One of the most common questions we get asked is “How do I get rid of German cockroaches?”
And it’s a good one! In areas of Australia that are warm and humid German cockroaches can thrive, and they’re really hard to get rid of!
If you’re dealing with them for the first time, you might be wondering how to get rid of these invasive little pests.
Well, we have years of experience dealing with these guys and we have some tips for you. If you think you might be dealing with a German cockroach infestation, we have all the info you need to get rid of German cockroaches in Australia.
What do German cockroaches look like?
German cockroaches are small and flat, typically between 12 to 15 mm long. They are light brown or tan in colour and have two black stripes behind their heads.
Their young can be as small as 3 mm, which makes them particularly difficult to spot and allows them to get through very narrow gaps and openings.
What attracts German cockroaches to your home?
German cockroaches are attracted to warmth and moisture, often drawn to bathrooms and kitchens. They are also attracted to any kind of organic mess, like crumbs and open rubbish bins. If they cannot access your food directly, they can also eat pet food and non-edible products like soap, glue, and even hair!
Unfortunately, all it takes for a German cockroach infestation is one egg being brought into your home on your luggage, grocery bags, cardboard boxes, and clothes. Once inside, they will hide in small cracks and crevices and begin nesting, typically near sources of warmth and moisture like leaky pipes, electrical appliances, and outlets.
If you see signs of cockroach droppings (like coffee grinds in appearance), oval-shaped egg cases, cockroach carcasses, or detect a musty smell in your home, you may have an infestation. If you are seeing cockroaches during the day, then the infestation is likely to be serious.
How do you get rid of German cockroaches?
Getting rid of German cockroaches is notoriously difficult due to their small size and rapid breeding cycle making it extremely challenging to locate the source of the problem.
It is always recommended to contact a pest control professional to inspect your property, they will locate the source of the infestation and take long-term preventative measures to stop them from coming back.
However, if you want to do it yourself, follow these four steps.
Step 1: Locate the source of the infestation
Professional pest control experts will always make preliminary observations to determine where the worst-hit areas are located so they can concentrate on the hot spots. There will not be a single source of the infestation, German cockroaches typically spread out around areas of high heat and sources of food and water.
Some common areas to look for German cockroaches:
- Taps and exposed pipes
- Around and inside household appliances
- Rubbish bins
- Underneath tables
- Cracks and crevices
- Electrical outlets and switch boxes
Inspecting your property can involve using a flashlight to investigate small dark areas where cockroaches may be hiding to observe any evidence of droppings, eggs, shells, and cockroach carcasses.
We advise leaving sticky traps in problem areas, such as rubbish bins, underneath sinks, behind appliances, and around kitchen/bathroom cupboards. Sticky traps are small pieces of cardboard covered in adhesive glue infused with a bait that attracts cockroaches and traps them.
If you have observed visible signs of cockroach activity then place the baits in these areas overnight, if you are unsure of where to place the traps refer to the list above of common areas that German cockroaches hide.
The traps will only eliminate a few of the cockroaches. The purpose of setting sticky traps is to determine where you should focus your attention for the next step.
Step 2: Clean the areas of high cockroach activity
After you have identified the hot spots, you can begin vacuuming up any droppings, eggs, shells, and dead cockroaches that you can see. It is then essential that you remove any excess sources of rubbish, food, or water that may be attracting and sustaining the cockroach population. Cleaning these areas will help the extermination phase and prevent the colony from regrowing.
If you encounter any live cockroaches when cleaning, make sure they are either eliminated or sealed and disposed of, otherwise, they can continue to spread inside your vacuum or rubbish.
Once these areas have been cleaned thoroughly and any visual sign of the infestation has been disposed of, you can begin setting baits.
Step 3: Set baits
Cockroach gel baits are the preferred method of German cockroach removal by professional pest control companies.
Gel baits are a combination of an attractant and an insecticide. They usually come in the form of a syringe that you apply in small, pea-sized drops in areas of high cockroach activity.
The small gel drops attract the cockroaches and infect them with the insecticide, the cockroaches then return to their nest and begin infecting the entire colony.
We advise only using small drops and spreading them out, using too much will spook the cockroaches and they will not view the gel as a source of food. After applying the baits, refrain from using any household cleaners or insect sprays in the area, the cockroaches will smell this, and it will prevent them from taking the bait and they may spread to other areas.
Unfortunately, German cockroach eggs are invulnerable to gel baits as the gel needs to be eaten to take effect. This means that you will need to re-apply the bait for potentially several weeks until the new hatchlings are eliminated. Persistence is key with German cockroaches; you must be vigilant when laying traps and observe their activity as it only takes one egg to start a new colony.
Step 4: Make sure they don’t come back
Congratulations on making it through the first steps!
Now, for the most important part, preventing them from coming back and taking over your home again. To make your home unfriendly to roaches, you need to eliminate their sources of food and water.
Now is the time to do a deep clean.
- Fix leaky pipes and faucets
- Seal cracks and crevices with caulk or sealant
- Store food items in air-tight containers
- Empty rubbish regularly and use a bin lid
- Don’t leave pet food out overnight, or store in an air-tight container
- Wash dishes regularly on don’t leave out overnight
- Clean tables and countertops of any food waste
- Vacuum frequently
- Clean kitchen appliances regularly
- Dispose of rubbish like cardboard boxes, paper bags, and soft drink bottles
Keeping your home clean and free of clutter will give you the best chance of preventing another infestation, you may want to consider also using a barrier spray around the perimeter of your home for extra protection.
When to call in the professionals?
If you have followed all these steps and are still seeing signs of German cockroaches, the infestation is serious, and you will need to contact pest control experts.
Store-bought insecticides are usually far less effective than professional products as they are required to be less potent due to safety laws. Even if your home is clean and you are persistent, German cockroaches are extremely difficult to get rid of. Without the proper tools, chemicals, and experience, the colony can quickly rebuild and take over again.
If you want to solve your cockroach problem quickly and ensure that it doesn’t come back anytime soon, it may be much faster, easier, and cost-effective to call a professional that can eliminate the colony in one session.