We’ve all had cockroaches in our homes. It’s common to see them in the kitchen, the bathroom, or under the cabinets. It’s common for cockroaches to scatter and hide if you disturb their area.
They are experts at hiding in what seems the most difficult places to access, but this is why they are considered the most feared home pests.
When they go into hiding it can be incredibly difficult to eradicate them, so you first need to lure them out of their safe spots so you have a clear attempt at applying extermination methods and disposing of them.
The best ways to lure out cockroaches are with adhesive traps, baits, or trying some DIY lures. Commercial baits are designed to attract a cockroach which then takes poison back to its nest and can be extremely effective. However, if you are on a budget and looking for a home solution, the DIY methods we have tried and tested are highly effective such as the peanut butter duct tape trap and beer in a jar trap.
We would recommend using some DIY options before purchasing any commercial-grade lures or traps, as they can achieve the same goals and cost less. For larger infestations, professional insecticides, and traps are recommended.
How To Lure Cockroaches Out Of Hiding
Cockroaches are always aware of their surroundings and how dangerous it is for them to be inside a home with their biggest threat (humans) lurking around ready to squish them at any opportunity. Therefore, they are not easily lured out of hiding.
If they detect danger from humans or other predators, they will remain in their hiding spots for long periods of time.
Startling or scaring a cockroach by banging on cupboards or sticking pointy objects into cracks and crevices will only send them deeper into hiding. This tactic may work on a large colony if you have found a nest and have the ability to move the item they are nesting in, such as a cardboard box or a piece of furniture. Cockroaches may even play dead if you corner them, so this may give you a false sense that there is not much to worry about.
To get cockroaches out of hiding, firstly ensure you are using the correct lure. Cockroaches have one big weakness and that is they love food (who doesn’t?). Roaches will never turn down the opportunity of a free meal so long as the conditions are right and they feel safe to do so.
Using the correct type of bait is important to have maximum effect in catching the roaches’ attention. The best lures will be:
- Scented with smells that cockroaches are attracted to.
- Mixed with food that roaches are known to love; try sweet, meaty, or heavy starch-based baits.
Timing is also important, roaches are nocturnal and will regularly emerge from their hiding places during the night. This is the safest time for roaches to forage and breed without getting eaten by predators. During the day, your traps and bait won’t get much attention from roaches as they will be tucked away in their hiding places unless they have been disturbed.
Best Methods To Draw Out Cockroaches
Firstly, let’s cover the commercial and professional methods of getting a cockroach out of hiding.
Most roach traps employ a “lure and kill” approach. This entails a bait item that is coated with insecticide and pheromones to attract roaches. Once the roach ingests this poison it will take some time to die but will take this poison back to this nest and hopefully kill the rest of the colony too.
Poisoned Bait Stations
Poisoned bait stations are an effective way to get rid of all cockroaches that enter the station. Baits come in the form of gel blocks, liquids, pastes, and granules which can be found at hardware stores; they contain various types of poisons with different active ingredients depending on their efficacy against specific types of roaches.
Poisons can be mixed to achieve maximum effect, but will also increase the chances of pets or children coming in contact with them so always read the product label before applying it for cockroaches.
Placing these stations strategically in infested areas, preferably where you have been seeing roaches around. Be sure to place the station at a height that is out of reach from other animals and children as well as away from appliances or items that they could fall onto.
If the bait station has an insecticide, it will kill all the roaches that are in the station at any one time. If it is a pheromone or “lure” style bait, it will only attract other cockroaches to the area where they might be able to get poisoned too.
Glue or Sticky Traps
Glue traps are popular because they are cheap, easy to use, and can be placed in various locations throughout your home. When a cockroach gets stuck on the glue, the trap is disposed of with the insect inside; this prevents it from dying away from sight and creating an even bigger mess than what you started out with.
Sticky traps usually look like a large sheet of paper or cardboard that has been coated with glue or a sticky substance. Some can be folded up and placed out of sight in drawers or cupboards, others are small and resemble strips of tape.
These traps are easy to place and will not cause any harm to your family members. So long as they are out of the reach of pets or children, you’ll be able to catch roaches without worrying about anyone getting hurt.
Combining Food With Traps And Bait
If you combine food with the traps and baits, it will ensure that more cockroaches venture out of their hiding places to come to get a free meal.
Mixing your bait with something that roaches are used to eating can increase the chances of getting them out in the open; this is why some manufacturers sell gel baits that contain both food and poison.
Try the following foods to attract roaches with greater effect:
- Sugary items such as cake
- Expired items from your pantry
- Beer or wine
- Peanut butter – a cockroach’s favorite!
Any of these will increase the chances of attracting roaches to a trap, bait or poison.
DIY Cockroach Lures
If you’d like to try your hand at making home-made lures for cockroaches, then here are some that have proven effective:
Peanut Butter Duct Tape Trap
This trap is both simple and effective at attracting cockroaches into a sticky situation. All you need to do is take an ordinary adhesive tape (duct tape works well) and place an area of tape sticky side up on a floor or countertop.
Try and create a large area of stick-side-up tape using several strips of tape.
Then, place a generous dollop of peanut butter in the center of the sticky area.
Other items such as jelly, honey, or chocolate can also be substituted for peanut butter; any food that roaches like will work well. You can also attract cockroaches by adding some sugar or molasses to the mix but this might not be suitable for homes with pets and small children.
Once all is set and done, you’ll have a cockroach magnet on your hands. Roaches will go straight for the food in the center of your sticky tape and get stuck to it, allowing you to find them easily and dispose of them.
Check the adhesive tape regularly to see if there are any cockroaches stuck on it, or you can leave it for a few nights to ensure you have left enough time for roaches to appear from hiding.
Molasses And Baking Soda Lure
If you like to experiment with different food mixtures then this one may be for you.
Take 1 tablespoon of molasses and add it to a bowl.
Add 3 teaspoons of baking soda to the same bowl and stir until thoroughly combined. Once done, drop small spoonfuls of the mixture onto an aluminum foil (or another non-stick surface) and place in areas where roaches are likely to appear.
The baking soda and molasses will attract cockroaches but the combination of ingredients will also kill them after ingestion, so watch your step!
Cockroach Beer & Jar Trap
Find a jar big enough to hold the roach(s) you want to catch, and pour a small cup of beer or other strong-smelling drink such as soy sauce (so as not to attract pets) into the jar.
The jar should be about a quarter full. Now line the top half of the jar petroleum jelly (Vaseline). Create a ramp for the cockroaches to access the top of the jar, this could be using a strip of duct tape or a piece of wood, possibly a ruler if you have one in your home.
Cockroaches will be drawn towards the open jar, climb up, and in. They probably won’t drown because cockroaches can survive in water and most liquids, but they won’t be able to climb out due to the petroleum jelly around the inside of the jar.
You now have a jar of cockroaches that you can safely dispose of.
How To Dispose of Cockroaches After Catching
Now that you know how to attract cockroaches out of hiding, you need to learn how to dispose of them. There are a variety of different methods for how to dispose of cockroaches. They can be drowned, crushed, or poisoned and left for dead.
This one may not be as simple as it sounds, because roaches can survive in water for several days. Eventually, they will die, but it may take some time.
To drown your cockroach(s), place them in a deep bucket, or other container and pour hot water over them. Add some detergent or dish soap to the water, this will help them drown faster. They should die within a few hours of being submerged in the bucket, but leave it for at least 24 hours before emptying the bucket.
If you’re not a fan of killing and drowning roaches, another method is to crush them with something heavy and flat like a book or paperweight. You can also use your shoe or boot by placing it on top of the cockroach and pressing it down until they die. If you don’t want to deal with the mess that this will create, then try placing the cockroach into a bag or container and hitting it until it’s dead.
Beware though, this process needs to be thorough because if you don’t properly crush the roaches they could still be alive. Cockroaches can live without their head for up to a week, won’t bleed to death, and can even grow back their legs!
The last method of how to dispose of cockroaches is by poisoning them. This is the easiest way because you don’t need to touch them at all, just place poison in the bucket or jar that you have caught them in.
There are several different types of poisons available for purchase online and in your local hardware store.
These poisons are available in a variety of forms, including fumigant pellets, bait stations, and sprays.
If you have a large number of dead cockroaches now lying around after your crusade of extermination, you need to be careful the scent of these dead roaches does not attract other roaches to the area. The best and safest way to now dispose of them is to dig a small hole in your yard (some distance away from your home) and bury the roaches. Failing that, double wrap them in trash bags and place them in your bin but ensure this is on trash collection day so they are not left for some time.
Signs Of Cockroaches Hiding In Your Home
There are certain signs you can look out for if you think there could be cockroaches hiding in your home. These include:
Cockroach Droppings or Smear Marks
Cockroach droppings are small, dark brown or black in color, and oval-shaped. They are around 2-3mm long, sometimes with pointed ends. It isn’t uncommon for people to mistake cockroach waste for mouse droppings due to their similar shapes, but there are slight differences. Mouse droppings have a more uniform shape and size, and can sometimes be in larger piles.
Cockroach droppings also have a dark, shiny appearance with a sticky texture when fresh, and they leave brown stains when dried out. Although fresh dropping is shiny and dark, dried-out droppings become dull and almost gray in color.
Cockroach waste can often be seen near cockroach hiding places as it’s where the pests tend to run when they’re disturbed, but you can also find them on horizontal surfaces such as cupboard tops or behind kitchen units where they scurry to when disturbed. Poop smear marks can also be a sign of cockroach infestation and can be found on walls and other areas where the roaches crawl along.
These marks are caused when an insect rests with its feet in its own feces, which creates smudges. As such, you might see these smear marks around potential points of entry such as windowsills or doorframes.
Roach Egg Casings
Cockroaches reproduce by laying eggs, which hatch into baby insects known as nymphs. Females carry their egg casings for up to 40 days before they hatch, and when they do the larvae drop out of the casing ready to feed on anything in sight.
You will see roach egg casings as small brownish-white ovals which are around 1mm in size and can be found on surfaces such as cupboard tops or along baseboards where roaches like to run when disturbed.
If you find egg casings in your home or notice an increase in cockroaches or droppings then it’s likely that there are hiding places nearby.
Cockroaches have glands in their bodies that release a pheromone that attracts other insects to a particular area. It’s a chemical that insects use to communicate or attract a mate by releasing it from their glands.
When the pheromones combine with the dampness and grime, they give off an oily, musty odor. When there is a high infestation of roaches, a musty smell is common.
Where Do Roaches Hide In Your Home During The Day?
Now you know how to spot a cockroach infestation and have all the tricks to lure them out, whether that be with professional baiting methods or DIY solutions, you now need to know the best places to set your traps.
Knowing the places that cockroaches hide is extremely important so that your bait is not missed.
Roaches are nocturnal in nature and forage at night, but they hide during the day. They are most commonly found in the kitchen, just because it’s where food is generally kept, but on occasions can be found in living rooms, bedrooms, and bathrooms.
Roaches are most likely to be trapped near their hiding places if traps are set nearby, so it’s handy to know the kinds of places that cockroaches hide in your home:
This will be the most likely hiding place for roaches, be sure to check:
- Appliances such as microwaves
- At the back of large appliances such as ovens, stoves & fridges
- Cupboards & cabinets
- Trash cans or recycling bins
In Living Rooms
Roaches won’t just hide in your kitchen. If there is a food source, moisture or warmth in other parts of your home such as the living room, they will venture here. Look out for hiding places such as:
- Inside sofas & under cushions
- In TV units to behind DVD players or consoles
- In bookcases near books or stacks of paperbacks
- Beneath tables & chairs
- Under large rugs
Your bedroom might seem like an unlikely place to find cockroaches hiding but like your living room, if there is a source of food or water they will enter;
- Closets, dressers, and drawers
- Around the base of your bed and mattress if there is a big enough gap
- In rugs
Bathrooms are generally are not visited by cockroaches because they are less likely to get food. But they can be found in these areas:
- Basin cabinets
- Toilet cisterns
- At the back of cupboards under sinks & behind pipes
- On top of shelves near plumbing vents or other gaps that let them travel through
- Behind cracks in bathroom tiles and baseboards
Other Hiding places
Roaches can be found anywhere in your home if there is a hiding place that provides warmth, moisture, and access to food. In some cases, you could have one or two roach families spread through several rooms. You may also find cockroaches in your yard close to the house.
In addition to the places listed above, look out for:
- Beneath potted plants & other plans on window sills
- In garden pots
- In light fittings and ceiling cracks
- In drains pipes & gutters
- In stored items such as cardboard boxes or stacks of paper
- In your garage, basement, or attic
How To Keep Cockroaches Away
This is all useful information if you have a cockroach infestation and want to lure them out to exterminate them, but what about deterrents to stop them from invading in the first place?
There are several options you have for deterring cockroaches, by using scents that they do not like.
Cockroaches hate smells such as peppermint, lavender, cinnamon, and eucalyptus.
Many essential oils have a repellent effect on cockroaches and can be mixed with water to give you an easy spay method of spreading the scent around entry points and hiding places.
If you’re wondering if bleach has any effect on killing roaches, it doesn’t. The scent of bleach will make your home intolerable to roaches but it will not kill them.
Roach lures such as bait traps can be easily purchased online, or DIY solutions are an option with household items you have available. We recommend the DIY peanut butter and sticky tape method which usually does the job for a small infestation.
Although you now know how to spot cockroach hiding spots and the best places to put your traps, you might still not be successful in trapping every last family of roaches if there is a large infestation. If this is the case, it may be time to call in a professional exterminator.