Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

Is seeing cockroaches during the day a sign of an infestation?

How to Rid Yourself of a Cockroach Infestation

If you suspect an infestation, you need to try to get rid of the little buggers. They're every bit as nasty as their reputation says they are. After all, they can carry disease and germs. They may walk through feces and garbage before showing up in your kitchen and can actually lead to asthma and certain allergies [source: PublicHealthPests].

So, how do you get rid of them?

The answer is, it's not easy. It requires an integrated pest management (IPM) program, which means a combination of several approaches [source: Cockroaches].

Keeping roaches from infesting your home in the first place is much easier than getting rid of them once they have moved in. The first steps of an IPM are to deprive roaches of access to food, water and shelter and to keep your home clean and dry [source: HealthNote].

To close off access, you need to know how they get in. They can crawl inside your house through the tiniest holes and cracks. To seal your home, be sure you have tight-fitting windows and doors, caulk all cracks or holes in foundations and walls and repair any plumbing leaks [source: Cockroaches].

Once you've tackled the outside, work on the inside of your home. They gravitate to kitchens in search of even the smallest bits of food and water. Follow these steps to cut down on the things in your kitchen that entice them:

  • Don't leave food out. Store it in tight containers or in the refrigerator.
  • Wash dishes, wipe down tables and countertops and sweep floors after every meal.
  • Fix any leaky faucets. Small drips of water are enough to keep roaches around

[source: Cockroaches].

If cleaning and sealing don't solve your problem, use sticky traps to catch roaches and to help you figure out where they're holed up [source: Cockroaches]. You can also try some roach spray, but make sure you leave your windows open after you spray.

If you live in an apartment, these steps may not be enough. You may have sealed and cleaned everything you can, but if your neighbors have an infestation or if the outside of your building isn't sealed, cockroaches can find a way in. This is why apartment dwellers often suffer from cockroaches more than people living in single-family homes.

If you've tried cleaning and sealing, but still have roaches, call an exterminator. They have the know-how to identify your roach species and the chemicals and poisons to help you get rid of them.

Explore the links on the next page for more information about cockroaches.