Roaches are a nuisance no matter whether you live in a house, townhouse, mansion, apartment, or in a cardboard box in a back alley. That said, when you live in a house, you definitely have much more control over the property which makes managing, preventing, and controlling roaches all the more easier. If you live in an apartment, that’s when things can get a little complicated; while you might be the cleanest and most hygienic person of all time, your neighbors might be candidates for the show Hoarders and roaches in their apartment might just spill over into yours. And if the roaches are living in the walls, which they happen to share with you, than you’re doubly screwed. Oh, and what if you’re just renting and you’ve got a pain in the ass landlord who refuses to seal up the cracks and crevices that the roaches are obviously coming from? That’s a triple screwing for sure.
So if you’re living in a rented apartment, what can you do to tackle a roach infestation, especially if you know the problem is not you, but rather your neighbors or even the building itself? Unfortunately, while you can’t control your neighbors or get rid of the roaches that are living in their filthy unit, taking the following measures should ensure that your unit stays roach free by comparison.
Sealing Off your Apartment
This is an absolute must. Because the source of the roaches is not your unit, you will never be able to eliminate them ‘at the source’ so to speak. Therefore, the best method is to prevent them from entering your unit in the first place. Go to your local hardware store and get a good tube of silicone caulk and a caulking gun. Now you must do the meticulous work of examining the walls and floors of your apartment to look for cracks and crevices (pay special attention to shared walls) where the roaches might be entering your apartment. When you find such cracks and crevices, make sure you seal them off entirely with the caulk. Also, use the caulk to properly seal off your door and window trims. If you suspect outlets or other such openings are the source, and they are too large to seal off with caulk, plug them up with steel wool (make sure you use steel wool because pests, including rodents, cannot eat through that). Next, pay attention to your door and window frames; are they sitting secure in their frames? If they’re loose, then roaches will be able to get through so make sure to fix that. Get insect screens for your windows if you like to leave them open.
Bait and Poison Them
We’ll just be frank with you, don’t bother with any of the ‘natural’ remedies out there; with one exception (diatomaceous earth), they are all ineffective (and even diatomaceous earth will only kill the roaches that come into direct contact with it as it is non-toxic). The most effective method of getting rid of roaches is going to be to poisoned bait, which they will then carry back to their nests, spreading the poison among the roach community. This is the main method recommended in this guide on how to get rid of roaches at home. Unlike ants however, roaches aren’t spreading the poison by sharing it with their colony, instead what happens is that when a poisoned roach dies, other roaches will consume its corpse and be poisoned themselves. This is why we recommend you stay away from ‘roach traps’, which do not allow for such poison transmission.
Of course, roaches don’t really like poison, so you’ll need bait to attract them. The most convenient solution is of course a premade roach poison bait, which you can easily find online or in your local hardware store. We recommend looking for those which use fipronil as the active ingredient, as this is the most recent pesticide formulation and hence roaches have had much less time to develop resistance against it. Remember, roaches will outlast the human race for a reason; they’re a hardy bunch. In the last decade, researchers have also managed to isolate roach pheromones, which are a highly effective bait, and is also our top recommendation when choosing between the various bait options available. In combination with the poisoned bait, you can also buy roach gel, which is basically a form of poisoned bait but has more versatile applications. For example, if you suspect that the roaches are crawling under your front door, just apply a strip of the gel right outside your door; the roaches won’t bother entering when the food is right in front of them and will take the poison instead.