Despite significant prevention efforts, the cockroach remains one of the most widespread and persistent pests on the planet. Just seeing one of these creatures crawling on your kitchen counter or hanging out near your pantry is enough to make anybody want to know how to keep cockroaches out for good. And while cockroaches have survived for millions of years–and will most likely be around for many more years to come–there are a few things you can do to help prevent cockroaches from taking over your world.

cockroach prevention

8 tips for cockroach prevention

If you've ever dealt with cockroaches, you know they adapt well to living near humans. Cockroaches can contaminate food products and produce a repulsive odor throughout your home. Some individuals become allergic to roaches. Roaches have also been recognized as a potential trigger for those with asthma. Prevention of a cockroach infestation is much easier than getting rid of these pests once they've already inhabited your home.

When it comes to pest-proofing and prevention, its helpful to know which types of cockroaches you may be up against. Peridomestic cockroaches (such as the American cockroach and Australian cockroach) typically enter the home from an exterior or outdoor environment. For these types of cockroaches, you may want to take added caution around openings near porch or patio doors or other areas where they can enter from the outside. On the flipside, domestic cockroaches, such as German cockroaches often hitch a ride into your home on items or enter the home from neighboring units, like houses or condos. For these types of pests, you may want to pay close attention to any new objects that may have brought cockroaches along with them or if any neighbors in your apartment complex, condo, or rowhome have complained of cockroaches.

Now that you have a better overview of the different types of cockroaches and the potential ways they can enter your home, here are a few some tips on how to prevent cockroaches from invading your home.

1. Inspect items entering your home

Storage boxes, packages and even grocery bags can harbor roaches looking for a new habitat. When you bring boxes into your home from your garage or other storage areas, inspect them thoroughly and dispose of the container as soon as possible. Inspect grocery bags and packages made of paper or cardboard immediately after bringing them indoors. Always put items away promptly and dispose of cardboard boxes or other packaging materials that could be hiding unwanted pests.

2. Keep a clean home

Even the cleanest of homes can provide a decent environment for cockroaches. Roaches can sustain themselves on a minimal amount of food and water. A small pile of crumbs and a few water droplets is often all they need to survive.

Good housekeeping practices, both indoors and outside, play a key role in controlling cockroach populations. Keeping your kitchen and other areas free of potential cockroach meals is the first step in avoiding an infestation. Routine vacuuming can also help eliminate egg sacs and cockroach body parts. In addition to vacuuming, regular cleaning of surfaces contaminated by roaches is also recommended.

3. Focus on maintaining cockroach prevention in the kitchen

At night, while you're sleeping, cockroaches may raid your kitchen for any signs of leftover food. Even when your kitchen is relatively clean, cockroaches can target trash cans, residue in sinks and drains and remaining crumbs on countertops or floors. It takes very little food for these small pests to survive, so leaving a sink full of dirty dishes is like providing an all-you-can-eat buffet.

Since roaches are nocturnal, eliminating nighttime food sources is a must. You can help to cut off food sources by washing dishes and wiping countertops with disinfectant spray each night. Clean away food residue and grease in and around appliances. Keep the space beneath your kitchen sink clean and vacuum the kitchen floor nightly to avoid leftover crumbs from attracting attention.

4. Limit dining to one room

Cockroaches usually target the kitchen because it's the room where most food is stored and eaten. However, they can infest any room in the house, including bedrooms. Restrict food, drinks and dishes to the kitchen or dining room to help avoid whole-home infestation. This tactic also makes cleanup easier, with fewer missed crumbs through the home. For best results, involve the entire family in enforcing this rule and remain consistent.

5. Proper food storage

Cockroaches are nocturnal and spend the majority of their time resting in small cracks in your cabinets, wall voids and other dark, undisturbed areas near their food and water sources. They prefer to lay on surfaces such as cardboard, unfinished wood or layered paper. Roaches can flatten their bodies to fit into the openings of cardboard food packages and rolled plastic bags. While you might see roaches in food, it's also possible for these pests to access food in packages and disappear without even being seen. Store food (including pet food) in sealed containers. All pet food bowls and open food containers should be emptied each night.

6. Look for entry points

Peridomestic roaches like American cockroaches can access your home from the outside, while domestic roaches like German cockroaches can enter through cracks and crevices between walls in multi-unit dwellings. Eliminating common entry points can help you avoid an infestation. Seal all cracks and, if you live in a multi-unit home, taking care to seal between units around pipe and wall junctures to help keep cockroaches out. It's also important to inspect baseboards, utility pipes and crawl spaces for gaps and seal cracks or holes. Make sure windows and doors are secure and install weather stripping to keep cracks from developing.

7. Remove hiding places from the floor

A cluttered home can be conducive to cockroach infestations. Not only can it provide a place for cockroaches to hide, but it makes it more difficult to inspect for them. Cockroaches hide in warm, dark spots while waiting for feeding time. Keep the floor clean of cardboard, paper, or other items that can serve as shelter for roaches. Avoid leaving storage boxes, pet food containers and other items in the kitchen where cockroaches are most likely to exist.

8. Focus outdoors to prevent an indoor infestation

Knowing how to keep cockroaches out of a structure can help prevent cockroaches from infesting the interior. Keeping your yard, porch, and other outdoor spaces free of potential roach food sources can help you avoid attracting them and bringing them indoors. Empty outdoor pet food bowls at night. If you have outdoor trash cans, ensure they have tight-fitting lids and aren't located close to your door or other entryways.

Plants and vegetation can provide hiding spaces for roaches as well. Keep heavy vegetation away from your home's exterior walls. Trim away weeds, vines and thick grass to keep them from growing against the house. Don't plant bushes or tall flowers directly against external walls. Avoid stacking firewood against the house or on porches and decks for long periods of time.

Call a pest control expert to prevent cockroaches

Trying to prevent cockroaches from infesting your home can be a large task. If cockroaches are getting the upper hand, you need to call for reinforcements. The pest control professionals at Terminix® know how to keep roaches away and stand ready to help you against cockroaches and other pests. Get started today with a free quote.