Pests in Gardens and Landscapes: Quick Tips

Cockroaches

Published   1/04

PDFSpanish version of this Pest Alert

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adult and nymphs of the German cockroach.

Adult and nymphs of the German cockroach.

Adult and nymphs of oriental cockroach.

Adult and nymphs of oriental cockroach.

cockroach sticky  trap.

Cockroach sticky trap.

Cockroaches thrive in warm environments that provide food, water, and shelter. Roaches hide in cracks, crawl spaces, and other dark places during the day and come out at night to feed. Pesticide sprays alone will not control roaches and are not usually required. Baits provide better control. You must integrate several strategies to make your home a less roach-friendly environment. Thoroughness is essential for effective control.

Identify your cockroach species first:

  • Effective management options vary according to species.
  • Cockroach traps provide an easy way to catch roaches for identification.
  • Control practices for outdoor invaders (American, oriental roaches) and indoor residents (brownbanded and German roaches) differ.
  • For help with identification go to UC Statewide IPM Program Pest Notes.

Remove food and water sources:

  • Even tiny crumbs or liquids in cracks provide good food sources.
  • Store food in sealed containers.
  • Keep trash in containers with tight lids.
  • Eliminate plumbing leaks.
  • Vacuum cracks and crevices and clean floors and counters daily.

Remove roach hiding places:

  • Seal cracks and other openings to prevent invaders from the outside.
  • Seal cracks in false bottoms of cupboards and other indoor hiding places.
  • Seal or clean up other areas where you find roaches or their egg cases hiding.
  • Remove old newspapers, boxes and other clutter in kitchens and bathrooms.
  • The oriental cockroach hides outdoors under ivy and other shelter. Check to see if you have this roach and remove outdoor hiding places or bait.

Use traps to identify and track cockroach populations:

  • Cockroach traps are available in hardware stores.
  • Place traps on the floor around edges of walls, in cupboards and other places where you think roaches are foraging. Place bait stations at locations where you trap roaches.
  • Check traps daily.
  • Sticky traps with pheromones may provide some control of German cockroaches.

Using chemicals to control cockroaches:

  • Avoid use of foggers, bombs or aerosol sprays— they just disperse populations
  • Boric acid powder blown into cracks, crevices, hollow walls, under refrigerators, or other undisturbed hiding places is very effective (allow seven days or more for an effect to be seen)
  • Bait stations containing boric acid, abamectin, fipronil, or hydramethylnon placed near hiding places can be effective if other food sources are removed (allow seven days or more for an effect to be seen). Replace stations as needed as long as roaches are being caught.
  • Insecticide sprays alone do not give long-term control. They are not necessary if other methods such as baits and boric acid powder are combined along with cleanup and removal of hiding places.
  • Contact a professional pest control operator for very serious infestations, but be sure they use an integrated program as described above.

Read more about Cockroaches.

Minimize the use of pesticides that pollute our waterways. Use nonchemical alternatives or less toxic pesticide products whenever possible. Read product labels carefully and follow instructions on proper use, storage, and disposal.


Statewide IPM Program, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California
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