The 10 Best Roach Killers and Baits to Safely Handle a Pest Problem

Get rid of a roach infestation quickly and safely with these proven products.

Best Overall

Harris Boric Acid Famous Roach Tablets on a white background.

Harris Boric Acid Famous Roach Tablets

Best Bang for the Buck

Earthborn Elements Diatomaceous Earth on a white background.

Earthborn Elements Diatomaceous Earth

Best Spray

Raid Essentials Ant & Roach Killer Spray Bottle on a white background.

Raid Essentials Ant u0026amp; Roach Killer Spray Bottle

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Cockroaches find their way into houses, apartments, sheds, and even vehicles where they can quickly become a full-blown infestation. Unfortunately for everyone else who also inhabits the home or makes use of a space, cockroaches are incredibly resilient creatures and cannot be eradicated by ordinary bug killers.

These situations call for a quality roach killer that either kills on contact or brings poisons back to the nest, annihilating the infestation completely. There are many potent weapons in the roach wars, from sprays to bait stations to full-on foggers. Shawn Gleason, entomologist and creator of the online resource Bugs Encyclopedia, says, “Selecting an effective roach killer entails understanding both the target pest’s biology and the product’s impact on the environment.” Read on for more expert advice and to find out which products are the most effective roach killers and bait on the market.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Harris Boric Acid Famous Roach Tablets
  2. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Earthborn Elements Diatomaceous Earth
  3. BEST SPRAY: Raid Essentials Ant & Roach Killer Spray Bottle
  4. BEST TRAP: Hoy Hoy Trap-A-Roach Bait Glue Traps
  5. BEST GEL: Syngenta 383920 Advion Cockroach Gel Bait
  6. BEST POWDER: Harris Boric Acid Roach and Silverfish Killer
  7. BEST NATURAL: Safer Home Diatomaceous Earth
  8. BEST FOGGER: Hot Shot Fogger With Odor Neutralizer
  9. BEST FOR OUTDOORS: Garden Safe Insect Killer
  10. BEST FOR SMALL INFESTATION: Hot Shot HG-95789 Roach Killer
A dead roach on its back next to the best roach killer option.

Before You Buy Roach Killer 

Shoppers often turn to powerful insecticides as a pest control solution because getting rid of roach infestations isn’t easy. However, the active ingredients in these toxic pesticides can cause lasting environmental damage. Liquids and powders can seep into the soil, where they may affect beneficial insect and plant life in the surrounding area. These toxic solutions can also move into the water table or be carried to nearby lakes and rivers where they negatively impact fish and marine life.

Many gel baits cause problems because the roach bait gets eaten by insects that are in turn often consumed by predators, like birds. The insecticide remains active in the insects and spreads to the birds, leading to secondary poisoning. Before deciding on a pest control solution, take some time to consider a more natural approach to handling roach infestations.

A roach trap can attract and kill roaches without using poisons, making it a good choice for wiping out minor infestations. However, if dealing with a larger pest population, a more potent solution that has minimal environmental impact is boric acid. Research the product before purchasing in order to make an informed decision about pest control.

How We Chose the Best Roach Killers 

Compiling a list of the best roach killers was challenging because we found so many products and formulas to sift through. We sought to present a range of pest control solutions, including traps, sprays, gels, and foggers.

Product effectiveness was also a top priority, so we researched products’ active ingredients, length of efficacy, and ease of use. Roach baits that are nontoxic and safe to use in homes with kids and pets stood out from products that relied heavily on powerful synthetic chemicals.

We also extensively researched how well products worked to destroy an entire colony of roaches that may be breeding unseen as well as those that simply killed visible insects. That’s why our final selection of products includes a variety of roach killer types.

Our Top Picks

Keep roaches out of your kitchen cabinets, trash cans, and outdoor living spaces with one of the best roach killers available. These are our top picks on the market, taking into account effectiveness, brand reputation, and budget.

Best Overall

Harris Boric Acid Famous Roach Tablets

Place up to 12 tablets per room around a living space and let this roach bait do its job. Each tablet contains 40 percent boric acid, which dehydrates and destroys roaches from the inside out once consumed. Then, the potent product keeps on killing, as other roaches in the nest will ingest the feces and bodies of dead ones, causing further dehydration and death.

Boric acid is one of the more environmentally friendly active ingredients in roach killers because it has a low toxicity in mammals and is almost completely nontoxic to marine wildlife. These tablets can last for up to 2 years in a dry location, but they are vulnerable to rain and moisture, so they cannot be used for outdoor treatment.

Product Specs 

  • Type: Bait
  • Active ingredient: Boric acid
  • Length of efficacy: Up to 2 years


  • Since they last for 1 year, they do not need to be replaced frequently
  • Made with boric acid, these tablets have a low environmental impact
  • Tablets efficiently eradicate not just individual roaches but the entire colony


  • Not ideal for damp environments or outdoor use during wet weather

Get the Harris roach killer tablets at Amazon or Harris.

Best Bang for the Buck

Earthborn Elements Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous earth is a great and affordable option for homes with kids and pets because it contains no poisons or toxins. Instead, the naturally occurring sedimentary rock in powder form that Earthborn Elements Diatomaceous Earth contains kills mechanically by cutting into the carapace of roaches once bait is consumed. Roaches breathe through their shells, so this damage causes them to suffocate and die. Diatomaceous earth is also a potent weapon against other pests, including fleas, bed bugs, ants, and earwigs.

This product comes with 1 gallon of diatomaceous earth, offering excellent value. It can be used effectively outdoors and indoors, but due to its powder form, diatomaceous earth is vulnerable to wind and rain. If using outdoors, be sure to monitor tagged areas and reapply as necessary.

Product Specs

  • Type: Bait
  • Active ingredient: Diatomaceous earth
  • Length of efficacy: Not specified


  • Acts as a mechanical killer, ensuring it’s completely nontoxic
  • Since this is a natural product, it’s safe for use in homes with kids and is pet-safe
  • Effectively combats multiple pests including roaches, fleas, and bed bugs


  • Requires reapplication after rainy or windy weather

Get the Earthborn Elements roach killer at Amazon or Earthborn Elements.

Best Spray

Raid Essentials Ant u0026 Roach Killer Spray Bottle

While roach baits are effective, they require patience. To get rid of visible roaches quickly and effectively, reach for Raid Essentials ant and roach spray, which uses all-natural essential oil to kill roaches on contact. Just point and shoot to immediately destroy invading pests.

This solution relies on the one-two punch of geraniol and lemongrass oil to kill roaches yet will not harm people, animals, or the planet in general. While this Raid product is easy to use, it only kills insects that are sprayed directly; it does not continue to work for a given period of time, so it isn’t the best choice for treating a nest.

Product Specs 

  • Type: Spray
  • Active ingredient: Geraniol and lemongrass oil
  • Length of efficacy: N/A


  • The spray provides immediate results, eliminating roaches on direct contact
  • Due to its natural makeup, this product is safe for use in homes with kids and pets
  • The ready-to-use spray-bottle design offers convenience for quick and easy application
  • Since it uses natural ingredients, the spray is eco-friendly


  • Its effectiveness is limited to roaches that come into direct contact with the spray

Get the Raid roach killer at Amazon or Walmart.

Best Trap

Hoy Hoy Trap-A-Roach Bait Glue Traps

To eradicate a roach infestation without putting kids and pets at risk, try these Hoy Hoy traps. The pesticide-free weapon against roaming roaches lures bugs in, and its powerful, textured adhesive floor traps them until they starve to death.

Simply place the roach trap on the floor, counter, or anywhere else insects invade. Rather than chemicals, the highly attractive bait is made with four types of real food that roaches can’t resist. Just keep in mind that roaches caught in traps don’t bring poison back to the nest, so this method will not kill a colony.

Product Specs 

  • Type: Trap
  • Active ingredient: N/A
  • Length of efficacy: 30 days


  • Completely free from pesticides, offering a chemical-free solution
  • Specially designed to ensure safety when placed around kids and pets
  • Uses 4 distinct real-food baits, ensuring maximum attraction for roaches


  • Trapped roaches can’t carry toxins back, so it won’t exterminate an entire colony

Get the Hoy Hoy roach killer at Amazon or Hoy Hoy.

Best Gel

Syngenta 383920 Advion Cockroach Gel Bait

Gel baits, like this product by Syngenta, are excellent for treating narrow cracks, crevices, and other hard-to-access locations where roaches tend to travel and nest. The gel comes in four ready-to-use plunger tubes and includes two application tips for superior control.

Syngenta’s roach bait has a nonrepellent formulation that is highly attractive to all common roach species. It relies on the active ingredient Indoxacarb, a chemical that has been shown to be a reduced-risk pesticide, but it should nonetheless be used minimally, responsibly, and out of reach of kids and pets.

Product Specs 

  • Type: Bait
  • Active ingredient: Indoxacarb
  • Length of efficacy: N/A


  • Comes with 4 application plungers for ease of use and precision
  • Formulated with Indoxacarb, which is classified as a reduced-risk pesticide ingredient
  • Ideal for use in cracks and hard-to-reach crevices


  • This is a chemical pesticide that is not safe for use around kids or pets

Get the Syngenta roach killer at Amazon or Walmart.

Best Powder

Harris Boric Acid Roach and Silverfish Killer

The Harris Boric Acid Roach and Silverfish Killer powder is made using 99 percent boric acid, providing a fast-acting solution that kills roaches and other pests within 72 hours. The formula contains a food-grade lure to attract roaches, ensuring all members of the colony are drawn out and exterminated.

This product is registered with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and meets high safety and quality standards, making it appropriate for use in homes with pets and children.

Application is a breeze with the user-friendly puffer bottle that features an extended straw, allowing users to easily apply the powder to hard-to-reach spots. As long as the formula is kept dry, it can be effective for weeks after the initial application.

Product Specs 

  • Type: Powder
  • Active ingredient: Boric acid
  • Length of efficacy: Unspecified (weeks)


  • Continues to kill roaches, palmetto bugs, water bugs, and silverfish for weeks when kept dry
  • Insects that come into contact with the powder typically die within 72 hours
  • Equipped with a user-friendly puffer bottle featuring an extended straw for easy access to tight spots


  • The area must stay dry for long-lasting effectiveness

Get the Harris silverfish and roach killer at Amazon, The Home Depot, or Harris.

Best Natural

Safer Home Diatomaceous Earth

The Safer Home Diatomaceous Earth ant and crawling insect killer is a versatile product that effectively targets a wide range of pests, including ants, fleas, bed bugs, cockroaches, silverfish, and earwigs. Once roaches come into contact with this diatomaceous earth–based powder, they typically die within 48 hours.

Whether you’re dealing with indoor or outdoor roach infestations, this eco-friendly solution provides reliable pest control. It’s Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) listed, making it certified for use in organic gardening, and a great choice for environmentally conscious shoppers. The odorless, nonstaining formula can be applied throughout the home, and it’s safe for humans and pets alike.

Product Specs 

  • Type: Powder
  • Active ingredient: Diatomaceous earth
  • Length of efficacy: Unspecified


  • Versatile formula targets various crawling insects both indoors and outdoors
  • Environmentally friendly and OMRI listed for safe use in organic gardening
  • Works quickly: After contact or ingestion, insects typically die within 48 hours


  • It may require a few days to achieve complete insect contact and elimination for large infestations

Get the Safer Home roach killer at Amazon, The Home Depot, or Safer Brand.

Best Fogger

Hot Shot Fogger With Odor Neutralizer

Roaches tend to hide in difficult-to-access areas, but this fogger from Hot Shot infiltrates up to 2,000 cubic feet of unobstructed space. When used according to the manufacturer’s directions, the fogger seeps into cracks, crevices, and gaps to kill roaches on contact.

After application, the fogger continues to work for up to 2 months without leaving any harsh odor or oily residue. However, while the chemical pesticide tetramethrin is relatively safe, the fogger’s other active ingredient, cypermethrin, poses a risk to local wildlife. The fogger solution cannot be allowed to enter nearby lakes, rivers, or ponds, as it will kill aquatic invertebrates.

Product Specs 

  • Type: Fogger
  • Active ingredient: Tetramethrin and cypermethrin
  • Length of efficacy: 2 months


  • Package includes a value pack of 6 foggers for extended use
  • Sustained action kills roaches for up to 2 full months after application
  • Expertly designed to reach and treat roaches in hidden cracks and crevices
  • Leaves no stains and is free from any oily residue


  • Contains cypermethrin, which is highly toxic to aquatic invertebrates

Get the Hot Shot roach killer fogger at Amazon or Walmart (4-pack).

Best for Outdoors

Garden Safe Insect Killer

When dealing with a cockroach infestation in the yard or garden, it’s essential to choose a solution that’s eco-friendly and won’t poison beneficial insects or other wildlife. That’s why formulas made up of diatomaceous earth are a great solution. This product from Garden Safe comes in a 4-pound bag and kills cockroaches, ants, silverfish, beetles, fleas, and bed bugs within 24 hours of them coming into contact with the powder.

This product is specifically designed for use in the garden and shouldn’t be applied to hardscaping like decks, patios, or stone walkways. The manufacturer recommends using a hand duster, power duster, or squeeze bottle to apply the product, and this must be purchased separately.

Product Specs 

  • Type: Powder
  • Active ingredient: Diatomaceous earth
  • Length of efficacy: Reapply as needed


  • The all-natural formula is eco-friendly and sustainable
  • Comes in a large 4-pound bag for higher outdoor coverage
  • Kills roaches as well as other undesirable insects like fleas and bedbugs


  • This product is for outdoor use only and should not be applied inside the home

Get the Garden Safe roach killer at Amazon or Walmart.

Best Bait

Hot Shot HG-95789 Roach Killer

Small infestations can rapidly get out of control if the roaches have access to food. To stop the growth of the nest, set up these six bait stations in areas where roaches have been spotted. They’ll be drawn to the liquid bait, and the active ingredient dinotefuran will quickly kill roaches and any eggs it comes into contact with.

These bait stations can remain effective for up to 3 months, though users will want to check them monthly to determine if they are empty. Dinotefuran is considered to be a relatively low-risk ingredient for nontarget organisms, but it remains highly toxic for insects. These traps should only be used indoors because not only is the bait vulnerable to rain, but it will also kill beneficial insects, such as bees.

Product Specs 

  • Type: Bait
  • Active ingredient: Dinotefuran
  • Length of efficacy: 3 months


  • Comes in easy-to-use bait stations, making setup straightforward and hassle-free
  • Effectively kills both adult roaches and their eggs on contact
  • Provides continuous long-term roach control indoors for 3 months
  • Dinotefuran is relatively low risk for nontarget organisms


  • Can harm beneficial insects outdoors, including important pollinators like bees

Get the Hot Shot HG-95789 roach killer at Amazon or The Home Depot.

Or, DIY Your Own Roach Killer

Rather than rely on commercial products to get rid of roaches, shoppers may want to consider making their own solution, quickly and inexpensively. One method is to cut up onions, coat them with baking soda, and place them where roaches roam. The onion will attract the insects, and the baking soda will create gas inside the roaches, causing them to rupture.

For a more aggressive bait, combine equal parts borax with white table sugar. Sugar attracts roaches, and the borax-laced bait will rapidly dehydrate and kill them.

Rather than bait and wait, consider direct action with this formula: Fill a spray bottle with three parts natural fabric softener and two parts water, and then shake well and spray visible roaches. Like many insects, roaches breathe through their carapace, and this DIY spray formula will coat their bodies, leading to suffocation and death.

Jump to Our Top Picks

Our Verdict

After reviewing this guide, you now know more about shopping for cockroach killers. We recommend Harris roach killer tablets as our top pick because of the natural formula and long-lasting results. Those on a budget may appreciate the Earthborn Elements roach killer, which is a great option at a lower price point. We omitted products like Combat Max 12-Month Roach Killing Bait and Ortho Home Defense Insect Killer because they contain ingredients that do not meet our sustainability guidelines.

What to Consider when Choosing a Roach Killer 

When choosing the right roach killer, there are a handful of factors to keep in mind before buying.

Types of Roach Killers

Roach killers come in several different variations, with the most popular and effective being traps, gels, sprays, and foggers.

  • Traps are one of the most common roach-killer products, with so-called “roach motels” as a go-to for treating infestations. Some traps feature a bait within an enclosed space containing poison, such as hydramethylnon, effectively luring and killing pests. Other designs use a one-way door to trap roaches inside, without using poison. This design offers the benefit of being safe for use around children and pets as well as reducing the impact on the environment.
  • Baits are substances that attract roaches and often contain powerful insecticides, like fipronil. Attractive scents and tastes lure the roaches to the poison. After eating it, they go back to the nest and die. The live roaches in the nest eat the dead roaches and spread the poison through the nest—though it may still take up to 2 months to wipe out the entire colony fully. Unfortunately, roach bait can cause secondary poisoning in roaches’ natural predators, such as birds. To avoid this, select a product that uses an active ingredient with minimal impact on the environment and surrounding wildlife.
  • Gels can be easily applied on the ground, walls, behind appliances, or inside cupboards. Individuals can use gels in conjunction with traps for better results. However, those living in households with children and pets will want to take precautions by not placing gels in easy-to-access areas.
  • Sprays are handy for covering wide surface areas and spraying into crevices that traps and gels can’t reach. Many sprays rely on pyrethroid chemicals to shut down the roaches’ nervous systems, but users can also find a variety of nontoxic options that use essential oils, like geraniol and lemongrass oil. These substances kill most insects in less than a day, though some roaches have been known to live for up to 2 weeks after treatment.
  • Foggers, otherwise known as “bug bombs,” are cans of pesticide that are placed in a room and opened to activate. The can releases a steady stream of gaseous poison that seeps into cracks and crevices that would be otherwise inaccessible. Foggers generally use pyrethroids to attack the roaches’ nervous systems. Users must cover all foods, cooking implements, and cooking surfaces before using the fogger and vacate the home for a minimum of 4 hours after use for safety.

Length of Efficacy

Length of efficacy refers to how long the roach killer will continue to work before requiring replacement. A roach killer’s length of efficacy depends on two things: how quickly the active ingredient breaks down and how much of the product is applied. Most roach killers have a minimum efficacy period of approximately 1 month and a maximum efficacy period of 2 years.

Major infestations will call for additional traps, as the poison will deplete quickly if a large number of roaches are eating it. Always follow package directions to understand when to replace roach killers.

Pest Types 

The types of pests that a roach killer will eliminate depends on the active ingredient, the product type, and the bait used to lure the pests. Some larger traps use a glue sheet that can trap anything from small insects, like ants, to mice or rats—and everything in between.

Because roaches are so adept at survival, many roach killers use high levels of pesticide that can kill a wide variety of other pests, such as bees, ants, hornets, mice, spiders, rats, and silverfish. For this reason, it’s important to keep pets and kids away from roach traps and areas where the roach killer has been applied.

Roach Species

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.

Ease of Use 

Another factor to consider when selecting gel baits, roach bait stations, or any other means of killing roaches is how easy or difficult the solution is to apply and use. The best roach killer should be relatively simple to use. This helps keep users safe from accidental poison ingestion and improves the chances that the selected pest control approach is actually killing roaches.

Traps are a simple method for killing roaches, and they are relatively straightforward to set up and use. It’s best to apply gels and sprays to crevices, cracks, and other areas around the home where roaches commonly lurk. Foggers are the least user-friendly option because these bug bombs require considerable preparation beforehand and cleanup afterward to ensure that the home is roach-free and poison-free.

Boric acid powders can be used indoors or outdoors, but powders can be messy and difficult to clean up indoors. Consider using boric acid outdoors only or in isolated areas of the home to avoid accidental contact or ingestion.

Bait Type 

Several types of roach baits are available, including bait stations, gel, powder, strips, and adhesive traps.

Roach baits come in two main types and can include a range of active ingredients, such as geraniol, lemongrass oil, fipronil, hydramethylnon, Indoxacarb, or boric acid. The first type uses a mixture of sugar (to attract the roaches) and poison (which kills the insects quickly). This method is frequently seen in roach motels and other roach trap products that are intended to kill the roach on the spot.

The second type of bait uses a similar mixture of sugars to attract the roaches, but the death process is slower. Roaches consume the roach baits they find in the bait stations or applied throughout the home, as is the case for gel baits. This form of bait uses a delayed-transfer toxic action that kills the roach over several days. During this time, the roach leaves poison-laden feces around the nest that other roaches consume. After the roach dies, the other roaches also eat the corpse, transferring the poison throughout the nest. This style of bait is very effective for handling an ongoing infestation, but depending on the active ingredient, it can be incredibly harmful to the environment, so it’s important to research the product before buying.

Here are the different bait types you can buy:

  • 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.

Bait Ingredients

Natural ingredients, like geraniol and lemongrass oil, act as deterrents and can also kill on contact, making them a great option for a roach killer spray. Users can also set up a boric acid barrier or bait a roach trap with boric acid tablets, which have limited toxicity in mammals and are almost completely nontoxic to aquatic life.

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.

Safety Factors 

When treating a roach infestation, first consider personal safety and the safety of the family and pets. Roach traps and gels can be attractive to pets and kids due to their bright colors, sweet smells, and sweet taste. Sprays can be absorbed through the skin, and foggers create a toxic space for several hours after use.

Child- and pet-friendly roach killer alternatives are an effective method for treating roach infestations without harming the local ecosystem. These safer options use methods to trap, kill, or repel roaches, such as by using a one-way door roach trap, glue paper roach trap, natural sprays, and ultrasonic pest repellents that are placed around the home to drive insects away.


To learn more about effective pest control options for eliminating roach infestations, take a look at the answers below to some of the most commonly asked questions about using a roach trap, roach baits, and other roach killers.

Q. How do you find a cockroach nest?

To get the best results from a roach trap or roach baits, try to apply the roach killer within close proximity to the nest. The most common places for a roach nest include behind refrigerators, in cracks and crevices, under furniture, and inside baseboards. These insects like warm, humid environments that are close to food and water supplies.

In determining the location of a roach nest, expect to see several live roaches, a few dead roaches, lots of droppings, and old egg cases. Especially look for signs of roach droppings, which are very small and look like coffee grounds or black pepper.

Q. Is it better to spray or bait roaches?

The answer depends on the situation. Roach baits are more commonly used in homes with children or pets because the bait can be placed inside a roach trap to help prevent accidental ingestion. Baits can also last for a significant period of time before needing to be replaced, like some gel baits that can last up to 2 months.

Sprays kill on contact, but beyond attacking visible roaches and nests, they are limited. This is because roaches are rarely out in the open where a human could take advantage of the situation with a can of roach spray.

For a long-lasting solution that could eliminate the infestation entirely, opt for a roach bait. If you are looking for a product that can kill a roach on contact, then a spray is the right choice.

Q. How long does it take to get rid of roaches? 

Unfortunately, there is no set time period to get rid of roaches. Seeing just two or three in the open could indicate that there are hundreds nesting nearby, which may take considerable time to wipe out.

The important thing is to continue treating the roach infestation until you are sure that the problem has been handled. This could take a week or it could take several months, so be prepared for an extended fight to get rid of this resilient pest.

Why Trust Bob Vila 

Bob Vila has been America’s Handyman since 1979. As the host of beloved and groundbreaking TV series including “This Old House” and “Bob Vila’s Home Again,” he popularized and became synonymous with “do-it-yourself” home improvement.

Over the course of his decades-long career, Bob Vila has helped millions of people build, renovate, repair, and live better each day—a tradition that continues today with expert yet accessible home advice. The Bob Vila team distills need-to-know information into project tutorials, maintenance guides, tool 101s, and more. These home and garden experts then thoroughly research, vet, and recommend products that support homeowners, renters, DIYers, and professionals in their to-do lists.


Timothy Dale Avatar

Timothy Dale

Contributing Writer

Timothy Dale is a home improvement writer who has been in the industry for several years. In his work for, he has written a number of how-to articles related to yard maintenance, vehicle repair, and home renovation, not to mention a wide variety of buying guides and articles on DIY projects. He always ensures readers get the information they need to tackle their next project.