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German cockroaches can get in no matter how clean you keep your home. This tiny roach is found worldwide, from New York City to the North Pole. Unfortunately, they’re resistant to pesticides and attracted to even the smallest amount of moisture.
Though German cockroaches are notoriously tricky to eliminate, we’ve provided some do-it-yourself (DIY) methods you can try. We’ve also provided our top recommendations for professional German cockroach removal based on our extensive research on the best pest control companies.
What Are German Cockroaches?
German cockroaches are a small, flat cockroach species ranging in size from one-half to five-eighths of an inch. They’re typically tan or brown with two dark lines starting at the back of their head. Though they have wings, they don’t fly.
Female German cockroaches reproduce quickly and lay up to 40 eggs. After a baby German cockroach, known as a nymph, breaks out of its egg and sheds its outer skin, it looks similar to an adult roach but smaller and without wings.
Why German Cockroaches Enter Your Home
Having cockroaches doesn’t mean your home is dirty. Like any other pest, German cockroaches enter your home searching for warmth, moisture, and food sources. Leaky pipes and drains can attract German cockroaches. They’re also drawn to human and pet food and non-edible items such as soaps.
How to Get Rid of German Cockroaches
Here’s a step-by-step guide to eliminating German cockroaches by yourself.
Determine the Size of the Infestation
Begin by inspecting your home. Walk from room to room with a flashlight, checking cracks and crevices along baseboards for evidence of roach activity such as droppings and feces, shed skins, or dead roaches. You should also check your kitchens and bathrooms, as German cockroaches are active around heat and water sources. Open each kitchen cabinet and check behind each appliance and piece of furniture.
Clean ‘Hot Spots’
Once you’ve determined the areas of roach activity, or “hot spots,” clean these areas before treatment. Vacuum crumbs and debris and eliminate clutter. You should also vacuum any live roaches or eggs you see, then seal and dispose of the vacuum bag. You can package your food in airtight containers and clean hard surfaces with dish soap.
Set Bait Traps
Next, set some bait traps. There are two types: bait stations and gel baits. A bait station uses poisoned food to lure cockroaches in and get them to take the bait back to their nests. You can also squeeze gel baits into cracks where bait stations don’t fit. Both traps use slow-acting insecticides that cause the cockroaches to infect each other. This method can potentially eliminate your roach infestation.
We recommend starting with bait traps over insecticide sprays. Repellent sprays drive roaches back into their hiding places, where they can continue reproducing. Contact sprays will kill the roaches you see but not eliminate the source. Allow some time to pass once you’ve laid bait traps so the roaches that take the bait have long enough to spread it to the colony.
Use Additional Insecticides
If your problem continues, you may want to use an insecticidal dust, such as boric acid or diatomaceous earth. You can also use an insect growth regulator (IGR). This liquid or aerosol foam stops roaches from reproducing by preventing cockroach nymphs from shedding their exoskeletons and reaching reproductive maturity. You can use IGR alongside bait traps, but we don’t recommend using insecticidal dust with bait traps.
Take Preventive Measures
Once you’ve eliminated most of the cockroaches, take some steps to prevent future infestations.
Use bleach to clean your hard surfaces and deep clean your kitchen and bathroom. Check for leaks and standing water, and seal cracks and crevices with caulk or sealant. You may also need a dehumidifier for your basement or crawl spaces.
Ensure your food is tightly sealed, and consider swapping your trash can for one that’s more tight-fitting.
The best way to prevent future infestations is to adjust your cleaning schedule. Clean dirty dishes as soon as possible, wipe down countertops, clean refrigerators regularly, take the trash out regularly, and vacuum frequently to get rid of crumbs and cockroach eggs.
When to Hire Professionals
If you’ve followed the above steps and still have an infestation, consider hiring a professional. German cockroaches reproduce incredibly fast, so eliminating them can be difficult without professional help. Cockroach control companies have exterminators with the proper training, equipment, and treatment methods to eliminate your roach problem effectively. If your infestation is large, you’ll also save time and money by calling an exterminator.
DIY methods may work if you have a small German cockroach infestation, but it’s best to hire a professional in most cases. German cockroaches are a nuisance, and using a pest control company is worth the cost to guarantee that the extermination is correctly completed.
Below are our recommendations for top pest control companies with German cockroach treatments.
- Reservice guarantee: Yes
- State availability: 47 states (all but Alaska, South Dakota, and Wyoming)
Orkin offers comprehensive general pest control plans, including cockroach treatment. Each plan includes preventative and targeted treatments against rodents, ants, beetles, and cockroaches. We secret-shopped the company during our research process and found that the general pest control plan typically comes with a thorough initial visit and treatment, plus bi-monthly visits after that. Orkin also has a 30-day money-back guarantee and free reservice if pests return.
Read more: Orkin review
- Reservice guarantee: Yes
- State availability: 45 states (all but Alaska, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Vermont)
Terminix offers a general pest control plan, including an initial inspection and treatment, subsequent quarterly visits, and free reservice if pests return. The company also provides one-time pest control with thorough interior and exterior inspection and treatment, plus a 30-day reservice guarantee.
Read more: Terminix review
How to Get Rid of German Cockroaches FAQ
What kills German cockroaches the best?
Bait traps are generally the best way to kill German cockroaches. They’re highly effective and easy to use.
How long does it take to get rid of German roaches?
How long it takes to get rid of German cockroaches depends on the size of the infestation. It takes an average of two weeks to get rid of German cockroaches, but a more significant infestation may take up to eight weeks.
Where do German cockroaches nest?
German cockroaches like to nest anywhere warm and moist. Common spots for German cockroach nests include appliances, cabinets, sinks, pipes, and dishwashers.
How We Chose the Top Pest Control Companies
Our pest control research process starts with analyzing customer reviews on third-party websites such as the Better Business Bureau (BBB), Trustpilot, and Google Reviews. We then do a deep dive into each company’s website, service plans, and available cost information. We also secret shop the companies we review, reach out to representatives, and request quotes.
From there, we compile the information we’ve gathered and compare each company using our in-depth pest control methodology and review criteria. This process uses a series of factors that are important to our readers, and we score each company depending on how well they perform in each factor. For instance, companies that offer more guarantees for their service earned more points than others, and pest control plans with a larger range of covered pests earned more points than ones with fewer.
After analyzing dozens of residential and commercial pest control businesses through this process, we were able to determine the best pest control companies on the market.