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What To Do If You Find Roaches in Your Apartment

If you live in an apartment, chances are you will probably be dealing with cockroaches at some point. But don't give up hope. 

No one likes free-loading roommates (especially if they're cockroaches). This is your home, where you live, and you can do plenty of things to keep these uninvited guests out of your living space.

Is It Normal to Have Cockroaches In Your Apartment?


So, you've seen a cockroach in your kitchen at night, and maybe you're kind of spooked. First, figure out what kind of roach is in your apartment. It's most likely a German cockroach, as they are the most commonly known species in apartment buildings. German roaches are small, about 1/2" long, and a light brown/tan color. German roaches are the most problematic species because they live and breed in wall voids, and multiply fast.  

How Do They Get in Apartments?


Cockroaches are notorious for getting inside the building via sewer drains in the basement or other areas. Or they find their way inside through crack/gaps around doors/windows, under siding or in the attic. Roaches that get in from the outside tend to be the larger size species (i.e., American and Oriental roaches).

However if you are dealing with German roaches, they can easily and quickly spread though shared wall voids, on plumbing pipes and in ventilation systems.

If you've seen one or a couple of German cockroaches, it doesn't necessarily mean you've got an infestation, but the chances are good that there are hundreds (sometimes even thousands) more in a nearby nest. The best thing you can do to address a roach problem is to address it quickly, as they reproduce very rapidly. So, what are your next steps?

How to Get Rid of Cockroaches In Your Apartment


Here are some things you can do right away to quickly address the cockroach problem you're facing:

  • Promptly let your landlord or property manager know about the cockroach problem. No matter what pest you're dealing with in your apartment, you should always advise your landlord/property manager first, so he or she can step in as needed, or give you advice for how to manage the problem (it will depend upon what your lease dictates). 

Your property management might already spray for pests on a semi-regular or regular basis. If so, you can submit a maintenance request for treatment. If not, you may be able to request that management hires someone to treat the problem as quickly as possible. Verify what's in your lease.

Whatever you do, don't just wait around on your landlord/property management. Remember, cockroaches multiply quickly, and time is of the essence!  It could very well be worth the cost if you have to hire a professional yourself. 

  • Cleanliness is KEY. Cockroaches crave and avidly seek out food sources, water, and quiet, dark spaces. Dirty environments where there is food also involved bring tons of roaches. 

Roaches are not necessarily evidence of a dirty environment. Keep in mind that cockroaches can surface in even the cleanest living environments (it's not hard for them to find food/water sources).

Give your apartment (especially the kitchen and bathroom areas) a thorough cleaning, and pay particular attention to areas you don't clean regularly (e.g., underneath your stove, behind your refrigerator, inside your drawers and cabinets, etc.). Keep your sink free of dirty dishes, and be sure to use disinfectant spray, broom, mop, vacuum, etc. as you clean. Clean crumbs and spills on counter tops, the floor, etc.

Keep your trash tightly covered, and take it out regularly (daily if need be). 

  • Seal up all cracks and holes in doors, windows, baseboards, and repair leaky plumbing. Roaches don't just love crumbs and grease splotches, they also love drippy water sources (typically under your kitchen sink or in the bathroom), and places to hide around your apartment. Check your faucets and pipes in all rooms for leaks, and treat with a pest control product under your sinks on a regular basis (more on that later). Cracks and crevices in walls, ceilings, doors, or windows are great places for roaches to get in, so caulk or spackle them shut (or have maintenance do it) and spray treat them as appropriate. Cover vents and drains with mesh to keep roaches OUT.
  • Use reputable sprays, treatments, and baits. If you don’t have pest control, or if you don’t feel like the treatment isn't doing enough to get the roaches out of your apartment, then there are plenty of reputable products that work to treat your roach infestation. You can choose from baits, sprays, and sticky traps. Though sprays and sticky traps are often used by many apartment dwellers, you may find that baits are the safest and most effective type of treatment for roaches. Gel bait should be applied to the nooks and crannies of your apartment where you suspect the roaches to be coming from. The bait works over time, killing roaches on the spot, or allowing the infected roach to carry the poison back to the others hiding in the shadows. Sounds shady, but it’s effective!

Always follow directions on any pest control product you use.

  • Allow for regularly scheduled pest control. If your apartment landlord or management sprays for pests regularly, make sure to let them do so consistently. Apply your own spray treatment as you feel is needed, but careful what you apply near kids and pets. Strategically placed out-of-the-way gel bait is probably a better solution than a spray, for example.

How Long Does It Take to Get Rid of Cockroaches?


How long it takes to get rid of a cockroach infestation depends on several different factors, including:

  • How many roaches there are
  • What roach species you are dealing with
  • How fast you respond once you discover cockroach activity (remember, they multiply quickly!)
  • How old your apartment building is (older buildings mean more cracks/crevices/wall voids)
  • How clean/tidy you keep your apartment  

Cockroach infestations typically take anywhere from a couple of days to a couple of weeks to eliminate. Keeping up with prevention methods and consistent treatments is key for making roaches feel unwelcome in your apartment.

Roach problems can definitely be solved with patience, consistency, and the right treatment. Keeping a clean apartment with regularly scheduled pest control alone will go a long way to keeping your living area cockroach free.

For more information on getting rid of cockroaches, check out:

Get Rid of Roaches

Cockroaches: Control Strategies and Products

Cockroach Control Checklist

Types of Cockroaches

Got tips and tricks to get rid of cockroaches at home? Post a comment. We’d love to hear from you!


For scientifically-tested, effective cockroach control in your home that is friendly to the environment, try Maggie’s Farm pest control products. Our promise is that our plant and mineral-based products are developed by scientists and seasoned pest control professionals to be the most effective.

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