A quick breakdown of roach bait gels
Roach bait gels are actually rather simple products. All they include is water, gelatine, a food attractant for the roaches to eat, and an active ingredient which will poison and kill them.
Yes, all roaches seem to be quite fond of sugar and other sweets, but there are different types of sweeteners and concentrations that work on different roaches. That’s why it’s very hard to find a roach bait gel that truly works on all 4000+ types of roaches, even though most of them claim that they do. Instead, it’s best to know what roaches you’re dealing with and find the roach bait gel that works best on them. This can be easier said than done, thanks to the large variety of roach sub-species, so more often than not, the best strategy is to just buy several products and use them at the same time.
That’s as far as the food attractant is considered. As for the active ingredient, the way it works is that it poisons the cockroach but it doesn’t kill it instantaneously. Instead, the poisoned roach has time to return to its nest, where it can poison other roaches it comes into contact with. This works in a very simple manner – roaches, particularly young roaches, tend to eat the feces and the corpses of other roaches. So, when a poisoned roach goes back into its nest, drops several roach “stool samples” here and there, and then drops dead itself, it can easily infect several dozen other roaches just on its own.
Of course, just as different food attracts work to a varying degree on different roaches, so do different active ingredients.
As far as the roach bait gels’ effect on humans and other mammals – most roach gels are highly toxic even to us. This gives them a pretty significant drawback for households with children or with pets, as you’ll need to make sure that these members of your family can’t consume the roach bait gel by accident.
There are some brands of roach bait gels that claim to be “pet-safe” and “kid-safe” by having non-toxic active ingredients to mammals, but we’d advise you to be cautious even with them.
If you’re worried about using a roach bait gel at home, then there are alternatives you can consider. If the infestation is not that bad, you can use roach traps or roach sprays instead, as there are more often safe for mammals, than roach bait gels are. And if the infestation is too severe for such measures, you may consider going away for a couple of days and using roach bombs or foggers or simply calling an exterminator.
The main differences between roach bait gels and the other anti-roach methods, however, are that roach bait gels are quite a bit more effective than most other methods, but are also more time-consuming and tiresome to use properly. That, coupled with the fact that they are typically less safe for pets and for children, means that roach bait gels are usually used as a (mostly) last resort measure by most homeowners.
Roach bait gel buying guide
If you’ve decided that you do need a roach bait gel, however, there are multiple factors to consider, with one being much more important than the rest:
What type of roaches are you having problems with?
Because roach bait gels have so many different active ingredients and attractants, each product is essentially better or worse, depending on the type of roaches that are plaguing your home or commercial space. One bait gel may be worthless against Asian roaches but work wonders against German roaches, while another can have the opposite effect. This question becomes even more crucial when you have more than one type of roaches that are crawling around your kitchen floor. What do you do when you have German, Brown and Oriental roaches in your home?
It’s due to this additional complexity that a lot of people simply opt for a professional exterminator rather than buying roach bait gels themselves. And we’re certainly not discouraging you from seeking the help of professionals – this is indeed the fastest and easiest way to deal with a cockroach invasion. Exterminators cost a fair bit of money, however, so, if you want to deal with the problem yourself, you must do your best to properly identify the types of roaches that you’re having problems with. One trick you can use is to photograph your roaches and seek opinions online.
Once you’re certain you know what you’re dealing with you must find the products that are designed to combat these specific species of roaches. Keep in mind that while a lot of the commercial roach bait gels claim that they deal with 100% of roach species, they are still better against some and worse against others. That’s why you’ll probably need to use the help of the online community on this as well. Knowing which type and brand of roach bait killer gel is the most suitable for your particular species of roach invaders is the first and most important step to dealing with the problem.
Keep in mind that you’ll often need to buy more than one type of roach bait gels when you’re dealing with multiple species of roaches. What’s more, even if you’re dealing with just one type of roaches, it’s often advisable to buy at least 2 or 3 different sets of bait gels for maximum effect.
Aside from knowing which gels are better against which species of cockroaches, there are, of course, other factors to consider as well. Here are most of them:
- The price of the bait gel. A good roach bait gel can deal with a minor roach presence with just one application. For more problematic cases, however, you will likely have to reapply the gel several times before the problem is gone for good. This makes roach bait gels into a more significant monetary investment than they may seem like at first. So, while you definitely don’t want to compromise the quality of the product by looking for cheap gels, you also want to look out for overpriced products.
- The quantity of the bait gel. As we said, roach bait gels often need to be reapplied frequently, so buying just one small tube is often not enough. If you don’t want to go to the shop in a day or two, as well as to overpay for multiple single-tube packs, it often makes sense to buy bigger packs of roach bait gels. On the other hand, if this is your first time dealing with a roach infestation of an unknown type, you might want to buy several different single-tube packs of different brands and use them simultaneously. This will allow you to see which brand works the best (which brand attracts the most roaches, in other words), and then you can go and buy a bigger pack of that brand if you need more bait gel.
- The odor of the bait gel. A lot of roach bait gels are odorless, but some are not. It’s easy to just advise you to avoid them, but the fact of the matter is that a lot of them are quite high-quality too. So, making up your mind on your priorities is needed here – do you want to get rid of the roaches as soon as possible, even if it’s at the price of having an unpleasant odor in your kitchen for a while?
- The color of the bait gel. This sounds like a silly consideration to have, but roach bait gels need to be applied in multiple locations around the treated area. If it’s in a commercial space or a storage area you may not care that much, but if you need to apply roach bait gel on your kitchen’s white tiles, then picking the right color can be a good idea. You don’t want 50+ brown dots and strips of gel around your kitchen’s floor, right? Most roach bait gels happen to be precisely brown, however, which can be unfortunate from that point of view. At the same time, the brown color makes them better to notice for when you need to remove the dried off gel and reapply the new one.
- The longevity of the bait gel. One of the more annoying aspects of roach bait gels is that they tend to dry off after a while. Once they’ve dried off they may still attract roaches, but it’s significantly less likely. That’s why, for maximum effectiveness, reapplying the roach bait gel after it has dried off is necessary. Therefore, having a roach bait gel that dries off more slowly than other bait gels can save you both time and money, while still being just as effective.
- The quality of the bait gel. We are putting this point near the end not because it’s not important, but on the contrary – to underline its importance. A lot of roach bait gels claim to deal effectively with this or that species of roach. And a lot of others claim to deal with all types of roaches, only to fail miserably when put into practice. Wasting time with a sub-par roach bait gel can not only be irritating, but it can also give the roach infestation even more time to become significantly more severe. That’s why you need to not only act fast but act smart as well. All the product suggestions at the start of the article of a high enough quality to deal with a roach infestation when used properly, so we’d strongly advise you to consider them above all others.
- The brand of the bait gel. Related to the point above, once you’ve decided what type of roach bait you need, picking up a gel of the right brand can get you far along the way of dealing with the roach infestation. Some brands are decisively better than others, so here are the ones we’d recommend: Raid, Invict, Vendetta, Advion, Bayer, Combat, Alpine, Maxforce, Pic, and others.
Other useful information about cockroach bait gels
In the meantime, if you don’t want to have to buy roach bait gels every time you see a roach in the kitchen and/or if you are the type of person that likes getting their hands dirty, roach bait gels are actually not that hard to make. At least, the more basic roach bait gels aren’t. After all, they are just nutrient-rich gels with poison in them, so they don’t include a lot of complex parts. All you’ll need for a basic borax roach bait gel is the following:
- 2 tablespoons of Borax
- 1 tablespoon of sugar
- 1 tablespoon of unflavoured gelatine
- 2 tablespoons of water
- A medium-sized bowl
- Index cards
Sugar is the favorite food of cockroaches (one thing we have in common with them), so using sugar is an easy way to make your roach bait gel as alluring to the insect pests as possible. All you need to do is mix all the ingredients in the bowl, stir them until the gelatine has formed a nice, even mixture, and then apply the gel on the index cards and place them in strategic locations around your home.
Keep in mind, however, that we do not actually recommend that you do this yourself. Borax is highly toxic to humans and pets, which is why most modern roach bait gels aren’t using it. Additionally, there’s also the risk of failing to prepare the mixture properly and not making it attractive enough for the insect invaders. And, as we said above, with serious roach infestations you need to be as quick and as effective as possible. So, rather than wasting time trying to make your own DIY roach bait gel, we strongly recommend that you just buy a couple of high-quality commercial roach bait gels and deal with the problem as quickly as possible.
Usage tips of roach bait gels
What’s more roach bait gels need to be applied to many places around the house to be effective. A lot of homeowners simply put down several drops of the bait gel here and there and then complain that it isn’t working well enough. That’s simply not how you deal with a roach infestation. When using a roach bait gel you want to apply it on as many places as possible. The bait gels attract roaches to themselves, but they are not exactly ultrasound beacons that lure roaches from afar.
A roach bait gel is essentially just food for the roaches, so it needs to be applied to places that the pesky insects can find it. Localizing the exact spots, cracks, and crevices that the roaches crawl out of can help you a lot, but generally you just want to cover your bases and apply your roach bait gel of choice anywhere you can think of.
Additionally, it’s very important to keep the treated areas clean of all and any other contaminants while you’re using the roach bait gels. Technically, you want to keep clean at all times anyway, especially if you’re worried about roaches, but that’s even more important when using a roach bait gel. Because the gel works only when consumed (unlike localized roach sprays that can also work when the roaches just walk over the sprayed area), you need to make sure that the roaches actually eat the gel. Which means, that the less non-poisonous roach food you have on your floor and your countertops, the better.
It’s also very important to know where to apply the gel to. Roaches avoid sunlight like vampires and tend to stick to moist, un-aired spaces as much as possible. Applying roach bait gel in the middle of your central countertop, right where the sun shines through the window, isn’t going to be as effective as if you applied the gel under the kitchen sink. Additionally, moist and lightless places will help the gel itself stay moist for as long as possible.
Lastly, there is the unfortunate matter of having to constantly reapply the roach bait gel. The reason roach bait gels attract roaches so effectively isn’t just in the nutrients that they contain, but in their moistness as well. Roach bait gels are effectively both food and water for roaches, which is great because when they are moist they are even more alluring to the nasty insects. Being left exposed, however, roach bait gels naturally dry off quite quickly. You can try and look for bait gels that stay moist for as long as possible, but even they will dry off eventually. And when that happens you’ll need to go through all the places you’ve applied the gel to, gather the dried off the product with a paper towel and reapply new gel.
Aside from all that, it’s obviously highly important to follow the instructions of each individual product. Since roach bait gels have different ingredients, they tend to have different user instructions, so follow them to the letter.
If you want to have an easier time reapplying the gel after it has dried off, a good trick is to apply it only index cards that you can place on the floor. This way, you’ll need to replace the index cards themselves, rather than having to clean the dried off gel with a paper towel.
One drawback of this method is that index cards can be hard to place on vertical or tricky to reach places such as walls, behind counters, under the sink, etc.
This simple, yet effective method makes roach bait gels into one of the most effective tools against roach infestations. Still, bait gels do have their disadvantages – they are usually toxic to humans and pets which makes less advisable for families with kids, dogs or cats. They also need frequent reapplying as they take time to work and also dry off quickly. Still, if you are certain that you can keep your pets and kids off of the gel baits, and you don’t mind the hassle, roach gel baits are among the best and most efficient ways to rid yourself of even the heaviest roach infestation.
So, to wrap things up, here are our Top 3 best roach bait gel suggestions:
- The Advion Cockroach Gel Bait is a very powerful product with a broad spectrum of effectiveness. It can work both indoors and outdoors, as well as in commercial and residential areas. It can kill virtually all types of household roaches and is rightfully known as one of the best roach bait gels, despite its unpleasant odor
- Vendetta Cockroach Gel Bait is a very strong and versatile poison roach bait gel. Its active ingredient is Abamectin B1 0.05% and it helps the Vendetta gel bait work against all species of cockroaches. Applicable for both residential and commercial spaces, as well as both indoors and outdoors, the Vendetta comes at a relatively nice price too
- The Invict Gold Cockroach Gel is the only item in our Top 3 that is specifically targeting a single species of cockroaches – the German roach. The reasons we’ve included the Invict Gold in our list, however, are that German roaches are notorious for being the hardest roaches to exterminate, and the Invict Gold has proven time and time again to be the best tool against them