Have you ever wondered, "why is it so hard to get rid of cockroaches?" Cockroaches are known to be one of nature's most resilient survivors, one of the most prevalent indoor insect pests, and also one of the most difficult pests to get rid of.
Cockroach infestations are naturally hard to get rid of, mainly because roaches are master hiders, and able to conceal themselves in a wide range of areas. They also have a very high reproductive potential and can breed prolifically (female roaches don't always need a male to reproduce). To make matters worse, research continues to show cockroaches are becoming increasingly more resistant to conventional pesticides.
We stomp them, spray them, bomb them, etc., but cockroaches always keep coming back for more. Does this mean all hope is lost? No. It simply means cockroaches are becoming increasingly difficult to kill using only conventional pesticides.
There are over 4,500 species of cockroaches worldwide. Fortunately, only about 30 of these species can live around humans. They're not just gross to look at, they're super dirty. They defecate, slobber, and leave their body parts everywhere, to the point of being able to cause allergic reactions and asthma attacks for you and your family.
The four main cockroach species you will encounter include:
Why Are Cockroaches Hard to Get Rid of?
Cockroaches are known to have large genomes (complete set of genes/genetic material)--larger than the vast majority of studied insects. Many of these genes are what make cockroaches so good at surviving.
Smell and Taste (Chemoreception). Cockroaches have amazing senses of smell and taste, and are better at smelling and tasting food than other insects. They are definitely not finicky eaters, and can survive on a wide range of food and non-food substances. They love proteins, meats, and grease, but they can also fill up on things like cardboard, rotted meat, book bindings, blood, excrement, and even from leftover toenails. They can even nourish themselves off of things that are toxic to other animals, as well as off of the corpses of other roaches.
Strong Immune Systems. Cockroaches can survive in the filthiest of environments, completely unaffected by the very bacteria that they so readily pick up and carry with them wherever they go.
Resistance to Conventional Pesticides - In addition to the reasons already mentioned to explain why cockroaches are difficult to eradicate, also take into consideration the fact that cockroaches continue developing more and more resistance to commonly used conventional pesticides. For example, a 2019 Purdue University study found that the most common type of cockroach, the German cockroach, is developing a resistance to multiple insecticides, including those on which exterminators rely.
Resistant cockroaches produce offspring that is just as resistant or even more so. According to the researchers involved, a new generation of cockroaches born is capable of increases in resistance of four to six times.
In fact, the study revealed that the roach populations in question were fully capable of developing resistance to chemicals they hadn't been exposed to before. This could mean that roach populations are evolving with mechanisms or strategies that make them cross-resistant, and able to resist multiple types of chemical combinations at once.
This does not mean that pest control products don't work against cockroaches, just that you can't rely on these products as your only strategy.
How to Get Rid of Cockroaches Naturally
Roaches may be hard to kill, but there's an easy way to help keep them out of your home: by keeping your home (especially your kitchen and bathrooms) clean!
Even if you keep your home spotless, but still see cockroaches, don't get discouraged. It's possible they found a leak and enough substance to survive on for a food source.
Other steps you can take to get rid of cockroaches naturally:
- Store food in airtight containers.
- Keep trash covered and remove daily.
- Keep faucets repaired and your basement dry.
- Seal cracks, crevices, and holes in your walls.
- Install screens over gaps where utility cables and pipes enter your home.
- Keep your garage and basement free of empty boxes, and stacks of magazines and newspapers. Roaches not only hide in these areas, they also feed on them!
These steps, in addition to good, consistent sanitation practices, will go a long way to keep roaches away from your home. After all this, what if you still have roaches, and are concerned about difficult-to-kill roaches building resistance to pesticides that exterminators use?
Naturally Derived Pest Control Products that Work
Roach Killer Spray
For spot-treating roaches you can see, Maggie's Farm Simply Effective Ant & Roach Killer is a very effective option, formulated with naturally derived ingredients. To kill cockroaches (and several other crawling pests, including ants, crickets, and spiders), spray product to contact as many roaches as possible. To help stop cockroaches and other pests from coming inside, spray all entry points you find, and possible entry areas such as cracks and gaps around window and door frames, around the foundation, and around pipes and wires that come into the building. Repeat as necessary.
But remember, this will only kill cockroaches that you can see. It's estimated that for every cockroach you can see or catch in a trap, there are many more (likely several times more) lurking about in your home unseen.
For longer-term cockroach control, try baits or a desiccant dust.
Roach Killer Gel Bait
For a long-term roach control solution in and around structures, including, but not limited to, homes, apartments, and other man-made structures, garages and transport vehicles, you should treat areas with possible cockroach activity with powerful Maggie's Farm Simply Effective Roach Killer Gel Bait.
Our naturally derived roach killer gel bait is formulated using Abamectin, which is derived from soil microbes, and particularly effective at eliminating cockroaches.
Cockroaches will eat the bait, which will kill them off within about 24 hours. But not before they've returned to their nest. They will return to their nest to die, and other roaches will eat their carcasses, ingesting the roach killer gel bait. With some time and patience, eventually you will kill off the entire hidden cockroach nest.
To apply indoors: Results will be best if spilled food and other debris are cleaned up before applying bait. Apply bait so it is out of reach of children and pets. Apply bait only in cracks, crevices, voids, other inaccessible areas, and non-exposed surfaces such as the undersides of furniture and fixtures and under or behind appliances. Reapply as necessary.
Bed Bug (and Roach) Killer Desiccant Dust
Yes, a bed bug killer. Yes, Maggie's Farm Simply Effective Bed Bug Killer uses the power of naturally derived silicon dioxide (as amorphous silica) to desiccate (dehydrate) cockroaches, bed bugs, spiders, scorpions, and other pests. It literally sucks the life out of them!
Treat attics, crawl spaces, trash closets, utility closets, behind baseboards, around the perimeter of dropped ceilings, in hollow furniture legs; under and behind bedding, appliances, and vending machines; in wall voids and voids under and behind cabinets, sinks, and tubs; in drawer wells, garbage chutes, pipe chases, weep holes in brick or siding, elevator pits, around drains, around electrical conduits and in cracks and crevices where insects may harbor. Focus application in areas where insects or their signs are seen.
Pro-Tip: Do NOT apply any kind of roach spray on or near areas where you've applied bait or dust. It will repel roaches, and they will never be able to get to the areas treated with bait or dust.
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
- How old your home is (older homes mean more cracks/crevices/wall voids)
How clean/tidy you keep your home
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 home.
So the next time someone asks you, "Why is it so hard to get rid of cockroaches?" you'll know what to answer, along with some tips on getting rid of these uninvited house guests.
For more information on getting rid of cockroaches, check out additional Maggie's Farm guides and information:
How do you get rid of roaches at home? We want to know how! Leave us a comment below!
For scientifically-tested, effective cockroach control that is better for 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 family of green pest control products on the market. Find out why life’s better on the farm!