Preventing Pests and Infestations

How to keep cockroaches out of your house or apartment

Take precautions while moving

  • When moving, use boxes and packing material from a place free of cockroaches.
  • When packing, watch for cockroaches and their egg capsules.
  • Remove and destroy any that you find.
  • Take all boxes out of the home at night and store in a place without cockroaches.
  • If storing boxes overnight in infested buildings, keep them off the floor and away from walls by placing them on chairs or tables.
  • During winter, you can store boxes in unheated locations such as garages.
  • In your new home, watch for egg cases and cockroaches that may have survived.

Remove boxes, newspapers and paper bags

Corrugated cardboard boxes are a good source of cockroach infestations. Examine bags, boxes and luggage brought into your home for the presence of cockroaches or their egg capsules.

To confirm you have cockroaches:

  • Place sticky traps so that they are tight against edges, where walls meet floors.
  • Place traps in areas where cockroaches are likely to occur, such as in cupboards and around refrigerators, stoves, and sinks.

Get rid of places they like

  • Remove corrugated cardboard boxes, newspapers, bags and other unnecessary clutter.
  • When storing items, leave space between packages.
  • Use caulk to seal spaces and cracks where cockroaches hide. Concentrate on areas where cockroach numbers are the highest.
  • Seal spaces where plumbing or electrical wiring goes through walls with steel wool or other rough material.
  • Put covers (escutcheon plates) on points where plumbing enters the wall, to restrict movement of cockroaches.

Keep your home clean

If you limit access to food and water, cockroaches cannot survive and reproduce.

  • Keep all food stored in a refrigerator or in insect-proof containers made of plastic, metal or glass with tight-fitting covers.
  • Do not leave pet food and water out overnight.
  • Wash your dishes, pans and utensils as soon as you are done using them.
  • Remove all food or spilled drinks from counter tops, and clean counters, sinks and tables with soapy water.
  • Vacuum floors and all cracks and crevices to remove debris and food.
  • Take garbage out daily in closed plastic containers. Keep waste containers clean.
  • Repair any leaky water pipes or faucets.
  • Recycle cans and bottles on a regular basis.
  • Wash and clean recycling bins.
  • Air out and dry out damp places.

Quick facts about cockroaches

  • Cockroaches hide during the day and become active at night.
  • Cockroaches carry diseases that can cause food poisoning or diarrhea.
  • Their saliva, feces and cast skins can irritate allergies and asthma in people, especially children.
  • Cleanliness is very important to reduce cockroach infestations.
  • It is best to hire a pest management service to treat them.

More information

Cockroaches - University of Minnesota Extension

Household insects - University of Minnesota Extension