Let’s face it, cockroaches are the worst. They hide in crevices around your home, then sneak around in the dark, feasting on your food, garbage, and oil splatters. And where there’s one roach, there are likely many, many more.
Thankfully, there are lots of ways to treat roach infestations. While there are some relatively inexpensive DIY methods that can be effective on a small scale, they tend to be messy and time-consuming and aren’t typically sufficient for severe infestations. If you see signs of heavy cockroach activity, it’s best to have a pest control technician inspect your home, diagnose the problem, and perform extermination.
The cost of professional extermination depends on the area that needs to be treated and on the specific method used, which can vary based on the species of roach and the severity of the infestation. On average, most roach treatments cost between $250 and $375, but if you need to fumigate, prepare to spend at least $1,000. With that in mind, we’ve laid out a range of cost estimates and an explanation of what factors into your final bill. Eradicating cockroaches might not be cheap, but it’s always necessary.
How Much Is an Exterminator for Roaches?
According to the CEO of Goodbee Plumbing, Allison Harrison—who frequently partners with extermination companies in her role—cockroach treatment prices “can depend on several factors, including the severity of the infestation, the size of the property, the type of treatment required, and the location of the property.” Due to all of these variants, price estimates cover a pretty broad range, with prices generally getting higher as the infestation becomes more severe and widespread.
Tim Sherrer, the owner of Expest Exterminating, provided a range of estimates for exterminating German cockroaches, the most common species of roach that homeowners encounter:
Cost of Roach Treatments
There are different types of roach treatments available, and it will be up to the exterminator you’re working with to decide which to use. They’ll likely make their decision based on the severity of your infestation. Minor to moderate roach issues tend to be treated with sprays, gel baits, glue traps, and roach dust. Generally speaking, for these treatments, the more rooms you need to apply the treatment in, the more the extermination will cost.
Fumigation is reserved for the most severe infestations and requires you to vacate your home while it’s being conducted, as a poisonous gas is released throughout the premises. As such, this is the most expensive type of treatment. According to Harrison, this is what you can expect to pay for various roach treatments:
|Treatment Type||Average Price per Treatment|
Best Roach Exterminators Near You
|Key Specs||Terminix||Orkin||Arrow Exterminators|
|No. of Locations||300+||400+||171|
|Types of Treatments||Baits, glue traps, sprays, fumigation via contractors||Baits, dusts, growth regulators, sprays, fumigation||Baits, sprays, fumigation|
|Service Guarantee||Will either eliminate pests or provide free additional treatments||30-day, money-back guarantee, plus will either eliminate pests or provide free additional treatments||100% satisfaction guarantee (details unclear)|
Terminix is one of the biggest names in pest control, with over 300 locations nationwide and nearly a century of experience. It offers both quarterly and one-time roach extermination plans. When a technician comes to your home for an initial visit, they’ll determine exactly which species of cockroach has infested your home, as well as the severity of the problem. Then they’ll share recommended treatment methods. Terminix will tailor its treatment to your situation and may use baits or sprays to eliminate the infestation. The company doesn’t perform fumigation itself; instead, it will subcontract that service out to a third party if your situation requires it.
Terminix also offers a Nix Pest Guarantee, which means that if the initial treatment fails to eradicate your roaches, the company will return for a re-treatment, free of charge. Keep in mind that there’s a bit of fine print you should read before booking a cockroach elimination plan with Terminix. For example, its One-Time Pest Control plan only provides re-treatment if pests return within 30 days of the first treatment; after that, you’re not guaranteed free re-treatments.
Orkin has more than 400 locations and over 120 years of experience in the pest control business. The company has a 30-day, money-back guarantee and offers annual pest protection plans. When it comes to roaches, Orkin will send a technician to thoroughly inspect your home, develop a customized treatment plan, and tell you how to prepare for the cockroach treatment.
After Orkin treats your home, a technician will seal up any holes or cracks that could be a source of further infestation, install monitors to keep track of pests, and, if necessary, re-treat your home for free. In terms of treatment methods, Orkin highlights its baits, which entice roaches with poisoned food, and its insecticide sprays and dusts, which either kill or repel the roaches.
Arrow Exterminators has locations in 12 states, mostly throughout the South. The company promises to eliminate any and all cockroaches while also preventing future infestation, a promise it backs with a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee. Arrow’s STEPS Total Protection System aims to provide environmentally friendly pest control solutions by targeting the exact cause of the infestation and treating it in a way that is the least environmentally damaging (think: avoiding the runoff of toxins into the water table).
The company is also GreenPro-certified, meaning its practices ensure minimal human, animal, and plant exposure to pesticides. Be sure to check the company’s website to find out whether Arrow offers services in your area, as it doesn’t serve as many places as Orkin or Terminix.
Signs of a Roach Infestation
Cockroaches are nocturnal, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find evidence of an infestation during the daytime. If you think you might have an infestation, there are a few signs to watch out for. If you notice any of these in your kitchen, bathroom, or basement (areas where roaches tend to hang out), consider contacting a pest control service to schedule an inspection.
- Droppings: You’ll usually see large amounts of droppings when you have an infestation. Smaller roaches leave droppings that look like coffee grounds or black pepper, while larger roaches leave small, dark, cylindrical droppings with ridges along their length.
- Odor: Some species give off a musty odor.
- Skins: Roaches shed their skin five to eight times as they mature into adulthood, so where there’s an infestation, there will likely be shed skins.
- Smear marks: Roaches leave brownish smears behind in areas that have moisture.
- Eggs: Roaches lay eggs encased in a hard sac called an ootheca that can contain as many as 30 future roaches. Oothecae look like inflated beans that are reddish, brownish, or blackish in color.
DIY Roach Treatments
If your infestation is small or you simply want to try getting rid of the roaches on your own before calling in a pest control company, there are some treatments that you can try at home. While these are all claimed as DIY roach treatments, there’s not a lot of evidence proving that they work, so take them with a grain of salt, and if you’re buying or using a product, be sure to research it thoroughly so that you’re aware of any potential dangers it may present, especially to children and pets.
- Diatomaceous earth: This natural insecticide kills roaches by dehydrating them and is generally safe for kids and pets. The downside is that you’ll have to clean up dead roaches.
- Baking soda: Mix baking soda with some diced onions and leave it out for roaches to find. When they eat it, the baking soda will cause them to burst. Be careful if you have pets, as onions are considered toxic for both cats and dogs.
- Boric acid: Pour a small amount of boric acid onto a plate with some peanut butter. The food will attract the roaches, and the acid will stick to them and kill them.
- Lemons: Roaches appear to dislike the scent of lemon, so mix up a bit of lemon with water and mop your floors with it. This may help repel roaches, but it won’t kill them. You can also try using lemongrass essential oil.
Where do roaches like to hide?
Cockroaches are experts at hiding and avoiding humans, mostly coming out at night to feast when things are calm. Generally speaking, they like any dark, sheltered locations, but there are some specific places where they tend to congregate.
First, search the kitchen, especially behind refrigerators, microwaves, and ovens. Roaches also like to lurk inside cabinets because they’re dark and contain food. Another possible hiding spot is your laptop. It might sound strange, but some roaches are small enough to squeeze inside a computer, where they enjoy the machine’s warmth. Furniture—and couches in particular—also tends to provide roach hideouts, especially for laying eggs.
How do you know if roaches are in your walls?
To check if you might have an infestation in your walls, keep an eye out for the five primary signs of roaches: eggs, smear marks, shed skins, droppings, and a musty odor. Droppings tend to accumulate pretty quickly and can be relatively easy to spot. Roach eggs look like capsules and can contain as many as 30 offspring, so any sign of eggs should result in immediate action.
Cockroaches shed their skin repeatedly as they mature, so you may see shed skins about. They also leave behind brown smear marks when they come in contact with moisture, so look for these distinct markings. Finally, where there are roaches, there’s usually an unpleasant, musty odor.
When should you call a roach exterminator?
The longer an infestation exists, the more likely it is to spread and get worse, so it’s best to call an exterminator as soon as you see evidence of a possible infestation. Pest control companies often provide free inspections, so you won’t lose out on any of your hard-earned money if it turns out you don’t have a roach problem. While there are some DIY methods for taking out roaches, there’s not much evidence that they work, and severe infestations should always be handled by professionals.
What time of year is the worst for roaches?
Cockroaches thrive in warm and humid weather, so roach infestations are more likely in spring and summer. Cold weather usually causes them to hibernate and sometimes even die off, although some may retreat indoors to escape the cold air. Areas that are warm pretty much year-round—Southern California and Florida, for example—tend to also have roach problems year-round.
Do roaches bite?
Cockroaches can bite but usually don’t. They mostly avoid humans whenever possible. They’ll likely only bite when an infestation is particularly severe and there are insufficient food sources.
Do any smells keep roaches away?
Although cockroaches thrive on your crumbs and garbage, there are some edible items and odors they tend to avoid. Corn mint oil has been found to repel roaches and can be purchased online. If you’re a fan of felines, you can try using some of your cat’s catnip to keep roaches away, since it has a similarly minty scent.
Roaches also dislike garlic, lavender, citronella, thyme, and basil. You can also try mopping your floors with a mix of water and citrus juice. Keep in mind that these scents may repel roaches, but they won’t kill them or end a serious infestation.
Western Exterminator Company. "Signs of a cockroach infestation." https://www.westernexterminator.com/cockroaches/infestation/
Northwest Exterminating. "Is There A Cockroach Season?" https://www.callnorthwest.com/2020/10/is-there-a-cockroach-season/
Pest Pointers. "8 Scents That Roaches Hate (And How To Use Them)." https://pestpointers.com/8-scents-that-roaches-hate-and-how-to-use-them/