How to Get Rid of Cockroaches

By Julie Miller
How to Get Rid of Cockroaches

When I began researching cockroaches, I was utterly amazed at the number of people that google "cockroaches" every day. Why is it that so many of us want to know so much about this disgusting insect? Is it because it mortifies us? Or perhaps it’s because we’re hoping to find evidence that these vile little creatures aren’t really as repulsive as we think they are? Or maybe it’s because a lot of us are finding them in our homes (and are secretly researching how to get rid of them), are concerned about how long they can live, or have heard about their presence in restaurants? In Can't Hurt Me, David Goggins writes that he "was a would-be warrior turned cockroach sniper on the graveyard shift." There are cockroach snipers out there, working those middle-of-the-night hours. Perhaps they’re exterminating your favorite restaurant tonight?

Regardless of why you’re up in the black of night typing "cockroach" via the blue light of your smartphone, it’s good for us all to know how to get rid of these disease-carriers.

What Is a Cockroach?

With their small heads, broad, flattened bodies, compound eyes, and long, flexible antennae, cockroaches are not out to conquer the world, though their abundance may lead you to think otherwise. According to an article by The New York Times in 1986, 26,000 were identified in one apartment complex alone.

If you live within the United States, there are a few types—of the 4,400 species of cockroaches on earth—that you’re bound to scream at, run away from, or sweat profusely near while your legs just won’t move, whether you live in Michigan, Texas, Florida, California, or any other state for that matter. None are slow movers, smell like flowers, or promise not to set foot inside of your home. Among them are the infamous German cockroach, which is the most common type of roach found in the United States.

Knowing your small brown-colored enemy, its life cycle, its habitat, its moves, and its goals (which is really just reproduction), gives you an upper hand in predicting, controlling, and eliminating their presence.

What You Should Know about Cockroaches

  • Cockroaches are nocturnal. They prefer to live and feed in the dark and shun the light.
  • They are social insects. They often live in family groups.
  • They live in all environments. Though, they favor warm climates found within buildings.
  • They will eat anything. The American cockroach, for example, will dine on bread, fruit, leather, starch in book bindings, paper, glue, skin flakes, hair, dead insects and soiled clothing.
  • Cockroaches are hardy insects. Some species have the capability of surviving for a month without food.
  • In your home, they prefer to shelter in narrow cracks and crevices. They will seek residence behind your refrigerator, in a cabinet under your sink, inside or under your garbage cans, near food prep areas, and in porous surfaces, like cardboard boxes.
  • They are abundant throughout the world. From the Arctic to Australia, they will take up residence. (Cockroaches can withstand extremely low temperatures. Some species, by manufacturing an antifreeze, are capable of surviving a temperature of -188 F).
  • Cockroaches apparently use just two two pieces of information to decide where to go: how dark the location is and the number of cockroaches that are already there (the more the merrier).
  • Female cockroaches can carry around a purse-like pouch. These purse-like pouches, protruding from their abdomen, are actually egg cases, with some 30+ eggs in them. A female cockroach can produce up to eight cases in a lifetime. In very favorable conditions, she can produce 300-400 offspring. In some cases, she only needs to be impregnated once to lay eggs for the remainder of her life.
  • Cockroaches live up to a year.
  • They are linked with allergic reactions in humans and can trigger asthma. Because of this, they could be considered dangerous. They may also carry certain bacteria that can cause illnesses if left on food.
  • Cockroaches are not likely to bite (living) humans. They may, though, in cases of extreme infestations, where cockroach populations are large and especially when food becomes scarce. Before devouring your flesh, though, they’ll take a nibble of your fingernails and eye lashes (and perhaps your feet or hands).

It’s interesting to note that although cockroaches are popularly depicted as dirty pests (which is how I would definitely describe them), the majority of species are actually inoffensive. They do humans no physical harm. In addition to doing no harm, cockroaches are eaten in many places around the world, their bodies (with heads and legs removed) being boiled, sautéed, grilled, dried, or diced…and then munched, slurped, or taken to with a knife and fork.

How to Get Rid of Cockroaches?

German cockroach

Roaches, whether they be the large American cockroach (at 1½ inches), the common German cockroach, the small brown-banded cockroach (at ½ inch), or any of the other species that are common in the United States, can become a nuisance of the past. Armed with the right tools, and depending on the severity of your infestation, you can and will get rid of cockroaches fast.

If you know the source of the invasion, you can indeed get rid of cockroaches overnight. You will need to purchase food-grade diatomaceous earth (DE) and Dr. Killigan’s Insect Buster. Although you can just purchase DE, I highly recommend our Insect Buster. It will help you to disperse the powder into the far reaches of cracks and crevices, (especially so with the brass extension rod), will eliminate waste of DE through a precise distribution method, and will allow you to have hyper-targeted application. It will also save you frustration, so that you can enjoy that cold beverage on your patio this evening.

To get started—

Step 1

Know where cockroaches have been in your home. These are the areas where you want to disperse DE. Look for:

Droppings: These resemble coffee grounds or pepper and are less than 1mm wide. (The edge of a dime is about 1mm).

Cockroaches on bark

Smear Marks or Streaks: These irregular markings can be found on walls and where the roaches have been the most active. 

Unusual Odor: This musty stench is the smell of the pheromones left behind in their droppings. It is a damp, unpleasant, urine-like odor that reminds you of portable toilets at the fairground.

Eggs: Since cockroaches eat just about anything, you could find the female’s ootheca (egg case) just about anywhere - from your kitchen cabinets or bathroom sinks to cardboard boxes or garbage cans. Some species will even lay eggs by furniture legs, baseboards, or in your dresser drawers. *The case looks like a tiny bean capsule and is approximately 3 mm wide (or a dime and a penny stacked) and 8 mm long (3 quarters and 2 pennies stacked). 

Shedded Skin: As cockroaches grow, they shed their skin anywhere from five to eight times. This molted skin is light brown, cockroach-shaped, and will become brittle over time.

Step 2

Ensure that the area is dry. This includes your kitchen, attic, basement, bathroom, or any other area of your home where you have seen cockroach activity. If the humidity is high, use fans to reduce the moisture in the air. Make sure your powder is dry, so as to perform at its most effective standard.

Step 3

Fill the Insect Buster ¾ full of DE and shake it. Use the funnel provided to do so. The steel ball will break up any powder clumps. Apply a light coating on surfaces and in crevices where you’ve seen cockroach evidence. Focus on areas like dark drawers or cabinets, (especially those near food sources), under sinks, the floor behind your stove and refrigerator and other areas where these 6-legged invaders can find crumbs and other food sources.

Step 4

Hit roaches entry points. Using the extension rod, spray inside cracks, outlets, and gaps around wiring.

Step 5

Apply a fine line of diatomaceous earth around the perimeter of your home. Use the shake and squeeze method to do so and include the area under your porch. Due to crawl space, applying the powder under your porch may be difficult. In this instance, use the extension rod to spray as far into this space as you are able. DE can be spread in the mulch, garden soil, and grass around the perimeter of your house. I would recommend first watering your plants and grass, as this will help the DE powder stick more efficiently.

Step 6

Repeat. Keep an eye on the places you’ve treated. The powder may need to be reapplied after every rain and periods of high humidity, depending on the conditions and the size of the insect infestation you’re fighting.

Reapplication is contingent upon how much powder the insect interacted with. If a cockroach walks through it and only gets it on his legs, kill time takes anywhere from 24 to 48 hours. If the insect gets a fair amount on his whole body, kill time is much less—eight to 10 hours. Improvement should be seen within a two-week timespan. 

After you have completed steps one through six, know that Confidence, Peace, and Control are being restored to your home, the Dr. Killligan way. Now where did that cold beverage go?

Final Word on Getting Rid of Cockroaches

What has your experience with cockroaches been? Have you been to Thailand and eaten them grilled? Have you had them in your home? Do they disgust you too? Share your thoughts and experience in the comments below. 


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