Wondering how to kill roaches? It’s likely you’ve discovered some unwanted roommates and you’re ready to go to war. Now all you need is the best roach killer on the market to take into battle.
But what will it be? Of all the countless cockroach control products out there, which roach killer is going to wipe out generations of cockroaches in the simplest, most effective way possible?
Here’s the one truth you need to know: just one roach killer – no matter how good it is – is not going to be enough to wipe out a roach infestation completely.
How to Kill Roaches for Good
What works for you will depend on the extent of the cockroach problem you have, and your own personal circumstances. But when it comes to killing roaches completely, it’s best to combine multiple methods to take the fight to the roaches.
Let’s delve into the reasons why.
Cockroaches are Expert Hiders
Cockroaches are the successful pest species they are today for a few reasons. One is that they are good at hiding. Instinctively wary of light and of open spaces, roaches like to keep to the dark where they can’t be seen.
Roaches Will Eat Anything
Their appetite also works in their favor. Cockroaches will eat just about anything. That includes anything that a human would eat, but also extends to things we wouldn’t. Pet food, other insects, feces, and even each other.
If it was ever alive, a cockroach will happily eat it. In extreme cases, cockroaches have even been known to try and eat the hair and fingernails of people while they sleep.
Cockroaches Breed Like Champions
But the main thing that makes cockroaches so difficult to kill completely is their frankly staggering reproductive rate. A single female cockroach can give birth to 200 babies in a lifetime that lasts less than a year. Those babies can all reach sexual maturity in less than two months and begin having 200 babies of their own.
It doesn’t require a mathematician to see how quickly a cockroach problem can get completely out of hand. And it’s this phenomenal breeding rate that makes the roaches so difficult to get rid of.
You can kill roaches all day long, but as long as new ones are hatching out to replace them, you’ll never solve the problem. Any treatment needs to target each and every cockroach to overcome this endless cycle of reproduction.
That’s why it’s a good idea to use multiple methods of cockroach control. Some products are designed to kill roaches quickly, but can never target the juveniles that will hatch out the next day and begin to breed.
Other products are designed specifically to target those juveniles but don’t work so well at killing adults. By combining multiple methods, you get to use the strengths of all those different methods together. Ultimately, it’s the only way to be sure you win the battle.
The Best Types of Roach Killer to Use
A quick online search of your retailer of choice will show you just how many products out there are designed to kill roaches.
It’s not surprising when you consider that this is one of the most widespread and most reviled pest species on earth. People who have cockroaches want them gone, and they’ll pay plenty of money to make sure it happens.
But the products that are out there – at least the ones that work – fall into a few categories.
Typically, these are sticky pads that will trap any cockroaches that walk over them. Some may be baited with an attractive smell to bring the roaches to them faster.
But the general principle remains the same. A trapped cockroach can’t eat or drink or reproduce, and it will die in the trap if it can’t escape.
Roach traps are never going to solve a problem by themselves, and they’re not really designed for that purpose.
Instead, roach traps are best used as a monitoring method to tell you where the cockroaches are hiding. Setting up multiple traps through your home and keeping an eye on how many bugs they catch will let you know where the main areas of activity for cockroaches are. They will also give you a sense of the size of the population.
Additionally, they can help in identifying the type of cockroaches you have. The most common kind is the German cockroach, but American and brown-banded cockroaches are also commonly found in homes and businesses.
Because of the different habits of these creatures, the treatment methods that work best against them can vary. So it’s good to understand what kind of cockroaches you have.
Now we’re talking. Roach bait is one of the most widely used methods to kill these creatures. Mainly because it works.
Roach baits are made of a substance that is attractive to cockroaches mixed with poison. The cockroaches eat the bait, and the poison goes to work inside them. The method of action varies from one bait to another, but the main thing to know is that the roaches will die after consuming the bait.
Baits don’t work fast, but that’s a feature, not a bug.
Cockroaches aren’t social insects in the way that ants or termites are, but they do tend to hang out together in aggregations.
And while cockroach parents don’t make any attempt to care for their young once they’ve hatched out, the juvenile cockroaches do feed on the droppings of the adults. Yes, it’s exceptionally gross. But it is also an effective way for the young cockroaches to stay hidden during the vulnerable early stages of their lives.
The great thing about bait is that it passes through the population. So the juveniles will get a dose of the poison through the droppings of the adults. Also, cockroaches are not above eating each other’s dead bodies once the poison has done its job. In this way, roach bait can spread to bugs that never even came into contact with the bait in the first place.
Best of all, roach bait is completely non-toxic to humans and pets, which is why it makes some of the best pet-safe roach killers available. You can use this stuff throughout your home without having to worry about contaminating your food or making yourself sick.
There are many different roach powders on the market, and they contain different ingredients with different ways of working. For instance, some roach powders contain boric acid, which works as a stomach poison on cockroaches and other insects.
Cockroaches are considered dirty animals because they live in filthy environments and carry diseases. But in their own way, they are quite clean. Cockroaches explore the world with their long mobile antennae, and these antennae quickly get dirty.
As such, cockroaches regularly clean their antennae and legs. This makes them very vulnerable to poisonous powders. If a cockroach comes into contact with the powder containing boric acid, it will use its mouth to clean the dust off and ingest some of it. Then, the poison will go to work, and the bug is doomed.
Another type of roach powder is diatomaceous earth. Although completely non-toxic and harmless to humans, this powder is a useful contact killer for bugs. It works by scratching up the exoskeleton of the creatures, causing them to dehydrate and die.
Of course, for any cockroach powder to work, the bugs need to come into contact with it. For that reason, these powders are best used as a kind of barrier treatment. Deploying the powder along your baseboards, behind kitchen appliances, around water pipes, and other places where cockroaches may be hiding or getting inside your home is a useful strategy.
To get inside, the cockroaches have to cross the powder, and their fate is sealed.
Of course, there’s nothing necessarily wrong with a good old-fashioned bug spray. And there are no end of sprays on the market that will kill cockroaches. And sprays have the advantage of working very quickly.
Most are contact killers and will kill any roach they reach within minutes. This is especially useful if you have a large population of these bugs and want to knock down the numbers before it gets completely out of hand, and you end up having to move house and surrender your old home to a kingdom of cockroaches.
However, it’s important to use sprays correctly. Cockroaches are very fast-moving and are sensitive to chemicals in their environment.
Once you start spraying, the cockroaches will scatter. Sometimes, this can make the problem worse. Instead of having a roach population in one particular area – usually the kitchen – you could now have roaches throughout the whole house.
This is even more problematic in apartments, where roaches can easily travel from one unit to the next. You could spray your apartment and chase cockroaches into your neighbor’s units, only to have those same roaches or their descendants move back into yours when the spray wears off.
This is how entire apartment buildings can quickly end up with major cockroach problems.
However, the quick killing power and potential residual effect of a good cockroach spray mean it’s still a useful weapon against the bugs. If you live in a detached home or other building where the threat of the cockroaches spreading isn’t as much of an issue, sprays offer a quick and easy way to knock cockroach numbers down.
Insect Growth Regulators (IGR)
This is the part where we get really clever. If you want to feel like a maniacal genius while eradicating cockroaches, insect growth regulators or IGRs are your best bet.
These sophisticated chemicals work to block the hormones in a cockroaches body that tell it to grow and develop. Translation: Using an IGR will prevent young cockroaches from reaching sexual maturity and having babies of their own.
Also, it will sterilize any adults that have already reached sexual maturity. This effectively cuts the cockroach population off at the knees, making it unable to reproduce and solving the problems caused by their incredible reproductive rate.
Long-term, this is one of the most effective ways to deal with the cockroach problem.
In the short term, however, IGRs can disappoint people looking for quick results. They don’t kill the cockroaches; they only make it impossible for them to breed.
It’s the equivalent of putting all the cockroaches in your home on birth control. It will stop them from having babies, but it won’t get rid of the cockroaches that are already there.
You’ll either be waiting for them to die of old age, which can take months. Or, you’ll need to combine your use of an IGR with a pesticide that will kill cockroaches more quickly.
We recommend the latter.
Just don’t. After all the products mentioned above, with their various strengths and weaknesses, here’s one that doesn’t work. And yet you’re bound to run into these gadgets while searching for effective cockroach control.
These devices claim to emit an ultrasonic sound that repels bugs. Humans can’t hear the sound, so you’ll need to take it on faith that the device does what it says it does in the first place.
But even if it does, don’t rely on an unpleasant sound to chase cockroaches away. It won’t.
In fact, cockroaches have been found nesting behind and inside these noisemaking devices, which shows how little they do to repel the creatures. Save your money for something that works.
What’s the Best Roach Killer in 2022?
Ready to go nuclear on these buggers by using a foolproof combination of all the most effective roach killers? Here are the best ones in every category.
Best Roach Traps
Roach traps, as you know by now, will allow you to accomplish three very important things:
- Identify the type of cockroach you’re dealing with
- Find the places in your home where roaches are most active
- Give you an idea of the size of the cockroach population
In order to accomplish all that, these traps need to work. Here are your best bets.
If you need to buy a roach trap named after a seminal punk band, this is more or less your only option. These traps use sticky glue to catch and hold any roaches that walk into it.
Think of it as the Hotel California for roaches.
What’s nice about this brand is that the traps fold over to form a little box, so that you don’t have to look at dead and dying cockroaches every time you walk by.
It’s also a good safety feature. If you or a member of your family steps on one of these traps accidentally, it’s less likely to stick to the bottom of your foot than an open trap would.
If you’re after a no-nonsense cardboard trap, the Trapper Max has you covered. The glue in these traps is strong enough to hold adult mice, so it will definitely hold on to any cockroach that wanders into it, even the burliest American cockroach.
Like the Black Flag traps, these traps fold over to protect the glue from dust and accidental footsteps and also keep the roaches from view. Ultimately, these are fairly basic glue traps. But they don’t need to be fancy to do the job they’re designed for.
Trap a Roach
This trap markets itself as Japan’s number one cockroach trap. What sets this trap apart is that it uses an attractant to draw cockroaches toward it, where they get stuck in the glue. The glue remains effective for up to four months, and will still work even after getting wet.
This happens more frequently than you might think since cockroaches love moist environments. Regular cardboard glue traps often get wet from dripping pipes or other water sources and lose their effectiveness. That won’t be an issue with this product.
Best Roach Bait
When it comes to killing cockroaches, roach bait is an absolute must. It’ll be one of the most effective weapons in your arsenal, so make sure you get the best ones.
Here are our favorites.
Advion Cockroach Gel Bait
When it comes to killing roaches, this stuff is the business! Seriously, Advion’s Cockroach Gel Bait might be the best roach killer ever invented.
All you do is apply the gel around popular cockroach hangout spots. Roaches will then come to feast on this yummy gel, which contains the active ingredient Indoxacarb.
The best part about this gel is that it doesn’t kill the infected roaches right away – they’re allowed to live long enough to return back to their cockroach nests and infect all their roach friends as well.
This bait is highly attractive to cockroaches, but over time, the gel will harden and lose its attractiveness. It’s best to apply this bait in many small spots rather than one big one. Let the cockroaches eat it all, and apply more if you need to.
Invict Gold Cockroach Gel
Want to mix it up a bit? Invict also comes in syringes that make for an easy application. The gel is highly attractive to cockroaches and claims to begin killing them in 20 minutes.
Of course, when using a cockroach bait, you’re not looking for an instant kill. You want a cockroach that has eaten the bait to stay alive long enough to spread it on to other roaches. At the same time, you want to get the population under control as quickly as possible.
Of course, any cockroach bait is only useful if the cockroaches eat it. While Invict contains food ingredients that cockroaches would normally eat, attraction seems to be hit and miss.
As a general rule, with this or any cockroach bait, the cleaner you keep your home and the fewer other food sources the cockroaches have, the more readily they will take to the bait, and the quicker they will start to die.
Hot Shot Liquid Roach Bait
Cockroach baiting doesn’t come any easier than this. These liquid-filled bait stations are ready to use out of the box. Just set them up anywhere you see cockroach activity and let the bait do its job.
Applying gel bait can be a messy process, so these bait stations are a welcome solution. They can also help to keep bait out of reach of kids or animals. You won’t have to deal with the bait drying out and forming unsightly lumps that can be difficult to remove.
Be careful when deploying these bait stations, though. You need to remove the tab right over the liquid reservoir inside, so take care not to spill the bait as you activate it.
Also, this bait works slowly. That’s partially by design, since you want the cockroaches to spread the poison through the population. But it can be frustrating to still see cockroaches wandering around your home for days after you’ve put bait stations down.
Just be patient and know that they are slowly but surely being exterminated.
Best Roach Powder
The above roach baits are the gold standard of cockroach killing so why do you need roach powder as well?
Simply because the best roach powders make a brilliant barrier treatment. This is especially useful when you want to prevent new cockroaches from moving in – which is a must when you live in a roach-infested apartment.
Not to mention, they add extra roach-killing oomph to your already good cockroach killing battle plan. So what are the best ones?
The beauty of diatomaceous earth is that this naturally occurring substance is non-toxic to humans and pets. You can use this pretty much anywhere in your home without worrying about coming into contact with it.
And it works to kill roaches. In fact, any bug with an exoskeleton that comes into contact with this powder will dehydrate and die.
This product comes with a duster that allows you to apply it into the cracks and crevices the cockroaches like to hide in. In these locations, the powder will stay active for weeks, if not months. This makes it a very effective product to use.
However, as with all powders, this stuff can be messy. And remember to apply it in a thin layer. Insects will avoid large piles of dust, rendering the treatment ineffective.
Harris Roach Powder
This powder contains boric acid and relies on the cockroach’s grooming habit to force them to ingest the poison when they clean themselves. However, this product also includes an attractant designed to lure the cockroaches toward it.
The trick with any roach dust is not to apply too much of it. You want a thin covering, only just visible to the eye, so the bugs can crawl over it and pick up the poison on their limbs.
However, the bottle that this product comes in makes that tricky. It can be hard to get the powder out, and when it does come out, it often comes in one big clump. It might be better to get yourself a proper duster to use this item correctly.
Best Roach Spray
You already know that the best roach sprays are most useful for one thing: killing cockroaches fast and easy. And as such, they definitely have a place amongst your roach killing arsenal.
Just keep in mind that even the best roach sprays only go so far. Always combine these with other methods of roach control for best results.
Bengal Roach Spray
Sometimes, you just want to see fast results. When you see cockroaches in your home, your natural instinct is going to be to want to kill them. Bengal roach spray can most definitely help you with that.
What makes this spray one of the best roach killers on the market is that it combines two different chemicals. The permethrin it contains kills roaches almost immediately and also creates a residual effect, meaning that it will continue to kill bugs that cross the area you’ve sprayed long after the chemical itself has dried.
But it also has another little ingredient called pyriproxyfen, which is an Insect Growth Regulator and acts to sterilize roaches. The result? The sprayed roach is dead and any other roaches that come into contact with the spray is sterilized. Win win.
Ortho Home Defense Insect Killer
We love this spray for one simple reason – it allows you to reach deep into the cracks and crevices where roaches love to hide. Once sprayed, the foam expands and then disappears to create an invisible protective barrier against roaches.
It will continue to kill these pesky buggers for up to 18 months. That’s a lot of bang for your buck.
If your roach infestation is advanced, you may want to bust out the big guns. Meet Fipronil Plus C.
Don’t let the high price and small bottle fool you. Fipronil Plus C is a highly concentrated insecticide that is designed to be heavily diluted before use. You should get multiple treatments from a single bottle if you need them. The chances are, you won’t.
Fipronil is a contact killer of cockroaches with a powerful residual effect. But what’s most interesting about it is that it is non-repellent to cockroaches. This is important because since it’s non-repellent, roaches won’t avoid it and they’ll readily cross over it, quickly sealing their fate.
So you could combine the spray with a roach bait and not worry about the two different chemicals working against one another. Use Fipronil to get the cockroach numbers down quickly, and a bait to provide more long-term control.
Last but not least, this pesticide spray combines the pesticide Fipronil with a cellulose technology that prevents both UV degradation and reduces spray drift so it’s great to use both indoor and outdoor.
Of course, Fipronil Plus C is a product aimed at professionals, with all the necessary equipment to use it. You’ll need to mix this product according to the manufacturer’s directions, and you’ll need a sprayer to spray it in.
If you have a big cockroach problem or an especially big house, it may well be worth the extra effort. But if you don’t, ready-to-use products such as Bengal might be more appropriate.
Best Insect Growth Regulators (IGRs) for Roaches
Remember what we mentioned about the cockroach’s outsized breeding ability? Without targeting the roach’s reproductive cycle, you’ll never be rid of the roach infestation.
Which is why IGRs are an absolute must in your roach fighting arsenal.
Gentrol Point Source
Typically, IGRs are highly specialized products that are intended for use by professionals. They can be difficult to find, and even more difficult to use.
But this product from Gentrol is different. It’s about as easy to use as a pest control product could possibly be. You simply squeeze the plastic device and set it down somewhere close to where the cockroaches are hiding.
A single disc will treat 75 ft.². It slowly releases an insect growth regulator that sterilizes adult cockroaches and prevents the juveniles from reaching maturity. So while it won’t kill a single cockroach, it will ensure that no new cockroaches will be born.
Long-term, this is the best way to deal with these troublesome bugs. Combine this product with a dedicated cockroach killer, such as a bait or spray, and you’ll have these bugs under control in no time.
And we’ve finally reached the end of the article. You are now armed with the best roach killers ever invented. Go forth and unleash the fury.