If you’ve had a roach problem, you may be looking for DIY cockroach prevention techniques that really work. Fortunately, there are several effective steps people can take to keep cockroaches away from their homes. These include things you can do inside your house along with things you should do in your yard. Together, these steps should help in the ongoing battle against roaches.
Just be aware that making your home less accessible and attractive to cockroaches is easier than eliminating roaches on your own. An established cockroach infestation is best dealt with by a pest control professional. Once your home is free of cockroaches, you can keep them away by following a few common-sense steps.
How to Make Your Home Less Accessible to Roaches
The first step in DIY cockroach prevention involves making your home less accessible to roaches. This means figuring out how they might get inside and then blocking them out.
To know how they got in, you need to identify the cockroach you’re dealing with. There are just a few main species of cockroaches that people commonly find in their homes. These include larger cockroaches, like American, Oriental or smokybrown roaches, and the much smaller German cockroaches.
If you’re dealing with one of the larger types, they most likely came in from outside. American, Oriental and smokybrown cockroaches naturally live outdoors. They build their nests in dark, damp, protected places like mulched garden beds or dense underbrush. They might also nest deep in a wood pile or underneath overturned flowerpots.
Preventing these pests from entering your home involves finding and blocking off any small openings they might use to get into the house. Look for the following:
- tears in window and door screens,
- cracks in the eaves,
- worn out weatherstripping on exterior doors,
- gaps around exterior vents or hose bibs and
- weep holes in brick exteriors.
Any of the above can be entryways for roaches to get inside. Any small opening you find needs to be blocked off with caulk, wire mesh or steel wool. Remember that these roaches might look scarily big, but they are very flat and can fit through tiny cracks.
If you’re dealing with German cockroaches, they most likely came into your home in egg sacs attached to cardboard boxes or paper grocery bags. Their egg sacs might also have come in on used items like furniture or yard sale finds.
Unfortunately, German cockroaches are one of the hardest types of roach to get rid of once they infest a home. This is partly because they reproduce so quickly. It’s also because they are so small and adept at hiding. Plus, they’re nocturnal, which means they’re most active in the dark, when people won’t see them. Lots of people aren’t aware they have a German cockroach infestation until it’s out of control.
If you bring used furniture, electronics or other secondhand items into your home, it’s important to inspect them carefully before you bring them inside. German cockroach egg sacs look like small, brown, banded cases. They’re usually between six and nine millimeters long, and just a few millimeters wide. If you spot one of these, you’ll need to remove it, crush it and throw it away. You might also want to reconsider bringing the item indoors.
How to Make Your Home Less Attractive to Roaches
Keeping roaches out of your home by blocking off their access points is just part of the battle against roaches. Another important part is making your home less attractive to these pests, so they won’t want to come inside.
Cockroaches that come into people’s homes are seeking the same things any pest is looking for: shelter, warmth, food and water. These are the basic elements they need to survive. Unfortunately, most people’s homes have plenty of all the essentials necessary to keep roaches happy. Fortunately, there are several things you can do inside your home to keep cockroaches away:
- Wipe down kitchen counters and stovetops every day.
- Wipe up crumbs and spills as soon as they happen.
- Store all food either in the refrigerator or else inside airtight containers.
- Don’t leave dirty dishes in the sink overnight.
- Don’t leave pet food and water bowls out overnight, either—cockroaches love these.
- Try to avoid eating anywhere outside the kitchen or dining room. If you do eat on the sofa or in bed, be sure to clean up crumbs so they don’t attract roaches.
- Since cockroaches also feed on cardboard, paper and fabric, clearing away old boxes, magazines and other clutter will help cut down on roaches.
- Fix any leaking faucets or pipes in the home, since these might be providing water that cockroaches need to survive.
- Similarly, don’t overwater house plants, and keep them trimmed to keep cockroaches away.
- If you see cockroach egg cases anywhere in the home, crush them with a tissue and throw them away. These are small, rectangular, hard-shelled cases that may be reddish-brown, dark brown or black in color, and may also be banded. Each case can hold up to 50 cockroach eggs just waiting to hatch!
How to Make Your Yard Less Attractive to Roaches
One more important aspect of keeping cockroaches out of your home is keeping your yard as cockroach-free as possible. Basic yard care and maintenance will go a long way here. Keep your grass mowed and your bushes and other landscaping trimmed. Rake up fallen leaves regularly, and clear away dead tree branches. If you keep firewood outdoors, store it as far from the house as possible, on a rack that holds it up off the ground. Wood should be stored on concrete if possible.
Cockroaches also infest people’s garages, especially those that are used to store things roaches can feed on, like cardboard boxes. Whether you have an attached or a detached garage, it’s important to keep cockroaches out of it so they won’t come into your house. The same principles apply here: Clear out clutter, seal off gaps and cracks leading into the garage, and keep the interior clean.
Hiring a pest control professional is the best, most effective step you can take to eliminate cockroaches from your home and yard. A pest specialist can set up regular, recurring treatments to inspect your yard and home for pests and treat the area accordingly. If you see cockroaches between treatments, your pest specialist can visit to re-treat if needed.
In some cases, treating just the yard and the perimeter of the home is enough to keep cockroaches out of the house. A reputable pest control specialist will know the right combination of products and techniques as well as the optimal treatment schedule to keep cockroaches far from your property.
ABC Can Treat and Prevent Roaches
After dealing with a roach problem, you likely never want to have that experience again. Fortunately, ABC Home & Commercial Services provides ongoing pest management. With this service, you can have peace of mind that your home has an added level of protection against cockroaches. And, if roaches do come back, we can catch and treat the problem before it becomes a full-blown infestation.