Mosquitoes flying around

Prevention Tips: How to Keep Cockroaches Out of Your House

March 24, 2023

By Daniel Baldwin, BCE, CCFS, CP-FS

Cockroaches can be a problem in even the cleanest of homes. Fortunately, taking cockroach prevention steps can greatly reduce the risk of infestations. By following these tips, you can help keep cockroaches at bay and be prepared to respond if you spot them.

How do cockroaches get into your house? 

The first step toward preventing cockroaches is understanding exactly how they get inside. Not just a problem in homes, cockroaches can also end up inside commercial buildings like restaurants and retail stores or even your vehicle, as they are masters at finding their way to food and water.

Cockroaches can crawl through small holes and cracks in the structure of your home or take advantage of gaps and spaces around windows and doors. They can also move through ventilation systems and plumbing pipework or stow away in clothing and personal belongings. Cockroaches may also wander inside apartment buildings, townhouses, and condominiums through flaws in shared walls.

Dead cockroaches in an apartment house on the background of the sofa

Why do I have cockroaches in my clean house?

It’s a common misconception that cockroaches only show up in dirty homes. The truth is that cockroaches can take up residence in even the most spotless homes. They are always searching for food, water, and shelter, and your house provides all three. 

Water can be found around leaky plumbing fixtures or inside sinks. When it comes to food, cockroaches aren’t picky eaters. They will eat glue on food packaging in the kitchen or feast on shed hairs, dead insects, fingernail clippings, soap, and even some plastics. In other words, a cockroach can still find something to eat even in a seemingly clean home. 

How to keep cockroaches out of your house

While you might not be able to completely stop cockroaches from entering, the following tips can reduce the risk of infestations.

Store food properly

Remove dry goods like flour, crackers, and sugar from paper and cardboard packaging. Store these foods in airtight containers in your pantry or cupboard.

Don’t leave food uncovered and unattended in your kitchen or other areas of your home. If you’re hosting guests and want to leave snacks out for a few hours, use trays and bowls with lids so you can cover them up. Always do the dishes promptly so the food particles are sitting out for cockroaches to find.

Find and fix leaks

Cockroaches can take advantage of leaky fixtures, so check your kitchen and bathroom plumbing regularly and have leaks repaired immediately. 

Dry out your sink, shower, and tub after use so cockroaches can’t come along and help themselves to a drink. Avoid keeping grounds in your coffee pot, and clean it immediately after each use.

dirty cockroach on pipe water

Block off entry points

Inspect your home for structural damage. Examine the seals around windows and doors and apply caulk to fill in gaps and spaces when necessary. Install sweeps that eliminate small gaps to stop cockroaches from coming under the door. Swap white exterior light bulbs with yellow ones to lower the likelihood of attracting cockroaches.

Follow a cleaning schedule

Although cockroaches can live in clean homes, they’ll likely have less access to food if you keep your home tidy. Wipe down kitchen and bathroom counters and dining tables every day and sweep hard flooring daily to remove debris. Vacuum at least once or twice per week, and use an attachment to clean in tight spaces where dirt and dead insects may be hiding.

Deep clean the shelves in your kitchen cupboard and pantry at least once per month. Don’t use shelf paper, as it can allow debris to accumulate.

Take care of your trash

Use wastebaskets and trash cans with lids in every part of your home. Take the kitchen trash out daily. Tie trash bags tightly and use an outdoor garbage can with a tight-fitting lid.

Get help from experts

A professional pest control company can provide custom tips to improve your cockroach prevention efforts. Knowledgeable technicians may identify entry points you miss or spot other potential food and water sources for cockroaches.

pest control expert spraying cockroaches in a house

How do you keep cockroaches away permanently?

There is nothing you can do to guarantee cockroaches are kept away 100% of the time. However, a professional pest control company can recommend a cockroach prevention maintenance schedule to regularly treat your home, making it much less likely to have pests in the future.

Common types of cockroaches

In the U.S., there are three common types of cockroaches:

  • American Cockroaches: Sometimes called palmetto bugs, these cockroaches are a red-brown color and usually around 1 to 2 inches long. They’re speedy runners, capable of traveling up to 50 times their body length in one second. These pests are most common in warm environments and are often found in large buildings, basements, and sewer drains.
  • German Cockroaches: These cockroaches are common throughout the U.S. They’re lighter in color than American cockroaches and usually about 0.5 inches long. Because one female can lay up to 48 eggs at a time, infestations of these pests can grow exponentially within just a few months.
  • Oriental Cockroaches: Also called water bugs, these cockroaches have shiny black casings and prefer to live in plumbing drains, sewers, crawl spaces, and other wet places. You will mostly find them in the West, Midwest, and Southern U.S. 

Cockroach pest control services

Whether you have an active infestation or just want to learn how to deter cockroaches, Hawx Pest Control is ready to help. Our licensed technicians use state-of-the-art technology, tools, and high-quality, effective products to deal with cockroach infestations. With our extensive knowledge of cockroach prevention best practices, our techs can tell you what steps to take to minimize the risk of future infestations. They’ll also recommend a maintenance schedule to complement your ongoing efforts to keep cockroaches away. Call us today for a free estimate and fix your cockroach problem once and for all. 

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