How To Get Rid Of Cockroaches In Kitchen Cabinets

Patricia Oelze
by Patricia Oelze

Cockroaches are one of the oldest insects on the planet, dating back to more than 320 million years ago. They did not last this long on accident. They are hard to get rid of and can spread diseases to humans. Unfortunately, if you have cockroaches in your cabinets, you have them all over the house.

Once you see a cockroach in your cabinet, you have probably already got quite a few living in your home. However, there are several ways to get rid of them. Some of the choices include poisoned bait, insecticides, and there are even some herbal remedies.

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How to Tell if You Have a Cockroach Problem

Kitchen cabinets are a popular spot for cockroaches because they are dark and hidden. They can also be a good spot to find food. The scary part is that once these bugs get into your cabinets, they have probably already been eating your food in boxes like cereal, crackers, and other food items they can get to, making them dangerous to eat.

As a test to see if you have a roach problem, walk into a dark room at night and turn on the light. You will likely see bugs running for cover. Besides seeing them in your cabinets, there are other signs of cockroach infestation in your home.

  • Cockroach egg cases, also known as oothecae, the egg cases of an American cockroach look like long rectangular brown pouches. They are about a quarter of an inch long and can be hidden in the cabinets, furniture, walls, or just about anywhere. The female sticks them in place with her saliva so they can even stick on walls.
  • Roach droppings look like black pepper or coffee grounds depending on the type of cockroach. You are likely to see them anywhere you have seen roaches or eggs such as pantries or cabinets.

DIY Roach Removal

If you plan on dealing with this problem yourself, do it fast before the infestation gets any worse. It does not take long for a female to lay a bunch of eggs. Each egg can have about 40 to 50 roaches ready to emerge and females can lay up to eight eggs per year.

Declutter and Sanitize

When you discover cockroaches in your kitchen, it is crucial that you go through each cabinet and perform a thorough cleaning. Though this make take a bit of time, it’s very important that you are as detailed as possible. You’ll likely be surprised to find how much crumbs, food particles, and spills have collected inside of your cabinets.

Wipe down each shelf in your cabinets to remove all crumbs and spills on the surface. During this cleaning, you should also go through and remove any food that may be expired or you simply don’t have the intention of ever eating. This will help reduce the clutter in your cabinets.

By buying too much food that ends up uneaten or even untouched, many people find themselves with excessive clutter taking up space in their kitchen cabinets. Get rid of boxed food. Put the boxed food in sealed glass or plastic containers. Lose the old boxes and other items lying around in and around your cabinets.

The more clutter you have, the more places they have to hide. By disposing of unwanted items, you also remove possible food sources, starving the roaches in your home.

Eliminate Hiding Spots

Due to the dark and secluded nature of your cabinets, roaches love to call them home. Kitchen cabinets are also notorious for having plenty of cracks and crevices that the cockroaches can slide their flat bodies into to hide. To eliminate these hiding spots, comb through each of your cabinets and seal off any visible cracks.

For added protection against roaches in your kitchen, seal off cracks that you find behind your appliances such as the refrigerator and stove. Although you may not be able to tackle every crack, you will make it a bit more difficult for the roaches in your home to find a hiding spot.

Also, it just so happens that you may end up trapping roaches inside of one of their favorite hiding spots that you sealed up with caulk. Essentially, you will have killed them off by “burying” them alive.

Take Away Their Water Supply

Although you may have eliminated the cockroaches hiding spots and reduce their food sources, they can still persist if they have access to water. Fix any leaks that you may have around your house, dry up areas of dampness, and address moisture problems immediately.

Cockroaches need water to live. Take away their water and they will leave or die. But this also means that you need to dry your dishes completely before putting them away and wipe your sink dry every time you use it.

They can live for seven days without water so keep it up for at least a week to get rid of them completely. Actually, you should make this a new practice because other bugs need water to live as well. The dryer your kitchen, the less habitable it is to bugs.

Poisoned Bait to Try

The best way to get rid of the cockroaches is by leaving them some poison bait. They will eat the bait and then live long enough to tell their buddies about it. Then more of the bugs will eat the bait. Some of the baits are disposable and you get rid of them when they are empty. Others you can refill over and over again. The refillable bait you use can be pellets, paste, or gel composed of different substances like:

  • Boric acids such as Borax, Boron, or Optibor
  • Imidacloprid like Temprid, Dominion, and Merit
  • Hydramethylnon including Combat, Maxforce, and Siege

Insecticide Sprays

There are many sprays on the market that you can use to get rid of cockroaches. Spray it in cracks and crevices where you have seen the bugs or just spray along all baseboards as well as cabinets and crevices. Sprays are good because you can get it into small places where you cannot put a poisoned bait trap.

But you have to be very careful with spray. Do not get it into food or water sources. If you have pets or young children, you do not want to spray around them. In fact, it is best that you wear a face mask and gloves while spraying too.

Powders Are Good Too

Powdered insecticide like Borax is great for sprinkling it in drains, wall spaces, and other crevices you cannot get the spray into. A puff of powder kills faster and coats spots that the spray cannot reach. It also does not leave a wet film everywhere.

The good thing about Borax and most other powders is that they are very toxic to bugs but not to humans and pets. Even if your pooch happens to lick up a bit of powder, they should be okay. However, you should not leave powders in the reach of kids and pets because it can be harmful in large doses.

Try Diatomaceous Earth

Made from fossilized remains of aquatic organisms, Diatomaceous Earth is a mechanical killer of cockroaches. It can kill cockroaches, ants, ticks, fleas, bed bugs, and other pests by destroying their exoskeletons. The roaches are attracted to the Diatomaceous Earth and will take the “bait” back to their nest to feed to the other roaches, killing them all in the process.

However, being a mechanical killer, the cockroaches must come into direct contact with the DE for it to work. This means that you must apply it in the right places. Using a flashlight, locate the common cockroach hiding spots for the best place to sprinkle the Diatomaceous Earth.

The closer you place it to the roaches, the more likely they are to come into contact with it. Some common areas to apply DE include under and behind your appliances, cracks and crevices throughout the kitchen, underneath baseboards, around cupboards, in wall voids, along window sills, and virtually anywhere that you detect roach activity.

Once you have a good idea of where the roaches like to travel and hide, sprinkle these areas lightly with DE. Ensure that the layer you apply isn’t too heavy, as the insects simply won’t want to pass through it. Depending on where you are applying the product, you can use a scoop, sprinkle by hand, or buy a special applicator intended for use with diatomaceous earth.

NOTE: Since DE kills insects through dehydration, you’ll want to wear gloves when using it to avoid drying out your hands.

Fogging Your Home

Foggers are perfect for major infestations. Just a few foggers placed around your home can kill anything including roaches, fleas, spiders, and flying bugs as well. The ingredients vary depending on the brand and type of fogger. But the most common foggers include pyrethrin, pyrethroid, or both.

To use foggers, first, you will need to pack up or remove all your pet items, toys, plants, and food before starting. You can pack them in totes or bags and put them in your car or someone else’s home while you fog your house.

Put on a face mask and gloves and get everyone out before turning them on. This includes pets like fish and birds as well as dogs and cats. Then when you get home, you need to go in and open all the windows, then wait outside while the fog dissipates.

The cleanup after a fogger treatment is a major drawback that takes so much time and energy. Because the residue left behind is dangerous to humans and pets, you will have to clean everything in the house. This includes furniture. And that is a lot of work.

Natural Methods

Soap and water can kill an adult roach. Just spray them with a solution of a few drops of soap in a quart of water. You can also use bay leaves as a deterrent. Others say that sprinkling baking soda around will get rid of roaches. Another idea is to make a soda bottle trap.

Make a Roach Trap

Cut the top of a two-liter bottle off right where it starts curving. Turn that piece upside down in the bottle to act as a funnel. Fill the bottom of the bottle with soapy water but do not fill it too far.

The water level should be about an inch or two below the funnel. Make several and stick them in the cabinets. Roaches will climb in and will not be able to get back out. No poison or bait needed.

Cockroach Prevention Methods

Once you’ve eliminated the roaches from your kitchen, you must understand and implement proper prevention techniques to keep them from returning. Cockroaches enter your home looking for shelter, food, and water; so making these difficult for them to find should be your ultimate goal. Here are some tips and tricks to achieve this in your home:

  • Do not leave food sitting out overnight.
  • Remove food crumbs by vacuuming and sweeping often, especially after meals.
  • Store leftovers in air-tight containers or inside your refrigerator.
  • Wash your dishes immediately after they’re used or place them in your dishwasher. Avoid filling up your sink with dirty dishes.
  • Wipe down your counters frequently and remove spills immediately.
  • Do not leave your pet’s food or water out overnight.
  • Take out your trash every day and use a tight lid at all times.
  • Remove extra newspapers, bags, cardboard boxes, and other clutter from your home.
  • Repair leaks and monitor the dampness in your basement and other areas that are moisture-prone.
  • Seal all small cracks and larger holes on the exterior of your home.
  • Only eat meals in your dining room or kitchen.

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Final Thoughts

As frustrating as it may be to discover cockroaches in your kitchen cabinets, they are not impossible to get rid of. By performing the tips outlined in this article, you can greatly increase your chances of riding your home of these pests for good.

By thoroughly cleaning your kitchen, decluttering your cabinets and drawers, sealing off cracks and crevices, and applying strategic roach-killing treatments, your kitchen cabinets will be free of disgusting roaches again.

As with most pest problems, prevention is the best and most effective course of action. While there may not be an easy one-size-fits-all method for the cockroach problem in your kitchen cabinets, we genuinely hope that this guide was valuable and points you in the right direction.

Patricia Oelze
Patricia Oelze

I am a DIYer who loves writing about anything home-related. When I am not writing, you can find me studying for my PhD in Psychology, photographing nature, and swimming at the lake with my grandkids.

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