How to keep roaches out of your apartment?

Roaches are undoubtedly one of the most despised pests, and with good reason – besides the fact that they can quickly become infestation due to the ease with which they reproduce and spread, they are also vectors for several diseases that could make you seriously sick. Additionally, they are surprisingly efficient and adaptive, which makes them all the more difficult to eradicate once they invade your apartment.  Read on to find out how you can get rid of roaches and keep them out of your apartment for the long term.

How to keep roaches out of your apartment?

  1. Deep cleaning your home regularly and ensuring you never leave food crumbs lying around for roaches to find.
  2. Caulk all the crevices, holes, and cracks that may be present in your apartment as they serve as entry points for roaches.
  3. Fix faucets or pipes that may be leaking. This is important because these critters are attracted to sources of water.
  4. Ensure that you completely eradicate them in the first place by using proven techniques such as baits, and pesticide dust.

Roaches are quite difficult to get rid of especially if you are dealing with a well-established infestation, which is why it is important to prevent them from invading your apartment in the first place. Find out how you can keep roaches out of your apartment, as well as how you can get rid of them if they have already infested your living area.

Getting rid of roaches if they are already present

Several options have been proven to get rid of roaches with varying degrees of success. They include:

  1. Baits – Baits are one of the most popular ways to eliminate roaches due to their effectiveness. They can be used over a long period and can be applied to either kill roaches directly (when a roach eats the bait) or indirectly (when a roach eats the corpse or dropping of a roach that has eaten the bait).

Baits come in a variety of forms, including dispensable gels and small containers that are filled with substances that are toxic to roaches, commonly known as bait stations. When buying baits, go for products from well-known brands that have proven to work in the past.

To increase the effectiveness of bait stations, it is important to place them in areas where roaches are likely to frequent such as dark cabinet corners, under appliances, and any other areas where they can access food and/or moisture. Keep in mind that you will need to change and replace bait stations regularly as they will likely be emptied quickly as the roaches eat the food. Therefore, make a point of inspecting them every few weeks, or as per the instructions that come with commercial baits. Bait gels are more suitable for use in crevices and cracks where standard bait stations are unlikely to fit.

  1. Pesticide dusts -There are three standard types of pesticide dusts typically available for purchase – those that contain silica as the active ingredient, those that contain boric acid as the active ingredient, and those that contain diatomaceous earth. Boric acid is acutely toxic to roaches when it is ingested, whereas diatomaceous earth and silica damage and break down the roach’s exoskeleton.

As with baits, you will want to apply pesticide dusts in areas where roaches frequent and hide. Apply small amounts of these powders as roaches tend to avoid obvious piles of dust. Consider using a pesticide powder duster to apply thin films of dust into crevices and underneath appliances. Reapply pesticide dusts as recommended by the manufacturer of the product you opt to use. Be cautious with how you apply pesticide dusts, ensuring that they are not used on surfaces where you consume or prepare food.

  1. Traps – Another effective method of getting rid of roaches involves using traps. Varieties such as jar traps and sticky traps have proven to be especially effective. Sticky traps are available for purchase in most hardware stores, and you can make your own jar trap by lining a jar with petroleum jelly and filling it with bread crumbs or any other food substances that may attract roaches.
  1. Ultrasonic repellents – Ultrasonic repellents are a form of chemical-free pest control that can be used to eliminate roaches in apartments. An ultrasonic repellent works by emitting ultrasound waves and vibrations that can’t be heard by the human ear but cause a lot of discomfort to pests, including roaches

Home remedies

Home remedies are especially effective when combined with any of the aforementioned roach-eliminating methods.

  1. Lemon juice – Lemon juice contains anti-pathogenic properties that can keep roaches out of your apartment. Simply put lemon juice in a spray bottle and apply it to areas where you suspect there is an infestation.
  1. Sugar and baking soda – Although baking soda is not as toxic as boric acid, it causes a reaction inside the bodies of roaches when ingested that kills them. Roaches won’t voluntarily ingest baking soda, so you will need to mix it with sugar to get them to feed on it. Mix equal parts sugar and baking soda, then sprinkle this mixture in roach-prone areas of your home – the scent of sugar will attract the roaches.
  1. Bay leaves – Bay leaves are a popular roach repellent that can be found in your spice cabinet. Simply crush dry bay leaves and apply the powder in suspected roach nesting areas.

Call an exterminator

If you are unable to get rid of roaches on your own, the best option is to seek the services of a professional roach extermination company. An exterminator will typically come into your home and inspect it to determine the entry points that the roaches might be using. The exterminator will then seal these access points and apply the most suitable roach control method. To ensure that the elimination technique has been effective, the exterminator will keep a close eye on your home and apply the treatment again if needed.

Keeping these pests out of your apartment

  • Keep your apartment as clean as possible – Ensure that your home is always clean. While a clean living area isn’t immune to a roach infestation, chances of these critters invading your home are significantly lower if you keep things tidy.
    • Always rinse your dirty dishes right away, and dispose of any leftovers on plates that you don’t plan on eating in the garbage.
    • Clean up food crumbs on floors and counters as soon as possible
    • Avoid leaving empty or half-eaten fast food containers or pizza boxes lying around in your living area.
    • Clean up the clutter – roaches can hide in stacks of paper,  boxes, magazines, newspapers, boxes, or even piles of laundry that have been left on the floor or in storage cabinets. With no clutter to hide in, it will be harder for roaches to hide their presence, making your apartment less than ideal for them.
  • Repair any leaking faucets or pipes – Another strategy that is effective in keeping roaches out of your apartment involves eliminating all the sources of moisture that they could come to rely on. This means that you will have to ensure your kitchen, bathroom, and any other area of your home where you are bound to use water frequently should remain as dry as possible.

Therefore, it is important to fix any leaking faucets and pipes, and you will also want to empty any plant saucers or bird baths that you may have in your yard in case they have standing water. Mop up any spills as soon as they happen, and wipe down bathtubs and sinks immediately after using them. Remember to empty pet water containers when they are not in use.

  • Seal cracks and crevices – Roaches won’t be able to gain access to your home if there are no entry points for them to squeeze into. These critters typically move in and out of your home through cracks in your wall, as well as through gaps in windows and doors. Carefully check your walls, doors, and window screens for gaps or any other type of damage.

For cracks in your doors, use weather stripping to cover them. Use caulk r spackle to repair any holes and cracks you may find in your walls. As an apartment dweller, you may want to consult with your landlord before embarking on any repairs in your home.

  • Eliminate any food sources roaches can easily access – Roaches are particularly fond of sugar and carbohydrates which they can find in food, plants, and even soaps. Here are some tips on how to reduce possible roach food sources:
    • Keep all food, whether it is for you or your pet, in plastic or glass containers that come with lids that fit tightly over them. Transfer any food that comes in boxes, bags, or any other similar materials that roaches can easily chew through.
    • Consider replacing bar soaps in your apartment with liquid soap dispensers, and also apply some petroleum jelly on pots and plant holders to prevent roaches from eating the plants in your home.
    • Keep your garbage, recycling, and compost in sealed containers, and ensure that you take out your garbage regularly.
    • Carefully check your groceries once you bring them home. Consider putting away items you purchase right away to reduce the risk of roaches spreading in case you bring them home with you. 
  • Be careful with paper bags that you bring into your home – Paper bags can serve as a form of entry for roaches into your apartment. Paper bags that you bring home can be harboring roaches in between the flaps and seams. In some cases, you may not see a roach in a paper bag, but it is not uncommon to have egg capsules that have been laid in the bag.  As a result, you may be better off discarding paper bags for recycling instead of storing them and possibly introducing roaches into your home.
  • Be wary of used furniture – If you intend to bring used furniture into your home, you will want to inspect it thoroughly beforehand to ensure that you are not bringing in pests like roaches as well. Even if your inspection yields no roaches, clean the used furniture thoroughly regardless in case there are egg capsules or roach droppings that could attract roaches in the future.
  • Talk to your landlord – Even though you may be able to eliminate roaches from your apartment, you may have a hard time keeping them from returning to your unit especially if another apartment in the building you live in has roaches as you share walls and a roof with your neighbors. In addition to living in the walls and spaces that exist between units, roaches can also easily travel from one unit to another in an apartment building.

To eliminate roaches and keep them out permanently in such a living situation, routine extermination in all the apartments within the building is ideal. To achieve this, you will want to notify your building supervisor, landlord, or property manager. They will respond to this by either handling the situation (depending on how it is dictated in your lease) or at least give you tips on how to deal with the problem.

Typically, the responsibilities of a landlord or property manager will be included in your lease.  You may live in an apartment building where you are required to pay a monthly fee that goes towards pest control. They may regularly spray particular apartment units as per the tenant’s request. If this is the case in your apartment building, talk to your landlord or property manager to request for your apartment to be treated on the next maintenance round. If there is no scheduled outside contractor for this task, ask that they bring in someone to deal with the situation as soon as possible.

What attracts roaches to apartments?

To successfully keep roaches out of your apartment, it is important to determine what is attracting them to your home in the first place. Here is a breakdown of the attractants of roaches:

  • Food – Like with other pests that invade homes, food is the main attractant of roaches. These pests will eat almost anything that they come across to survive, including decaying substances, moldy food, and waste, which is why you may find them in garbage bins. That said, they prefer starches (bread, grains, and potatoes), animal proteins, and sweets.
  • Shelter – Roaches require shelter to survive, which what makes your warm, cozy apartment the perfect spot for them. These unsightly creatures can easily fit in tiny crevices and cracks you may not be aware of and lay their eggs.
  • Water – Moisture is another important requirement for roaches to survive. A leaky pipe in your kitchen or bathroom can easily attract roaches, as can condensation and standing water.

How to tell you have a roach infestation in your apartment

Because roaches tend to come out at night, you may assume that your apartment is roach-free, when in fact you have an infestation. Here are signs that your apartment is infested by these nasty critters:

  • You spot them scampering about – The most obvious sign of the presence of roaches in your living area is seeing them moving about. You might just spot one, but in reality, there could be a nest somewhere within your unit.
  • Roach droppings – Roach droppings closely resemble coffee grounds. You may find them under your sink and other areas where roaches are likely to access food.
  • Egg capsules – If there is an established roach nest in your apartment, you may come across oval-shaped egg capsules. Take note of where you discover the capsules as they could lead you to the roach nest.
  • Dead roaches – Sometimes you may notice the bodies of dead roaches, an indication that you have a roach infestation.
  • A musty odor – Roaches typically leave behind a distinct oily or musty odor. If your apartment has an oily or musty smell particularly in the kitchen and/or bathroom, you may have a roach problem.

Final thoughts

Roaches can be quite hard to get rid of and keep out of your apartment especially if they are well-established. If you have an infestation, apply any one or a combination of the suggested roach elimination methods. Once you get rid of them, apply the aforementioned prevention techniques, and inform your landlord or property manager to ensure that the whole building remains roach-free.

Melanie Asiba

Melanie is an author, and she enjoys traveling, reading, and trying out new things. In addition to writing for Apartment ABC.

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