Cockroach-Proofing Your Home – Tips and Techniques


Cockroaches love to hide in narrow cracks and crevices. They can also hitch a ride on bags and boxes or move from one home to another in a multi-unit dwelling.

Keeping your home clean is the first line of defense against cockroaches. Regularly wipe countertops and other food preparation surfaces and seal garbage receptacles.

  1. Seal Entry Points

Cockroaches enter homes looking for food, water, and a place to hide. Keeping your home clean and sealing entry points will make it much harder for these pests to find what they need.

Start by examining your kitchen and bathroom for potential entry points. Look for leaky pipes, gaps around the sink and shower, and cracks near baseboards and doors. Seal these areas with caulk or steel wool to prevent cockroaches from entering your home.

It’s also important to store food in airtight containers. Loosely closed bags, boxes, and jars are easy for cockroaches to open and can cause them to eat and contaminate other food in the fridge or pantry. Use tamper-proof metal or glass jars for foods that tend to attract roaches, such as sugar, oil, and starch. Keep garbage cans tightly sealed and dispose of waste in a timely manner, especially when it contains food scraps.

While cockroaches like to hide in dirty places, they’re not limited to the kitchen and can snoop around bedrooms for food and other comforts. For this reason, limiting food and drink to the kitchen and dining room will give them fewer places to sneak into your home.

If you have pet food or treats in the house, make sure their dishes are empty overnight and dry before putting them back into the cabinet. Also, remove pet litter from the home overnight and wipe down the area daily to keep it clean. This will also help to prevent cockroaches from laying eggs and growing in the home. Also, swap out cardboard boxes in storage areas with plastic bins that have lids. This will reduce the chances of cockroaches sneaking in by hitching rides in delivery packages, paper, and other materials that they cling to and carry into your home.

  1. Clean Up Dirty Dishes

Cockroaches are attracted to food crumbs, spills, and residues. They also like moisture, so they’re often found in homes with plumbing leaks.

Getting rid of these types of sources of food and water will help to keep cockroaches away. Keep food in sealed containers, dispose of it regularly, and be sure to take your garbage out on time with a tight-fitting lid.

Cockroaches also love dirty dishes, so washing and wiping kitchen counters with a disinfectant spray each night after dinner is a good idea. You can also do the same for bathroom counters and sinks to cut down on food crumbs and other residues that could attract these pests.

If you have a dish tray beneath the refrigerator, empty it regularly and clean it as well. And remember to put food in the fridge rather than leaving it on the countertop, as this will help to keep cockroaches out of your refrigerator.

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You should also limit where you eat in your house to the kitchen and dining area, as the more places cockroaches can pick up dropped crumbs, the more likely they are to enter your home. If you have to snack in the living room, be sure to put any food into tightly sealed containers and throw away any expired items promptly.

Finally, be sure to sweep up leaves and other yard debris, as cockroaches can use these piles of organic material as shelter. It’s also a good idea to keep garbage bins, compost piles, and firewood away from your home, as these can provide additional hiding spots for these pests. This cleaning routine should also be applied to any sheds and garages that might be used to store lawn equipment or other clutter, as these can be an entry point for cockroaches.

  1. Clean Up Clutter

Cockroaches are opportunistic and will eat almost anything, including glue in cardboard food boxes, newspaper pages, fingernail clippings, shed human hair, and even excreta. They’re also attracted to piles of debris such as wood piles, thick mulch, and trash bins, and they can hide in these piles during the day. Remove piles of debris close to your house and regularly clean up yard clutter, such as branches, leaf litter, and grass clippings.

Clutter provides cockroaches shelter and allows them to move freely inside your home, looking for food, water, and warmth, especially during the summer when they’re seeking cooler hiding places. In addition, cockroaches can leave pheromones that attract other cockroaches to the area.

Keeping your home clean and tidy is one of the best ways to deter cockroaches from invading, especially at night when they’re most active. Wash dirty dishes immediately after use and sweep and mop floors regularly, especially in food areas, such as kitchens and dining rooms. Eliminate crumbs from counters, floors, and appliances by wiping them down with a disinfectant spray each night. Keep food stored in sealed containers and limit eating to the kitchen and dining room.

Some cockroaches can also spread germs that cause diseases, such as E coli, salmonella, and typhus, by mechanically transmitting them from their feet as they walk across surfaces, explains Eric Benson, an extension entomologist at Clemson University. They may also deposit pathogens on surfaces when they lick their legs after crawling from drains, sewers, and other outdoor sources of moisture into homes. These germs can then be transmitted to people and pets as the cockroaches crawl, eat, or defecate on the surface.

  1. Remove Water Sources

Cockroaches must have water to survive; if they can’t find it, they will relocate to another area with food and conducive conditions. This is why it’s important to eliminate any sources of moisture in your home, especially near cockroach habitats. Pipe leaks should be repaired promptly, sink drains should be clean and free of crumbs and debris, sponges, and dishrags should be dried and stored in sealed containers, and pet water bowls should be emptied at night.

Cockroaches are on the move during warmer weather as they seek cooler hiding places and can easily gain entry into homes through cracks and crevices in doors and windows or from neighboring units in multi-unit dwellings. During this time, they are also more active and reproduce rapidly. To help prevent a cockroach infestation, seal all gaps and cracks around pipes, attic vents, wall junctures, and baseboards. Install caulking and weather stripping as needed. If cockroaches are already in your home, use desiccating dust like diatomaceous earth and silica aerogel to reduce populations.

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Cockroaches can enter homes through a variety of means, including hitching rides inside packages from the grocery store or, in multi-unit apartments, through cracks and crevices in walls and cabinets. They can also crawl through ventilation ducts and may even crawl inside electrical wires to chew on them, creating fire hazards and other damage. You can keep cockroaches out by keeping your home clean, wiping down kitchen counters and tables regularly, and sweeping hard flooring frequently. Avoid storing items, especially discarded cardboard boxes, on countertops or in closets, and take out trash daily and regularly. Also, store all foods (including pet food) in sealed containers and empty trashcans before going to bed at night.

  1. Remove Electronic Devices

Cockroaches are known to carry disease-causing germs, such as salmonella, and to trigger allergies and asthma. They can spread these harmful pathogens when they contaminate food preparation surfaces and cooking appliances. Moreover, cockroaches can cause structural damage to the home when they chew through wires and other electrical components, leading to fire hazards. To avoid these hazards, it’s best to keep cockroaches away by cleaning your home regularly. Wipe spills and crumbs from kitchen counters and tables nightly and sweep hard flooring daily. You can also vacuum your carpets with an attachment that allows you to reach narrow gaps and corners where cockroaches often hide.

In addition to food, cockroaches are attracted to areas with an available water source. This is why you should regularly clean your kitchen drains and faucets to prevent leaks, make sure dishes are stored properly in cabinets or drawers, and remove standing water from the sinks and bathtubs. You should also check your yard to ensure that gutters are functioning properly and that there are no piles of wood or other debris near your home.

As the temperatures drop, cockroaches will move indoors, looking for warmth and shelter. They may hide in unused picture frames, hollowed-out wood, the backs of electronics, or other dark and quiet spots. They can also enter homes with food and other products brought in from infested business premises or within secondhand goods that may have been infested before they were sold.

If you suspect cockroaches have made their way into your electronic devices, you can place them in the freezer for a few days to kill them. This method works particularly well for German cockroaches, which are less likely to survive in colder temperatures than their Asian counterparts.

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