It's a joke or comment heard often that cockroaches can survive the apocalypse. Though that isn't true, one thing is: Cockroaches are difficult to kill. Trying to squash a cockroach beneath a shoe or target it with a can of bug spray may not get the job done.
So why is it so hard to kill a cockroach? And how do you actually get rid of them for good?
Let's break it down.
How cockroaches are able to survive
Cockroaches can make the most of dire situations. How is this possible? They're evolutionarily engineered to be nearly indestructible.
Cockroaches have exoskeletons made up of overlapping plates connected by a stretchy membrane. This membrane is flexible enough to shift the cockroaches' energy to their legs, allowing them to fit though incredibly small cracks and crevices. Their thick, dense outer layer is able to both protect them and shift and shape when needed.
On top of having a strong but bendable body, cockroaches are adept at hiding. They can conceal themselves easily in many areas and aren't deterred by shifting temperatures or other external factors. And while they love to snack on more traditional protein sources, their amazing sense of taste and smell helps them find nutrients in unlikely sources like cardboard or paper.
Even though they're stubborn, there are still effective ways to get rid of them.
How to keep cockroaches out of your home
You can help avoid the need to kill cockroaches in your home by preventing them from entering in the first place. To help keep cockroaches from entering your home, here are some simple preventive measures (these are also great tips for helping keep other pests out as well):
Reinforce your home
Another way to help keep cockroach activity at bay is to protect the perimeter of your home. This may be tough to do since cockroaches can enter a crack only a few inches long, but it's good to look for and conceal possible entry points. Seek professional help and guidance for the following:
- Sealing cracks around the outside of the home.
- Closing gaps under and around doors and windows and where utility lines enter the home.
- Screening or sealing drain lines and sewer vents.
Use proper food storage methods
Cockroaches are looking to your home to meet their basic needs, and that's food, water and shelter. Eliminate those, and you have a good chance of preventing an infestation. Follow these tips:
- If you have pets and feed them outdoors, take up their dishes every night.
- Make sure counters, tables and other surfaces are free of crumbs. Don't store food in office desks or other areas of the home where it can be easily forgotten.
A messy home is a cockroach's ideal hiding place, especially for the German cockroach. Follow these tips:
- Remove stacks of newspapers, magazines or paper. These are great hiding places and food sources for cockroaches.
- Vacuum regularly to remove dirt, dust and crumbs.
- Take out the garbage daily and store the outdoor containers away from your home's entry points.
- Clean unused or less-traveled areas, such as closets, attics, garages, utility rooms and storage areas if you spot large cockroaches there.
How to kill cockroaches in your home
The most effective cockroach control typically requires more than one type of treatment method, so it helps to come up with a plan before tackling the job.
1. Identify the type of cockroach in your home. Knowing the species you're dealing with can help you figure out the best way for removal. For example, German cockroaches are typically found indoors and usually in areas with food and water sources nearby. So regular sanitation and removing food sources, including grease build-up, may reduce the population.
Related > The Different Types of Cockroaches
2. Use glue traps. Glue traps are an easy-to-use method for catching and identifying cockroaches and confirming their presence in the area. The roaches will run across the traps and become stuck. A pest control professional will know which glue traps to use, and where to place the glue traps, for effective control.
3. Call a professional. A Terminix® Pest Control Professional will conduct a comprehensive inspection to figure out exactly where cockroaches are hiding — and how they got there in the first place — and customize a plan for removal and lasting protection.
Cockroaches are formidable opponents, so to make sure they're removed effectively and safely, it's always a best practice to contact a pest control professional.