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DIY Help How to Get Rid of / Kill Cockroach / roach / roaches Infestation for under $100: 7 step guide to do it yourself

Updated on August 13, 2013


If you lived anywhere, you probably seen a cockroach, as they are real survivors. They come in a wide variety of sizes. Some of them even fly! They can fit into the tightest places, eat almost anything, even each other. (Really, cockroaches are cannibalistic if there is not enough food.) Those who have a cockroach infestation knows how hard it is to fight such an infestation.

However not all is lost. Modern science have came up with much more economical methods to help you control any roach infestation. Here is a 7-step guide on how to get rid of an infestation economically, by doing everything yourself, for under $100, and still have stuff left over for repeat applications for several months. And some of the items you probably already have.

This is do-it-yourself pest control strategy, not just a recommendation for "best bug spray".

Keep the Place Clean!

No food, and no food crumbs means no food for roaches. It really is that simple. if you have pets, watch out for pet food and pet water dishes and so on. That's food too. Use a trash can with a good tight lid would also help. Limit snacks to kitchen only, and sweep daily.

Less food means less incentive for the roaches to breed a large litter of little roaches, and may even encourage roaches to move to an alternate location.

Plug the cracks and seams

Even if your place is clean, your neighbors may not be, and apartments are notorious for this. Roaches love to hide in dark corners and gaps, between the walls, and so on. If you eliminate gaps they can't get in.

So caulk the seams. You can get semi-transparent or white caulk to match the d├ęcor. This may take a little time.

Boric Acid Powder sold as Roach Control formula. (c) kschang 2011, taken at Walgreens
Boric Acid Powder sold as Roach Control formula. (c) kschang 2011, taken at Walgreens

Powder Barriers

Most powder form of roach killer is boric acid. The pro forms you buy in Home Depot or such are premixed with something sweet the roaches will find attractive, eat it, and die. It's not poisonous to humans though.

Boric acid kills roaches by two way. As dry powder, it is abrasive, and thus worn away the waxy coating on the insect's exoskeleton, causing the internal liquid to evaporate more easily, thus dehydrate the bug. When ingested, it acts as a metabolic poison on the bugs.

Deploy boric acid powder as a barrier under the sink along the walls, as well as places you think have gaps they can crawl in and out of. As long as the dust remains dry, it will last 6 months or longer. If you have heavy infestation, open up the wall switches and sockets and put some in the back. You also want them in cracks of floor boards, behind counter tops, and anywhere you see cracks, seams, and whatnot.

An alternative form of powder control is called diatomaceus Earth, which is a super-fine natural abrasive made of dead diatoms, also kills roaches and pests without chemicals. They are abrasive, and they also absorb lipids (fat and liquids) from insects that crawl over it, thus dehydrating the insect. However, diatomaceus earth should not be breathed, as inhalation may cause lung problems. If you handle diatomaceus earth, wear a dust mask at all times.

Roach Motels / Roach Traps

Now that you have effectively sealed off the house, and don't need to worry too much about external infestation, it is time to deal with the population WITHIN your residence.

Start by deploying some roach motels (i.e. roach traps). Either the sticky kind or the bait kind will work fine for the back of cabinets or behind the fridge. Those are stationary traps. Put one next to the trash bin too. One for each room should be sufficient unless you have a heavy infestation.

Combat roach control bait gel, somewhat less professional version of roach poison bait gel (c) 2011 kschang, taken at Walgreens
Combat roach control bait gel, somewhat less professional version of roach poison bait gel (c) 2011 kschang, taken at Walgreens

Professional Strength Bait Gels

You CAN buy professional strength Dupont Advion bait gels for home use (except in Connecticut) by ordering them online. Advion has a special ingredient called Indoxacarb that not only kills roaches dead, it also kills whatever eat the dead bodies... AND whatever eats THOSE dead bodies. Really. You only need a tiny dot of Advion in each cabinet every 30 days. Buy a box (about $30 online) and share with friends and neighbors. One syringe lasts a long time.

Not all roaches respond to Advion. If you don't see any results, try MaxxForce Bait Gel, which is based on a different insecticide formula.

If you can't wait, or don't want to spend big bucks, try the "home sized" bait gels from Combat and similar products.

Insect growth regulators

IGR (insect growth regulators) basically interfere with insect's growth hormones, rendering them infertile, so they cannot make more baby roaches. This basically gives you more time to kill the living roaches, with OTHER methods. IGR by itself does NOT kill roaches. It must be used with all the other pest control tactics discussed above. IGR is available in either spray form or as a "bait station".

Deploy IGR in an area that roaches go through, almost like a "persistent" bug spray. Around trash cans, for example.

IGR is especially important in areas where bug spray cannot be used.

Raid contact bug spray, with some residual capabilities. (c) 2011 kschang, taken at Walgreens
Raid contact bug spray, with some residual capabilities. (c) 2011 kschang, taken at Walgreens
Black Flag "bug barrier" persistent spray (c) 2011 kschang, taken at Walgreens
Black Flag "bug barrier" persistent spray (c) 2011 kschang, taken at Walgreens

Bug Spray

Bug spray is weapon of last resort when it comes to roach infestation. To put it plainly, bug spray is nerve gas, albeit very weak ones, that is designed to kill pests. You don't want to do bug spray anywhere near food. However, it wouldn't hurt to keep one can around.

Bug spray actually comes in two types: contact (spray on the bug and it dies in seconds), and persistent (spray this area and it kills for weeks). Some are both.

Contact form of bug spray are usually aerosol and comes in a can.

The persistent form may come as spray bottle.

You should always wear a glove when applying bug spray. A mask wouldn't hurt either, esp. when you're using the aerosol version.

Use bug spray only sparingly, and NEVER near a bait station, IGR station, or roach trap. Roaches can sense bug spray residue and avoid the general area, thus avoiding those traps and rendering them ineffective. Instead, once you have deployed all the rest of the barriers and whatnot, save the bug spray for local outbreaks.


You can purchase kits that includes most of the items above online for under $100. All you need is some vinyl gloves and some patience. The material in such a kit should be enough to eliminate the infestation and shrink the roach population to a very manageable level for several months. And the costs are much lower than hiring a professional exterminator.

Just keep in mind that the results are NOT instantaneous. It will take several weeks to see effects.

Now go kill some roaches!


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      Stephanie 3 years ago

      I just moved into a new place today and I was told by my landlord that the place had been sprayed, well I have seen a few roaches here and there, none in clusters but I am TERRIFIED as I have a 10 1/2 month old baby and I have NEVER had to deal with cockroaches before. I need to know a quick and preferably inexpensive way to get rid of them and KEEP THEM AWAY FOR GOOD. SOMEONE PLEASE HELP!!!!!

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      cal 3 years ago

      i have done all of these things prior to reading the article, including two types of the 'motels' about a week or two apart. the population has been down, but it went down after the first type then began to rise again, and it seems to be rising again now. my next guess was to try at least two types at once, to deter resistence, but ive been needing to find a new roommate and i cant like this

    • kschang profile image

      kschang 4 years ago from San Francisco, CA, USA

      Mothballs are for moths, not roaches. As stated in the article, you need that roach powder, traps, and more.

      If they leave the plates out, then you'll have to clean them. Or at least fill the sink with water and cover up the food scraps. Roaches don't really swim.

      Sounds like you need to talk to an adult that can help. If you go to school, tell your teacher, who may be able to refer you to somebody who can help. If not... well... Hmmm... Try the library? Ask the nice librarian to refer you to social services?

    • profile image

      Jerry 4 years ago

      Okay , im 13 years old & my father cant hear , &' seeing this myself drives me INSANE ! The roaches are EVERYWHERE ! And everytime i go into the kitchen at night , i'm scared to step ona cockroach , turn on the light &' there are millions of them , but you see , my dad's girlfriend left plates &' food out . But it's been like this since we've moved in , i cant do this anymore , i feel like its best if me and my dad &' my 2 sisters move out . But i'm scared they're gonna be inside my clothing , shoes , etc . I don't know what to do anymore . The roaches , crawl on the floor , laundry baskets , we don't have cabinets because of the roaches we took em down because we thought that would help . Then today i went in the kitchen , one was even dragging a dead cockroach away in its mouth . Then i tried to kill it &' it ran &' i hit a grocery bag , &' i heard rustling underneath the bag . I placed mothballs around the house , &' it didn't help . I don't know what to do ANYMORE

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      sophocles 5 years ago

      @kschang Thank you for your reply. I was thinking along the same lines, but hoping for something more! With the current forecast outlook where the house is located, you are dead on regarding the outdoor moisture prognostication! I understand - -- sometimes there is not an easy (and inexpensive) answer! An honest answer is better than being misled. Keep up the good work!

    • kschang profile image

      kschang 5 years ago from San Francisco, CA, USA

      @Sophocles -- Good question. I am not an exterminator, so I'm mainly offering sensical advice. :) If it doesn't get very wet outdoors (unlikely), use the boric acid powder as barriers. Then add some spray, concentrated stuff, both at lot boundary, as well as around the property itself. Roaches go where there are food. If there are food on their side, then don't blame yourself if the roaches start a migration! :)

    • profile image

      sophocles 5 years ago

      How do I prevent infestation from invading the neighbors as I eliminate my infestation? (I will be eliminating roaches from an empty house and do not want to pass roaches on to the neighbors)?

    • kschang profile image

      kschang 5 years ago from San Francisco, CA, USA

      @Beth -- Limit food to only ONE room (kitchen probably), NO snacks anywhere else, then clean that room multiple times a day AND put barrier (persistent bug spray or IGR) at the room's borders.

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      beth 5 years ago

      Every time we get them down they come back even. More cause we have company they throw candy paper etc down. An we don't see it because its stuff in furniture and corners. We do have trash. Cans

    • kschang profile image

      kschang 5 years ago from San Francisco, CA, USA

      Start with a barrier, either chemical spray or powder, surrounding the place. THEN segment off one room at a time and deal with one room at a time.

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      brandon 5 years ago

      I live in a duble wide trailer and there evere were i see them at night during the day there really bad how do i get rid of them