How to Get Rid of Roaches in an Apartment: The Ultimate DIY Guide

If you’re desperately searching to learn how to get rid of roaches in an apartment, take at least a little bit of comfort in the fact that you’re not alone.

Cockroaches and apartments go together like pros and cons.

It’s not because apartment dwellers are subhuman filth who deserve to live with their insect brethren, far away from decent people with lawns to maintain.

It’s just the nature of apartment living. The higher the population density of humans, the greater the population of cockroaches it can support. More people living in a particular building means more potential food sources for cockroaches.

Also, apartments make it very easy for cockroaches to spread from one unit to another. There are only a few ways for cockroaches to get into a detached home in the first place.

But it’s very easy for them to move from one apartment to another and quickly spread through a building.

So if you live in an apartment and find you have cockroaches, remember we’re not here to judge, but to help.

How to Get Rid of Roaches in an Apartment: 3 Strategies That Work

The reality is that anyone can get cockroaches, and when you share walls with neighbors, the chances of an infestation become much higher. That doesn’t mean you’re helpless.

Here’s how to get rid of roaches in an apartment – for good.

Clean up

I know, I know. You want to rain down fire and brimstone and annihilate these unwanted invaders, you don’t want to pull out the vacuum and get busy.

But alas, cleaning up is cockroach prevention 101.

Cockroaches come into people’s homes for only two reasons: for shelter and for food. Remove the food source, and you make it much less likely that cockroaches will come into your home in the first place.

Plus, even if they do, the cockroach population will only grow as big as the food source that supports it can sustain. The less you feed them, the fewer cockroaches you will have, and the easier it will be to get rid of them.

So clean like you’ve never cleaned before. Don’t neglect areas behind kitchen appliances and under cabinets. Cockroaches love warm, damp, dark places, so this is where you should focus your efforts.

Tip: In most homes, there’s a lot of cockroach food hidden in places us humans can’t see it – like under the fridge and sofas. There’s also a good chance that these dark, hidden nooks harbor other nasties like cockroach eggs.

Which is why one of your most useful tools against roaches will be a flat vacuum attachment that you can use to reach into any nook and cranny. Seriously, get one of these.

Create a cockroach fortress

To be clear, that’s a fortress against cockroaches. Not a fortress ruled by them. We’ll save the Fortress of Cockroaches for my Game of Thrones fan fiction.

Cockroaches spread easily through apartment buildings by traveling along water and heat pipes. They can also travel along electrical conduits that run from one apartment to another, or air vents.

They can even simply walk down the hallway and slip under the door like the world’s worst neighbors. This is what makes cockroaches so tough to get rid of in an apartment building.

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To fight back, you need to make your unit as impregnable as possible. Check around any pipes that enter through the walls. Water pipes are the most common point of entry for cockroaches, but don’t neglect heat and other pipes.

Seal up around the pipes with silicone caulk so that there is no way for cockroaches to squeeze in through the gap in the wall made for the pipe to enter.

And if you want to be super secure, go the extra step and dust the wall void with insecticide powder before you seal it up. Both diatomaceous earth and Harris Roach Powder are highly effective – and natural – roach killers that will kill any roaches that dare to cross into your territory.

In fact, we’d recommend even lining your baseboard with either one of these powders. Sort of like a roach moat you’re building around your home.

Monitor

Glue traps, sometimes called roach motels, are simple devices. They are usually made of cardboard or plastic and contain a sticky glue that cockroaches and other insects will be unable to escape once they step on it.

While this will kill cockroaches, it’s not going to get rid of an infestation by itself.

So why bother, you ask? Well, these traps are great for getting a sense of not just the scale of your cockroach problem, but its location. By setting up traps throughout the house and checking them regularly, you’ll get a better idea of where the cockroaches are coming from.

This will not only help you to focus your treatment efforts, but also give you a clue as to where you should be sealing up cracks and crevices to prevent cockroaches from getting inside.

Generally, cockroaches are found in bathrooms and kitchens, under sinks and behind appliances. But that’s not always true. Glue traps will help you get a better understanding of where the problem is coming from so you know exactly where to focus your roach killing efforts.

Tip: If you have the stomach for it, glue traps also allow you to peek in and see what type of cockroach you’re dealing with so you can choose the best roach killing weaponry to battle with.

What is the Best Roach Killer for Apartments?

You’ve cleaned and sealed off your home to invading roaches. Now, you’re ready to kill, kill, kill!

So what’s the best roach killer for apartments? Here’s what you need…

Bait the enemy

Once you’ve isolated your apartment and figured out where the cockroaches are living, the best way to kill them is with cockroach bait.

Sure, you may want the immediate gratification of roach sprays and foggers but when it comes to getting rid of roaches for good, nothing beats roach bait for sheer effectiveness.

Bait is an extremely effective method of treating for cockroaches because cockroaches will eat just about anything. Including each other. Including each other’s poop. I hope you weren’t eating dinner when you read that sentence.

But because of cockroach’s cannibalistic and coprophagic tendencies, the active ingredient in cockroaches bait will spread easily throughout the entire population.

These baits can come in the form of a gel inside a kind of plastic syringe applicator, or inside preassembled bait stations. Which method you choose will depend on your own preferences, but it can be a good idea to use two or three different kinds simultaneously.

This way, if the cockroaches prefer one bait over the other, you will be able to see which works the best. We recommend at least one type of gel bait that you can dab anywhere that roaches roam, like Advion’s Roach Gel Bait.

Another great roach bait to use alongside gel bait is Hot Shot Liquid Roach Bait.

This bait is a great choice because it offers a water source that roaches desperately need – it’s smart since cockroaches can go for months without eating but they can’t go very long without liquids.

Note: Be warned that cockroach bait doesn’t work quickly. It isn’t designed to. Some of the most common baits either act on the cockroach’s central nervous system or work as a stomach poison to prevent the cockroach from digesting food. This causes the cockroach to starve to death. And that could take a little while.

Baiting for cockroaches requires patience. Just follow the directions and trust the treatment. This stuff works.

Population control

One of the things that makes cockroaches so tough to treat is their staggering reproductive rate. This is especially true of the German cockroach. Not only is this the fastest breeding species of cockroach around, it’s also by far the most likely to infest human homes. Lucky us.

Cockroaches may have supercharged reproductive rates, but we humans have big, juicy brains.

Some bright scientists discovered a class of chemicals that can inhibit a cockroach’s ability to mature. These chemicals, called insect growth regulators or IGRs, block the hormones in a cockroach’s body that tell it to grow.

This leads to a population of juvenile cockroaches that will never be able to reproduce. It’s birth control for cockroaches.

IGRs can come in the form of a bait or a spray , and are a highly effective way to treat for cockroaches.

Best of all, they pose no risk to human health. The chemicals used are completely ineffective on mammals, so it’s also safe to use around pets.

What About a Roach Bomb for Apartments?

Cockroaches are capable of spreading disease. Beyond that, they’re just plain gross. So it’s no wonder that a lot of people have a visceral reaction to discovering cockroaches in their homes. But this can lead to some poor choices.

While it’s tempting to turn to the most potent pesticide you can get your hands on, you’ll want to resist this treatment method.

The trouble is, cockroaches are highly mobile. After all, they managed to get into your apartment in the first place, didn’t they?

And while no one would describe cockroaches as being particularly intelligent insects, they are smart enough to know when you’re trying to poison them.

Why roach sprays aren’t the solution

Even worse, most insecticide sprays are repellent to cockroaches. So when you begin to spray, the cockroaches will run. In an apartment building, this can be disastrous. As they flee your apartment, chances are high the cockroaches will enter that of your neighbors.

From there, they can quickly re-colonize your apartment once the effects of the spray have worn off. In fact, it’s possible that this is how the cockroaches came into your apartment in the first place. Don’t be part of the problem. Be the solution.

Roach bombs are even worse

This is even more true for foggers. Foggers release pesticide in an airborne burst, which sounds like a great solution.

But cockroaches will smell this poison gas coming a mile off. Sure, you’ll probably manage to kill a few cockroaches this way. But more of them will simply hide, either in your neighbor’s apartment or in places in your unit that the pesticide can’t reach. Wall voids, for instance.

In this way, foggers can actually make a cockroach problem worse than it would otherwise be. Especially in multi-unit housing such as apartments.

Skip the roach bomb.

How to Get Rid of Cockroaches in Apartments For Good

Congratulations. You now have a roach-free apartment. But can it last?

Humans have been at war with cockroaches for centuries, and we are still nowhere near declaring victory. Which is strange when you consider how many other animals we wiped off the planet without even meaning to.

But cockroaches are notoriously tough. Their chief weapons in the battle for survival are secrecy, the ability to eat just about anything, and a reproductive rate that is frankly terrifying.

What humans are good at, although it doesn’t always seem like it, is cooperation.

If you find cockroaches in your apartment, it’s a great time to use this superpower. Talk to your neighbors. Talk to your building manager.

Some people feel a sense of shame at admitting they have cockroaches, but you shouldn’t. It really can happen to anyone. It’s possible that the problem didn’t even start with your unit.

If the whole building works together, it is possible to drive the cockroaches out and reclaim your home – for good.

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