Roaches or Cockroaches are among the most common pests infesting homes and apartments. They are repulsive and embarrassing to most people simply by their presence. Cockroaches are not only undesirable pests but a threat to human health by consuming our food and contaminating the indoor environment. Many people are also allergic to cockroach excrement and their shed skins. This article will explore everything about roaches and how to get rid of roaches overnight.
Cockroaches or roaches are a paraphyletic group of insects belonging to Blattodea, containing all members of the group except termites. They are known to transfer disease pathogens, such as the various bacteria that produce “food poisoning” in humans, by contaminating food, food preparation surfaces, dishes and eating utensils.
Types of Cockroaches
There are about 30 cockroach species out of 4,600 are associated with human habitats. Knowing which type of cockroach is present will assist you in knowing how to proceed. Some of the types are:
- German Cockroach (Blattella germanica)
- American Cockroach (Periplaneta americana)
- Oriental Cockroach (Blatta orientalis)
- Wood Cockroaches (Parcoblatta species)
- Brown-banded cockroaches
This is by far the most common cockroach infesting homes and buildings. The pest thrives in the presence of humans but does not occur outdoors. Adults are light brown and about 1/2 inch long, with two dark stripes running lengthwise along the shield-like area behind the head. The nymphs are smaller and darker with a tan stripe down the middle of the back. German cockroaches reproduce very rapidly, which is one reason why controlling these pests can be difficult. A single mated female can produce thousands of new cockroaches in less than a year.
German cockroaches require warmth, moisture, and food, which is why they are most common in kitchens and bathrooms. Preferred hiding places include cracks and crevices under sinks and toilets; beneath/behind refrigerators, dishwashers, and stoves; near trash containers; and inside cabinets and pantries. German cockroaches also congregate in clocks, toaster ovens, and other heat-producing electronic equipment. When populations are large or food is scarce, they can be found in bedrooms, closets, and other areas of the home. German roaches spend most of their time hidden in cracks and crevices, but can be quite mobile. They often travel between rooms or adjoining apartments via walls, ceilings, pipes, wires and other openings.
This is the largest cockroach commonly found within dwellings, measuring about 1 1/2 inches long when fully grown. It is reddish brown to brown, with a pale yellow band around the edge of the area behind the head. Adults have well-developed wings, but seldom fly. The nymphs are smaller and lack wings, but are otherwise similar in appearance. American cockroaches multiply more slowly than German cockroaches (although the smaller numbers tend to be offset by their size).
These cockroaches prefer dark, moist areas, such as in basements and crawl spaces. They often congregate in floor drains, sump pumps, pipe chases, and laundry areas, as well as boiler rooms, steam tunnels, and sewer systems. During warmer months, they can also be found outdoors in yards and around trash containers. American cockroaches often travel long distances from their aggregation sites; long-term relief requires finding and treating these areas.
The Oriental cockroach (Blatta orientalis) is the so-called “waterbug” of basements, crawlspaces and garages. It lives in cooler habitats with plenty of moisture – even outdoors around foundations in leaves and mulch where it can survive temperate winters. As a result, the Oriental cockroach’s development is slower. They require an average of 18 months to progress from egg to adult, while the German cockroach averages only two months to adulthood. In addition, the Oriental’s egg case contains 16 eggs, compared to the German’s 30 to 48 eggs per case. After being detached from the female, eggs inside the Oriental roach’s egg case require an average of two months to hatch.
Oriental cockroaches also differ in appearance. Newly hatched nymphs are brown and become blackish as they grow. Adults are up to 1 ¼ inches long with wide, flat bodies and no distinguishing markings. Males have wings that cover about half of the abdomen and females have only wing stubs; neither sex can fly.
This cockroach is sometimes encountered indoors, but it prefers higher temperatures (about 80 F) than the much more common German cockroach. It loves the warmth of electronics, motor housings, light fixtures, and ceilings. When German cockroaches are found in nonfood areas (such as bedrooms), this may indicate a heavy infestation, lack of hiding places, or use of a repellent pesticide – but such harboring in nonfood areas is typical of the brownbanded roach.
Brownbanded cockroaches (Supella longipalpa) are slightly smaller than German cockroaches and more colorful. Males are a golden orange color with a broad band of dark brown. They can fly, with wings that cover their abdomens. Females are darker overall, with lighter bands on the abdomen. They have shorter wings and cannot fly. Nymphs are dark with cream-colored bands behind the head, and are golden orange over much of the abdomen. Nymphs and adults may jump when disturbed.
Although the usual habitat for these cockroaches is outdoors, they often appear in homes, especially in wooded settings. The adults are about 1 inch long and all stages are brownish in color. In some species, the outer wing margin of the adults is edged in white. Unlike the other cockroaches mentioned, male wood cockroaches are excellent fliers, and both sexes are attracted to lights.
These are primarily outdoor cockroaches, living beneath loose bark in woodpiles, fallen logs, and dead trees. They cannot survive indoors, but can be an annoyance during the spring and summer when large numbers wander in from outside. They are also brought into homes during winter in firewood. Large numbers of woods cockroaches are sometimes found nesting in rain gutters and crawl spaces.
What Attracts Roaches to My Home?
Here are some of the most common culprits or what attracts Roaches to the home :
Roaches are omnivores, meaning they’ll eat anything. They are particularly fond of starches, sweets, greasy food, and meats. Easy sources of food – like dirty dishes in the sink, pet food on the floor, or crumbs on the counter will draw them in. Roaches also love garbage, so make sure to take the trash out regularly and keep all household garbage cans tightly sealed.
Cockroaches enter homes for shelter. Depending on the species of roach, they may live behind picture frames, in hollowed-out wood, in damp places like beneath the sink or behind the toilet, or in the backs of your electronics. As the temperature dips outside, roaches will venture indoors. They love quiet, forgotten areas, and may live underneath large appliances, in the corners of basements, and the attic.
If you’re wondering “why do I have roaches in my clean house?” we understand. Solving a roach problem can be frustrating – especially if you’ve been careful to avoid common attractants. Unfortunately, some locations are just more appealing to roaches than others. Species like the American cockroach don’t need unsanitary conditions to thrive – they simply enter through a gap in a window seal or a door left open and start establishing themselves in your house.
Like all animals, roaches need water to survive – and they’ll enter even the most sanitary homes to find it. Leaky pipes and faucets are common attractants, as are open showers and pet water bowls.
While roaches love to live inside, they’ll also enter your yard in search of food, shelter, and water. Standing water in birdbaths, gutters, and flowerpots will all attract roaches, as will food sources like birdseed or fruit plants.
How Roaches Enter Your Home
Shelter, food, and water attract roaches to your home, but how do they get in? The most common way roaches enter your home is through tiny cracks and gaps in windows, doors, and other areas. Here are some of their favorite access points:
- Cracks and Gaps in Windows and Doors : Cracks and gaps in your home’s doors and windows are the top way roaches make their way into your home. Doors that aren’t sealed properly and windows that don’t close entirely are perfect access points for roaches.
- Holes in Pipes and Vents : Another common entrance point for roaches is through holes in pipes and vents. If you live in an older home with vents that have holes or don’t properly seal, it’s an invitation for roaches to come inside. Check your vents when you replace or service them and keep an eye on pipes and plumbing fixtures for holes or other potential roach access points.
- Hitching a Ride on Furniture and Other Item: If you’re bringing used furniture or other items into the home, check them for roaches, first. These insects can hole up and hide in used items, only to emerge once they’re safely inside your home.
How to get rid of Roaches overnight
Here are some best way to get rid of roaches overnight in the home.
Baking soda is one of the fastest, easiest ways to get rid of roaches overnight and it’s probably something you already have in your pantry. To make a DIY roach bait, dice a handful of onions and sprinkle them with baking soda.
Place this appetizer in a shallow dish anywhere you’ve noticed roach activity. When the roaches consume the baking soda, it creates gasses in the roaches’ stomachs, causing them to burst.
Pros: Effective, non-toxic, affordable. Cons: Pets may consume the onion mixture (onions are toxic for dogs), messy, requires you to locate and dispose of dead roaches.
Borax is a readily-available laundry product that’s excellent for killing roaches. For best results, combine equal parts borax and white table sugar. Dust the mixture any place you’ve seen roach activity. When the roaches consume the borax, it will dehydrate them and kill them rapidly.
Pros: Effective, affordable, kills both adult and baby roaches.
Cons: Can be messy, requires re-application, requires you to track down and remove dead roach bodies.
Citrus is a tasty treat for humans, but it’s a repellent to cockroaches. The smell of lemons, specifically, deters roaches. Add a few drops of lemon oil to the water you use to mop your floors. The scent won’t be detectable to people, but it will send roaches packing.
Pros: Effective, affordable, ideal for homes with kids and pets
Cons: Does not kill roaches – only deters them
Essential oils are a great natural roach repellant. For best results, purchase peppermint or lemongrass essential oil and mix it with a bit of water. Spray the mixture anywhere you’ve seen roaches.
Pros: Effective, affordable, safe for kids and pets, non-toxic
Cons: Does not kill roaches
Boric Acid is a popular method for killing cockroach infestations. Getting rid of roaches overnight will always include some kind of insecticide or trap; boric acid is one of the most effective weapons against cockroaches. Boric acid is found in many household products; the powder form is most often used against roaches.
Sprinkle boric acid in areas the roaches frequent; when they walk through it, it sticks to them. They later ingest the boric acid, which then kills them. When using boric acid, be sure to limit your exposure; don’t place it anywhere that children or pets might find it, as it’s toxic when ingested.
It might sound like something more appropriate in a garden than in a home, but diatomaceous earth is actually an excellent way to get rid of roaches overnight. It’s not poisonous, and cockroaches don’t ingest it. What they do, instead, is walk through the diatomaceous earth.
Diatomaceous earth is extremely abrasive (it’s made up of broken down fossils) and destroys the waxy coating on the roach’s exoskeleton, which quickly kills it. Additionally, roaches track diatomaceous earth back to their nests, where it kills other cockroaches. It’s a great option if you have children or pets, as it’s non-toxic to both.
Pros: Effective, affordable, safe for kids and pets
Cons: Messy, requires re-application, you will have to locate and dispose of dead roaches after each DE treatment
Cockroaches can be killed either through ingesting poison, or being coated in substances like diatomaceous earth. Getting rid of roaches overnight can be accomplished by either taking on the challenge yourself, or calling in a professional pest exterminator. Either way, insecticidal sprays are a great way to both kill roaches and repel them. If you hire a pest exterminator, they will likely use sprays for both. If you choose to use insecticidal sprays, ensure that you buy high-quality, odorless, water-based sprays. Non-water based sprays can stain furniture, floors, or walls. When administering the spray, take caution to ensure that you don’t inhale any, as it can be harmful when inhaled.
Another popular, and easy way to get rid of roaches overnight, is to use baited roach traps. These traps work by either trapping the roaches inside with glue or other substances, or by providing them with poisoned food. When the cockroach ingests the poison, it then returns to its nest and dies. Then, other roaches eat the corpse, and also ingest the poison. Baited traps should be placed in areas that appeal to cockroaches, like the bases of walls, under sinks, behind appliances, and in dark, warm areas. The more baited traps you put out, the faster you’ll take care of your cockroach problem. Once all the roaches are dead, be sure to pick up the traps—you don’t want them drawing in a whole new batch of cockroaches.
Ten most fascinating cockroach facts:
1.) A Cockroach Can Live for Week Without Its Head
Due to their open circulatory system, and the fact that they breathe through little holes in each of their body segments, they are not dependent on the mouth or head to breathe. The roach only dies because without a mouth, it can’t drink water and dies of thirst.
2.) A Cockroach Can Hold Its Breath for 40 Minutes
These pests can even survive being submerged under water for half an hour. They hold their breath often to help regulate their loss of water.
3.) They Can Run Up to Three Miles in an Hour
While this may seem like an impressive athletic ability, what it really means is that they can spread germs and bacteria throughout a home very quickly.
4.) Newborn German Cockroaches Become Adults in as Little as 36 Days
In fact, the German cockroach is the most common of the cockroaches and has been implicated in outbreaks of illness and allergic reactions in many people.
5.) A One-Day-Old Baby Cockroach Can Run Almost as Fast as Its Parents
For reference, these babies are about the size of a speck of dust! So, not only are they fast, but they are also elusive, which is a dangerous combination for a pest known to transmit various diseases.
6.) The American Cockroach Has Shown an Attraction to Alcohol
Similar to other pests, this cockroach species is drawn to some alcoholic beverages, especially beer. They are most likely attracted by the hops and sugar present in the drink.
7.) The World’s Largest Roach is Six Inches Long
Only found in South America, this species also has a one-foot wingspan. For context, average cockroaches can vary in size from ½”- 2″ long.
8.) Cockroaches are Really Old
It is believed that cockroaches originated more than 280 million years ago in the Carboniferous era.
9.) There are More Than 4,000 Different Cockroach Species Worldwide
The most common species is the German cockroach. Other cockroaches found in America include the brown-banded cockroach, American cockroach and oriental cockroach.
10.) Cockroaches Can Live Without Food for One Month
Cockroaches are able to go for so long without sustenance because they are cold-blooded insects. However, they can only survive for one week without water, which is why they are commonly found in humid or high-moisture areas around the home, such as basements and bathrooms.