If you see a roach scurrying across your floor or on your kitchen work surface, your first thought is likely to be “how gross!”. However, your next worry will probably be about whether you might be facing a cockroach infestation.
If you are, you’ll need to work out how to kill them, and to do that, you’ll need to entice them out of their nest. And to give you all the information you need about how to do it, in this post, we discuss the various methods for how to get a cockroach out of hiding.
How to Get a Cockroach Out of Hiding with Commercial traps
If you want to lure roaches out of hiding, the most effective way is to use commercial traps that you can buy from a store.
These are especially useful if you are dealing with a full-scale infestation but can also be used when you first notice roaches in your home to prevent them from becoming established.
1. Glue traps
If you have ever seen old-fashioned sticky fly paper that’s used for catching flies, you’ll know how glue traps for roaches work too.
Essentially, they are sticky surfaces that cockroaches walk over – and when they come into contact with the sticky surface, they are unable to escape.
These traps usually come infused with some kind of odor that the cockroaches are attracted to, which helps draw them out of their nests and encourages them to walk onto the trap.
These traps are particularly effective against nymphs and baby cockroaches since they find it much harder to escape once they become stuck.
However, adult roaches have more chance of freeing themselves if they become stuck in a glue trap.
If you use glue traps, you should check them every day and replace them as often as needed since the sight of dead roaches stuck to the trap will deter other cockroaches from walking onto the same trap.
2. Poisoned bait
Poisoned bait is an effective way of drawing cockroaches from their lairs – and it has the added advantage of killing them too.
Furthermore, since they don’t die immediately, they also take the poison back to their nests, which then kills all the other roaches living there.
Many types are available commercially, but perhaps the most effective type is gel bait.
You simply apply it anywhere you have seen cockroaches and leave it to do its job.
Bear in mind that with this kind of lure, you might not see the cockroaches since they will go back to their nest after eating it rather than just dying out in the open. However, after a while, you should notice your cockroach problem diminishing.
If you consistently put down poisoned gel, it can kill up to 100% of cockroaches within two months.
However, it might not be suitable if you have children or pets in your home.
3. Add food
Another way to lure cockroaches out of hiding – and to make either commercial glue traps or poisoned bait more effective – is to also use food as an additional lure.
Breadcrumbs or baby food can be effective lures to draw cockroaches out of their nests and into your traps. You can also use peanut butter – and dipping pieces of bread in beer has also been shown to be an especially enticing lure for cockroaches.
How to Get a Cockroach Out of Hiding with DIY lures
If you don’t want to spend money on commercial traps or you don’t want to use dangerous chemicals in your home, here are some DIY options you can try instead.
4. Duct tape trap
A simple way to rig your own version of a glue trap is to use building-grade duct tape.
All you have to do is place some strips of duct tape with the sticky side up in an area known to be frequented by these unwelcome six-legged visitors.
To ensure the roaches walk into your trap, bait it with peanut butter, jam or breadcrumbs and leave it to do its job.
Check your trap every day to see how many victims you’ve snared and replace the trap as necessary. Remember, dead roaches in a trap will put any other potential victims off entering the trap.
However, note that this is not an effective long-term solution since while it will catch a few roaches and reduce the problem, it won’t do anything to exterminate other roaches and babies in the nest.
5. Jar trap
Another simple yet effective way to catch a few roaches is to use a jar trap.
To do this, take a large jam jar or something similar, place some bait like bread inside and smear the inside with Vaseline.
The roaches will be drawn in by the bait and will crawl into the jar to get at it. However, the Vaseline around the inside of the jar will prevent them from escaping again, and you then just need to come and collect them and kill them each morning.
As always, empty your roach jar regularly since a jar full of trapped roaches will put any others off from entering the trap.
Also, wash the jar regularly since the smell of dead roaches will also make others think twice about dropping into the jar.
6. Soda bottle trap
Another lure and trap combination that works in a similar way to the jar trap can be made from a plastic soda bottle.
To do it, take an empty two-liter soda bottle and cut the top part off around four inches down from the rim. Remove the top portion and spread Vaseline all around the outside part.
Place some bait – such as bread dipped in beer – in the bottom part of the bottle and then place the top part upside down into the bottom part.
This means the outside part you covered in Vaseline will now be inside the bottom section, preventing cockroaches from escaping once they fall in.
Fix the top part and bottom part of the bottle together using a few pieces of duct tape and place the trap somewhere you think cockroaches come out at night.
Cockroaches will now crawl into the opening of the bottle in search of the food at the bottom, but due to the Vaseline, they will be unable to escape again, so all you need to do is return every day or two to check it and dispose of any trapped roaches.
To see a slightly different version of this trap, check out this video.
7. Anti-roach cookies
Another lure you can use is homemade roach cookies.
To make them, prepare a batch of regular cookie dough and then mix in the same quantity of boric acid.
Once you’ve mixed the cookie dough and the boric acid, you don’t need to bake it – instead, break off some small pieces of the dough and leave it where the roaches will find it.
Attracted by these enticing food morsels, they will then come out and eat it – but the boric acid will poison them, and they will all die. Replace the dough every week or two and keep an eye on whether your cockroach problem seems to be diminishing.
IMPORTANT NOTE: You can keep any leftover dough in your refrigerator to keep using until the roaches are all dead. However, you should clearly label the container as toxic to prevent anybody from inadvertently eating it.
How to Get a Cockroach Out of Hiding with Scaring them out
You can also try some techniques for simply driving roaches from their nest without trapping them.
However, these techniques are not always recommended since if the roaches leave their nest, they won’t return there and instead, will just run away – and they may then make a new nest somewhere even more inaccessible.
8. Hot air
If you know where your roaches are nesting and can access it easily enough, you can try blowing hot air into the nest with a hairdryer.
This is sure to make them all flee their nest since they won’t be able to stand the hot air – and you may even succeed in killing some of them this way.
Since roaches are nocturnal and prefer dark places, shining a bright light into the nest may cause them to move out.
10. Essential oil
Cockroaches hate the smell of essential oils such as tea tree oil, eucalyptus, peppermint or lavender – so soaking a small piece of cloth in oil and pushing it into the nest will render the location far less attractive to roaches.
11. Insecticide spray
Spraying commercial insecticide right into the nest is a sure way of driving roaches from their home.
12. Hot water and detergent
A mixture of hot water and detergent poured into the nest will likely shift them – although you need to be careful you don’t cause water damage to your home.
If you live in an apartment, this may also flood your neighbor below, so think carefully before trying it!
Tips for getting a cockroach out of hiding
Here are a couple of other tips to bear in mind when trying to flush roaches out of hiding.
- Remove water sources
Although some species of cockroach can live for up to a month without eating, they can only go a few days without drinking. This means if you remove all water sources by fixing leaks, drying your bathroom and so on, they will be forced out to go looking for a drink.
- Use enticing bait that helps them overcome their fear
Cockroaches are not stupid, and they know that they’re vulnerable when they come out of hiding – so use bait that helps them overcome their fears.
If they smell something delicious (to them!) like beer-soaked bread, peanut butter or baby food, they are likely to decide the reward outweighs the risk and attempt to find the source of the enticing odor.
- Don’t make any noise if you want them to come out
After setting your traps, keep quiet. Making lots of noise will frighten them, and they are more likely to stay put.
- Stay away once you’ve set your trap
Similarly, when you’ve set your trap, stay away. If you check it too often, they will become wary and won’t venture into it.
- Use a combination of methods
Perhaps the best advice is to try a combination of the methods and baits we’ve outlined above. That way, you stand a better chance of luring them out of their nest and into one of your traps.
Try experimenting with a few of these ideas and see which ones work best.
How do I know if I have a roach infestation?
The tell-tale signs include roach poop, a musty odor, roach egg casings and dead or live cockroaches.
Does one roach equal an infestation?
If you see one roach, it might not indicate a full-on infestation. However, even one roach during the day is a bad sign since it means they are suffering from overcrowding and are being forced out during daylight hours to search for food.
Also, seeing even one baby roach is another bad sign since it means they’re already breeding.
Where do roaches hide?
Roaches like to hide anywhere that’s dark, damp and quiet, and they prefer places close to a source of food. Favorite places include under sinks, in walls, in the backs of food cupboards and under furniture.
What do roaches eat?
Roaches famously eat almost anything. They prefer food that is fatty, sugary or starchy and will also eat meat.
If they can’t get their favorite kinds of food, they will also eat paper, book bindings, wallpaper paste and even the glue on stamps since these are all sources of starch.
How can I make my home less attractive to roaches?
Keeping your house clean, minimizing dark, damp spaces and storing your food in sealed plastic containers will help make your home less attractive to roaches.
Lots of effective techniques to try
As we have seen, there are several effective techniques you can use to get a roach out of hiding, including commercially available traps along with some useful DIY methods too.
If you are dealing with a couple of roaches, it may be enough to trap and kill them. However, once they become established in a nest, you need to make sure you kill them all – in which case, a combination of commercial traps and poisoned gel may be among your best options.