When to Call an Exterminator for Cockroaches?

Cockroaches are some of the most resilient living beings on the planet, and unfortunately, they often crawl into our homes, too. Getting rid of cockroaches is never an easy job, but it isn’t impossible, either. There are many DIY solutions for killing this pest, but how do you know when to call an exterminator for cockroaches

Sometimes, leaving the job to professionals might be your best bet. Even if you would rather try to handle the problem on your own first, remember that licensed cockroach exterminators are always an option you can go for if you run out of ideas.

Signs of a Cockroach Infestation

Cockroaches are nocturnal pests, which means that even if your home is infested, you won’t necessarily see the roaches. Luckily, there are other sings you can look for which could indicate a cockroach infestation, including:

  • Cockroach droppings. If you notice black specks in the corners of your home that look somewhat like ground coffee, these are most likely cockroach droppings.
  • Brown smears. Check your bathroom, kitchen, and any other area with excess moisture for dark smear marks. Cockroaches leave these marks when running over wet surfaces.
  • Cockroach egg shells. If you notice oval-shaped shells 5-10 mm in length, this is a sure sign that a cockroach colony has settled in your household. These shells, or rather cases, are known as ootheca, and they contain multiple eggs.
  • Shed skin. Like many other insects, cockroaches have to shed their external layer in order to grow. Depending on the stage of growth, the size of the shed skin will differ, but you shouldn’t have much trouble recognizing it – it will most likely retain the shape of the cockroach.
  • Unpleasant odor. Like most other living organisms, cockroaches have to defecate, and this process also produces an unpleasant, musty smell. The more intense the odor is, the larger the infestation.

Can I Get Rid of Cockroaches on My Own?

Depending on the size of the colony living in your home, you might be able to get rid of the problem on your own. However, there isn’t a precise way of determining how many cockroaches there are hiding in the nooks and crannies of your household. For example, if you see an American cockroach, that doesn’t necessarily mean there are more of them. But seeing a German cockroach is almost always a sure sign you have a colony to deal with.

How to Kill Cockroaches Without Exterminators

There are many different methods you can use to kill cockroaches on your own, from things you probably already have in your pantry to products specifically made to get rid of pests. Some of the most effective things you can use include:

  • Borax. Borax is one of the most effective home remedies for cockroach infestations. You can sprinkle some powdered borax on pieces of food or mix it with white sugar to make baits for the roaches. Once ingested, it will slowly kill the bug. Alternatives to borax that work similarly include boric acid and baking soda.
  • Diatomaceous earth. This naturally occurring substance is great at sucking the moisture out of everything it touches, including bugs. Gradual dehydration of the exoskeleton of the cockroach eventually results in its death.
  • Essential oils. Although essential oils won’t kill a cockroach (unless you drown it in a tub of oil), some of them, especially those that smell like citrus and peppermint, act as repellants.
  • Store-bought pesticides and traps. Of course, instead of DIY-ing it, you can always purchase products such as pest spray or cockroach traps to get rid of the problem. Simply follow the instructions listed on the product.

When Should I Call an Exterminator for Cockroaches?

Ideally, you should call professional exterminators for cockroaches as soon as you notice an infestation (whether you see an actual cockroach or only some of the signs listed above). However, there are a number of reasons why you may want to try to do it on your own at first. Perhaps you are worried about the toxic chemicals professional exterminators might use, or maybe you simply don’t want to spend that much money on an issue you may be able to resolve on your own.

However, if all your efforts end up being in vain, and after weeks of trying out different traps and baits, you’re still forced to share your home with this pest, our best advice is to be open to the idea of calling in the pros. Sure, hiring professional exterminators might cost more than buying some borax, but they will actually get rid of the problem in the long run. What’s more, the chemicals they use, depending on the company you hire, might not be as toxic for humans as you’d expect.

If you’re still not sure about whether to hire cockroach exterminators, here are the answers to some questions you might have.

How Much Do Cockroach Exterminators Cost?

The cost of cockroach extermination depends on a variety of factors. Regular one-time treatments go for anywhere from $100 to $500. Long-term contracts, which are a much better option for larger infestations, usually cost between $600 and $1,200 a year.

How to Choose an Exterminator for Cockroaches?

Before booking the first company you come across, make sure you’re dealing with actual professionals:

  • Does the company have good reviews and are they willing to share references?
  • Do they offer a guarantee for the services they provide?
  • How long have they been in the business (the longer the better)?
  • Are they willing to share with you which pesticides they will use? How safe are these pesticides?

What Else Should I Know Before I Call Cockroach Exterminators?

Real professionals will give you all the information you need upon inspecting your home, and they won’t refrain from answering any questions you have. In general, make sure to ask them what you should do with your pets while and after they provide the service, what the after-treatment care should look like, as well as how, if at all, the extermination will affect your neighbors.

Ronald has 25 years of pest control experience under his belt. He scrutinizes each pest control method, product and process. 

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