What’s the Best Roach Spray? Hint: It’s Not What You Think

You glimpse a roach. What do you do next? Hop onto Google to find the best roach spray, of course.

See a bug, spray a bug. Duh. It’s just a natural reaction to reach for a can of spray when you see a bug in your home.

Ever since Giovanni Bugspraini invented bug spray during the Florence Renaissance, bug spray has been a commonly used tool in the war against insects around the world. And just because I made that last part up doesn’t make it any less true.

Cockroaches are an especially upsetting pest to find in your home. These creatures spread disease, after all. Also, they are one of those bug species that will quite happily live and breed in our homes, and never leave unless we take drastic action.

But before you reach for the roach spray, there are some things you need to know about cockroaches and bug spray.

Does Roach Spray Work?

Cockroaches aren’t as hard to kill as some in the media would have you believe. Sure, they’re tough bugs. But they’re still bugs. And bugs can be killed. Just about any roach spray you buy will kill roaches that you spray it on.

This would be a short article if that were all there was to it.

But the ugly truth of the matter is that there’s more to getting rid of a roach infestation than just killing roaches. If that sounds counterintuitive, settle in and get ready to do some learnin’. 

Why Roach Spray Isn’t Enough

Cockroaches breed fast. Ridiculously fast, in fact. Given the right conditions, a single female cockroach can produce 300 to 400 offspring in her lifetime.

Remember, this is a creature that lives for less than a year. Remember also that that single female cockroach won’t stay single for long. All of her babies will reach sexual maturity in as little as 50 days and start having babies of their own.

In effect, cockroaches can outbreed your attempts to kill them with even the strongest, more potent roach spray.

Add to all this the fact that cockroaches are very good at hiding. Especially roach babies. For the first couple of weeks of a cockroach’s life, it will hide in some dark crevice somewhere and may not emerge at all.

Unless you can track down every single place cockroach could be hiding, roach spray is only going to kill the cockroaches that you see, which is a small percentage of the overall population.

That’s not to say that roach spray is useless. Every roach you kill means fewer roaches will be hatching out in the future. Roach spray has its place for knocking down a population.

That being said, you probably shouldn’t rely on it to solve the problem all by itself.

What’s the Best Roach Spray to Kill Roaches Instantly?

Now you’re thinking. Roach spray is best used to kill the roaches that you see instantly, while there are other methods to deal with the bigger, unseen population in a more effective long-term manner.

So to kill the cockroaches that you see and prevent them from running around your house like they own the place, here are two of the most useful roach sprays to have on hand.

Bengal Roach Spray

What makes this roach spray so special? Why, science, of course! It’s not the cool-looking tiger on the can that makes this spray so useful. In the tradition of all the best fairytales, it’s what’s inside that counts.

What’s inside this product is a chemical called Nylar. Nylar is a brand name for the chemical pyriproxyfen, which could honestly use a rebrand so that normal people can spell it.

Nylar belongs to a class of chemicals known as insect growth regulators. And insect growth regulators are worth getting to know because they disrupt the hormonal balance in a cockroach’s body, preventing young cockroaches from reaching maturity.

For those roaches that are already all grown up, Nylar effectively sterilizes them. In this way, you can critically damage the cockroach’s breeding rate and overcome a big part of what makes them so difficult to get rid of.

Nothing controls cockroaches long-term like an insect growth regulator. Perhaps the only downside of these non-toxic chemicals is that they can take a while to work. They don’t kill the cockroaches; they just make them unable to breed.

So by itself, an insect growth regulator means you’ll be waiting for the cockroaches to die of old age. Bengal roach spray gets around this problem by also containing permethrin, a widely used contact insecticide that kills roaches and has a residual effect so that it continues killing roaches that come into contact with it long after it’s dried.

It’s this combination approach that makes Bengal such a great choice for roach spray. The best choice, in fact.

Ortho Home Defense Foam Spray

If you can’t get hold of Bengal roach spray, a worthy alternative is this roach spray from Ortho.

As a contact killer, this product functions in much the same way as any other roach spray: the active ingredient damages the bug’s central nervous system, causing them to lose control of their bodies and eventually die.

What makes this product better than the others is its foaming formula. Roaches like to hide in small cracks and crevices, and this can make it difficult to get at them with the insecticide of your choice.

A foaming solution like this one expands into any cracks and gaps you apply it to, which makes it great at reaching roaches that are hiding where you can’t see them.

Are Contact Roach Sprays Enough?

The above roach sprays definitely work to kill roaches but are they enough to wipe out a cockroach infestation?

Not really.

That doesn’t mean they’re useless – no tool is good or bad by itself. It’s all about how you use it. Contact roach sprays have a place in your arsenal when it comes to roach control. But they aren’t perfect.

Let’s go over the main pros and cons of contact roach sprays so you know exactly what you can expect from them.

PRO: A quick kill

When you see a roach, or even several of them, running around your home, it’s natural to want to stop them. Sometimes, you just want to know that that particular insect is dead, and you won’t be able to sleep at night until you know it’s gone.

Contact killers let you kill those roaches without having to actually touch them, which is always a plus.

PRO: Targeted destruction

With the right roach spray, such as the ones listed above, you can go looking for the roaches and kill them where they live. There’s something darkly satisfying about filling up a roach harborage with a poisonous foam and watching the creatures die.

Sure, it may not be the healthiest impulse to indulge. But when it comes to getting rid of roaches, it’s no time to practice compassion. Kill them all.

PRO: Quick results

A thorough roach spray can knock down the number of cockroaches in your home quickly. It’s probably not going to kill them all, and given the roach’s reproductive rate, the population is sure to rebound in the future.

But in the short term, a roach killer spray that kills instantly can provide you some relief from these pernicious pests – not to mention, instant gratification.

CON: Short-term solution

Getting rid of cockroaches isn’t about winning the battle but winning the war. A spray may kill a lot of roaches, but it won’t kill them all.

And the population will rebound sooner rather than later, despite your best efforts to control them if all you’re armed with is a spray.

CON: Spray can make the problem worse

Cockroaches are very fast-moving creatures, and their first instinct when they feel threatened is to scatter. Spraying for cockroaches can exacerbate this problem.

The fumes of the chemical will cause any roaches that they don’t kill to panic and run. This can cause a relatively contained population of cockroaches to spread throughout your home.

This is especially concerning in an apartment, where neighbors can inadvertently contribute to each other’s cockroach problems by causing roaches to scatter with poorly applied sprays.

CON: Toxic chemicals

Pesticides are made to kill. They do this in many ways, but many of the most commonly used pesticides are not exactly great for people either.

Whether you’re trying to be eco-friendly, or you’re just trying to protect your own health, you may not be completely comfortable spraying pesticides inside your home.

What’s the Best Roach Spray to Exterminate a Roach Infestation?

Okay, we’ve established that contact killer sprays only go so far. You’re not going to solve a cockroach problem with a can of roach spray, no matter how religiously you apply it. So what sprays work to solve a problem?

Instead of a contact killer, you want to think about a pesticide that provides more long-lasting protection. Products are available that offer a powerful residual effect.

What this means is that the chemical will continue to kill roaches that come into contact with it long after the product has dried. These products form an invisible barrier that kills roaches for days, weeks, or even months after it’s been applied.

That’s not to say that these products don’t kill cockroaches on contact, because they do. But they also kill any other roaches that emerge after you’ve sprayed. In this way, they offer the best of both worlds.

As well as acting quickly to kill the roaches you see, the residual effect means that the poison will spread through the population and kill cockroaches that you missed during the initial application.

Here are three of the best such roach sprays!

Taurus SC

This roach spray kills more than just cockroaches. It’s effective against just about any insect you’re likely to encounter. And while it can be expensive, remember this product comes in the form of a concentrate.

Yes, that means you’ll need to dilute it yourself. You’ll probably need some spraying equipment so that you can mix the chemical with the correct ratio of water and apply it. But it also means that a single bottle will give you a lot of chemical to work with.

When mixing chemicals, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that a less diluted mixture will give you better results. At best, it just means you’ll be wasting expensive chemicals. At worst, it can damage your health.

The active ingredient in Taurus is fipronil. This is a potent chemical that has been proven to be effective against many species of cockroaches. Amazon also has plenty of reviews to show just how effective this roach pesticide is. So while this product may not come cheap, you can be confident that it will work.

Martin’s Viper

This roach spray is intended to be used as a crack and crevice spray, but can also be used outdoors as a broadcast spray. This won’t help you much for a cockroach problem, as these creatures prefer to live indoors, especially the more common German cockroach. But it’s nice to know that this product can help with other creatures such as ants that do come in from outside.

Cypermethrin is the active ingredient in this product, and there’s no doubt that it kills cockroaches. Like the other products listed here, you’ll need to dilute this product and use a sprayer to apply it.

Make sure to get a sprayer that can apply the mixture to the tiny cracks and crevices where the roaches like to hide. The nearer you can apply this pesticide to the most common cockroach hiding spots, the more effective it will be, and the quicker you will get the problem under control.

Although you will be diluting this product heavily to use it, you may still notice a strong smell. It’s not the worst smell in the world, but it’s not particularly pleasant either. It’s a kind of chemically, oily smell that has a way of lingering for a few hours after you spray it.

It’s best to open the windows of your house when you use this product, and if your family members are sensitive to smells, they might want to clear out for a couple of hours to let the house air out.

Bifen XTS

This is another professional-grade concentrate that you’ll need special equipment to apply. Luckily, the bottle comes with a cool little measuring device to help you make sure you get the correct concentration.

The active ingredient here is bifenthrin, a widely used pesticide proven to be effective against cockroaches. As well as killing cockroaches on contact and providing residual effect, this product seems to have a repellent effect on roaches. They tend to avoid the areas it has been sprayed in.

For this reason, this product may be especially useful if you live in an apartment and your neighbors have cockroaches. It could help to keep them out before they become a problem in your unit.

Top 3 Products to Use with Roach Spray for Best Results

When trying to get rid of the cockroach population in your house, you may want to think like a general. Using a combination of different methods can ensure that the strengths of one approach cancel out the weaknesses of another, leading to a more effective treatment overall.

But you need to know your products very well to use them correctly. Lucky we’re here, then, isn’t it? Here are the top 3 things to use alongside a good roach spray for best results!

Insect Growth Regulators (IGRs)

Mixing an IGR with a contact killer creates an extremely effective roach spray. This way, you’ll make sure that you kill the roaches that you see while sterilizing the ones that you don’t. IGRs are so effective, you should always use one if you get the chance. And best of all, they are non-toxic.

Typically, IGRs mix well with the chemicals. However, before you go mixing any two products together, make sure to check with the manufacturer. You never know when one chemical will react badly with another. And by badly, I mean really badly. Never mix two chemicals together unless you’re sure of what you’re doing.

Don’t feel like doing DIY pest control chemistry? Can’t blame you. Go the easier route and opt for Gentrol Point Source’s IGR, which comes in a form of a disc that you simply squeeze to activate. Easy peasy.

Roach Baits and Traps

Roach bait is awesome. Ever since it was first introduced, it’s become the pest-control industry’s go-to product for dealing with cockroaches. Part of the reason for this is because bait is not toxic to humans or pets, and so can be used just about anywhere.

Schools, hospitals, restaurants, and other sensitive areas, including your kitchen at home, can all be baited without the risk of any harm to anything other than the roaches themselves.

The chemistry behind roach bait is complex, but the idea is simple. By mixing poison with an attractive substance, the cockroaches will eat the bait and poison themselves. The beauty of this approach is that the cockroaches easily spread the bait through the population by themselves.

Live cockroaches eat dead ones. Also, baby cockroaches eat the feces of the adults. So a cockroach that has eaten the bait can’t help but spread it further through the population, even after it’s died. In this way, you can kill cockroaches that you never even see. The bait does all the work for you.

For these reasons, roach bait is one of the best methods of long-term cockroach control you can possibly buy.

However, it’s important to remember that the bait will only work if the cockroaches find and eat it. For that reason, it’s essential to clean your house thoroughly to make sure the cockroaches have no food source other than the bait.

Also, be very careful using one of the sprays listed above alongside bait. Sprays are often repellent to cockroaches, and if you spray an area where you have baited, you will make the bait repellent to the insects. This will make it ineffective.

And since good cockroach bait doesn’t come cheap, the last thing you want to do is make it unappealing to the cockroaches you’re trying to poison.

Soap and water

I’m not kidding. One of the cheapest methods of cockroach control is also one of the simplest. Clean your house. Pay particular attention to the kitchen.

Wipe up any spills and remove any crumbs of food you find, no matter how tiny. Store the food in your cabinets in sealed roach proof containers. Give the pesky roaches nothing to eat, and they’ll have very little reason to stay.

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