So, how to get rid of roaches without an exterminator? This is a such a common question so we decided to answer it. If there’s one thing that homeowners can agree on is that roaches are not welcome in the home, and if you have an infestation, or even find one, it’s something that needs to controlled and dealt with immediately.
Going to bed at night with the thought of roaches in my vicinity makes my skin crawl and sometimes calling an exterminator is not practical, so this article focuses on how to get rid of cockroaches and prevent them from coming back.
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Intro | How to Get Rid of Roaches Without an Exterminator
Cockroaches, commonly known as roaches have a bad reputation around the world. They multiply at a rapid rate and soon become an uncontrolled infestation, particularly in densely populated urban areas. So to most of us, roaches are a formidable enemy that seem to be unstoppable. No matter what we do, they always seem to come back. Generally, if you see one or two, pretty soon there will be hundreds.
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Some may say we’ve declared war on the roach, it’s a war that seems impossible to win because they are highly resilient. As with any war, it’s good to know your enemy. So let’s take a look at what we know about roaches and uncover the facts. Understanding them should make it easier to find ways to control them. Finally, we’ll take a look at how to get rid of roaches without an exterminator.
What are roaches? (cockroaches)
There are around 4,600 species of cockroaches, though only about 30 of these are associated with human settlements. They’ve been around for about 320 million years and can live in any type of climate. Roaches are more common and grow bigger in tropical climates, but are known to survive in arctic climates. Some species can survive temperatures as low -188 degrees Fahrenheit by producing glycerol which is a type of antifreeze.
Roaches can eat virtually anything and can even survive off the glue on the back of stamps. If they are threatened by starvation, roaches may well turn on each other and eat their own. They can also go for up to a month without food and will survive without air for up to 45 minutes. It’s easy to understand why they are so invasive in our cities and homes, where there’s an abundance of food and dark nesting places.
NOTE : For more detailed information on effective roach killers, traps and insecticides read our article, focused on products : Best Roach Killer | How to Kill & Prevent Roaches
How Roaches live and thrive
Most cockroach species are gregarious, meaning that they live in well-structured groups. They communicate by means of a chemical transfer passed on by direct physical contact. Laboratory experiments have shown that roaches are incredibly well organized. When one cockroach finds a good food source, it is communicated to the entire group and they will cooperate in sharing the food. They control their numbers within the group. When a nest reaches critical mass it will remain like that, even resorting cannibalism to control their population numbers.
Roaches hate light and will always nest in dark places, mostly coming out to feed at night. They will prefer to nest in warmer areas and the motor of your refrigerator is often where you’ll find them, it’s hidden from light and the heat generated by the electric motor keeps the ambient temperature at a comfortable level. It is widely assumed that roaches prefer dirty places, however, this not entirely true.
They will search anywhere for food, so a home that is not kept clean is likely to have more food for them to find, especially considering that they will eat anything. They will come into a clean home in search of food, but you’ll find more of them where it’s easier to find food.
Video | Tips on Killing Roaches
Health issues associated with roaches
Roaches are known to spread bacteria because they move through dirty areas regularly and are particularly fond of garbage bins. So roaches can spread disease and are also known to cause or aggravate allergies. Roaches are known to be hazardous to asthma sufferers. Hospitals consider roaches to be a serious problem because they spread infections. While people have been coexisting with roaches since our earliest origins, they do pose a problem as far hygiene and allergies are concerned.
Through the course of history, cockroaches have even been reputed to be of medicinal value. Dating back to the ancient Greeks, there have been suggested remedies containing cockroaches. There is, however, no medical evidence to suggest that they have any medicinal value – so the common warning: “don’t try this at home” applies to supposed healing concoctions that contain roaches.
Roaches as food
Not many of us would consider roaches as a tasty entree, but in many cultures, it is common to serve up roaches as a healthy snack. In many Asian countries, spicy deep fried roaches have been a part of their diet for centuries. In Mexico, one can also find fried roach on the menu and there are old English and Irish recipes that require roach paste as part of the dish.
While roaches commonly carry large amounts of bacteria, when raised in controlled conditions, they are a healthy source of protein. Because roaches and their close relatives termites are high in protein and low in fat, it has been suggested that they could be a viable food source. This idea has become more popular as concerns mount regarding global food shortages. The fact is that roaches are a healthier source of protein than chicken or red meat. Who knows? In the not too distant future, deep fried roach may come to replace chicken nuggets as a much-loved snack.
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Urban myths about roaches
One of the most common misconceptions about roaches is that in the event of a nuclear holocaust, they will dominate the planet. This partially true perception came about after the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of World War II. When it was noticed that there were still roaches walking around days later. The fact is that nuclear radiation is most dangerous when cells divide.
In humans, like most creatures, cells divide rapidly – making us highly vulnerable to radiation. With roaches and many other insects, cells only divide when they’re molting. This means that if a roach is not molting when exposed to radiation, it will not be affected. However, in the case of a nuclear fallout, radiation will linger for a long period afterward and the roach will eventually succumb to its effects.
Yet another partially true fact about roaches is that they can survive without their head. In truth, they can live a few hours after being decapitated, but they will die in the end.
How to Kill Roaches & Win the War
Many believe that an exterminator is the only way to effectively deal with a cockroach infestation. The problem is that exterminators spray large amounts of highly toxic chemicals around your home. Typically after your home has been fumigated, you have to wait 8-9 hours before it’s safe to enter.
Poisonous fumes linger for days, this has an unpleasant odor and can affect one’s breathing. It is particularly dangerous to people who suffer from asthma. There’s also a growing awareness of the environmental hazards associated with fumigation and many people are looking for less hazardous ways to control roach infestations. The good news is that there several ways to get rid of cockroaches without using an exterminator.
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Keep your home clean
While a clean home does not guarantee 100% protection against cockroach infestations, it’s the best place to start. Even the smallest amount of fat left after cooking will attract roaches. So keep countertops and the stove clean. Never leave dirty dishes overnight and sweep the kitchen floor before going to bed. Keep all food in sealed containers and take out the trash regularly. Cutting off food supply will go a long way to keeping roaches away. Roaches are attracted to water, so fix leaking faucets and remove damp.
Common household sprays recommended for cockroaches are very effective. They are toxic, but not as hazardous as the industrial chemicals used by exterminators. One can buy liquid concentrate treatments that are more effective, similar to those used by exterminators if you’re not too concerned about using a more toxic substance. Liquid concentrates can keep roaches at bay for 2-3 weeks until it has to be re-applied.
Natural insecticide sprays
If you’re wanting to avoid using commercial chemical sprays and prefer a natural way to kill roaches as soon as you see them, a solution of soap water works well. Insects breathe through their skin and spraying them with soap cuts off their oxygen supply. One could call this a clean kill.
Cockroach bait is available in just about any store and is a safe way to to get rid of them. Baiting stations contain a slow-working poison that is mixed with a food source to attract them. They then carry the poison back to the nest, eventually killing the entire population. One must remember that after the initial roach population has been eradicated, eggs are left behind that will hatch later. So you should continue baiting for a few months after there appear to be no more roaches about.
Seal off your home
Roaches can fit through the smallest cracks, so fix all cracks in your walls. Gaps in kitchen cupboards should also be sealed.
Natural cockroach insecticide
A mixture of boric acid powder and castor sugar is an easy to make and highly effective. The sugar will attract the roaches and the boric acid will kill them. Boric acid is highly toxic to most insects while it does not affect us or our pets unless taken in very large doses. The problem with using a powder is that it has to be replaced every time you clean and can be unsightly. This method of cockroach control is very effective inside cupboards, where you don’t clean daily and behind and around large appliances like refrigerators, washing machines and dishwashers.
One can buy roach traps very cheaply that use food or pheromones as bait and then trap the roaches on a sticky surface. One can also make simple homemade traps using a smooth sided glass jar with food or water as bait, once inside, the roach won’t be able to climb back out. A plastic soda bottle with the top cut off and placed into the base so that the narrow spout faces downward also makes for an effective trap, by placing food as bait at the bottom. Traps can only control a small number of cockroaches. For a large infestation, some of the other methods mentioned would be better.
Get Rid of Roaches | A Multi-faceted approach
So, how to get rid of roaches without an exterminator? The good news is you have options but, I will say, if you have a major infestation or the number of roaches continue to increase then put your pride aside and call a professional exterminator in your area because the last thing you want is to live in a house that no longer feels like its your home. Roaches do not make for great guests so do everything possible to control, trap, and kill them, while also taking steps toprevent them from coming back.
All of the methods mentioned above are able to control or get rid of roaches in the home. Some may be more effective than others, depending on how bad the problem is. The best solution is to use a combination of all or several of these cockroach controlling solutions. The more options you use, the better your chances of success.