Pest Away Tips

10 Steps to Prevent and Control American Cockroach Infestations

American cockroaches are one of the most common household pests that people encounter in the United States. They are notorious for their ability to transmit diseases, infest entire homes and cause allergies in people.

American cockroaches are also known to be very adaptable and can thrive in a variety of different environments, both indoor and outdoor. In this article, we’ll explore the American cockroach in detail, including its behavior, habitat, appearance, and life cycle.

American Cockroaches as Pests

American cockroaches are infamous for being one of the most common pests found in households throughout the United States. These cockroaches are known to be carriers of bacteria such as salmonella and E.

Coli, as well as viruses such as the polio virus. They are also known to cause allergies in people and are a cause of asthma attacks.

Behavior and Habitat

American cockroaches are typically found in warm and moist areas, both indoors and outdoors. In homes, they can be found in basements, crawl spaces, sewers, and other areas with a high level of humidity.

They are also often found in kitchens, pantries, and bathrooms due to the availability of food and water. American cockroaches are nocturnal insects, which means that they are most active at night.

During the day, they prefer to hide in dark, moist areas such as under sinks, behind appliances and in cracks and crevices.

Appearance and Life Cycle

Adult American cockroaches are typically 1-2 inches in length and have an oval-shaped body with long antennae and legs. They are reddish-brown in color and have wings, which allow them to fly short distances.

Adult American cockroaches have a lifespan of about a year. The life cycle of the American cockroach begins with eggs that are laid in oothecae, which are small egg cases.

A female American cockroach can lay up to 90 oothecae in her lifetime, each containing up to 16 eggs. The eggs hatch into nymphs, which undergo several molting stages before becoming adults.

During the molting process, the nymph sheds its exoskeleton, leaving behind a white, soft-bodied nymph. The nymphs develop wing pads as they approach adulthood.

Preventing and Controlling American Cockroach Infestations

There are a number of steps homeowners can take to prevent and control American cockroach infestations. Firstly, it’s important to eliminate sources of food and water that may attract cockroaches.

Keeping kitchens and bathrooms clean and free of crumbs and standing water is crucial. It’s also important to seal up cracks and crevices around the home to prevent cockroaches from entering.

When it comes to controlling cockroach infestations, there are a number of different methods that can be used. Insecticides can be effective for killing cockroaches, but it’s important to use them carefully and according to the label instructions.

Traps can also be effective for capturing cockroaches, but they may not be enough to completely eliminate an infestation. In severe cases, it may be necessary to call in a professional pest control company to help eradicate the problem.


American cockroaches are a common household pest that can cause a variety of health problems for people. By understanding their behavior, habitat, appearance, and life cycle, homeowners can take steps to prevent and control infestations.

By keeping living spaces clean and free of food scraps and moisture, sealing up entry points, and using appropriate control methods, it’s possible to reduce the number of American cockroaches in your home and enjoy a pest-free living environment.

3) Infestation and Health Risks

American cockroaches prefer to nest in damp and dark areas such as basements, crawl spaces, and sewers. They can also be found in various cracks, crevices, pipes, and air ducts.

When it comes to entry points, American cockroaches can squeeze through gaps as small as inch. Once inside a home, they can quickly multiply, leading to a full-blown infestation.

In addition to their unsightly appearance and ability to cause disgust, American cockroaches can pose a risk to human health. Though bites are rare, their saliva and feces can cause allergic reactions in some people.

They are also known to carry and transmit pathogens such as bacteria, viruses, and protozoa. These pathogens can cause a variety of health problems, including diarrhea, dysentery, and food poisoning.

Furthermore, the odor of a large infestation can introduce unpleasant and harmful airborne pathogens. Preventing and controlling infestations involves keeping living areas clean and free of excess moisture, sealing up cracks and entry points, and using proper control methods as needed.

If you suspect an American cockroach infestation, it is best to contact a professional pest control service that is equipped to deal with the problem effectively and safely.

4) Identification and Inspection

Identifying and locating American cockroach nests is the first step in effectively controlling an infestation. American cockroaches can leave behind droppings that resemble black pepper, and can often be found along their travel routes.

They also shed their skin as they grow, leaving behind shed skins in damp areas that are a common nesting site. Another indication of American cockroach presence is the characteristic oily, musty smell that they emit.

They lay their eggs in oothecae, which can be found in protected areas, such as wall voids and crawl spaces. These egg cases are capsule-like and brown in color.

Where fecal matter is found, chances are that on further investigation infestation will be remembered. It is often important to accurately identify the specific type of cockroach that is present.

Different cockroach species require different control methods. American cockroaches are best treated with baits and non-repellent insecticides, while German cockroaches are most effectively treated with good hygiene and sprays.

It is also essential to have accurate identification when selecting pest control products, because some insecticides can be toxic to certain animals or will not effectively control the particular species of cockroach that is present. It is important to remember that cockroach infestations often require multiple methods of control.

While insecticides are often part of the treatment plan, they are not always sufficient in controlling an infestation. Baits, traps, and exclusion should be used in conjunction with insecticides to help eliminate the problem and minimize the risk of future infestation.


Identifying and controlling American cockroach infestations is essential to protecting human health and preventing damage to living spaces. Infestations can lead to a range of health problems, including allergies and the transmission of pathogens.

Accurate identification of the cockroach species and the use of appropriate control methods are critical in effective treatment of the infestation. Preventing infestations requires vigilance in maintaining good sanitation and exclusion protocols.

Overall, by following best practices and employing multiple pest control methods as necessary, it is possible to significantly reduce the impact that American cockroaches and other household pests have on our lives.

5) Chemical Control Methods

Chemical control methods are often used to eliminate American cockroach infestations. There are several types of insecticides that are commonly used, including sprays, dusts, baits, and traps.

Insecticide sprays are designed to kill cockroaches on contact. These sprays commonly contain pyrethroids, which are synthetic chemicals modeled after natural insecticides found in chrysanthemum flowers.

Insecticide dusts, on the other hand, are applied to areas where cockroaches are likely to travel. These dusts work by dehydrating the cockroach and disrupting their internal organs.

Insecticide baits are one of the most effective methods for controlling American cockroach infestations. They contain a slow-acting poison that the cockroach eats and carries back to the nest, where it is spread to other cockroaches in a process referred to as secondary poisoning.

Cockroach baits are available in several formulations, including gel and granule forms. Cockroach traps are another option for controlling infestations, and can be an effective addition to other control methods.

These devices use pheromones to attract cockroaches into the trap, where they are stuck and unable to escape. They can be used both in residential areas and commercially.

When applying any insecticide, it is important to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) as directed on the label, follow the label instructions for proper application, and ensure proper dosage customization of the specific chemical for the location and the severity of the infestation. Professionals will typically perform follow-up treatment to eradicate any cockroaches that were missed.

6) Natural Pest Control Methods

While chemical control methods can effectively eliminate American cockroach infestations, some individuals may be hesitant to use potentially harmful chemicals in their homes. Fortunately, there are several eco-friendly options for controlling cockroach infestations.

Diatomaceous earth is a natural powder made from the fossilized remains of diatoms. When sprayed onto cockroaches, it coats the insect’s outer layer and dehydrates them, leading to death.

Other natural control methods include the use of bait containing boric acid or neem oil, and insecticide sprays containing peppermint oil. One of the advantages of natural pest control methods over chemical methods is that they are typically more affordable and are considered safer for children and pets.

Additionally, natural methods are often more sustainable than traditional chemical methods. However, it is important to note that natural pest control methods are not always as effective as chemical methods.

Cockroaches can develop resistance to some natural pesticides over time, whereas this is less common in synthetic chemical pesticides. Another issue with natural control methods is that they may require more frequent application to achieve desired results, leading to increased time and labor investment.


Chemical and natural control methods can both be effective in controlling American cockroach infestations, but each has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Chemical control methods, such as sprays, dusts, baits, and traps, can yield quick results and give professionals more control over the situation.

While natural control methods can be eco-friendly, affordable, and considered safer, they are often less effective and require more frequent application. By taking into account factors like severity of infestation, safety, effectiveness, and environmental impact, homeowners and pest control professionals can make an informed decision on the best treatment method for the particular situation.

7) Prevention of Re-infestation

Preventing re-infestation of American cockroaches is essential to maintaining a pest-free living environment and protecting against the potential health risks associated with infestations. Preventing re-infestation requires proactive measures to reduce cockroach attraction factors and minimize risks.

The first step in preventing re-infestation is to maintain a clean living environment. This involves proper cleaning and garbage disposal practices.

Kitchen counters, floors, and appliances should be regularly cleaned and wiped down. Garbage should be disposed of in covered trash cans and taken out regularly.

Additionally, all sources of standing water or leaks such as leaky pipes should be quickly addressed, as they can provide a source of moisture for cockroaches that can lead to an infestation. Another important step in reducing attraction factors is to store food properly, preferably in airtight containers to prevent contamination and access by cockroaches.

Eliminating cracks and crevices in walls and foundations around the home is also important in depriving cockroaches of potential hiding places. Applying preventive measures such as caulking and sealing all possible entry points to the home, using door sweeps, and repairing any holes in screens will also go a long way in preventing infestation.

These steps help to make it difficult for American cockroaches to enter and maintain a nesting site.

8) Outdoor and Specific Area Control

While cockroach infestations are often concentrated within a building’s interior spaces, it is important to remember that American cockroaches can also nest and breed outdoors, particularly in areas such as drainage systems, sewers, and trashcans. For outdoor control, spread baits such as granular repellents can be used around the perimeter of the structure.

Liquid solutions can also be used and applied in areas where cockroaches are likely to travel or nest. In areas where cockroaches may infest in sewers and drains, sticky traps and insecticide solutions can be used to prevent and control infestations.

Using these tactics at the early signs and detection of an infestation help in effective and timely control. In addition, trash cans can be a source of food and moisture to cockroaches, making it important to implement repellents and prevention measures here as well.

One example of trash can prevention is using lids and covering bins. Using insecticide sprays on the trash cans may be an even more effective solution for outdoor areas infested with roaches.

In conclusion, preventing and controlling American cockroach infestations is an ongoing and multi-step process that involves a combination of prevention, careful inspection, and effective control measures. By understanding the proper cleaning and garbage disposal methods, identifying and sealing entry points, and applying effective insecticides, homeowners can protect their homes from re-infestation.

By addressing the problem both indoors and outdoors with sticky traps, repellents, and preventive measures, homeowners and professional pest control providers alike can prevent and control infestations for the long term.

9) Professional Pest Control Methods

When it comes to controlling American cockroach infestations, hiring a professional pest control service may be the best option for efficient and long-term pest management. Pest control services use several tactics to manage cockroach infestations, including an integrated pest management (IPM) strategy that involves assessment, treatment, and preventive measures.

Assessment involves identifying the specific cockroach species present and the severity of the infestation. Treatment involves using insecticides, baits, traps, fumigation, and exclusion methods to eliminate the infestation.

Preventive measures like professional cleaning, sealing entry points, and ongoing monitoring of the situation are also employed to minimize the risk of future infestations. There are advantages and disadvantages to hiring professionals to control cockroach infestations.

One benefit is that professional pest control services have the expertise and experience to effectively identify, control, and prevent pest infestations. They have access to a variety of treatment options that may not be available to the general population.

Another advantage is that professional pest control services can help to reduce the risks associated with insecticides by selecting the least toxic products and applying them correctly. Professionals use proper PPE and follow strict label guidelines for safe application.

One disadvantage of hiring professional pest control services is the cost of the services. Professional services can be more expensive compared to do-it-yourself methods, and not everyone may be willing or able to incur such costs.

Additionally, homeowners may have concerns about the chemicals used and how they may impact the environment or the safety of people and pets. 10)


Preventing and treating American cockroach infestations is essential for protecting human health and maintaining a pest-free living environment. Homeowners can take several steps to prevent infestations, such as keeping living spaces clean and free of moisture, sealing entry points, and deploying proper control methods when necessary.

However, when infestations become severe or persist despite homeowners efforts, it may be best to consider hiring professional pest control services. Professionals have access to a variety of treatment options and have the expertise and experience to effectively control infestations.

It is important to remember that although hiring professionals can be more costly, their expertise can result in more efficient, effective, and long-term solutions for controlling American cockroach infestations.

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