Everything You Need to Know About Cockroach Extermination

by Team eLocal
A person is cleaning

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Seeing even one cockroach in your home is enough to make your skin crawl — or make you want to pack your bags and move.

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Roaches are notoriously difficult to kill and can live without food for a month. They are gross to look at, and cockroaches carry pathogens that can cause diseases.

What Are the Signs of a Cockroach Infestation?

Cockroaches are nocturnal and tend to stay hidden, so you might not see them very often. But they typically leave behind some signs that they're living in your home. Those clues include:

  • Droppings: Cockroach droppings look similar to black pepper or coffee grounds, but they're easy to miss because they're so small.
  • Eggs: When you have lots of roaches living in your home, you'll likely see oval-shaped egg capsules. They're often in hidden locations, such as behind furniture.
  • Skin: An adult cockroach sheds its skin multiple times, so you might see the old skin it sheds.
  • Odors: Cockroaches tend to create a distinct musty or oily smell that gets worse with a larger infestation.
  • Smear marks: You'll sometimes see dark, irregular streaks where roaches are active, such as where walls meet floors.

How Do Cockroaches Get in Your House?

Cockroaches can squeeze through very small spaces. That means any small crack or gap in your home's foundation or exterior walls can be an entry point for a roach. Gaps around things that go through your walls, such as vents and windows, can also let cockroaches into your home.

Other cockroaches hitch a ride into your home. They can get into your purse, grocery bags, clothes or other items that you bring into your home. If you live in an apartment, cockroaches in a neighbor's apartment could migrate to your apartment.

How Do Exterminators Get Rid of Them?

Exterminators typically create a customized treatment plan based on your situation. They use commercial-grade insecticides to kill the cockroaches effectively. Gel bait products are commonly used by exterminators. They inject the gel into areas where cockroaches live. The poison often spreads to other cockroaches back in the nest, which can kill multiple generations of cockroaches. This option limits the amount of hazardous substances used in your home.

Exterminators can also use sprays to help with cockroach infestations. They're typically applied outside the home and create a barrier to keep cockroaches away from your home. Exterminators often use a combination of treatments to get rid of the problem.

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How Much Does Cockroach Extermination Cost?

The total cost for professional cockroach extermination can range from $50 to $2,000, depending on the situation. You can expect to pay between $40 and $75 for the initial visit and another $45 to $100 for each follow-up visit if you have a severe infestation that requires multiple treatments. Pest management plans can run from $200 to $2,000. The actual cost depends largely on the severity of the infestation and how many treatments you need to get rid of the pests.

Severe infestations can also cause other issues that come with additional costs. For example, major roach infestations can cause unsanitary conditions that require professional cleaning services. They can damage surfaces in your home, which comes with repair costs.

How Effective Is Extermination?

Roaches can be difficult to exterminate completely, but professional exterminators can handle the issue. The situation might require repeat treatments or multiple treatment options to attack the problem in several ways. It can take some time to get rid of all the roaches in your home. Working with the exterminator to create a treatment plan and following their instructions to prevent more roaches from entering your home makes extermination more effective. Exterminators might not guarantee their roach removal services because they can be difficult to eliminate completely.

Can You Get Rid of Cockroaches Yourself?

You can buy home cockroach extermination products, but they're often not as effective as professional exterminators. Cockroaches often adapt to those products, which often aren't as strong as the products available to exterminators. They can also be toxic for your family members and pets. Always read the product warnings and instructions to apply them properly if you choose a DIY treatment.

If you have a minor infestation, you might try home treatments first to see if they work. However, more severe infestations usually require a cockroach extermination company to get rid of the problem for good. The issue is easier for an exterminator to handle the sooner you call them, so don't wait too long to call if your home remedies aren't working.

How Do You Prevent Cockroaches From Infesting Your Home?

Keeping your home clean helps, but even clean homes can get infested with cockroaches. To keep them from entering, fix any cracks and gaps you have on your home's exterior. This limits their access to your home. Repairing plumbing leaks and other sources of moisture can also mitigate roaches because they're drawn to water. It's also a good idea to inspect bags and other items you bring into your home to make sure you don't have any hitchhikers.

Getting rid of food and water sources can also make your home less appealing. Keep all food in sealed containers that cockroaches can't penetrate. Avoid eating in lots of different rooms. Containing your eating to one room makes it easier to clean up crumbs and limit the roaches' food source. Don't forget to keep pet food covered and sealed, especially at night when cockroaches are active.

Roaches like to hide in dark spaces, such as behind large appliances. You can catch an infestation early by moving those appliances regularly. Clean under them to keep crumbs away. Get rid of other hiding spots such as piles of laundry on the floor and boxes that create a dark, hidden spot for unwanted pests.

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