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Do Roaches Come Back After Extermination?

A cockroach on a person's skin.

If you’ve ever successfully treated a roach problem, you’ve probably wondered to yourself, do roaches come back after extermination? It’s a valid question if you are starting to see these nasty pests again after having your house treated. The short answer is, yes, roaches can come back after extermination even after professional treatment. Eradicating the roaches is only one part of an effective pest control plan.

A proficient pest control plan should include treating thoroughly for roaches, but it should also cover preventative measures like blocking roach access to your home from the outdoors. Many roaches that people see inside their homes came in from outside. Oriental and American cockroaches are easily identifiable and are two varieties that often make their way inside. These cockroaches are brown or black, grow from 1.5 to 2 inches long, and are about a half-inch wide. They typically live outside and create nests in damp rotting matter like dead leaves, decaying logs or old tree stumps.

A solid pest control plan to combat roaches should include regular yard work to eliminate breeding grounds where roaches commonly build nests and reproduce. As odd as it might sound, trimming bushes and trees, and clearing away dead leaves and fallen tree limbs from your yard will help in your fight against roaches.

Maintaining your home can also deter roaches. Outdoor roaches often come into homes through tiny cracks and gaps in the exterior, including weep holes in brick exteriors, rips in window screens or screen doors, and gaps around exterior vents. Repairing rips and plugging gaps with caulk or steel wool will help to prevent roaches from coming inside. Replacing worn-out thresholds on exterior doors also helps keep pests out.

Indoor roach control measures are key as well. Outdoor roaches often come in through water pipes and even drains in your sinks. When roaches come inside, they look for water and food. If they find a steady supply of both, they’ll stay as long as they can. Repairing leaky indoor pipes or faucets will limit access to water indoors. Keeping your kitchen clean by wiping up spills, splatters and crumbs will also help to limit their food sources.

Storing all pantry food in airtight containers also helps combat roaches. Additionally, keeping indoor garbage, recycling, and compost bins tightly covered helps too. Indoor pet food and water bowls can also cause roaches to stay put in your home, so it’s a good idea to stow these away overnight when roaches are most active.

People still sometimes continue to see roaches after hiring an exterminator. This often occurs because the treatment needs a little more time to take full effect. That said, it does matter who you hire. An ineffective exterminator won’t do a thorough job of treating your home for roaches and other pests. To do the job right, you need a licensed, reputable exterminator with a proven track record of combating roaches.

Even if you do hire a reputable exterminator to take care of your roach problem, it isn’t a one-and-done type of situation. Roaches can re-infest a home even after successful extermination. Cockroaches can live for quite a long time without food or water, which is why even the cleanest homes can harbor roaches! Recommended regular inspections and repeated treatments keep roaches at bay over the long term.

If you see roaches in your house, whether live or dead, this could indicate that you have an active cockroach infestation that needs professional treatment. Finding cockroach droppings—tiny brown specs of what looks like dirt, or brown spots and smears, often spotted on walls, shelves, or inside cabinets—is another possible sign of an infestation.

Spotting cockroach egg cases in your home is an indication of an active and growing infestation. Roach egg cases are small, hard brown or black cases that are often smooth or banded on the outside. They are about a quarter-inch to a half-inch long by about an eighth-inch to a quarter-inch wide. They might be rectangular or a bit curved, depending on the type of cockroach. Though cockroach egg cases are small, they can hold 30 to 50 baby cockroaches! With each egg creating that many offspring, it’s easy to see how a cockroach infestation could quickly grow out of control.

If you believe you have a cockroach problem in your home, reach out to a professional exterminator for help before it gets out of hand. Roaches can be a big problem! Cockroaches create unsanitary conditions and are known to carry bacteria like salmonella that can spread to food. They’ve also been linked to health problems like allergies and asthma. Professional treatments and follow-up inspections are often the best, most efficient, way to control roaches and reclaim your home from these nasty pests.

A dead cockroach

How Long Can Cockroaches Live Without Food?

Cockroaches can live for long periods without food and water. Keeping your home, especially your kitchen, clean is an integral part of keeping cockroaches at bay, but it doesn’t always work—cockroaches love even the cleanest of homes. So how long can cockroaches live without food, you ask? The scary answer is, roaches can live without food for weeks!

Roaches can only live for about a week without water, but they can live up to a month without food. Cockroaches have many food sources that you wouldn’t think of, including paper, cardboard, and the glue that binds books together. Homes that are perfectly clean but house lots of books, magazines, or cardboard boxes can harbor roaches.

The fact that cockroaches can feed on so many different things is just one aspect of how extremely resilient these pests are. Their ability to thrive is a big part of why they can be so tough to get rid of. They are fast and have innate survival instincts that make them hard to kill when you spot them running across the kitchen counter or through the living room. They can go into hiding and only reappear under the cover of darkness. Their ability to hide may keep you from realizing you have a roach problem at all!

If you suspect you have a roach problem in your home, it’s a good idea to get an inspection by a pest control professional. A professional exterminator knows where to look for roaches, and what signs to look for. They will be able to spot even subtle signs of a roach infestation in your home and will be able to launch a multi-point treatment plan to get rid of cockroaches to keep you from dealing with them and the problems they cause.

Products used to get rid of roaches.

How to Get Rid of a Heavy Roach Infestation

If you’re wondering how to get rid of a heavy roach infestation, you likely have a major problem on your hands that you’ve been unable to tackle yourself. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to help limit the growth of a large roach colony in your home. Just keep in mind that these methods work best when they’re used in combination with professional pest control treatments, including periodic follow-up treatments over time.

Here are some things you can do to get rid of a heavy roach infestation in your home:

  • Keep your kitchen clean. Wipe up spills, splatters and crumbs, and store all food in airtight containers that roaches can’t access. This also applies to pet food and water bowls, which should be put away at night (roaches are drawn to this easy water source).
  • Minimize cardboard and paper in your home by unpacking boxes, recycling old magazines, and getting rid of empty cardboard boxes that you no longer need.
  • Fix any leaky faucets or pipes to cut off this potential water source for roaches.
  • Fix any rips or gaps that roaches could use to access your home. Look for rips in window screens or screen doors, gaps around exterior vents or hose bibs, and worn-out thresholds on exterior doors.
  • Clear your yard of any rotting organic matter, like dead leaves, fallen tree limbs, or dead tree stumps and underbrush.
  • Hire a professional to inspect your home, determine where the pests are nesting and treat the roaches with the appropriate pesticides (bait formulations for rooms where roaches roam, and insecticidal dust within interior wall spaces).
  • Set up a regular inspection schedule so your pest management specialist can stay on top of any new roaches and keep your home protected from future infestations.

ABC Can Control and Prevent Cockroaches

Seeing a cockroach scurry across the floor or wall is enough to make most homeowners’ skin crawl. If you’re fed up with run-ins with roaches, contact ABC Home & Commercial Services. Our professionals know the best strategies and techniques to control cockroaches. Also, for added peace of mind, we offer ongoing pest management, so you don’t have to worry about roaches returning.

Holt Myers

Holt joined ABC in 2021 as the Electrical & Appliance Operations Manager before transitioning to Division Manager for Pest Control. Before ABC, Holt worked as a Project Manager and Superintendent in Construction. Holt also served in the US Marine Corps from 2003 to 2007. Holt is a member of NPMA’s PestVets, Stewards of the Wild and Texas Wildlife Association. Holt is an avid outdoorsman, who loves to travel and spend time with his wife and daughter.

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