How to Trap Cockroaches
It can be very hard to get rid of a cockroach infestation. Smashing each individual roach seems like an insurmountable task—or an inhumane one—and you may want a way to tackle the problem without getting your hands dirty. A trap can be a great alternative to bug spray, and it costs less than paying somebody to remove the bugs for you.
Trapping Roaches with Duct Tape
Try making a duct tape trap.The premise of this strategy is simple: you'll need bait to attract the cockroaches, and adhesive to keep them there. This trap can be difficult to move once you have set it, but it is a simple trick, and you may yield a high reward for relatively little effort.
- You can also find adhesive-based traps, if you prefer to buy them. Look at home-and-garden stores, or ask your local exterminators for advice.
Get a roll of duct tape.Make sure that the tape is fresh and sticky – otherwise the roaches may be able to easily struggle out and escape. You can use alternatives to duct tape, but make sure that they are powerfully adhesive. Scotch tape will not do, nor masking tape; your trap must be able to hold the cockroaches until you are able to remove them from your home.
Choose your bait.Anything with a powerfully sweet or oily smell will work. Onion is a common choice, although you can use anything fragrant. Try using small strip of fresh banana peel or sweet, overripe fruit. Consider using a small piece of bread.If you have noticed the cockroaches in your house being particularly attracted to any given food item, try using that as bait.
- If you wish to outright kill the cockroaches, you can buy gel baits spiked with active ingredients that poison the insects. Bear in mind, however, that these are not always attractive to roaches, and that they may not be as effective as advertised.Contact a local home-and-garden store or pest-control center.
- Make sure to only use a small portion of your chosen bait. If the bait spills over the edge of the tape, there will be little motivation for cockroaches to get themselves stuck. Slice the onion, fruit, or other food into a small but substantial chunk.
Set the bait.Place the fruit, onion, bread, etc. in the middle of a length of your sticky tape. Make sure that it is stable, and that it will not fall over.
Set up your trap.Leave the tape in an area where you've been finding a lot of cockroaches: a kitchen, perhaps, or a dark corner, or near a hole in the wall. Bear in mind that you will need to decide what to do with these cockroaches afterward – they will be stuck to the tape, helpless, and you will need to find a way to remove them or dispose of them without setting them free.
- Try putting the trap in a high place – like the top of your kitchen cabinets, or the top of your fridge. Roaches like to scurry in high places.
Wait.Cockroaches love the dark, and they tend to do most of their foraging at night. Leave the tape where it is overnight, and do not disturb it until the morning. When you check the trap at the end of the night, you should find a lot of cockroaches on it. To dispose of the cockroaches, you can either kill them or release them humanely.
- To release the cockroaches humanely, pick up the duct tape and take it outside. Bring it at least 100 feet from your home, then shake off the roaches and throw away the tape. If you don't want to pick up the trap with your bare hands, wear gloves or use a dustbin. Alternately, place a box over the tape to enclose the trap, then side a piece of paper underneath to hold the roaches in place while you bring them outside.
- If you're going to kill the cockroaches, you can simply throw away the duct tape with roaches attached. Make sure to close up the bag or bin once the insects are inside – otherwise they may crawl out, rendering your efforts useless!
Catching Cockroaches in a Jar
Try trapping cockroaches inside a jar.This model is safe for children and pets, and it is easier to move than a duct tape strip. Find a quart-size mason jar that has a very slight bottleneck, like a mayonnaise or spaghetti sauce jar.
Give the cockroaches a way to climb into the jar.Wrap masking or duct tape (sticky-side facing the jar) all around the outer surface so the cockroaches have enough traction to climb up the sides. Alternately, place the jar near a small ramp or rim so that cockroaches can easily find their way inside.
Make the inside of the jar slippery.Coat the inside with petroleum jelly (like Vaseline), at least four inches down from the top. This way, the cockroaches won't be able to get any traction when they try to climb back out of the jar. Consider mixing the petroleum jelly with gel bait to kill the cockroaches on contact – but bear in mind that gel bait is prone to drying out. A healthy increment of petroleum jelly with retain its oily moisture for as long as you need to catch your roaches.
Bait the trap.Put something smelly in the bottom of the jar to attract the cockroaches. A piece of banana peel or fragrant, overripe fruit works well, and some people advocate the use of onion slices. Make sure that the bait is not so large that the roaches can use it to climb out of the jar!
- Try pouring a bit of beer or red wine into the bottom of the jar – just enough to drown the roaches. Fruit juices, sweet sodas, and sugar water may also work well. These sweetly-scented beverages will attract the roaches, then trap them forever.
Set the trap.Place the jar anywhere that you have a roach problem, and make sure that there is room on the sides for the roaches to crawl into the jar. The idea is that the roaches will climb up and fall into the jar, where they can't get out.
- Try leaving the jar in an enclosed space, like a closet, a garage, or a stuffy corner. The cloying smell of the bait will fill the air and draw hungry cockroaches into your trap.
Empty the trap.Leave the jar out overnight—or even for several days—until it has collected a good few roaches. Eventually, pour some boiling water into the jar to kill any surviving roaches. Flush them down the toilet or put them into a compost bin.
- Set the trap again to make sure that you've solved your roach problem. Recharge the jar with more petroleum jelly and a new piece of bait. Repeat as needed.
Trapping Roaches in a Bottle
Try baiting cockroaches with a red wine bottle.First, find a near-empty bottle. The glass or container design is very important however (tall, cylindrical containers, narrow-mouthed bottles, etc), as it should prevent the cockroaches from climbing out of it. Any tall bottle with a narrow neck will do. It will need to have a few teaspoons of wine left in it.
- If it is a dry red wine, add a quarter teaspoon of sugar and swish it around.
- If you don't want to use alcohol, try some sugar and water with a bit of fruit, or just experiment. Boil the water first and let it cool to stop the concoction from going moldy before it has done its work on the cockroaches.
Smear some cooking oil all around the inside of the top of the bottle.This will make a slippery slide to the bottom of the bottle.
- Alternately, use a pipe cleaner or another long-handled brushing tool to spread petroleum jelly inside the bottle, just below the neck. This will make it difficult for fallen cockroaches to gain traction when climbing back up.
Set the trap.Place the wine bottle in a spot where you have seen some cockroaches: near the compost heap, for instance, or in a dark corner of your kitchen. Leave it out for at least one night. Bear in mind that it may take a couple of nights to ferment to the right composition to attract the critters.
- The cockroaches are attracted to the sweet smell of wine or beer. They climb onto the top of the bottle, slip on the oil, fall into the bottom, and cannot get back out again.
- Consider making a "trail" of spilled wine up the side of the bottle. This may help lead the cockroaches into your trap with the promise of sweeter things to come.
Dispose of the roaches.When you check your trap in the morning and find cockroaches in the bottom of the bottle, carefully pour some very hot water into the bottle to kill them. Leave the hot water in the bottle for a minute or two make sure that it's worked – cockroaches are resilient creatures. Dispose of the dead roaches by pouring the hot water from the bottle into a garden, a compost heap, or a toilet bowl.
- If one bottle doesn't solve your roach infestation, keep trying. You can set the trap with a new bottle every few days. Over time, the numbers of caught roaches should decline as there are fewer insects around to fall into your trap.
- Try pairing the wine-bottle method with the jar method and the duct-tape method. Set up different traps in different areas of your home, then observe which works best. Consider that one trap might be catching more cockroaches due to its location or its bait type – not necessarily because of its trapping mechanism.
QuestionHow can I prevent them from entering my apartment unit?Top AnswererUnfortunately, the entire building needs an exterminator, not just your unit.Thanks!
QuestionWill the cockroach die if i put condensed milk and used cooking oil in the jar instead of wine?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes! I found it to be a very effective alternative. You can try different oils as well.Thanks!
QuestionCan geckos be hurt by these traps?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerMethods 2 and 3 should be gecko-safe.Thanks!
QuestionWill the cockroaches leave the jar by morning?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerNo, because the petroleum jelly will cause no traction, making them slip and fall into the jar again if they try to escape.Thanks!
QuestionDoes fabric softener work to kill cockroaches?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIt worked for me but only for a day or two -- they become immune to anything I have found. I will not give up though. I'm actually excited about trying this wine or jar method.Thanks!
QuestionCan I feed the roaches to pets?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerNo, as some carry diseases so you would not want to spread that to your pet.Thanks!
QuestionCan I get rid of roaches if I remove their food source?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerRemoving food sources is the best way to prevent an infestation, but roaches can go a long time without food. You still need to have a trapping or extermination plan.Thanks!
QuestionWhat do I do if I'm on vacation and my AirBnb is full of cockroaches?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerContact AirBnB customer service for a new room. I'm pretty sure that is against their community standards.Thanks!
If I put cooking oil and dried apricots in a jar, will that trap cockroaches?
What is their lifespan, and how fast do they reproduce?
I have lots of scary cockroaches in my house. I have set cockroach bait out for months and there are still some left. What can I do?
- The tape may dry out.
- Keep the tape away from pets or children.
Things You'll Need
Extremely sticky tape
Strong scented food (like onion) or wine
Dark spot where roaches are bound to be found
Sources and Citations
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Video: DIY Cockroach Trap with proof!
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