How to Get Rid of American Cockroaches Once and for All

Wondering how to get rid of American cockroaches? Our guide offers a comprehensive strategy to fight them.
Phyllis McMahon
Phyllis McMahon
Research Writer
Phyllis teaches English Literature at a local college and loves writing in her free time. She’s also a great cook – her British beef Wellington is something the best res read more
Reviewed By
Chas Kempf
Chas Kempf
Expert Consultant
Chas works in a professional pest control company and knows all the nuances of this job. Also, he’s a fantastic tennis player and loves to organize BBQ parties for his fam read more
Last updated: September 08, 2023
MenaceToPests is reader-supported. We may earn a commission through products purchased using links on this page. Learn more about our process here

American cockroaches, referred to as water bugs, are one of the most famous pests globally. The American cockroach is one of the major household pests; it originated in North Africa but is now found worldwide.

American Cockroaches are disease carriers and can significantly threaten your health. They transmit viruses and bacteria that cause diarrhea and food poisoning.  If you are suspicious that your home is infested and want to know how to get rid of the American cockroaches, then keep reading. In this article, you will learn how to identify American cockroaches and eliminate them with the proper treatment.

General Information

There are numerous species of cockroaches with different treatments to get rid of them. Correctly identifying American cockroaches will save you time and money from buying the wrong treatment. Here is some information that can help you quickly identify American cockroaches.


American cockroaches are reddish-brown colored and have the area behind their head outlined with a yellow band. The adult American cockroach’s length measures between 1 inch to 2 inches.

Both male and female American cockroaches possess wings to fly very short distances, but they rarely do so. They are often confused with German cockroaches, but there is a slight difference. The German roaches are light brown colored and are smaller in length compared to American roaches.


How to Get Rid of American Cockroaches Once and for All
Food leftovers and pet food will easily attract American cockroaches into your house.

American cockroaches are known for their undying appetite for leaves, wood particles, small insects, algae, and fungi when they are outside. While inside the house, they scout for food on the kitchen floor, cupboard, drains, and pipes. They feed on leftover meals, spilled foods, and little pieces of bread or snacks. Pet food isn’t left out of the roaches’ meal catalog if left in the dark. Other meals American cockroaches are attracted to are fruits, beer, hair, sweets, cheese, and books.


American roaches are mostly found outdoors but are also common in the house. American cockroaches are easily found in unclean environments like drains and sewers.

These pests prefer to live in a warm climate and get attracted to messy homes, dirty dishes, leftover meals, and unkept water. These are ideal sites for the roaches to lay their eggs and multiply.

Although roaches are known to be attracted to dirty houses, a clean one does not guarantee the prevention of it. But it reduces the possibility of these pests invading your home. And they could remain in the house all through the season.

Do I Have an American Cockroach Infestation?

How to Get Rid of American Cockroaches Once and for All
Smear marks and droppings are a sign of American cockroach infestation.

There are six signs that American cockroaches have infested your home. These signs include:

  • Living cockroaches: when you check dim corners and you find reddish-brown cockroaches fleeing, that’s a sign your house has an infestation of American cockroaches.
  • Smear marks: when cockroaches move in and out of their hideout, they leave brown smear marks on the walls. These are obvious to notice, especially on white walls.
  • Shed Skin: Cockroaches have several phases of development, and in each of these phases, they shed off their skin. If your home has been infested, you may come across some already shed roaches’ skin.
  • Egg capsules: this is one way to know if you have an American cockroach infestation. The female cockroach produces the egg capsule; it is shaped in the form of a pill, colored brown or black. It has a length of 8mm. You can find them in untidy areas of the house.
  • Unusual odor: the odor produced by these pests is used to facilitate communication with each other to enable them to find a secure place for shelter, water, and food. The unpleasant odor is produced due to the dirty environment they live in and their pheromones.
  • Droppings: these are feces of cockroaches. They are large and, most often than not, confused with mouse feces. It is usually produced in dark corners where they seek shelter. When you find these droppings, you have an American cockroach infestation.

Getting Rid of American Cockroaches

American cockroaches have a high survival instinct, they are therefore challenging to get rid of. The body of an American cockroach can live up to a week with the head cut off. So it’s essential to know how to get rid of these roaches. This section contains several methods that help you get rid of American cockroaches and how long to get rid of American cockroaches.

Removing entry points

How to Get Rid of American Cockroaches Once and for All
The first thing you should do is to make sure that there’s no way for new cockroaches to enter your house.

American cockroaches are little insects that can squeeze through tiny holes and door spaces. To prevent them from gaining access to your home, you must seal up those holes and install a door that covers the sides adequately.

So you can also inspect other potential entry points like the windows, pipes, and cracked walls. So endeavor to fix broken pipes and faulty windows to prevent the roaches. You can use caulk to seal cracks, and this will keep your home free from American cockroaches.

Cleaning up

How to Get Rid of American Cockroaches Once and for AllYou will need to clean up the entire house to get rid of the roaches. You can begin by clearing out places and things the roaches are attracted to.

Then you can apply the best roach killers to eliminate the remnant roaches. You can also use home remedies like Diatomaceous earth or Citrus. Your home will finally be free from roach infestation.

Suppose you don’t know how to clean up the house or where to start. Here are a few tips:

  • Sweep and mop the house properly under the couch, bed, kitchen cabinet, and other dim corners.
  • Clean all dirty dishes and dry them with a neat towel. And dispose of all leftovers found in the dishes.
  • Dispose of unclean water kept in bowls and washing basins.
  • Remove trash in the house every day. You can have a garbage truck far away from your doorstep or entry points to your home.
  • Clean up any spillage on the floor or rug, and sweep any fall crumbs.
  • Always keep the pet bowl clean.

Using pest control products

How to Get Rid of American Cockroaches Once and for All
There are lots of products that will help you get rid of cockroaches

You can use pest control products such as Hot Shot Fogger With Odor Neutralizer, which is among the best roach bombs and foggers, and it’s considered to be the best German roach killers. Apply them around the corners of the house, especially in dark areas. You can also use insecticide dust on doors, windows, walls, etc. Using these pest control products will help eliminate roaches infestation quickly.

Indoor Treatment

How to Get Rid of American Cockroaches Once and for All
It’s recommended to use multiple products simultaneously to ensure better results.
  • Glue Traps: This is an effective method to identify and eliminate roach infestations. The trap involves an odor that attracts the roaches in, and as soon as the stripe is stepped on, the glue traps them down. You can place the glue traps in suspicious areas to get excellent results.

The glue traps are a fast treatment solution and are safe for pets and kids. However, the strips need to be watched for a week or more and change when it has caught roaches.

  • Bait stations: Bait stations like Maxforce FC Select Roach Killer Bait Gel can be used as a treatment against infestation. It kills American cockroaches almost immediately. This bait station can be fixed up anywhere infestation might be rampant.

The bait odor attracts the roaches and then eats the chemical. On its way back to its shelter, it dies, then other cockroaches will eat the dead roach and follow the same. The poison can be passed around till your home is clear of American roaches. The bait poison also leaves dead American cockroaches around the house, and due to its toxicity, other animals can be poisoned when they eat the dead cockroach.

  • Liquid Concentrate: You can buy this deterrent concentrate at any local store. It’s a liquid roach deterrent that is made to be sprayed into areas with suspicious roach activity.

If you need the liquid concentrate to spread over the house floor, you can add it to a mop bucket and mop the house floor with it. It keeps the roaches away from the house and deters any cockroaches still in the place. Because it contains some toxic elements, it’s advisable not to apply in homes with kids and pets.

  • Insecticide Spray and Dust: Insecticide spray and dust can apply anywhere the American cockroaches live or at their entry point. It can be either at the doorstep, on the window frame, under the sinks, on the kitchen cabinet, or on floors and wall cracks. For safety, you can put on a nose mask while applying it to prevent sneezing. This treatment is quite common in households because it is easy to use.

Outdoor Treatment

  • Sanitation: To make your outdoor environment unconducive for American cockroaches, you must clean up. Remove everything that attracts the American roaches. Dispose of outdoor trash frequently and clean up stagnant water.
  • Insecticide Barriers: An effective outdoor treatment against infestation of American cockroaches is making a protective insecticide barrier. This will prevent the roaches from squeezing into the house. The insecticide barrier is a repellent against American roaches and kills them. It has a long-term effect and can be sprayed on structures such as doors, windows, and plumbing penetration. Make sure you prevent people from passing areas treated until it has dried up.

Prevention of American Cockroach Infestation

How to Get Rid of American Cockroaches Once and for All
Plumbing issues are one of the main reasons for cockroach infestation.

A little bit of prevention is worth a lot to keep your home free from infestation. Here are some prevention tips to keep American cockroaches out of your home:

  • Seal all entry points for the roaches, like cracks on the wall, open ceiling, sink, window, and door.
  • Vacuum the kitchen floors and mop them regularly. Clean the kitchen appliance as often as you can. Ensure the sink is always dried out after every washing.
  • Engage in sanitation regularly both in and outside the house. You can draft out a cleaning roster.
  • Ensure your neighbors also engage in cleaning up their environment.
  • Fix plumbing issues.
  • Maintain a protective insecticide barrier on all structures of your house.

What Attracts American Cockroaches

How to Get Rid of American Cockroaches Once and for AllAmerican cockroaches are most attracted to these three sources:

  • Food: American Cockroaches are attracted to certain kinds of food: sweets, starch, cheese, meats, and greasy meals. This roach food can be found in the garbage, dirty dishes, crumbs on the floor or cabinet, or leftover food.
  • Shelter: American cockroaches get attracted to homes with a warmer temperature. When it gets cold outside, they go indoors to find shelter. You can find them in places like the basement, toilet, dark stores, and underneath the sink.
  • Water: this is a necessity for all animals, and roaches are not excluded. They will even enter a clean house to find it. They mostly get attracted to homes with leaking pipes and water in pet bowls.

How Do They Enter My Home?

Although food, shelter, and water are the central attractions of American cockroaches, how do they enter the house? Here are some entry points for roaches you should monitor:

  • Holes in the pipes and vents, especially in old homes.
  • Bringing in old pieces of furniture into the house
  • Cracks on the wall and gaps in doors and windows.

Final Thoughts

American cockroaches are terrible pests, and having one is far too much to let slide. They transmit disease and trigger allergic reactions in most people. They are difficult to deal with because of their distinct survival instinct. To begin a treatment against the cockroach infestation, you will need to carry out your own inspection to figure out their entry point, place of shelter, and what attracts them.

By following every step in this article, you will get know how to get rid of an American cockroach and also prevent them from gaining access to your compound. Ensure to maintain proper hygiene and install a protective insecticide barrier to boost your chances of a home-free infestation.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *