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Do DIY Cockroach Treatments Work?

Posted by: Cooper Pest

Cockroaches are not only one of the most common household pests, but also one of the least desirable. The thought of roaches crawling around is enough to make most people cringe and you may not have the patience to schedule an appointment and wait for the professionals to get rid of them for you. If you are a “do it yourselfer”, or simply can’t wait any longer, here are some DIY treatments that actually work when done correctly.


Cockroach Baits

Cockroach baits are very easy to use. Unlike liquid sprays, they don’t require any mixing,or preparations to areas where they are placed (no need to empty cabinets, cover counters, etc.) are typically not necessary. Many baits are available in a child-resistant plastic container making it family friendly and pet safe. Furthermore, the stations are odorless and have essentially no volatility. Bait gels are also very common, come ready in a self-application tube, and are easily applied.

Cockroach baits contain a food attractant integrated with a slow-acting insecticide that the roaches will locate, feed on, and then crawl away to die. As the roaches crawl back to their nesting area to die the insecticide is transferred to other roaches that may feed on the dead/dying roaches or upon the feces of roaches that have died from the bait. The end result, is that other roaches within the nest are killed, not just the ones that found and fed on the bait. The key to getting this result is proper placement. For example, typically, at least 12 stations should be used at a time with the majority in the kitchen, 2 or 3 in bathrooms, and 2-4 additional stations in other areas where there is activity. The stations should be placed flush in corners or against edges where the wall meets the floor as these are the routes most frequently taken by roaches. Some of the best places to set the bait stations are:

  • Under refrigerators, dishwashers, stoves, sinks, and toilets
  • Beside trash cans
  • Inside cabinets and storage areas

It is also important that you do not spray any insecticides or cleaning products around the bait stations so the roaches are not put off from feeding on the bait.

Bait stations can be purchased at most grocery and hardware stores and should produce a significant decrease in the number of roaches in your home in 1-3 weeks if used correctly.


Boric Acid

Boric acid is a white, inorganic powder chemically derived from water and boron that has been used to battle cockroaches for all but a century. It is one of the most effective agents used against cockroaches, however most people use it incorrectly and end up wasting their money and effort in the process. Like the bait stations, Boric acid is odorless and doesn’t contain any volatile solvents. The powder is generally considered to be a low-risk material and is used in many consumer products like mouthwash, laundry additives, and toothpaste. However, the concentrations required to kill cockroaches is much higher than what is used in products like toothpaste. For this reason, it is important that it not be applied to open surfaces or countertops, especially those used to prepare food. Should any residue get on these surfaces, wipe it off with a wet cloth.

Like cockroach bait, the success of boric acid relies heavily on proper application/location. The ready-to-use powder is typically sold in a plastic squeeze bottle with a narrow applicator tip. Your target area should be coated in a very thin layer of powder for best results, not a heavy layer like many homeowners think. In this case less is more. Imagine it as a layer of snow; would you rather trek through a foot of snow or on a finely dusted sidewalk? To make it easier to get a nice fine layer, shake the bottle first, and puff the powder out - avoid using anything like a spoon to sprinkle the powder. Some of the best locations to puff your powder are:

  • Under refrigerators, stoves, dishwashers, sinks, and toilets
  • In openings where pipes go into the walls (behind the toilet, washing machine, shower etc.)
  • In cracks and crevices along edges and corners within cabinets and pantries
  • In hollow spaces under bathroom and kitchen cabinets

As the cockroaches walk over treated areas, the powder sticks to their body and is then ingested when roach cleans the powder from its antennae and legs. Because the powder is non-repellant, it can be used alone or in conjunction with baits for better results.


While these DIY treatments are fairly effective when done right, one of the best things you can do to prevent roaches in the first place is to keep your home clean and free of clutter. To learn more about roaches and the services Cooper Pest Solutions offers click here

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