What Methods and Chemicals Do Exterminators Use for Roaches?

Finding a cockroach infestation on your property can come as a terrifying shock. Thanks to their nasty habit of hanging out in drains and sewers, these universally-despised creatures are well-known carriers of diseases. In addition to carrying bacteria all over your home, cockroaches can also cause big problems for allergy sufferers. The feces and shed skin of cockroaches can trigger asthma attacks in people who share their homes with the bugs.

To top off all of that, roaches stink. They secrete an oily substance that has a disgusting, musty odor. While this odor can be unnoticeable at first, it can quickly become overpowering as the number of roaches increases. If your food has a musty cockroach smell, throw it away. Even cooking the food will not make it safe for consumption. 

Unfortunately, roaches thrive in the company of humans. That is why they can be found invading homes and businesses all over the world. These prolific breeders also multiply at a frightening rate. Just one or two cockroaches can become tens of thousands over the course of a single year. This means that before you know it, you can find yourself dealing with a heavy infestation.

If you find roaches in your house, taking immediate action is crucial. It is relatively easy to deal with a small number of cockroaches. An infestation, on the other hand, will require professional intervention.

If you find a nest of cockroaches on your property, the best thing to do is to call an exterminator – quickly! An exterminator will be able to tackle the problem effectively, getting rid of your roach problem in no time at all.

But what methods and chemicals do exterminators use to get rid of roaches? Read on for the techniques that are most commonly used to eliminate everyone’s least-favorite insect!

Gel Bait

Gel baits can be an effective way of eliminating cockroaches. This is why they are often used by pest control experts. These gels use various insecticides and come packaged in a handy syringe. This syringe can apply small amounts of the gel anywhere that roaches lurk around your home, such as in cracks and crevices. The roaches will eat the gel bait and die shortly afterward.

The best thing about gel bait is that, when used with certain insecticides, it can kill several generations of cockroaches. Roaches feed on one another’s bodies and feces, allowing the poisoned and dead insects to transmit the insecticide to the living.

Tent Fumigation

Tent fumigation may have limited success against cockroaches as they are known to be able to survive such treatment. Even if only a few roaches survive, their high reproduction rate means that they can multiply in no time at all. Before you know it, you will find yourself back at square one!

Insecticides and Chemicals for Cockroach Control 

Boric Acid

Boric acid is one of the most common roach control chemicals. It is often applied as a dust, which is scattered over surfaces around the home and puffed into cracks and crevices where cockroaches hide. Roaches then crawl over these surfaces and become coated in the powder. They will ingest it when preening their legs and antennae. Since boric acid remains effective almost indefinitely as long as it stays dry, this is a great solution for long-term roach control.


Indoxacarb is an insecticide that is highly effective at cockroach eradication. It is often a component of gel baits and your pest control expert may also employ indoxacarb to exterminate your roaches. As with baits mentioned above, when live roaches come in contact with the feces and dead bodies of poisoned insects, they become poisoned by indoxacarb as well. This insecticide is, therefore, highly effective and can kill up to three generations of cockroaches.


Roach bait often uses hydramethylnon since it only takes effect once ingested. Once eaten by the cockroach, it causes death by disrupting the metabolic processes and energy production of the pest. This insecticide is highly effective against German roaches.


Cockroach infestations can be a nightmare to deal with. The lightning-fast reproductive rate of these loathsome creatures means that their population can explode in a matter of weeks. This, when added to their ability to squeeze into every tiny crack and crevice, makes them a highly persistent pest. It can be almost impossible to eradicate them without expert assistance.

Calling in a pest control professional is often the best course of action if your roach situation is out of control. They will typically use a gel bait containing various insecticides to effectively kill your cockroaches. Exterminators will sometimes dust chemicals like boric acid over exposed surfaces as an additional weapon in their battle.

Whatever method your exterminator chooses to use, make sure that you also employ preventative measures to keep them from coming back and rid your home of roaches for good!


Robyn Self

I take a half a bottle of boric acid mix it with some warm water put on my rubber gloves and wash my kitchen cabinets and my counters in and out all over with this and roaches do not come in my cabinets I take the boric acid I put it on top of my door frame along my window ledge anywhere that powder can sit I will put it around the baseboard of my house I do not ever have roaches I’m getting ready to move next month into a building with roaches I am going over in the morning and I’m going to use my boric acid before I move in it works people


    Thanks a lot for sharing your experience!


Is it possible that our landlord/maintenance guy painted the German roaches in the walls and they are eating their way out. We are heavily invested. They didn’t start till the paint started cracking


    Not sure about them having been painted in there, however, roaches do sometimes live in the walls. They have a talent for finding different types of cracks and crevices to crawl through. If you have hollow walls, those can sometimes hold rather severe infestations. To answer your question though, no, I don’ t think they were painted in, I believe it to be more likely that the paint cracking simply gave them a better opportunity to get out.


Help I just moved into an apartment that I think has a roach problem.


    Well, first, you should determine whether or not you are indeed dealing with roaches. If your assumption is correct, you should read our article about getting rid of cockroaches to figure out what your options are.


    Please HELP! My husband and I just signed a new lease on an apartment and as we were cleaning before moving out things in we found roaches. We have sprayed and fogged and we are still seeing them whenever we go in there and the landlord will not help us with the problem. We are expecting another child next month we cannot move into roaches.


    If you feel like trying to deal with the situation yourselves, read this article to see what your options are. Other than that, you can hire an exterminator. Good luck!


    Do gel roach killers have growth inhibitors in them?


    No, gels don’t usually contain growth regulators.

    Sherri Wiggins

    I just moved in also and I know I have a roach problem definitely! I have been putting boric acid down and I wanted to know how long does it take to work or should I just get an exterminator and follow up behind him?


    It should be applied every few days for a few months. Once the roaches are gone, keep applying for one more month or so. That being said, it’s a method that takes quite some time and effort. It does work well, though.
    You can also contact a professional. Though, if you want to know more about what other options you have for the DIY way, you should check out this article.

Lawrence Graham

German cockroaches particularly large infestations are next to impossible for the homewowner to get rid of. I’ve wasted countless dollars on WP demon, advion gel Fc magnum force gel boric acid diamataceous earth and to be honest they love all that stuff. I could have hired 3 exterminators for the money I’ve wasted. Whatever they use is either a higher potency or an entirely different chemical we can’t buy


I live in a mobile home and I’m infested with black and brown cockroaches I’ve used every kind of spray or liquid or gel that you can buy at Walmart and a couple from do-it-yourself and because I have drug addicts in the mobile park where I live there filthy habits from cascading into my house what is the best method for me eliminating large amounts of roaches at a time? As it stands now I use diatomaceous earth and glue pads


    You can start by reading this article. You might be able to find something well-suited for you. Other than that, is there any chance you might be able to figure out where their entry points are, to seal them off, if possible?

Carol sue hurley

Getting ready to move i n a townhouse &land has smoked bomed & they were laying dean in kitchen floor we seen 2 crawling while we were looking at the place she said she will get an exterminater in there will that help

General Blast

We are dealing with a rather nasty German roach infestation. Exterminators have been in 3 times and still they persist. The numbers are getting down but we cannot slack off. There are gel baits, sticky traps and pyro down and catching lots. We plugged up everything we could with expanding foam. I have found an effective direct control method is dish doap in water delivered by spray bottle. This kills the roaches by plugging the spiricles they use to breathe, effectively suffocating them. It is like being on a battlefield and the enemy out weighs you a thousand to one. For the sticky traps the most effective bait is peanut butter. Do you have any further advice for us?


    Did you call the same exterminators for a follow-up? Or did you choose new ones each time? It’s hard to tell what to do due to a lack of information. First of all, how long has it been since the first extermination? It can take a while until the last roaches disappear. You can give this article a read, to get a better understanding of how it goes. Have you asked your exterminators how long it would take after using their preferred methods for the roaches to disappear?


Can u get roaches from a house next to yours


    Yes, it’s possible. Cockroaches are very mobile, they can move house-to-house.


The co-op I’ve been going to has this roach liquid solution you mix with water. It’s Zefar or something like that. It works great. But the co-op is closing. Would like to get more, but don’t know where.. I live in Evansville, IN. Help! Thanks.


    Not sure I know what product you’re referring to. However, you can try asking your seller for advice. They might be able to tell you where to get the product.

David Vasquez

We have had the same exterminator here 4 times (about to be 5 times) over the last 2 months. We are still seeing roaches. We have sticky traps, baits, gels, etc. Nothing seems to be working. Is there anything we can do?


    Sorry to hear you’ve had such a bad experience. First of all, do you live in a house or in an apartment building? If you live in an apartment, perhaps the whole building is infested which means treating just your apartment won’t resolve the problem.

    Getting rid of roaches can be difficult and can take time. Though, are the exterminators charging for each time they do a treatment? Many companies do free follow-ups until the job is done. You should ask your exterminators what might be the reason you’re still seeing bugs, as they have knowledge of what products and methods they are using, as well as the results they have.

    You can give this article a read to get the general ideas of what options are there. Though, we suggest not doing anything on your own because your treatments might interfere with those done by the professionals. Same goes for doing the cleaning after the treatment – you shouldn’t be doing any deep cleaning for as long as you can after the treatment. Waiting 5 to 10 days to do the cleaning would be preferred.

Kierra W.

When should I replace appliances after treatment


    You should ask this to your exterminator, as they know what they used to treat your home.

Cyndi Taylor

I have a whole house 2500 single level on foundation cockroach infestation. Should we move everything out before we fumigate? Will an expert suggest?


    If you’re about to hire professionals, it’s always best to just them specifically. They know what they’re using, as well as precautions that should be taken.

Shelane Williams

How do I keep roaches out of my apartment if my neighbors aren’t clean?


    Ideally, the problem should be addressed by your neighbor as well. However, take a look at this article for tips on what you can do to make it less of your problem.


Robyn, You say “take half a bottle of Boric Acid and mix with some warm water”.
Can you be a bit more explicit, please. What size bottle (in pints or litres) and how much water (in pints or litres) ? What is the strength of the Boric Acid you buy?
Your technique sounds promising but I want to get the proportions right.


Hi, we are moving our stuff out of storage and noticed the storage building has roaches. Unknown whether our unit has them but the units are open at the top so most likely it does. We already spoke to our landlord about the pest control they provide upon move in and plan on having our own exterminator once we do. We are wondering what’s best action to prevent bringing them back to our house.


    Exterminators should be able to deal with the issue, as for what to do next, make sure to inspect your belongings before bringing them indoors.


I have a question I moved in a place where I thought I never been I’m terrified of bugs and of course this place has roaches please is there anything I have 4 children and we do have a terminator it just seems like they go away for a few weeks and then bam theres 10 15 I’m screaming yelling running my daughter dose the same thing my boys well lets just say there boys they here when they here they do bite i am understanding that and we are understand were its coming from but there’s nothing I can do about it How can i keep there roaches away from my apartment


    If the whole building is infested, you’ll need the whole building treated to see lasting results. If that’s not possible, we suggest reading this article for some tips. It won’t fix the problem, but it should make your situation better.

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