Cockroaches are pervasive pests that can move very quickly, survive without a head for days, and squeeze through narrow spaces that look impossibly small for their bodies. Even larger roaches can fit through an opening that is only 3 millimeters (0.1 inches) high, making it incredibly challenging to keep roaches out and deal with infestations when they do make their way into your living space.
Roach baits make it easier to exterminate roaches because they lure them out of hiding, instead of you having to find all the possible areas they could be nesting. The best roach bait for your infestation will depend on whether you want a non-toxic bait trap that draws roaches in and then traps them with strong adhesive or if you want a bait that roaches can eat, like a gel or powder. These baits will either kill a roach immediately or allow it to carry the poison back to the nest. Take a look at some of the best roach baits on the market to find the most suitable product to regain control of your home from these pervasive pests.
- BEST OVERALL: Harris Roach Kit Value Pack
- RUNNER UP: Niban Granular Pest Control Insecticide Bait
- BEST GEL: advion 383920 4 Tubes and 4 Plungers Cockroach Gel
- BEST POWDER: Zap-A-Roach Boric Acid Roach and Ant Killer
- BEST STRIPS: Combat Roach Killing Bait Strips
- ALSO CONSIDER: Black Flag HG-11020-1 Roach Motel Insect Trap
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Roach Bait
Before choosing the best roach bait for your infestation, take a few minutes to educate yourself on the most crucial shopping considerations to keep in mind.
The term “active ingredient” in roach bait refers to the bait component responsible for killing the roach and possibly eradicating the entire nest. Active ingredients commonly found in roach baits include fipronil, hydramethylnon, indoxacarb, and boric acid.
- Fipronil is common in many bait stations and bait strips. When cockroaches ingest this ingredient, it disrupts their central nervous system, causing death within six to 24 hours. Due to the cannibalistic tendency of roaches, the poison can spread to a second generation after the first roach has died.
- Hydramethylnon works slowly, allowing cockroaches to return to the nest and infect other roaches in the colony through contact and fecal matter ingestion. Roaches can ingest hydramethylnon or absorb it on contact, inhibiting mitochondrial energy production in its cells and causing a slow, lethargic death that takes between 24 and 72 hours.
- Indoxacarb is primarily used in gel baits and works by inhibiting nerve cell transmission in cockroaches by stopping the flow of sodium ions into the cell, halting the chain of chemical signals necessary for essential life functions. Indoxacarb remains effective in a nest for up to three generations, usually ensuring the colony’s complete elimination. However, it takes up to four days for a single roach to die, which means it may take several weeks to see tangible results for a large infestation.
- Boric acid comes in powder, granule, paste, and tablet form and is mixed with roach attractants, like sugar. It can act as a stomach poison to kill cockroaches from the inside or by destroying the waxy coating of the body, causing dehydration. Boric acid takes about 72 hours to kill the affected roach, and during this time, any of this active ingredient on the waxy coating can be transferred to other roaches, spreading the poison throughout the nest.
Well over 4,000 species of cockroaches exist worldwide, but the three most common species found in American homes are the German cockroach, the Oriental cockroach, and the American cockroach.
- German cockroaches grow to about 0.5 inches and vary in color from tan to almost black. They are easily identifiable by the two dark streaks or lines running parallel from the head to the base of the wing. German cockroaches are commonly found indoors in wet, humid areas, like kitchens and bathrooms.
- Oriental cockroaches are dark brown or black in color with a glossy shine on the carapace. They grow to just under 1 inch in size, and while they have wings, they tend to run instead of fly. Oriental cockroaches thrive in cool, damp areas like basements, cellars, leaf piles, and rotting decks.
- American cockroaches are less selective about where they nest than German or Oriental cockroaches, choosing to settle both indoors and outdoors in attics, basements, subfloors, roof voids, kitchens, bathrooms, and many areas in the yard. They have a shiny, reddish-brown appearance and range in size from just 0.2 inches to 1.6 inches.
Several types of roach baits are available, including bait stations, gel, powder, strips, and adhesive traps.
- Bait stations are ideal for treating roach infestations in homes with children and pets because the poison is contained within a plastic shell. Roaches enter the station, ingest the poison, and return to their nest to spread it around.
- Gel baits can fill crevices below a home’s baseboards or in narrow spaces, such as behind appliances, where cockroaches frequently travel. Gel baits normally kill the target roach through ingestion and absorption, while also spreading to the nest.
- Powder baits typically use boric acid mixed with an attractive lure to draw cockroaches to them. The powder can be ingested by roaches, or it can destroy the coating on their exterior, causing dehydration and death. Powder baits are useful for crevices and cracks in your home or for use in the yard. However, do not use these baits in areas frequented by children or pets.
- Bait strips have a narrow trough of bait to attract cockroaches, killing the individual insect and affecting the nest in a way similar to bait stations. The difference is that bait strips are more compact and less noticeable than bait stations, allowing you to treat the infestation without calling attention to it. However, bait strips are less safe than bait stations for homes with children and pets.
- Adhesive traps do not contain any hazardous chemicals that could poison children or pets; however, you should still keep these traps away from them due to the strength of the adhesive. These traps mix bait that is attractive to cockroaches with the adhesive, which lures them in. Keep in mind, though, that since the individual roach becomes stuck in the trap and dies, no harm comes to the nest. For this reason, adhesive traps are only recommended for a very small roach problem or for use with another roach treatment method.
Length of Efficacy
When deciding on the best roach bait for your needs, an important factor is the length of efficacy of the product. This refers to how long the bait will remain lethal to cockroaches after you have placed it. The length of efficacy varies widely between individual products, with some roach baits only remaining effective for a week, while others only need to be reapplied every six months, or even only once a year. However, if you need to place a roach bait outside, then the length of efficacy can be reduced if it is exposed to extremely high or low temperatures, rain, snow, and other precipitation. Always refer to the manufacturer’s directions for reapplication.
Safety Factors for Pets and Children
Pets and children can be vulnerable to roach bait because they do not understand what it is or why it could be dangerous to them. Unfortunately, this means it can be more difficult to treat a roach infestation in a home with children or pets. To take on your pest problem without endangering them, use bait stations with shielded plastic bubbles and openings only wide enough for roaches to enter and then exit with poisoned bait.
You may also use an adhesive trap solution that doesn’t employ any type of poison, so you don’t have to worry about your children or pets eating the roach bait. However, these adhesives are very strong and can become stuck to their skin, hair, or fur. Placing roach bait in inaccessible areas, like crevices in the wall or behind appliances, can limit the risk of exposure to your children and pets.
Ease of Use
Roach baits are not typically difficult to use, though some are easier to use than others.
- Bait stations are the easiest kind of roach bait to use. Just place them in appropriate locations in and around your home, replacing them when necessary.
- Bait strips can also be placed anywhere in and around your home. Remove the backing on the bait strip to stick it to a cupboard or wall instead of leaving it on the ground. This is ideal for positioning them behind appliances or in tight corners of the bathroom.
- Adhesive traps must be set up on the ground in a location that will lure roaches. Some products are a simple box that you can just place on the ground, while others have flaps that you need to pull out to increase the surface area of the adhesive.
- Gel baits normally come in a plunger, similar to industrial glue or bathroom caulking. Push the gel out of the tube and apply it to crevices, cracks, narrow corners, and anywhere else a line of gel would entice roaches.
- Powder baits can be used inside or outside; however, if you use them inside your home, only place them in cracks, crevices, or other inaccessible areas since the powder can make a dangerous mess.
Our Top Picks
The top-rated products below were chosen for quality, price, and customer satisfaction to help you find the best roach bait to handle your infestation.
Instead of trying to handle a roach infestation with just one type of roach bait, this affordable Harris Roach Kit Value Pack features powder roach bait, roach bait tablets, and even adhesive traps. However, for best results with any of these treatments, make sure to vacuum and remove any open food sources or garbage, so the roaches are only tempted by the baits.
The bottle contains 32 ounces of powder roach bait made of boric acid that you can sprinkle both inside and outside your home in places where the fine dust can easily fall into the narrow cracks and crevices roaches frequently inhabit. The value pack also offers 6 ounces of boric acid roach tablets and two adhesive roach bait traps for a non-toxic method of killing roaches.
The heavy granules of the Niban Granular Pest Control Insecticide Bait make it more effective for outside use than the more common fine-powder roach bait. These granules are able to withstand at least 4 inches of rain, while powder roach bait would be washed away. This roach bait is also resistant to degradation caused by high temperatures and extended sunlight, making it an ideal treatment for any yard, deck, or patio infestation.
Boric acid is the primary ingredient in this roach bait, killing roaches through both contact and ingestion, while also poisoning the nest. It is available in a 4-pound shaker container that you can easily tip and pour out for simple application over the desired area. It is also safe for use inside the house, but don’t allow pets or children near the areas where you’ve poured the granules.
You can apply this roach gel bait under appliances and sinks, in cupboards, or even outside, but be sure to keep it beyond the reach of pets and children. Cockroaches consume the indoxacarb in the gel, which inhibits sodium ion entry into their nerve cells, resulting in paralysis and death. Use the included plungers and tips to quickly and easily distribute the gel in and around your home. Each plunger contains 1.06 ounces of roach bait gel, ensuring that you can treat all affected areas of your home and yard.
The formula has also been approved for use on boats, planes, or any other vehicle with a roach infestation. This gel roach bait lasts for up to two years and is also effective against ants, fleas, and ticks.
Using this powder roach bait, you can treat an infestation of roaches, ants, water bugs, fleas, and even silverfish. Apply the Zap-A-Roach Boric Acid Roach and Ant Killer to the yard or the exterior of your home to deal with roaches that have nested under your deck or near the foundation of the house. This will treat the cockroaches in their colony and also prevent them from finding their way inside.
You can also sprinkle this powder roach bait inside the home, such as under and behind large appliances, in cracks and crevices along the baseboards, and in basement crawl spaces. The powder is made of boric acid which dehydrates roaches if they touch it or disrupts their digestive capabilities if they ingest it, causing death either way.
Bait strips, like bait stations, are an effective way to treat roach infestations at the source by offering a tantalizing poisoned bait that will kill the initial roach and often spread to at least two generations in the nest. These Combat Roach Killing Bait Strips feature an adhesive backing, allowing you to apply them to walls, ceilings, or even very slick surfaces like the back of a toilet.
While the bait strips are suitable for both inside and outside use, do not apply them to any location that could be exposed to rain, snow, or other precipitation. The active ingredient is fipronil, which effectively kills roaches within 24 hours while exposing the nest to the poison in the affected roach’s body. The package includes 10 thin bait strips so you can treat your roach infestation discreetly.
Keep your home free of harmful pesticides that children or pets can accidentally consume with the Black Flag Roach Motel Insect Trap. This adhesive trap lasts for up to four months before being replaced, though you should check it weekly to ensure the trap hasn’t filled up with roaches prior to the end of the four months.
The sticky adhesive on the top, bottom, and sides of this roach trap feature a non-toxic bait formula that is attractive to roaches so they are drawn into the trap. Since the trap does not have pull-out flaps, you won’t find dead roaches on your floor; however, the trap is really only useful for small roach infestations as even a medium infestation would fill the trap too quickly.
FAQs About Your New Roach Bait
Before deciding on the best roach bait to prevent or end an infestation, take a look at these frequently asked questions and their answers below.
Q. Does roach bait attract more roaches?
No, roach bait does not attract more roaches to your home. However, it may seem like this is the case since the bait will initially lure out more roaches than you had likely realized are in your home.
Q. How long does roach gel last?
On average, roach gel remains effective for up to two weeks after application, although this time frame can vary among products.
Q. Do roaches come back after extermination?
Exterminating a cockroach infestation does not guarantee that they will not return. You need to take appropriate steps to make your home less attractive to these pests by sealing holes to the outside (even very small holes), keeping your floors clean, and removing accessible sources of food, like dishes left in the sink overnight.