7 Best Roach Killers for Apartments
Living in a multifamily building has its challenges. Cockroaches are one of them. Here are the best roach killers for apartments.
Our editors and experts handpick every product we feature. We may earn a commission from your purchases.
How To Get Rid of Roaches in an Apartment
Cockroaches are some of the most adaptable creatures on earth, which makes controlling and eliminating an infestation a major challenge.
“These nocturnal pests can hide in a myriad of places in the home and breed very quickly,” says Jim Fredericks, Ph.D, an entomology and wildlife ecology specialist for the National Pest Management Association.
Apartment building infestations are particularly problematic because apartments share not only walls but floors, pipes and vents. That lets roaches quickly spread from unit to unit.
“Plus, pests are sneaky and can enter through open windows or sliding glass doors, through ventilation slats for AC units, under doors lacking door sweeps and around windows without proper weather stripping,” Fredericks says.
Here are the key things to consider when buying roach killers for apartments:
- Safety: Roach killers often contain harmful chemicals. So if you have kids or pets, baits, traps and dusting powders that go into voids and cracks are safer than sprays. They’re also a better choice for those suffering from respiratory problems because they don’t leave airborne residue. Note: Whenever using pesticides, read and follow directions on the product label.
- Effectiveness: Roach sprays can exterminate bugs fast, but relying on pesticide sprays alone may provide only temporary relief. As part of an integrated approach, Rachel Maccini, an urban entomologist and pesticide safety education program coordinator at the University of New Hampshire Extension, recommends a combination of traps, desiccants (substances like diatomaceous earth that dry roaches out) and insect growth regulators, all easily available and effective.
- Ease of use: Setting out baits and traps makes less of a mess than sprays, gels or powders.
- Cost: If you’re a renter, eliminating a minor roach problem with store-bought pesticides offers an affordable and immediate solution, especially since landlords aren’t always as responsive as they should be. However, it’s important to notify your landlord, apartment manager or building superintendent at the first signs of roaches. Odds are that if you have cockroaches in your apartment, others living near you probably do, too. In that case, your landlord may want to call in a professional exterminator.
Best Spray Roach Killer
Raid Ant & Roach Killer 26 eliminates cockroaches the minute they touch sprayed surfaces, for up to four weeks. Plus, the fragrance-free spray is a game changer, especially for those living in tight spaces.
Best Gel Roach Killer
One problem with aerosol insecticides: It can be difficult to control the spray. Not so with Advion Roach Killer Bait Gel. To target and eliminate roaches, just poke the tip into holes or cracks and press the plunger (included). The high-performing and potent bait attracts and kills tough German, American and other brown-banded cockroach species.
Safety note: This gel contains arsenic and is not suitable for use around kids and pets.
Best Powder Roach Killer
Terro Roach Bait Powder is a dry poison that comes in a bottle with an applicator. Each bottle contains up to 150 bait placements. This ready-to-use roach killer may be applied inside the apartment or outside on the patio or balcony.
The puffer applicator shoots small amounts of powdered pesticide-laced bait into cracks and crevices. Roaches are attracted to the bait, ingest it and spread it to their roach friends. Spray the bait from any angle, even upside down.
Best Roach Egg Killer
The dry aerosol agent gets into places where roaches hide, drives them out and kills them for up to an hour. Better yet, it contains a chemical growth regulator that disrupts their reproductive system, preventing females from laying eggs in the first place. It’s guaranteed to stop roach infestations for up to six months or your money back.
Best Motel-Style Sticky Trap
If you live in an apartment with pets or children, the pesticide-free Black Flag Roach Motel Traps won’t expose your family to toxic substances or odors.
Each box features an adhesive that attracts cockroaches. Once inside, their feet stick, and in three to four days they’re dead. Place the motels all around the apartment — in corners, inside cupboards, under the sink and behind appliances. When they fill up with dead bugs, toss the whole thing in the garbage.
Best Eco-Friendly Roach Killer
Employing all-natural plant oils instead of harsh chemicals, the 100% organic product won’t contaminate groundwater or hurt animals, birds or fish. Non-staining and pleasant smelling, it’s safe enough to use inside apartments, yet still strong enough to kill roaches.
Five-star Amazon reviewer Kindle Customer writes, “This spray works great to kill roaches and leaves a nice minty smell. I like that it is safe to use around pets and myself.”
Best Roach Home Remedies
Food-based organically derived compounds like baking soda, boric acid and diatomaceous earth are popular DIY ingredients to combat roaches without man-made chemicals.
Make and spread diatomaceous earth or a mixture of baking soda and sugar in thin layers where cockroaches like to hide, like behind or between cabinets, under appliances and along floorboards. When ingested, these substances dehydrate roaches and damage their exoskeleton — important to their survival.
You can also create a dough combining boric acid, powdered sugar, flour and a small amount of water. Roll the dough into little balls and place them around the apartment, especially in kitchens and bathrooms where roaches like to gather. Lured by the sweet-tasting marbles, they feed on the boric acid, which attacks their nervous systems and kills them.
Grace Cary/Getty Images
When all is said and done, cockroach control starts with prevention.
“The first thing a person and/or company should do before reaching for a pesticide is to reduce water, food and eliminate harborage [cracks, crevices, clutter] for cockroaches,” says Manccini. This means following good sanitation practices — vacuuming, removing garbage frequently and wiping up food spills and messes as soon as they happen.