What to Expect After a Roach Exterminator Treatment

The worst has happened, and you’ve suddenly found your home infested with cockroaches. You’ve called the exterminator, and they’ve come in, sprayed and baited and done their thing. But what happens next? Here is what to expect after an exterminator sprays for roaches.

Important!

Do not clean! Cleaning treatment areas, especially deep cleaning, can interfere with the exterminator’s treatment. You can do some light cleaning in the case of spills or similar messes and you can wipe up any visible dust with a damp paper towel. However, if possible, you should wait 5-10 days after treatment to do any thorough cleaning.

This doesn’t mean you should not clean anywhere. You should thoroughly clean your eating surfaces and any dishes or silverware left out prior to the exterminator’s arrival. Just avoid cleaning the treated parts of your home (e.g., baseboards). You don’t want to undo all that hard work!

ou should also keep your eating areas clean so that the roaches are attracted to the baits, not your leftover dinner. Similarly, keep sinks and bathtubs as dry as possible. The cockroaches will die more quickly without access to water.

So, the exterminator came but there’re still roaches?

It’s common to see roaches after an extermination. Do not spray or use a bug bomb in the area! This can interfere with the exterminator’s treatment and cause any remaining roaches to scatter away from the bomb, possibly causing an infestation in areas of your home where roaches were not previously seen. You can vacuum up the ones you see if you just can’t stand them, but don’t use any chemical controls.

After an extermination you can expect to see roaches for a few weeks, even in the daytime, which you may not have seen before. This is because the treatment confuses the roaches, and their normal habits are disrupted.

They will usually be walking slowly, as they are dying. The number of dead roaches you see should eventually decrease as time goes on.

Be sure to clean up the carcasses as you see them and keep track of problem areas. You can vacuum up the carcasses or collect them individually with a tissue and flush them down the toilet.

Should I be seeing baby roaches after an extermination?

Yes, it is also perfectly normal to see baby roaches after an extermination. The life cycle of the German cockroach (the most common cockroach pest in homes and businesses) is about 100 days from egg to nymph to adult. The babies you are seeing are the nymphs.

At the time of treatment, the babies were likely still in their egg form. And since a normal cockroach egg sac can contain up to 40 eggs it’s common to see quite a few baby roaches after a cockroach treatment. But not to worry! The nymphs are hungry and will eat anything they can including the bait and dead adults, which are poisoned themselves. They won’t be exempt from the exterminator’s treatment!

What to do if you are still seeing roaches after an extermination?

First things first, don’t panic! It takes about two weeks for all the roaches to be flushed out. Severe infestations might even require a second treatment. But your exterminator should let you know if this is needed.

Continue to do light cleaning as mentioned above (keep eating areas clean, don’t leave out food or food waste and keep sinks and bathtubs dry). If they are finding food and water sources, it will take longer for them to die.

Also, keep paper and cardboard tucked away and away from the kitchen, especially if it’s wet. Wet paper products contain both food and water that cockroaches need to survive. So get rid of it ideally in sealed bags outside, away from the immediate vicinity of the home.

Do roaches come back after extermination?

Although it is unlikely that roaches will come back, it is possible. This is most common in living situations where people are housed close together, such as in apartments, garden-style houses, and neighborhoods where houses are not spaced very far apart. It’s a good idea to talk to your neighbors, and check to see if they are experiencing problems as well. Roaches can migrate in after your successful treatment.

And even if you do everything right, roaches can still find a way back into your life. There are many ways this can happen, after all, roaches survive best with people.

Roaches can be brought back into your home through a garage sale and flea market finds.

Careful inspection with a flashlight can often tell if your new-found treasure is contaminated, but if you are unsure, you can leave it outdoors in full sunlight for a full day. Or, if the item is small, it can be placed in the freezer in a plastic bag for a day — if any hitchhikers were present, they’ll be dead inside the bag.

Sometimes even cans and beverages from the store can carry an unwanted invader. The corrugated cardboard boxes that everything is shipped in are the perfect breeding ground for roaches. Most stores you are likely to shop at work hard to keep their stores roach-free, but many get shipments in from all over the world, so it does happen from time to time. As soon as you get home, clean your cans and bottles before putting them away in the pantry, just to be safe.

Moving from place to place can also bring along roaches. Wrapping clean clothing and belongings in plastic can help, but, as we mentioned before, cardboard boxes are a favorite habitat.

If you’ve seen one or two roaches but aren’t really sure if they are holdouts from the treatment or new cockroaches arriving, you can set simple sticky traps in cabinets under the sink, behind the refrigerator or wherever roaches are typically seen. It will be obvious if there is a continued problem, or if you simply caught a couple of strays. In any case, make note of the location, and keep an eye on it.

If you are still experiencing a roach problem after six months, it is a good idea to contact your exterminator and find out how can you schedule another inspection.

38 Comments

Lynn Stephens

I contacted someone to exterminate german cockroaches. I believe I got their name from you. They came the first time never saw dead bugs. He came back again 5 dead bugs. I called him to come back today and the warranty will be over. I do not feel he ever got rid of the bugs. What should I do? Thank You Lynn Stephens

    Kristiana Kripena

    You can try contacting the exterminator’s superiors if you have doubts about their work. Or, you can also ask for a second opinion from another pest control company. Some even do free pest inspections.

    Sarah

    Hi I wasn’t informed that I shouldn’t spray after treatment because it might confuse them. Should I ask him to come back? It just happened today. I was trying to kill the ones I saw but couldn’t reach

    InsectCop

    We suggest you contact the exterminator for the advice. Make sure you tell them what products you used, the areas you used them in, etc. The spray might have interfered with the treatment but it’s hard to say for sure without knowing what treatment was used by the professionals. Companies are usually educated and will know how their treatments interact with other products.

    E

    Hi! I’m wanting to eliminate roaches for good. Is this possible to completely get rid of them? We had our monthly exterminator spray a few weeks ago and had them come back to do an inspection as well as spray the exterior and interiors of the house because my husband and I have have seen big roaches and one small one. A total of 6 throughout these past weeks. Does this mean we have an infestation? I asked our guy and he said he believes we don’t, that he just thinks they are coming in from outside. We believe they have been coming from outside too because we found a huge crack in two of our doors and got them fixed. I am worried that i have seen a few within a few weeks. I don’t want to see a single one. He also said he doesnt feel we need to bait the cabinets. Should I have another guy come in to inspect? ⁹

    InsectCop

    Getting a second opinion is never a bad idea. However, it isn’t always necessary. It’s hard to say whether your home infested or they’re really just coming from the outside. We suggest trusting your expert waiting for a little while to see if there will be any new ones in your home. Also, make sure to seal off ALL the cracks and crevices around your home, or else they might just find some new ones. Also, if you do end up needing another extermination (because it’s always a possibility), that will make the chance of another extermination smaller.
    As for whether or not it’s possible to get rid of them completely, it depends. Yes, it’s possible to get rid of them. And yes, it’s possible to take preventative measures in the future, which will actually make the risk smaller. Still, nothing will ever give you a 100% guarantee of never having to see them again!

Kathryn

Keep your laundry delicates in ziplock bags. Keep an open box of baking soda in the fridge for easy access to “bomb” them so they take it back home when eaten. It’s fatal. The ascorbic acid works well between the sink and stove and behind the fridge. Use products to get rid of the humidity. Watch for fragrances of home aroma products! The scent is what they are attracted to.

Kevin

I am a landlord and have a three unit house. 1 bedroom and efficiency both downstairs, 2 bedroom upstairs. upstairs apartment was infested with roaches, exterminator sprayed about a week ago and killed a lot of roaches. I am evicting the tenant at the end of the month, (august). I plan on having the exterminator come back after the apartment is empty, at the end of the month. My question is how soon do you think I would be able to rent the apartment again after spraying the second time, without anyone else having to deal with the roaches?

    InsectCop

    This is a question that should be asked the exterminator, who knows the methods and products that will be used, as well as their efficiency and possible hazards.

    Esh

    I live in an apartment, Both apartments below and above me are vacant and have been for sometime. Suddenly I have a roach infestation! Normally would be a big deal but my son is allergic and to German cockroaches which are what I’ve had. I let off 4 Fogger (Apartments recommended) The next day I cleaned and put down boric acid. The next night I see tons more babies and parents. So i assume nothing is working. What else can I do?!. I can’t live there because my son is allergic highly.

    InsectCop

    First of all, you should contact your landlord on this matter. At for the roaches, you can try reading this article to see what your options are. However, since the general infestations are likely to be taking place in places other than your apartment (e.g. the walls, empty apartments, etc), I can’t guarantee you’ll have much luck. My general suggestion would be getting in contact with your landlord, and exterminatiors.

Josie

Hi. I searched this topic and found your article. 🙂 We were having a fluctuating issue with the smoky brown cockroach (I am in Texas), and finally decided enough was enough and had an exterminator treat the house, inside and out, about two months ago. After a month we were continuing to see a few adults, but mostly nymphs; about one or two a day. We called and had them come out again. They treated additional areas around the house, again inside and out. I have read that the egg sac can take up to 45 days to hatch so I was hoping that these were just the last remaining since the treatment. But here we are, now 60 days and I feel like I am seeing more nymphs than ever. No adults, just nymphs. Daily, and sometimes several at once. And now they are in all parts of the house, where as the adults had been pretty limited to just a few areas. Do you think there is a reason why we would suddenly be seeing them in such numbers? Is it likely there is an area of the house that got missed? Thanks. J

    InsectCop

    The fact that you’re seeing no adults is a good thing. Normally, the nymphs should die sometime rather soon after the hatching due to coming in contact with the poison left behind by the exterminators. Is there a chance you did a deep cleaning too soon afterward? Also, it wouldn’t be such a bad idea to contact the exterminator once more. Perhaps they should do another treatment. However, there is also a possibility that the nymphs are still about to die.

Sharon

We just had an exterminator come to the house last week to spray for roaches and set mosquito traps in our yard ($400 it cost us!!!). We moved into our rental house a few months ago and I had seen a few baby roaches in our shower and one huge American roach on our kitchen floor. I have a phobia of roaches so even seeing one roach is one roach too many. Anyway, now I am scarred for life because today I went to open the toothbrush drawer in the bathroom to brush my teeth and there was a huge roach ON MY TOOTHBRUSH!! Also, I saw another baby roach in the shower. I want to move out at this point or burn this place down because I just CANNOT with these roaches. I am terrified to go into the bathroom! I went to Lowes tonight and bought roach baits, roach motels and boric acid and I’m going to call the exterminator again tomorrow. I don’t feel like anything was done to help the problem. Help!!!!

    InsectCop

    As the article explains, it’s normal to see roaches and baby cockroaches even weeks after the treatment. However, contacting your exterminator again as well as using baits to catch the stray roaches is a really good idea. We also have an article on getting rid of cockroaches that might be of interest to you and provide you with some additional ideas on how to manage the infestation.

Kathy

A house across the street was sprayed for roaches a few weeks ago. Shortly after that we began to see some show up here in our house. We’ve never had roaches. How long can they travel?

    InsectCop

    Generally speaking, there are two possible causes for your problem. There’s a possibility you’re also having an infestation which has likely been going on for a while but simply gotten larger therefore causing the roaches to show up in visible areas (since the roaches are more likely to stay hidden in areas where they won’t be disturbed, they might crawl out of their hiding places once it gets too crowded). On this occasion, it might just be a matter of hiding. The second possibility might be that your neighbors spraying their property might have caused the roaches to seek another refuge. Either way, we suggest dealing with the problem. If you want to try doing it on your own, read our article on dealing with the problem. You can also hire professional exterminators.

    Amanda

    I been dealing with these things at my place over a year of me living here. They stopped spraying monthly after the first 3 months I was living here. It’s gotten so bad, no matter how clean I keep it I saw an abundance. (I have 2 young kids who make terrible messes and live in a prime area for them to live in as well as many areas needing to be sealed up which I have brought to attention but they haven’t attempted to do so). I bought some professional grade stuff for my place and to treat the new place before I move in. I even bombed which i dodnt know was a bad idea. I re spray here and there. I am now seeing fewer adults and more of the various nymph stages. I got rid of all the cardboard boxes and I am just goping that they dont come among when I move. My entertainment center is wood and I’m afraid between that and my electronics they will still come with. I have some video game consoles and internet box which are their favorite items, a large TV, and some DVD players I haven’t used in a while. What would be the best way to treat the elecronics?

    InsectCop

    You should read this article. It has lots of info that you might find helpful in your battle with these bugs.

Stephanie

We had seen a few roaches and had a treatment done in our kitchen. 2 weeks later I was still killing 5 or so a day. So they did another treatment. Then 3 weeks later we were still seeing adults (1 every other day or so). So we had them come out and treat a 3rd time. Now I am a month+ out from the 3rd treatment in which the exterminator said they didn’t have any bugs come out during the flushing. But I am still killing an adult every couple days in my kitchen. Does it take months to get rid of them? I asked them to treat under the house, but they swore the cochroaches could not be coming in from that point, is that true? We do have a water access line that the city owns and a creek that run beside our house.

    InsectCop

    Sounds like they might be coming from a different spot that hasn’t yet been treated. It is normal for the young roaches to roam around for a while after the treatment, however, sounds like it’s been a while since the first one, as well as the last one. Obviously, it is possible that the roaches are still going to die, yet, the reason why they haven’t already, might be that the place where they come from hasn’t been treated.

    If the professionals inspected the spot in person, they should be competent to determine whether on not roaches can use the said place as an entry point. However, some roaches can actually use plumbing pipes to get in, so, if you have any openings in the floor related to these pipes, that might be how the roaches get in.

    It’s hard to tell. However, it’s probably a good idea to at least investigate the floor as a possible entry point.

    Caroline

    Hi I’ve been having a terrible roach infestation for about 2 years possibly more the last two times they fumigated it didn’t do nothing they didn’t go away it’s gotten bad they are on everything always on the door hinges tons in the restroom even when there’s no running or left over water in the carpet on the door on the ceilings everywhere I find them I can’t seem to get rid of them I’m at my wits end I’m planning on doing another fumigation but I worry it will be ineffective again plus it’s hard because I have 2 young children who are very messy and make it even more difficult to keep clean

Susan E Rizzi

no one has asked about pets after spraying. i have professionals comming monday 2 dogs one cat. how can i keep them safe after spraying?

    InsectCop

    This is something that should be discussed with exterminators. The safety measurements depend on the products that are being used.

Brian

I just moved into an apartment that was vacant for a long time. I’ve seen a few big adult roaches each week, so I finally had an exterminator come in to treat the place. I was away for about a week after that, but in the week since I’ve been back I just got another adult roach, who looked like he was walking slower than usual, possibly poisoned. I assume this is a good sign? Why am I only seeing adult roaches ? After what time period, if I still see roaches, do I have to have the exterminator come back? Thanks so much for your help!

    InsectCop

    Yes, if the roaches are slower, it’s likely due to them being poisoned, which is a good sign. We suggest giving it two weeks before calling the exterminators again. Seeing the roaches up to two weeks after the treatment is completely normal.

Denise

I moved in a place that I seen a few roaches. I hate them so I didn’t totally move in. The owner had the exterminator treat twice nothing happened. They are everywhere! There’s no food but they still appear on the ceiling in the refrigerator and dishwasher. I mean everywhere. So I had my brother spray something he’s been using at other family members homes and it worked for them. I bombed twice my son put boric acid down and I’m seeing fewer but I want them gone! If I get rid of them and they run somewhere will they come back? I can’t take it!

    InsectCop

    Are you renting an apartment or a whole house? I assume you’re talking about an apartment, in which case the infestation is probably within the whole building rather than just your apartment. In this case, the whole building should be treated or else it won’t do much good. Meanwhile, you can seal all the possible entry points to somewhat deal with the problem, as well as read our article about getting rid of roaches.
    As for the extermination being done, how long has it been since the exterminators visited you? Sometimes it takes some time for the treatment to show results. Also, did you make sure not to use any other treatments on your own afterward, for an appropriate amount of time? That might interfere with the initial treatment. The same goes for deep cleaning.

Rika

Hello i just moved into an apartment…well i guess you can say move on …I refuse to move my stuff in….but anyway….I just moved in and when I did my walk thru I noticed roaches dead and alive all in the side paneling of the bathroom door ,,,one on the ceiling in the hallway by the bathroom…..I also saw a couple by my cabinets and when I opened the refrigerator it was like 2 crawling in there and 1 dead in the freezer………..I’m freaking out and I don’t know what to do!!!! I have little toddlers and I’m terrified of roaches ……..the neighbor next door was being nosey and told me she had roaches but they weren’t bad ……the landlord said he was going to have them spray in the next 2 days but spraying one time won’t solve the issue ..:I think it’s an infestation…what do I do????

    InsectCop

    Sounds like the building really is infested. In which case extermination is required. We suggest calling professional exterminators to do an inspection an deal with the problem. Meanwhile, we suggest reading our article about getting rid of roaches for some tips on how to ease the problem within your own living space to at least some extent.

Fern

I have been visited twice by exterminator to treat roaches in my kitchen. Still after two weeks I’ve seen bigger roaches still coming out moving fast in my counter. I didn’t know I shouldn’t clean or use any spray. To kill it . But , I can’t take seeing roaches from the counter crawling so I sprayed. It seems like it’s coming from the behind the counter that houses the dishwasher and stove. Would it be a good idea to ask building manager to move these items to see the area where the bugs were coming from. Or should I just call another pest control company for second opinion? I’m so worried because my family loves to cook and we don’t love take outs. Please give me good advice.

    InsectCop

    You can try by contacting the same exterminator for a follow-up. Some companies will do them for free if the roaches aren’t gone. You can also call another company if you so wish. Just keep in mind not to do anything on your own after the treatment, unless you’ve been approved by your professionals.

Julia

We just moved into a new apartment and there is a big infestation in the outside area of the apartment/in the community. Mostly they are oriental roaches and some american roaches. At night it is so bad that you need to watch your step. During the day you see nothing. We saw two adult oriental roaches in our home the first two days of living here. One was right next to the door, the other in the kitchen. After that they have sprayed the entire exterior right next to our apartment. 4 days after spraying we are seeing baby roaches inside. One during the day in our office, the other two in the evening yesterday and today closer to the main door. What are the chances that the roaches are just coming in from outside? luckily the management was cooperative and we will be released from the lease without penalty, but have to stay until the end of August so we have time to find a new place. We are worried that the bay roaches will crawl into our stuff and we take them with us. Is this very likely to happen? We read all about not packing in cardboard boxes and so on, but are very worried. Tomorrow an exterminator is coming in as well to inspect the place.

    InsectCop

    After having a treatment, it’s normal to see baby roaches for a while. It usually takes time for the treatment to eliminate all the roaches.
    As for moving the roaches with you, yes, it’s possible. Make sure to check everything before packing it. Vacuum it, wash it, etc. Shake the electronics.

Shawn

My wife and I live in Minnesota, purchased a home, which then we found to have cockroaches as we were moving in. Called a local exterminator, and he told me that it was a fairly severe infestation. We are refraining from moving any more items into the house, and are not living there. I know they do not naturally occur outside in Minnesota, and were most likely brought in by the previous owner. My questions are, since it is summer time, will the roaches be pushed outside from the treatments, and then return when the weather cools? How likely is it that all of them would be completely erradicated, and I will never have to deal with these things again? Two full treatments have been done, and will have 2 follow ups in the upcoming weeks. They are recommending that I have several more follow ups afterwards spanning as far as 6 months, which I will. My wife and I are concerned as to whether this may be years long battle, and having to fork over extra money to keep them at bay. Thank you.

    InsectCop

    Fortunately, it’s very likely your cockroach problem will be completely eliminated. That, however, doesn’t mean you’re absolutely never going to get a new infestation. As a matter of fact, there is no bullet-proof way to ensure that. But your chances seem pretty good.

Margaret

I lived in an apartment where the entire building was infested with German roaches. The infestation was so severe I would see them everywhere and in broad day light: in cabinets, on the floor, crawling inside the computer printer, sitting on top of books, etc. I moved into a new house but I assumed that no matter how hard I tried (Shaming everything out, bagging things, deep cleaning every item before packing) some would come with me, which is what happened. I would see about two every night in the new house. This time I called an exterminator. They performed a treatment all over the inside of the house three weeks ago. Since that time, I haven’t found a single dead roach but I have seen about one live one most nights, usually very late, Sometimes nymphs, sometimes adults. The last adult I saw was a few day’s ago, which I killed. Two days went by without seeing anything and then I found a nymph last night. This is very concerning to me because three weeks have now gone by since the treatment and according to your article, nymphs should usually be dead in two weeks. The exterminator hasn’t returned yet to do the second treatment phase of bait traps. What do you suggest? Was the first treatment ineffective?

    InsectCop

    We suggest letting the professionals do their job and not stressing about it until the job is done completely. Also, you should be asking these questions to them, as they’re aware of what exactly they’re using and what the exact effects should you be expecting.

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