About roach sprays
Both of those chemicals are pretty similar. Pyrethrins are a compound that’s typically found in and extracted from chrysanthemum flowers. Pyrethroids, on the other hand, are synthetic copies of pyrethrins that work in the same way as them. Two examples of pyrethrins that you can find in most common household anti-roach sprays are Imiprothrin and deltamethrin.
The way such roach killer sprays work is that they are applied upon surfaces that cockroaches go through. It is best to spray directly inside the cracks and crevices from which cockroaches crawl from in your home, as these places are usually inaccessible to your pets and children but are frequently traversed by cockroaches.
Once a cockroach or any other insect (ants, spiders, fleas, etc.) walk over a sprayed area, the chemicals are immediately absorbed through its skin.
If you spray an object that the cockroach will eat then the chemicals can be even directly ingested for an even stronger effect, but that’s rarely needed (and it involves leaving trash on your home’s floor).
Once the pyrethroid chemicals have entered the cockroach’s body they produce the so-called “known-down effect” that stops the insect in its tracks either instantly or after a short while. This is done thanks to the chemicals’ effect on the insect’s nervous system as they prevent it from sending signals or impulses throughout the bug’s body. This leads to a complete paralysis of all of the insect’s major systems and organs, and as a result – to death.
Contrary to popular belief, roach killer sprays with a higher concentration of the active ingredient don’t actually make for more effective or stronger products. They do, however, result in more long-lasting products, meaning that there’s more of the active ingredient on the sprayed area to last for months. Even products with a lesser concentration of pyrethroids or other similar chemicals can be an effective short-term solution, however, they just expire more quickly and need to be reapplied sooner. At the same time, they are typically preferred by homeowners with toddlers or pets as they are less toxic.
What alternative products should you consider?
There are a lot of different reasons why you might not want to use a cockroach spray. Usually, it’s because you might have pets or small children and you don’t want them crawling on pesticides. Even if not, you might just not want to spray pesticides in your home in general. There are natural and non-toxic bug killer sprays, of course, but those tend to be less effective in general, so you might still need a powerful roach as well as ant solution.
The most typical commercial alternative to roach sprays are roach traps and baits. Some of them work in a similar way in that they are poisonous to roaches and bugs and kill them either through ingestions or mere contact. The difference is that they are not sprayed all over your floor and walls, but are contained in small traps, usually cubically shaped. Other roach traps are not poisonous at all and contain no pesticides – instead, they use a bait placed in the center of paper or plastic sheets with glue. The roaches are attracted to the bait and stuck on the glue before they could get out.
All you need to do with either type of roach traps is just place them in several key areas around your home that roaches are likely to pass through. The roaches will be attracted by the trap and will die immediately or soon after touching it.
Of course, if you do have pets or kids, you still need to be careful as to where you’re placing the traps – it’s not uncommon for cats or dogs to mistake roach traps for toys.
There are a lot of “natural” roach remedies that are advertised online and recommended by people, but few of them actually work. You can read plenty about how citrus liquids, cucumber peels, herbal leaves, or plain soap water can repel cockroaches, but these are typically nonsense.
There are some natural ingredients that have a repelling effect on roaches and these are the ingredients used in commercial natural roach repellent sprays – essential oils such as clove or cottonseed are good examples.
If you’ve located a roach nest you can also consider some direct methods such as heat guns. Heat guns kill cockroaches by rapidly dehydrating them within seconds which is highly effective when applied on enclosed roach nests. If your roach is that serious, however, you can also simply call an exterminator.
Cockroach spray buying guide
So, if you’re looking to find a new bug killer spray option, here are the things we think you ought to consider first:
Toxic or natural. These are the two main categories of roach sprays you’ll find online. Both have their advocates and both groups of advocates tend to throw exaggerated arguments and oversimplified facts at each other. The simple truth is that both types of roach sprays can work well and do their job, but their jobs are just different.
Where highly toxic bug sprays are meant to directly exterminate existing and heavy cockroach or bug infestations, natural products are more of a preventive measure.
If you’re facing a full-blown cockroach invasion, however, or if the natural spray isn’t offering enough protection, then you need to consider a more heavy-duty chemical option. These products do have the negative downsides of often insufferable smells, as well as health risks for your pets and children if a direct contact has been accidentally allowed, but they are sometimes the only effective measure against significant bug problems.
Long-lasting or with little to no residual effect. As we mentioned, the concentration of the active ingredient in the product is what determines the potential long-lasting effects of the spray. Higher or lower concentrations don’t have much of an effect on the strength of the product as even long concentrations are enough to kill cockroaches on contact. However, a higher concentration will ensure that there will be more leftover residue after spraying to last for weeks, months, or sometimes even a year. This can either a positive or a negative, depending on your point of view. If you want to spray less frequently and be well protected from future roach infestations, choose a highly concentrated product. If you want less toxic residue left on your floor for your kids and pets to walk over – choose a more lightly concentrated spray.
Odorless, with an artificial smell, or with a typical bug spray smell. With lots of different products on the market, you can find all three options. Some brands add air fresheners to their sprays to achieve an artificial fruity smell (typically of lemons or other types of citrus). Other brands aim to make their roach sprays as odorless as possible, to varying degrees of success. And there are those brands – including a lot of the more prominent ones – that have chosen to leave their products with their typical and well-known “bug spray smell”. While this smell is often horrible and intolerable, this is, in fact, a marketing decision on the side of most bug spray brands. They opt to do this because there are a lot of customers that associate said smell with a potential strength and effectiveness of the product. Of course, such a correlation is not necessary and odorless or scented roach sprays can be just as potent, but that’s how customers tend to think.
There is one major upside to buying a product with an intolerable smell and that’s the fact that you can spray it in a garage or a storage area and use it as a mice repellent as well. Pesticides are often used for more than just insect pests in such a way but we’d typically recommend a dedicated mammal pest product for such situations.
Spray nozzle shape and its potential attachments also need to be considered. Before buying a roach killing spray look around your home and decide where you’re going to spray it. Roach killer sprays are typically best used in crevices and cracks that roaches crawl out of or dwell and breed in.
As such, it’s a good idea to choose a bug spray with a nozzle, straw and other attachments that will allow you to easily reach all those otherwise inaccessible areas.
Brand names are also a factor. As with any other product niche, with roach killer sprays there are also brands that are well-known for their high quality, and those that are known to be subpar. Unfortunately, there are also those that rely on old positive fame but have fallen in terms of quality, as well as good and effective brands that haven’t yet made a name for themselves on the market. To help you out a bit more, here are the brands that we’d advise you to consider first: Raid, Bengal, Advion Syngenta, Black Flag, Invict, Wondercide, Harris, Aunt Frannie’s, Ortho, Combat, and Hot Shot.
Lastly, the price should also be a factor at least to some extent. Roach killer sprays are neither the most expensive products nor the most frequently used ones. As such, price differences between different brands may not be as crucial, but it still doesn’t hurt to keep them into consideration. Don’t forget to compare the prices together with the longevity of the product – a cheap product that needs to be reapplied every month is significantly more expensive in the long run than a more expensive product that needs to be sprayed twice a year.
With all those considerations in mind, you should be read into the endless stream of customer and professional reviews and articles online. When reading customer reviews, in particular, keep in mind that they are often ill-informed, biased, or subjective. It’s not uncommon for customers to deem products ineffective or bad simply because they haven’t applied them well. Because roach and bug killer sprays need to be sprayed on areas that are frequently traversed by the pests themselves, their effectiveness is dependent on how well you’ve located said areas. If a customer has sprayed their home in places that aren’t as frequently passed through by roaches and has skipped some of the key areas and locations, then it’s quite likely that the customer will keep seeing cockroaches in the future.
Professional reviews and articles aren’t always “safe” of bias either, for rather obvious reasons. Said bias is usually easy to spot, however, and such industry reviews often provide a lot of important or additional information.
Other useful information about roach sprays
What is the difference between surface bug killer sprays and body bug sprays?
While insect killer sprays that are meant to spray on the floor, in cracks and crevices, behind baseboards, etc., are meant to instantly kill the pests, body bug sprays have a different goal. Such products simply attempt to confuse the pests and thus – to keep them away from you.
Mosquito repellents, for example, help keep mosquitoes from biting by producing an intolerably strong smell that will repel them. Mosquitoes rely on their incredibly potent sense of smell to locate their victims based on lactic acids and carbon dioxide. When you spray yourself with a body bug spray, however, the spray confuses the insect and prevents it from landing on you and biting you. This is typically done through one of four traditional active ingredients – DEET, Picaridin, IR3535 or lemon eucalyptus oil. All of them are non-toxic to humans and pets which is why it’s all right to spray them on your body.
This needs to be mentioned in a roach killer spray article because there are millions of people that tend to use roach killer sprays on their pets to keep fleas and ticks away. There is literally an incalculable number of stories circling online about people finding stray puppies and spraying them with Raid, Black Flag, and other such products before taking them to the vet. This can lead to either skin rashes, loss of hair or even more dangerous health problems. It’s not uncommon for such symptoms to not become immediately visible or noticeable, but the animal’s internal physical health to be strained and put at risk after the skin has absorbed the bug killer spray.
Never use a bug killer spray on a human’s or animal’s skin unless it’s just a simple natural repellent.
Is it normal to have roaches worse after spraying?
A lot of people complain that they are seeing more roaches after spraying with certain products. This can be due to different factors. It might be that they are just using subpar products that attract certain species of roaches rather than repelling them (there are ~4000 different species of roaches in the world). It could also be due to the fact that you’ve had much more roaches in your home than you thought and the spray has thrown them into disarray, as well as is preventing them from escaping as it has cut off their escape routes. If you have that many cockroaches in your home calling an exterminator is generally a good idea.
Are roach and bug killer sprays safe to use during pregnancies?
Roach killer sprays are deemed safe for people and pets if they are applied properly and direct contact is avoided. What about pregnant women, however? There are countless chemicals and medicaments that are considered safe for people but are said to need to be avoided by pregnant women. Does the same go for cockroach killer sprays?
There are multiple studies that have been done on whether indoor pesticides have a noticeable negative effect on a pregnant woman’s or her baby’s health, but the results are inconclusive. The general consensus is that if the chemical spray is applied properly and in adequate doses, and if direct contact is avoided, it should be 100% safe for every human in the household, pregnant or not. Still, if you want to be safe, you can just use cockroach traps during pregnancies instead.
Are cockroach killer sprays safe for plants?
Some commercial products are advertised as safe for plants, but it’s generally advisable to never directly spray a plant with such a product, even if it’s less toxic than most. That’s especially true if it’s a plant or a vegetable that you intend to eat yourself.
So, roach killer sprays are safe for pets and kids as long as direct contact is avoided?
Yes and no. As long as direct skin contact and exposure with the sprays isn’t allowed, especially while it is still wet, your pets and should be fine. There is another potential risk, however, especially with babies and pets – touching, playing with, or eating dead cockroaches. Even if you’ve sprayed in areas that are 100% inaccessible to your kids and pets, if the roach hasn’t died immediately upon contacting the spray, it may have crawled out in the open and died there. If your pet eats one or more poisoned cockroaches you might want to get it to a vet as soon as possible. To avoid that, it’s advisable to keep your pets and kids away from sprayed areas for a couple of days (until the roaches have died off or escaped). Since people typically spray in bathrooms and kitchens only, this is rarely that big of a problem.
Cockroach spray usage
To give you an idea of what you should do, however, there are several universal principles that go for all chemical roach killer sprays:
- Choose your target areas well. You can spray an entire can in our home if you want but if you miss a couple of key spots where roaches come from then your efforts might be in vain (or at the very least the spray might take a while to work). The effectiveness of roach killer sprays is largely dependent on how well you’ve chosen your target areas.
- Spray the product not only in areas that are frequently traversed by cockroaches, ants, and other insect pests, but are also rarely (or never) touched by the members of your family, be they adults, children, toddlers or pets.
- Make sure that you’re achieving a nice and effective spread of the product. In an effort to conserve the product or maintain a relatively toxin-free home, a lot of owners apply the roach killer sprays too lightly which greatly diminishes their effectiveness. The opposite mistake is also often made – in trying to apply enough product, some homeowners spray too much which is a waste of product (especially if sprayed in the wrong place) and it will require more time to dry off.
- Most such products are safe once they’ve dried off (as long as your pet isn’t actively licking the area), but are toxic while they are still wet (even when they claim otherwise). So, just to be safe, just close and lock the door for half an hour after spraying.
Keep all kids and pets away from the treated areas while the product is drying off. Different roach killer sprays need different amounts of time to dry off – some do it almost instantaneously, while others can need 15 – 30 minutes.
- Proper ventilation is usually a good idea. Even if the spray doesn’t have that strong of an odor you’d usually want to ventilate the area as well as possible. For one, it will help the spray to dry off even quicker. Additionally, even the weakest scent can attract the attention of your pet and you don’t want that.
- Mark your calendar for when you’ll need to reapply the spray. Every spray has a set period of effectiveness depending on its concentration. Once that period has passed your home will once again be vulnerable to insect invaders. The easiest way to avoid that is to just mark your calendar.
- It should go without saying, but you need to always keep your home spotlessly clean. Even clean homes can get infested with cockroaches or other pests, but they are generally at a much lower risk of that. Cockroaches don’t just come to our homes to bother us – they come to eat food waste and dirt. Properly cleaning your home’s every nook and corner, as well as frequently throwing away your trash will drastically reduce the risk of a cockroach invasion.
- Seal up any cracks, holes, and crevices in your home. These are the typical places that cockroaches tend to lay their eggs in, so sealing them up is a good way to make your home even less cockroach-friendly.
So, as complicated as it can seem to find the best cockroach spray or even just a roach spray that works, we hope that this article has shed at least some light on the matter. So, to wrap things up, here are once again our choices for the Top 3 best bug spray for roaches on the market right now:
- The Bengal Roach Spray is a nylon and permethrin-based product that is a highly effective and long-lasting solution to almost all bug problems indoors and outdoors. It’s almost odorless, but it’s also very toxic, so keep it away from pets and kids.
- The Raid Max Ant & Roach Spray is an expected inclusion to any best professional roach spray list. It has a very practical design that allows for wide-spreading, as well as precise reach into otherwise inaccessible places. It kills roaches and other insects upon contact and it prevents their further spread for months when applied to non-porous surfaces.
- Lastly, the Black Flag Dry Aerosol is another great roach repellent spray that will quickly finish off any roach or bug that passes through the treated areas. It is easy to apply on all kinds of cracks and crevices at home, which is where roaches typically dwell and breed in. It is a very potent solution with a nice long-lasting effect and should defiantly be considered when looking for the best professional roach spray.