Which roach killer is best?
An infestation of cockroaches is notoriously difficult to eliminate, primarily because they tend to set up shop in the most inaccessible places. They’re also nocturnal, which means any daytime extermination efforts may be futile.
Roach-killing products can be found in a number of forms. A roach spray can kill roaches by direct contact, but the poison won’t necessarily reach the rest of the colony. A roach trap is effective and safe, but roaches need a good lure to draw them to the bait. Gels put down a solid line of insecticide but need to be applied in remote locations.
Some cockroach infestations are seasonal, as larger wood roaches seek shelter indoors. Others are caused by sanitation issues, such as smaller German roaches seeking a steady source of food and water.
We’ve taken a look at our shortlist of the best roach killers and have made a few adjustments based on industry trends and other factors. Our returning top pick is a familiar brand-name roach motel, while a traditional boric acid treatment and a gel formula round out the list.
Best roach killers
Bait stations offer a lot of advantages for users, especially when it comes to safety and placement. Combat Max gets the job done.
This returning pick is not only affordable but powerful. It continues to eliminate roaches and other pests for weeks after application.
This newcomer to our shortlist contains a bait that even draws out elusive German roaches, and the injectable gel provides pinpoint accuracy for application.
For full reviews of these products, scroll to the bottom.
What to know before you buy a roach killer
Cockroaches by their very nature are notoriously difficult to exterminate. They primarily scavenge for food and water at night, and they set up their colonies in the most inaccessible places in the house. In order to be effective, a good roach killer must entice these naturally suspicious pests into consuming a poison-laced bait and carrying it back to the rest of the population. From there, other roaches either consume the bodies of the victims or come into contact with their feces. Sometimes the scavengers walk into a trap and never return to the nest.
Some roach killers use powerful chemicals to kill on contact. This method only works on visible cockroaches, reducing the chances of poisoning the entire colony. These aerosol and pump sprays also work on other insects, so they still deserve a place in the extermination arsenal. Some spray roach killers use a non-toxic formula, but users should assume these products are not safe to use around pets or children. Any overspray will need to be wiped up thoroughly.
Applying a roach killer to the remote areas cockroaches prefer can be challenging. Boric acid is an inexpensive powder that is fairly effective against cockroaches and silverfish, but it must remain dry to be useful. It can generally be applied with a narrow nozzle, and roaches carry it into their nesting areas. A chemical gel can be applied in strips or dots near the roaches’ entry and exit points. Roaches tend to travel very close to walls while scavenging for food, so gel formulas can be applied with a syringe along those trails.
The price of a roach killer depends primarily on its formulation and design. Basic traps, sticky pads, and boric acid treatments can cost less than $10. More powerful sprays and gels generally run between $12 and $18, while whole house foggers and professional-grade insecticides can cost $20 or more.
Roach killer FAQ
Q. Is it true that for every one cockroach I see, there may be a hundred in hiding?
A. Unfortunately, that ratio appears to be true. Roaches tend to search for food at night, so you won’t see many during daylight hours. The roaches you do see are probably collecting food for the rest of the colony you can’t see.
Q. I have dogs. Is it safe for me to use a chemical roach killer?
A. It depends on the particular brand and its active ingredients. Some chemical sprays contain neurotoxins that could be toxic to animals if ingested. Block off any treated area if you have pets. Other baits and traps, however, are considered non-toxic, or the poisonous ingredients are well-protected. Check the product label before purchasing.
What are the best roach killers to buy?
Top roach killer
What you need to know: Can be placed in remote locations. Bait and poison are self-contained, safe around children.
What you’ll love: Contains a peanut butter-based attractant. No messy gels or powders.
What you should consider: Trap openings too small for larger insects. Can attract household pets.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top roach killer for the money
What you need to know: Very affordable price point. Starts working within 72 hours, keeps working for weeks.
What you’ll love: Effective on silverfish. Food-grade lure attracts German cockroaches.
What you should consider: Loses effectiveness when wet. Noticeable chemical odor.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you should know: Specifically targets German cockroaches. Gel applicator creates unavoidable line of poison.
What you’ll love: Kit contains 4 tubes for maximum coverage. Starts working within minutes of application, poisons carcasses to continue working.
What you should consider: Does not work on all cockroach species. Gel hardens within days.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Michael Pollick writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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