How To Get Rid of American Cockroaches

If you have an active roach infestation, follow these guidelines to learn how to get rid of American roaches (large red cockroaches that may fly), and the best products for treatment.

American Roach ID

American Roach Identification

American Cockroaches (Periplaneta americana) are also known as a "water bug" or "palmetto bug." The American roach is reddish-brown, about 1.5 inches long or longer, winged, but seldom fly. The male wings are longer than the female wings. The American roach is reddish-brown, about 1.5 inches long or longer, winged, but seldom fly. The male wings are longer than the female wings. Young nymphs are gray-brown in color. As the American cockroaches mature, they become more reddish-brown in appearance. They have well-developed wings but don't fly much unless temperatures are above 85 degrees, then they are known as "flying waterbugs."

American Roach Inspection

  • Adults and nymphs can be found in a variety of places. In the North, they are commonly found in steam heat tunnels or large institutional buildings. They are often found around accesses to sewers, near garbage, and ner sump pumps.

  • Nymphs may be found in dark basements, crawl spaces, floor drains. In basements, they may be found in corner areas high on the walls or in floor drains.

  • The more commonly congregate in open spaces instead of small cracks and crevices.

  • The American roach also prefers damp locations and access to water. When indoors, they can be located in dark, moist areas like basements and crawl spaces. Other likely areas indoors would be around bathtubs, floor drains, and sewers.

  • Outside the American Roach can be found in moist, shady areas like yards, hollow trees, woodpiles, and mulch.

  • At times they can be found under roof shingles or attics. Usually, they will live outside but will wander inside in search of food and water or during extremes in weather conditions.

American roaches
American roaches
American Roach Development
American Roach Development

How To Get Rid Of American Roaches

Step 1: Prevention-Sanitation and Exclusion

Sanitation and exclusion procedures are the first things required for this type of roach. If you eliminate food sources, moisture, or their harborages, it will put such pressure on the roach population, leading to better results with pest control measures.

Exclusion:

Although the American roach has many places to habitat outside, it will enter if there is an entry point.

  • Seal as many exterior cracks and holes as possible on the outside of the home
  • Caulk all penetrations through ground level walls. Caulk and repair holes around doors, windows, water pipes, and baseboards.
  • Place mesh screens over windows, floor drains, and vents. Seal any cracks or holes leading indoors with caulk or other sealants. These places serve as roach locations.
  • Make sure that doors and windows fit securely inside the frames, to eliminate entry.

Sanitation and Home Repairs

  • Caulk all penetrations through ground level walls.
  • Remove rotting leaves from window wells and gutters.
  • Place mesh screens over windows, floor drains, and vents. Seal any cracks or holes leading indoors with caulk or other sealants. These places serve as roach locations.
  • Store firewood as far away from the house as you can. If you can lift it off the ground, it will help eliminate harborage areas.
  • Discard old boxes and piles of papers where roaches can hide.
  • Use a tight-fitting lid on your trash can.
  • Move garbage cans out of preferred moist habitat.
  • Clean kitchen appliances thoroughly to eliminate food sources.
  • It is not wise to allow pet food to sit out overnight for indoor pets. For outdoor pets, please pick up the food after they are finished

Step 2: Pest Control Products To Use For American Cockroaches

Insecticide Granules, Insecticide Baits, and Insecticide Aerosols and Dusts
  • You may apply Bifen LP Granules around the base of the house, particularly in areas of pine straw and mulched areas and or Intice Perimeter Bait as supplemental treatments. If you have these larger cockroaches entering your home from the attic area (due to trees that overhang the attic or gutters that are not clean) using baits like Intice insect baits, would give you excellent results.
  • Use an insecticide dust like D-Fense Dust for additional treatment to liquid insecticides and insecticide granular. You may apply an insecticide Dust such as D-Fense Dust with a duster. This dust would be useful in cracks and crevices, wall voids, electrical fittings, around doors and window frames, etc.
  • Use a non-repellent aerosol like Phantom Aerosol. As a non-repellent insecticide, the insects cannot detect its presence, allowing the insects to cross over its chemical placements, instead of avoiding the area. It has a crack and crevice tip to spray into areas where pests are hiding or living. It does not stain.

Outdoor Treatment

Insecticide Sprays:

Generally speaking, control measures should concentrate on the outside of the building and points of entry of the American Roach. This is called a "perimeter or barrier" treatment.

You may use concentrated residual sprays: Avesta CS or Cyper WSP inside or outside. Spray a 3-6 foot band around the entire house. Spray outside around doors, windows, pipe openings, and dryer vents.

Avesta CS will dry without a visible residue on sprayed surfaces. Cyper WSP will leave a visible powdery residue against surfaces.

Recommended products are in the table below. These typically require pump sprayers.

Insecticide Granulars:

You may apply granular around the base of the house, particularly in areas of pine straw and mulched areas. Bifen LP Granule is the recommended insecticide granular.

Granular Insect Baits

Insects baits like Invict Xpress Granular Bait or Intice Perimeter Bait can be used indoors, outdoors, or in turf areas. Invict Xpress has multiple food attractants to attract not only the American Roach, but also Crickets, some Ants, Silverfish, Earwigs and Firebrats.

Indoor Treatment

Insecticide Sprays:

  • Apply inside on the baseboards near the entry points (doors, windows, plumbing under sinks).

  • On the inside, apply around the plumbing under the sinks and washer and dryer connections. You don't have to spray all the interior baseboards, just the corners and baseboards inside the garage and basement areas.

Insect Baits:

If you have these larger cockroaches entering inside your home from the attic area (due to trees that overhang the attic or gutters that are not clean) using baits like Invict Express Insect Baits or Intice Perimeter Baits, would give you very good results. This insect bait would also be an excellent choice for crawl spaces and or attics.

Insecticide Dust:

Using a hand duster, apply insecticide dust in locations that the American Roaches are traveling. Such places would be behind baseboards, wall outlets, wall voids, and underneath appliances. The recommended Dust is D-Fense Dust.

Recommended residual sprays for perimeter treatments, basements and attics

Where To Spray

  • You may use three residual sprays: Avesta CS or Cyper WSP inside or outside.
  • Spray outside around doors, windows, pipe openings, and dryer vents. Apply also on the inside on the baseboards near the entry points.
  • On the inside-apply around the plumbing under the sinks and washer and dryer connections. You don't have to spray all the interior baseboards, just the corners, and baseboards inside the garage and basement areas.

American Cockroach Diet

American Cockroaches prefer decaying organic matter, but being scavengers will eat anything. Sweets are attractive to the American roach. They also will feed on starchy items like book bindings, and the back of the wallpaper.

American Roach Biology/ Habits

Biology

Females produce many egg capsules, having 14-16 eggs hatching in 50-55 days into grayish-brown "nymphs." Female American Roaches prefer to deposit their eggs in protected and damp areas. Nymphs will molt 9 to 13 times before reaching maturity. The nymphs are 1/4-inch long. The nymphs are gray-brown when they come out of the egg capsule.

Temperature

The comfortable temperature for an American roach is about 84 degrees Fahrenheit. As temperatures outside get cool, you may find the American roaches moving indoors. They come in thru entry points like air ducts, around utility pipes, small cracks and crevices, sewer connections, and under doors. They can be found near bathtubs, clothes hampers, and plumbing.

Flying Roaches

They will fly at high temperatures. They can move from building to building.

 

 

Various Roaches That Invade Homes and Businesses

( American and German Roaches are the most common and have two different types of treatments.)

Small Roaches (German and Brown-Banded) 1/2"-1 " in the adult stage
Large Roaches (American, Australian, Oriental, Smokey Brown and Wood ) 1.5 " or longer in the adult stage

Written by our resident pest control expert Ken Martin.