We detail our search for the best roach killers in this guide, from gel baits to roach traps, roach sprays, and more.
Did you know the modern cockroach’s ancestor is around 200 million years old? The discovery of cockroach fossils dating as far back as 350 million years means cockroaches could be older than some dinosaurs. In other words, they’ve had millions of years to adapt to become the pest we know today, and they’re challenging to kill.
Roaches are primarily nocturnal and build their nests in dark spaces like the cracks and crevices found around your home. While they tend to prefer warmer climates, cockroaches have been found on every continent except Antarctica.
One of the most common myths is that cockroaches are only attracted to dirty homes, but they’ll invade even the cleanest houses searching for food and water. You can use natural methods and certain plants to repel them, but they don’t always work.
So what should you do if you have cockroaches in your home? If you want to get rid of these pests for good, you’ll need cockroach bait. We’ve reviewed dozens of different brands and compiled a list below, of the best cockroach bait available.
At a Glance: The Best Cockroach Baits Discussed in our Guide
- Combat Max 12 Month Roach Killing Bait Station, Child-Resistant
- Black Flag Roach Motel Insect Trap
- Syngenta – Evolution Cockroach Gel Bait
- Raid Double Control Small Roach Baits Plus Egg Stopper
- 2 Tubes Maxforce FC Magnum German Roach Pest Control Gel Bait
- Rockwell Labs – Invict Gold – Cockroach Gel
- Vendetta Roach Gel Bait Insecticide
- BulbHead Original Roach Doctor Cockroach Gel Ready-to-Use
- Bengal Roach Killer, 11 oz, Can, Viscous Liquid
- HARRIS Boric Acid Roach and Silverfish Killer Powder w/Lure
Note: Clicking the above links will take you to further information, current prices and customer reviews on Amazon.
- 1 How Does Cockroach Bait Work?
- 2 The Cockroach Bait Buyers Guide
- 3 The Best Cockroach Bait Reviewed 2020
- 3.1 Combat Max 12-Month Roach Killing Bait Stations
- 3.2 Black Flag Roach Motel Insect Trap
- 3.3 Advion Syngenta Cockroach Gel Bait
- 3.4 Raid Double Control Small Roach Baits Plus Egg Stoppers
- 3.5 Bayer Maxforce Fc Magnum Gel Bait
- 3.6 Rockwell Labs Invict Gold Cockroach Gel
- 3.7 Vendetta Cockroach Gel Bait
- 3.8 Bulbhead Original Roach Doctor Cockroach Gel
- 3.9 Bengal Roach Killer
- 3.10 Harris Boric Acid Roach Powder With Lure
- 4 Frequently Asked Questions
- 5 Final Thoughts
How Does Cockroach Bait Work?
For the most part, roaches remain in their nests and only leave when they’re foraging for food. But even brief exposure to these tenacious pests can be problematic. Many people are allergic to cockroaches, and they’ve been known to spread diseases like cholera.
Using sprays as your sole method of killing roaches is often ineffective at treating an infestation because you’re only targeting the roaches you can see. While using a combination of pest control methods is the most effective cockroach extermination strategy, the bait method ultimately kills many more roaches than sprays alone.
Sprays are undoubtedly convenient, but they are ultimately a quick-fix solution. Sprays kill and repel roaches, but these wily pests will find a way back into your home unless the entire colony is destroyed.
We caution homeowners against using sprays because of their repellent qualities. Once you’ve sprayed an area, cockroaches are unlikely to eat any bait you put out until the mist dissipates.
Here’s how baiting works: Cockroach bait uses a time-release insecticide stored inside the bait that targets the entire colony. Roaches bring the poisoned bait back to the nest to share with other roaches, so many will directly ingest the poison.
As the first wave of roaches dies, they release poisoned bodily secretions and feces into the nest. Because cockroaches will eat anything, even other cockroaches, they will ingest the insecticide, and the nest’s population will die off.
Pro tip: Some species are resistant to or even immune to certain types of bait, so if you can identify the species in your home, it will help you decide which bait to use.
The Cockroach Bait Buyers Guide
The most commonly used forms of cockroach bait are gels and granules.
Gels are better for indoor use, as direct sunlight degrades their efficacy, and water renders them useless. Granules are hardier and stand up to outdoor use much better.
Bait stations, enclosed structures filled with bait laced with an insecticide, are among the most popular options available.
Some things you should consider before you purchase cockroach bait:
- Do you have small children or pets? Bait stations are your safest option. Place the bait station near the nest, and the bait will draw the cockroaches to it. Enclosed bait stations are much safer to use around pets and children, but they aren’t foolproof. You should always be cautious with insecticides around pets and children.
- Do you have a roach problem outside your home? If you have roaches scurrying around your driveway, granules might be the most effective method of getting rid of them. Scattering the granules through your lawn should put an end to your roach problem, but you should keep children and pets away from the grass.
- Do you have roaches inside your home? Placing gel bait in your home’s nooks and crannies is an effective strategy for killing off the cockroach nest. Additional applications will keep future pests out.
Asking yourself these simple questions will help you figure out which bait you should use, so you can begin your journey to living in a pest-free home.
Using Cockroach Bait
Because roaches are nocturnal, they prefer to nest in dark, damp spaces. In addition to cracks and crevices around your home, common nesting locations include:
- Behind sinks, stoves, and refrigerators
- Inside large appliances
- Beneath floor drains
- Inside cabinets and drawers
- Behind toilets and freestanding tubs
Roaches will only take the bait if there’s nothing else to eat, so it’s essential to make sure it’s the only food source. Thoroughly cleaning your home before you put out the bait ensures hungry roaches will eat it and take it back to their nest.
To figure out the best location for baiting stations, set out a few glue traps in locations where you suspect the roaches might be nesting. Once you’ve narrowed it down to a particular site, place your bait near the area, concentrating on areas where roaches are more likely to congregate, such as small, dark spaces in the corners of rooms and next to large appliances like refrigerators and stoves.
We advise against placing bait in the center of a room where it’s more difficult for cockroaches to find. If they stumble across any food or water along the way, they won’t go near the bait. (Roaches consider almost anything food, so you should also make sure the area around any pet dishes is clean and crumb-free.)
The Best Cockroach Bait Reviewed 2020
Now that you know why using bait is your best bet for getting a roach-free home, how to prepare your home before using bait, and what you should keep in mind before you make a purchase, it’s time to go over your options.
We’ve reviewed dozens of cockroach bait solutions and narrowed them down to our top 10 picks, starting with our three favorites.
Combat Max 12-Month Roach Killing Bait Stations
Each box of Combat Max comes with 18 bait stations filled with the potent insecticide Fipronil, which begins killing small cockroaches within hours and keeps your home pest-free for up to 12 months.
These compact bait stations fit neatly underneath large appliances like refrigerators and stoves, inside drawers and cabinets, and behind toilets.
Fipronil is one of the most potent insecticides available, with a 100% mortality rate within the first five days of use, so you should always use caution when working with pest control substances. Combat Max bait stations should be kept away from children and pets.
When used properly, Combat Max offers one of the most effective roach killers on the market. One downside is that it’s not as effective against larger roach species, so you may need to look elsewhere if the cockroaches invading your home are of the larger variety.
- Effective for up to 12 months
- Extremely affordable
- Child-resistant construction
- Not as effective against larger species
Black Flag Roach Motel Insect Trap
If you’re looking for the safest option to use around small children and pets, look no further than Black Flag’s Roach Motel Insect Trap.
Black Flag’s cockroach traps rely on a sweet, sticky substance to lure cockroaches into a box and trap them there. This means you won’t find cockroach carcasses decorating your floor as they succumb.
Black Flag Roach Motel is an excellent choice for those who want to play it safe around their kids or pets. It traps pests and keeps them trapped in an incredibly sticky substance until they eventually die of starvation, no toxic chemicals required.
The downside is that it won’t kill the whole colony because there’s no poison for the cockroaches to ingest. Well, that and having a cardboard box filled with dead insects isn’t exactly the most pleasant sight. Black Flag is a good choice if you’re not squeamish and want to try a non-toxic solution.
- No toxic chemicals used
- No roach carcasses on your floor
- Effective for up to four months
- Not a long-term solution to eradicating an entire colony
Advion Syngenta Cockroach Gel Bait
If you want a bait irresistible to nearly every species of cockroach, Advion Syngenta Cockroach Gel Bait is the perfect solution to fight your infestation.
Syngenta bait gel uses a powerful insecticide called Indoxacarb, which is directly injected into the cracks and crevices around your home for maximum efficacy. Best of all, you can use Syngenta inside and out, so you won’t have to buy an additional outdoor pest product.
One of the most popular and best roach baits on the market, Advion Syngenta Cockroach Gel Bait, is also one of the most effective. As with other insecticides, it should always be kept out of pets and children’s reach, but it’s pet-safe once it’s had time to dry.
Applying the gel takes more work than most other pest control methods we reviewed, and it’s more expensive. On the other hand, its two-year shelf-life means you won’t have to keep repurchasing bait every few months, and you only need 3-5 drops per every 10 feet.
Because you’ll use very little product during application, it has a low cost-per-use.
- Effective for up to two years
- Attracts most roaches
- Suitable for heavy infestations
- Only a small amount of product is needed to be effective
- Application is more labor-intensive than most other roach bait methods
- More expensive than other options
Raid Double Control Small Roach Baits Plus Egg Stoppers
Did you know roaches can lay up to 40 eggs at a time?
Raid Double Control Small Roach Baits Plus Egg Stoppers addresses a problem many other cockroach bait manufacturers don’t address: population control. The unique Egg Stoppers feature sterilizes female roaches and puts a stop to reproduction, but it’s also effective at any stage of a roach’s life cycle.
The idea of cutting off cockroach reproduction while retaining the ability to kill cockroaches no matter what stage of their life cycle is a good one, but Raid Double Control Small Roach Baits Plus Egg Stoppers may not be 100% effective. It’s fatal to cockroaches that eat the bait, but Raid’s option doesn’t always kill every roach in the colony.
If the cockroaches are no longer capable of breeding, you’ll still see a drastic reduction in your home’s number of roaches.
As with many other cockroach bait products, Raid may not kill larger species of cockroaches. If your home is riddled with smaller cockroaches, it’s worth trying, but don’t expect it to eradicate an infestation of large roaches.
- Controls roach population by sterilizing females
- You’ll see fewer roaches in your home within days
- Affordable for the number of bait stations you get
- Effective at killing roaches at all stages of their life cycle
- More effective on roaches that ingest poison directly
- May not be as effective at killing larger species of roaches
Bayer Maxforce Fc Magnum Gel Bait
Unlike many cockroach bait gels, Bayer Maxforce FC Magnum Gel Bait was specifically designed to kill large cockroaches species. Its formula uses five times more Fipronil than formulas from alternative brands.
Fipronil’s heavy concentration also means it’s capable of killing cockroaches on contact instead of relying on direct ingestion to quell your infestation.
Designed for use in residential or commercial areas, Bayer Maxforce FC Magnum has a shelf-life of two years.
Once applied, roaches will be attracted to and eat the product for up to a year. It’s safe for use around pets and children as long as the substance has had time to thoroughly dry down before they’re reintroduced, so it’s a fantastic option for those with curious children and furry friends.
But there are a few downsides. The applicator nozzle is relatively small, so the application process may take longer than with other products.
Another potential drawback is that the gel may not be as appealing to some roaches as different formulas, and it shouldn’t be used in conjunction with other bait products. However, its pet-safe formula and ability to kill even large cockroaches make it well worth trying.
- Effective against many different species of cockroaches
- Gel bait is effective for up to a year after initial application
- Heavy-duty dose of insecticide kills large roaches as well as small ones
- “Bait” portion of the gel bait is weaker than in some formulas
- Tiny applicator nozzle can make the application process difficult
Rockwell Labs Invict Gold Cockroach Gel
Did you know that cockroaches can develop an aversion to bait over time? If you’ve been trying to battle an infestation of stubborn German cockroaches with little to no success, you still have options available.
Rockwell Labs InVict Gold Cockroach Gel has developed a way to deal with bait-averse cockroaches. By using a blend of 11 food-grade bait ingredients, Rockwell Labs has created a powerful gel-based attractant that almost every cockroach finds irresistible. The gel is laced with a high concentration of Imidacloprid, so it kills roaches fast.
Unlike many insecticides, which don’t target hard-to-kill German roaches, Rockwell Labs InVict Gold Cockroach Gel was created specifically for the species. If you’ve identified the pests in your home as German cockroaches, you’re in luck.
This product, which uses a nicotine-based insecticide, will work well for you. If not, you’ll need to use another product to eliminate the species invading your home.
InVict Gold was created without the eight most common food allergens, making it safe for those with allergies. However, one downside of InVict Gold is the texture, which has an almost watery consistency, so you may need a lot of product in a single area.
Depending on the size of the space you need to treat, you may need multiple packs. All things considered, it’s a fantastic option for German cockroach invasions.
- Combines 11 food-grade ingredients to attract cockroaches to the bait
- High concentration of insecticide kills roaches in as little as 20 minutes
- Suitable for indoor and outdoor use as well as in food preparation spaces
- Formulated without the eight most common food allergens
- Only targets German cockroaches
- Gel has a thin, watery texture, so you may use it up quickly
- Tubes are relatively small, so you may need more than one package if you have a large home
Vendetta Cockroach Gel Bait
Formulated with the active ingredients Abamectin B1, a potent neurotoxin similar to Fipronil, Vendetta Cockroach Gel Bait works by slowly releasing the poison into the infected roaches. The time-release formula ensures the poisoned roaches have enough time to return to their nest before death.
As with other cockroach bait forms, the poison spreads to other colony members when they eat the dead roaches or their waste.
While some forms of roach bait contain known food allergens, Vendetta Cockroach Gel Bait is free from milk, fish, eggs, seafood, wheat, and tree nuts, so it’s safe for those with common allergies to use.
Vendetta was created with bait-averse roaches in mind, so its formula contains a strong attractant designed to lure them in. You’ll see a reduction in roaches within 24 hours, and Vendetta is effective for up to three full months.
On the other hand, some cockroach baits promise up to a year of continued efficacy, and Vendetta does nothing to prevent roaches from entering your home. It’s only useful for a preexisting infestation. It’s also more expensive than some other cockroach bait products, but it’s still an excellent option for those with certain food allergies.
- Effective for even bait-averse roaches, making it potentially the most effective and best roach bait available
- A viable pest control solution in food-preparation facilities as well as residential homes
- Roaches begin to die off within 24 hours of application
- Effective for up to a month after initial application
- Free from common food allergens
- Shorter efficacy period than some other cockroach bait formulas
- Doesn’t help with roach prevention
- Somewhat expensive compared to other pest control options
Bulbhead Original Roach Doctor Cockroach Gel
Many as-seen-on-TV products are gimmicky and ineffective, but BulbHead Original Roach Doctor Cockroach Gel attracts and kills German cockroaches effectively as a recognizable name brand roach baits.
Roach Doctor relies on Imidacloprid, a powerful insecticide that prevents reinfestation and stops the cockroach reproductive cycle in its tracks.
While Roach Doctor won’t offer you the satisfaction of killing cockroaches on contact, its time-release formula is more effective at destroying the entire nest. The syringe applicator is easy to use, and you only need a small amount of product to rid your home of roaches once and for all.
On the other hand, one syringe may not be enough if you have a severe infestation that requires you to treat the inside and outside of your home. As with most other pesticides, it’s not safe to use Roach Doctor around children and pets.
- Gel is thick, so there’s no mess to clean up
- Suitable for indoor and outdoor use
- Prevents reproduction and reinfestation
- Extremely affordable
- Not pet or child-safe
- Only comes with a single syringe of product
Bengal Roach Killer
Most cockroach baits come in gel or granular form, but Bengal Roach Killer offers an irresistible attractant in a can. Bengal’s offering prevents reinfestation for up to six months while putting a stop to reproduction, so the existing infestation can’t replenish its numbers. Bengal roach killer allows you to spray directly into the nest without leaving any sticky residue behind.
If you only have a few roaches around your home and want to get rid of them immediately, Bengal Roach Killer is a fantastic option. It uses a combination of permethrin and pyriproxyfen to kill roaches on contact. It’s lethal when sprayed directly into a nest, rendering affected roaches incapable of breeding if they survive the initial onslaught.
The caveat is that it may not penetrate deep into the nest, so you might not eradicate the entire colony. It also needs to be reapplied every few days if you want to prevent another infestation. While it might not be a perfect long-term solution, it’s an excellent option to eliminate the occasional roach.
- Kills roaches on contact
- Effective on all types of invasive insects
- Works on even the hardiest of roaches
- Attractant draws cockroaches to the toxic spray
- Loses efficacy within a few days of application
- Because it kills instantly, roaches can’t return to the nest to infect others
Harris Boric Acid Roach Powder With Lure
For those who have trouble using chemical-based roach bait because of the strong odor, Harris Boric Acid Roach Powder With Lure is a great option.
Harris’ bait is registered with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as being safe for use in homes with pets and children. Unlike most boric acid powders, Harris’ is mixed with a lure to draw cockroaches to the powder.
If you want to try a more natural solution to your cockroach problem, Harris Boric Acid Roach Powder With Lure might work for you. However, there are a few significant issues to consider. Despite being EPA certified for use in homes with pets and children, boric acid is toxic.
Additionally, breathing in the powder can cause severe health problems, so it should only be used with a mask.
It might be a worthwhile option to try if you have severe reactions to chemicals or live in a home without pets or children, but the hassle of wearing a mask and gloves during application could be more trouble than it’s worth.
- Kills insects within 72 hours of application
- No pungent chemical odor when applied
- Easy to apply in even the tiniest cracks and crevices in your home
- Conflicting information on product
- Should be used with gloves and a face mask
Frequently Asked Questions
We’ve compiled the answers to some commonly asked questions about cockroaches. Hopefully, we’ve answered yours.
Why do I Have Roaches When My House is Clean?
Although having an infestation doesn’t mean your home is dirty, making sure you store food in air-tight containers and properly dispose of your garbage is paramount in keeping your home pest-free. Even one cookie crumb on the floor is enough to draw pests.
What Attracts Roaches?
In addition to obvious roach bait like food crumbs and sweet drinks, dirty clothes can attract roaches to your home. They’re drawn to sweat and dead skin cells, so that pile of dirty laundry is like a feast to hungry pests. They’re also attracted to moisture, which is why they’re often found beneath sinks, inside drains, and even lurking behind toilets. Keeping your home clean and dry is a good way to prevent a recurrence.
Can I Use Cockroach Bait Gel Outdoors?
Some gels can also be used outdoors (always check the manufacturer’s instructions to make sure they’re safe for outdoor use), but most gels need to be kept dry and out of direct sunlight for maximum efficacy. Because they’re less delicate, granules are best for outdoor use.
Does Roach Bait Actually Work?
Roach bait does work. Depending on your pest control products, you may see a decline in cockroaches in as little as 24 hours. In most cases, you’ll see a significant decrease in roaches within 1-3 weeks.
Can I Kill Cockroaches Without Using an Insecticide?
One pet-and-kid-safe option is mixing baking soda and water. It isn’t an instant roach-killer and won’t work well on an infestation, but it’s a great alternative to get rid of a few creepy crawlies in your home.
Another option is making a homemade boric acid mix available in home improvement stores, hardware stores, and major supermarkets.
Mix equal parts of water, boric acid, and sugar until it forms a paste, which you apply in your home’s cracks and crevices. The sugar in the mixture is the attractant, and boric acid serves as homemade roach poison. Keep children and pets away from boric acid, and be sure to wear a mask and gloves, as exposure can cause severe reactions.
What do Cockroaches Hate?
If you want to go the more natural route, essential oils like lavender, citrus, eucalyptus, and cinnamon are known as cockroach repellents. While they’re not as effective as insecticides at killing existing infestations, anything you can do to make your home a less attractive target for pests is a good idea. Use caution around children and pets if you work with essential oils.
We’ve reviewed many cockroach baits in this article, but the best overall is Advion Syngenta. It’s effective both indoors and outdoors, and despite the more labor-intensive application process and higher price point, we think it’s well worth the extra effort and money.
In terms of cost-per-use, Advion’s highly concentrated formula means you only need a few drops to cover a large area, so it’s very cost-effective in dealing with a cockroach infestation.
Advion keeps cockroaches away for up to two years, kills a wide variety of roach species, and it’s safe for children and pets once it dries down. While it doesn’t offer the reproduction control of other products, its safety for use in homes with pets and children and long-lasting efficacy makes Advion the best cockroach bait on the market.