
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