Do Cockroach Traps Work? Best Types to Use

Some cockroach traps work better than others. It can take up to 14 days for some roach traps to become truly effective, especially when based on an active ingredient such as a pesticide.

Other roach traps offer immediate results, as in the case of duct tape traps which immediately catch roaches.

Cockroach traps work when they contain a viable active ingredient with good bait roaches love to eat. Boric acid and hydramethylnon are among the ingredients that make roach traps effective. Non-bait traps such as duct tape work against roaches as well.

There are various types of roach traps you can use around the house to kill a few cockroaches or a cockroach colony.

These are made with lures, pesticides, natural ingredients, or with no lures or active ingredients at all.

What types of cockroach traps work?

The following roach traps are part of different categories of traps that work. Some of them offer instant results while others can take days to act.

Boric acid traps

Boric acid is one of the common active ingredients that kill roaches. While harmless to humans, this ingredient is known to kill roaches within a few days. In the worst-case scenario, boric acid or borax kills roaches within 14 days.

Boric acid traps work on the premise that roaches eat boric acid. Even them walking over boric acid creates problems for cockroaches. Boric acid sticks to the legs and exoskeleton dehydrating the roach from the outside.

If cockroaches eat boric acid they die quicker. This type of ingredient affects their digestive system.

One of the main reasons why boric acid traps for roaches work so well is the fact that affected roaches travel back to the nest where they die. Other roaches eat the dead roach also eating boric acid themselves. This kills multiple roaches in a shorter period.

A distinct advantage of boric acid traps is their price. Highly affordable, boric acid traps are the easiest solutions against roaches.

Boric acid can also be sprinkled without a trap with similar efficiency. Some concerns arise in homes with pets where they can eat boric acid themselves.

Harris Roach Tablets, Boric Acid Roach and Insects Killer with Lure, Alternative to Bait Traps (6oz, 145 Tablets)
  • Great Value - Minimum of 145 tablets included to treat a minimum of 12 rooms, long lasting when kept dry & extremely cost effective
  • EPA Registered - Registered with the Environmental Protection Agency (No. 3-1) for use in homes with people & pets
  • Irresistible to Roaches - Active ingredient 40% boric acid w/ our formulated lure to attract roaches. Does not have an expiration date.
  • Kills the Entire Colony - Roaches carry boric acid back to their nests to kill the entire infestation
  • Easy to Conceal - Use in hidden areas - under drawers, appliances and cabinets

Liquid bait traps

Liquid bait traps are the newest invention in roach and pest management. Roaches are scavengers. They eat all types of leftovers and even garbage.

Some cockroaches such as the American cockroach prefer moisture and environments with water where all types of organic materials easily get trapped.

The same premise is applied to liquid bait traps. These types of traps work on a similar basis to boric acid traps, but they use a liquid lure that is said to attract roaches faster.

Liquids are also easy to consume for roaches compared to solid baits. Liquid or semi-liquid baits which come with organic decomposing materials and an active ingredient that kills roaches such as a pesticide are considered highly efficient.

These types of traps kill roaches within days. Others can kill roaches on the spot. Liquid bait traps are often combined with sticky traps for a 2-in-1 product against cockroaches.

The combination of a good lure and the added sticky surface roaches need to travel on to get the lure is proven highly efficient and best rated by homeowners.

Hot Shot Liquid Roach Bait, Roach Killer, 1 Pack, 6-Count
  • KILLS ROACHES AND THE EGGS THEY CARRY: Quick-kill formula kills both large and small roaches where they breed.
  • ADVANCED LIQUID BAIT TECHNOLOGY: This bait is extremely attractive to roaches because it combines an attractive food source with the water source they need.
  • KILLS IN HOURS: Delivers a lethal dose quickly to roaches and the eggs they carry.
  • CONTAINS 6 BAIT STATIONS: Place ready-to-use bait stations on a flat surface in areas where roaches have been spotted
  • Active Ingredients:Dinotefuran [N-methyl-N’-nitro-N”-((tetrahydro-3-furanyl)methyl)guanidine]: 0.05%. Other Ingredients: 99.95%

Sticky roach traps with bait

Sticky roach traps with bait can also come with included housing. This means dead roaches aren’t visible and it makes the trap look less off-putting than others.

These roach traps are made with a potent bait with an active ingredient that kills roaches. Chemicals are often used with these traps.

Some roach traps use an open design where you can see the dead roaches stuck on the sticky surfaces. But others used a partially closed construction so that roaches aren’t visible.

This type of alternative is superior in homes with pets. Cats and dogs cannot lick the dead roaches and they cannot lick the sticky surface of the trap. It’s only roaches that can get inside the small opening trap as others types of insects cannot squeeze in.

Some of these traps also use partially sticky surfaces so that some roaches can make their way out. The reasoning behind this strategy is that roaches that go back to the nest spread the active ingredient around also killing other cockroaches.

Pesticide traps

Hydramethylon is one of the most common pesticides used in roach traps. These traps are only recommended for homes with a high risk of roach invasion or in homes where a roach invasion is underway.

Pesticides are powerful chemicals roaches cannot survive once they ingest them. Pesticides are mixed with a roach lure so that cockroaches are tempted to eat the bait. Once they eat the bait it’s a matter of time until they die.

Pesticides kill a higher percentage of cockroaches compared to other ingredients such as essential oils. However, they might also be dangerous in homes.

The best pesticide traps are small and not dangerous to pets or family members. Only a small amount of pesticide is added to these traps so that the chemicals don’t start releasing toxic fumes around the house endangering the health of the residents.

A good reason to get pesticide traps is their reduced size. Only a small amount of pesticide is needed to kill cockroaches. This means these traps are small and fit behind furniture.

Pesticide-based cockroach traps can fit under kitchen cabinets, under the bathtub, under the sink, or behind walls. Multiple smaller traps with pesticides can prove more efficient than a single larger trap with active ingredients as they cover a wider area inside the house.

Pesticide-free traps

These types of traps are recommended for homes with pets, children, and other types of busy spaces such as offices.

Pesticides and chemicals are proven against cockroaches but they use potent chemicals that can be harmful when ingested by pets or children. Some of these chemicals also release dangerous odors.

Pesticide-free traps are some of the most recommended options whenever using a more potent trap isn’t possible. These types of traps are among the most efficient when used in multiple locations.

Essential oils aerosols

Essential oils are another very good and proven alternative to pesticides. These types of natural ingredients can even kill cockroaches.

There are a few limitations to traps with essential oils such as limited killing efficiency. One of the most important aspects of cockroach trap efficiency is the killing rate. This can be low in traps that use essential oil and water.

However, essential oils aerosols are very efficient against cockroaches. These can be used on individual cockroaches to kill them on the spot.

A high number of aromatic essential oils are known for killing cockroaches. Lavender, eucalyptus, and lemongrass essential oils are some of the most efficient solutions against cockroaches.

These are natural ingredients that can be used in homes where pesticides can’t. They can be used in homes with pets and children. Vacating the home isn’t necessary when spraying the bugs with essential oils.

Furthermore, essential oils also smell good. Almost all other cockroach traps come without this benefit. A home that has a strong floral scent such as a lemongrass smell is known to repel both cockroaches and other types of insects.

Essential oil aerosols are ideal whenever there are just a few cockroaches in the house. These solutions have limited results when it comes to a larger number of roaches or a considerable invasion where pesticides might be a better alternative.

Raid Ant and Roach Killer, Aerosol Spray with Essential Oils 11 Ounce (Pack of 1)
  • Kills ants, roaches and over 20 household pests
  • Great for use around kids and pets, when used as direct
  • Kills insects quickly
  • Effective roach and ant killer (22,200) to use indoors, including sensitive areas such as kitchens
  • Made with lemongrass extract and geraniol synthesized from pine trees

Duct tape traps

Duct tape traps can be used to prevent roaches or to trap existing roaches in the case of an invasion. These types of traps are very efficient and no cockroach can escape them if properly installed.

Duct tape traps are some of the most efficient when it comes to dealing both with a small or with a larger invasion. They are placed in key areas around the house.

These traps have a dual sticky surface ideal for all types of surfaces, particularly floors. They are installed under sinks, bathtubs, or behind cabinets where they can prove their efficiency. Duct tape traps can also be installed in visible areas such as next to windows or under doors, places used by roaches to get inside the house.

Another key benefit of these traps is their affordability. Duct tape might be the most affordable type of trap against cockroaches that works. Duct tape can easily be removed and replaced whenever fully covered in cockroaches. However, it should not be removed whenever just a few dead roaches are stuck on it as they attract other cockroaches that plan to eat them.

Scorpion Master Barrier Tape
  • Great for roaches, spiders, crickets, arts and more
  • Effectiveness Duration: 7 day
  • Container Size: 25 ft.
  • Product Form: Strips
  • 2" x 25"

Ultrasonic repellents

Ultrasonic repellents use high-frequency sounds (up to 65Khz) to repel cockroaches. They are powered by electricity and they are used to create a safe perimeter against bugs and flies.

These types of traps do not kill cockroaches, they repel them. Whenever bugs get in their range they quickly turn away due to the high-frequency waves of the repellent. While these solutions don’t kill roaches, they are still efficient at keeping them away.

What makes a good roach trap?

A good roach trap needs to kill or repel all cockroaches. This is done through different types of baits, ingredients, and different applications.

The active ingredient

The active ingredient in cockroach traps is the most important. It can be a natural ingredient or a chemical.

Natural ingredients – essential oils or concentrated aromatic liquid distilled plants are used to naturally repel cockroaches. These are efficient in high concentration.

Pesticides – Pyrethroids are other chemicals used as pesticides against cockroaches. These chemicals have very high killing efficiency.

Application method

The application method of the cockroach trap is also important. Having a clear understanding of their differences can kill roaches efficiently. Furthermore, multiple types of traps can be combined in case of a serious invasion.

Trap – a trap is a type of mechanism that uses bait that kills cockroaches. Some traps kill roaches on the spot by trapping them inside a container.

Repellent – a repellent is either an aerosol or an ultrasonic product that keeps roaches away.

Safety – finding the right product that can be used in homes is crucial. All cockroach traps should only be used by the indications of a trap manufacturer.

Time efficiency – some cockroach traps kill roaches on the spot while others such as those based on borax take a few days to work. The amount of time it takes to kill roaches is crucial.

A couple of cockroaches can be killed manually or with aerosols. Large cockroach invasions might take days to clear and they require using multiple cockroach traps.


Cockroach traps work well if used as instructed. Some are only made to quickly tackle a couple of cockroaches while others are used to kill a large number of roaches over a few days.

Pesticide-based cockroach traps have high efficiency in killing a large number of bugs. Traps based on essential oils and ultrasonic repellents are best at repelling cockroaches.

Sticky traps are based on a simple glue-covered surface that’s used both as a repellent or as a trap for an active cockroach invasion. These solutions can be used together in different areas of the home or individually.

Cockroach traps are inefficient or less efficient when there’s still plenty of food or decaying organic matter in the home to attract roaches and encourage them to lay eggs. Cockroaches can each lay up to 50 eggs which may not be impacted by cockroach traps.

The most efficient method of using cockroach traps is by first cleaning the house or by eliminating food sources and high moisture areas in the house as these attract new roaches. Vacuuming the entire house is also a good method to clean each room before placing various roach traps to eliminate the remaining bugs.

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