When to Call an Exterminator for Roaches: Cost, Time, & FAQs

By Amy Poole

Don’t know when to call an exterminator for roaches? In this article, we’ll share the typical places they hide, the signs of an infestation, and, most importantly, when to contact a professional.

How to Identify Cockroach Infestation

There are several telltale signs that you might have a cockroach infestation in your home, and here’s what to look out for:

A Different Smell

No one knows your home’s smell better than you. Cockroaches can produce an unpleasant odor that’s not easily disguised.

Cockroach Droppings

If there’s not much water available for cockroaches, they’ll produce feces that are around 2 mm long and a brown/black color.

Skin Sheddings

Cockroaches shed their skin over seven times as they become a mature adult. You can usually find these sheddings where termites shelter.

Damage to Wooden Surfaces

Cockroaches eat through wood — including furniture and walls — so it’s common to identify signs of damage to your home’s interior and exterior. They might also attack leather materials, such as books.

When to Call an Exterminator for Roaches

If you notice any of the above signs of an infestation, you should take action immediately and call a pest control company. The longer you wait, the worse the cockroach problem could become.

Should I Call an Exterminator if I See One Cockroach?

If you see one cockroach in your home, there’s a chance that others might be hiding in areas inside. However, there’s also the possibility that the insect might have wandered in from outside.

You should also consider whether you have signs of an infestation before contacting cockroach control. Just one cockroach can breed in large numbers (tens to hundreds), so you should look for any other evidence that you have an infestation.

Where Do Cockroaches Hide?

There are several common places where cockroaches hide in houses.


Pipes that travel through homes are often in dark areas, such as under sinks, and damp, making them the perfect place for cockroaches to reside.

Regularly check these areas and amend any plumbing leaks to prevent roaches from wanting to access your pipes.


Roaches commonly live and lay eggs in furniture, especially if found trapped in your sofa, for example.

You can prevent this from happening by regularly cleaning furnishings and inspecting furniture for egg casings.


Another common place that roaches can hide is in nooks and crannies. Areas can include corners of the room, behind picture frames, and more.

Prevent an infestation by not storing any loose debris in your home and ensuring that all cracks (such as in the walls and flooring) are sealed.

Kitchen Appliances

Behind kitchen electronics have become a common place for roaches to live as they’re a warm environment and offer an excellent food source.

Regularly wipe down kitchen appliances after each time and remove the trash to prevent attracting roaches.

How to Find a Cockroach Nest

Locate the root cause of an infestation by checking any/all of the areas mentioned above. If you notice any of the above signs of a roach infestation or spot several pests, it’s best to contact roach control immediately, as there could be more hiding in other areas of your home.

What Happens if You Don’t Kill Roaches?

The most compassionate response to seeing a cockroach should be to let it outside. However, ignoring the pest and allowing it to roam around your home exponentially increases the chances of an infestation (if there isn’t already one).

How Do Exterminators Kill Roaches?

Exterminators use various methods to kill roaches and stop an infestation in its tracks.

Gel Bait

Pest control services apply the gel baits method in all places that cockroaches might be living in your home, including cracks. This gel bait entices the cockroach, where they’ll eat it and die.

Boric Acid

This chemical has a dust-like consistency, and exterminators apply it to all areas in homes, along with cracks and crevices where cockroaches can live. When cockroaches walk along these surfaces, they become coated in the boric acid, which stops them from moving, and they eventually die.


This cockroach bait is only effective if cockroaches ingest it. Once they do, it disrupts a cockroach’s metabolic rate, resulting in death.

How Much Are Exterminators for Roaches?

The price can vary between $100–400 for a single cockroach treatment. The bigger the infestation, the more it’ll cost. You can also sign up for post-treatments to prevent cockroaches from returning.

How Long Does Cockroach Extermination Take?

The duration of roach extermination depends on the severity of the infestation. It typically takes weeks to apply all of the cockroach baits and thoroughly check that the solutions effectively kill these common pests.

Once the exterminators have sprayed all of the products, you might be required to keep them out of a particular area in your home for the next day to allow the spray to dry.

How to Get Rid of Roaches Without an Exterminator

Here are some DIY home remedies to combat a roach problem without hiring a professional:


This smells fresh to humans, but citrus can deter roaches. Simply add a couple of drops of lemon oil to some water, and use the solution to mop your floors.

Caulk Entry Points

The biggest solution to getting rid of roaches is to seal gaps and cracks where they can enter. Focus on areas that are prone to gaps, such as walls, tiles, window seals, and doors.

Baking Soda

Mix equal parts of baking soda and sugar, and sprinkle the mixture where the roaches are active. The sugar will attract the roaches to eat it, and then they’ll ingest baking soda, causing their stomach to expand until it kills them.

Do Cockroach Traps Work?

Cockroach traps are sticky and can be very effective in catching these pests. However, they’re not considered humane. These traps are successful in stopping the pest from running out, but these shouldn’t be the only go-to in completely stopping an infestation.

How to Choose an Exterminator for Roaches

You now know when to call an exterminator for roaches, but how do you sift through the variety of exterminator services? Here are some factors to help you decide.

A Guarantee

You’ll have peace of mind if the exterminator company offers a satisfaction guarantee. This might look like offering a refund if the pests return within a certain amount of time.


Has a friend had a positive experience of using an exterminator company? If so, consider spending your money with them. There might even be a reduced fee if someone recommends them to you.

Safety Procedures

Pest control handle a lot of chemicals, so it’s essential they remain safe on the job. Research how they’ll apply the mixtures with caution and apply them with the proper technique.


Finally, does the company professionally handle itself? They should have a working website, respond to correspondences within a responsible amount of time, and provide professional help to your queries.

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