Are Cockroaches Impossible to Kill?

By Jann de Sylva

Are you afraid of cockroaches? 

If so it’s all ok - after all, these creepy crawlies send a chill down just about everyone's spine. Their rigid exoskeletons, eery moving antennas, thorny legs, and scurrying movements are all very intimidating and scary. Let alone when they decide to launch out and fly at you. It’s enough to keep you awake at night. Perhaps as you have contemplated your own fear of these denizens of the dark places you may have asked yourself this question - “Why are cockroaches so hard to kill?

I will attempt to shed some light on this question.

General Information About Cockroaches

Cockroaches, along with spiders, ants and rodents are the most common types of pests in many homes and other buildings. As the sun goes down and we lay down to sleep, they begin to sneak out of cracks and crevices and wander around our homes in search of food - and they find it in the kitchen, trash bins, storage places, drainage, and sewers. 

Living with cockroaches in your home is unfortunate because they actually have quite filthy habits and can produce a nasty smell. In fact some people can even become allergic to their scent through continued exposure. It may surprise you to learn that cockroaches also carry bacteria or fungi with them that may cause diarrhea, dysentery, typhoid fever and cholera.

There are around 3500 species of cockroaches but only a few are considered as pests because of their desire to cohabit with people. Some of these pest species are:

  • The American Cockroach - found all over the world, usually shiny reddish to chocolate brown and up to 35-40 mm in length.
  • The Australian Cockroach - found in tropical and sub-tropical areas, similar to the American cockroach but slightly smaller and darker. These are the ones usually found in most Gold Coast homes.
  • The German Cockroach - is found all over the world, is yellowish-brown in colour and is quite small and soft compared to its larger cousins growing only to around 10-15mm in length. Many people identify it as having small horns on its back end.

Why Are Cockroaches So Hard To Kill?

But back to our original question - why are cockroaches so hard to kill? 

It basically comes down to 4 main reasons.

  1. They Know How to Hide Well

Cockroaches are really good at hiding. This allows them to survive even if they are continuously attacked by humans. Cockroaches breed and hide in the spots of your house where you least expect them to be. They live under the basement, in your garage, in decaying cardboard, unused luggage, boxes of books, under kettles and microwaves, under dishwashers and washing machines and even up in your roof space. 

By remaining well-hidden cockroaches ensure that their offspring grow into maturity. This means that without intervention, the cockroach population in your house will never decrease.

  1. They Eat Almost Anything

That’s right! Cockroaches will eat almost anything that they can get their mandibles on. They eat the food we like such as bread, meat, biscuits and fruits. But they also eat all kinds of decaying matter that even other insects find unappetising. Sometimes, if they fail to find food in the house, they may even resort to eating fabric, soaps, cardboard, bookbinding, toenails. and even other cockroaches.

  1. They Know How To Adapt

Studies show that cockroaches learn to avoid traps. Researchers discovered that traps and baits only work on cockroaches if they are newly installed. As time goes by, the effectiveness of the traps and baits decrease because cockroaches learn to avoid and somehow foresee the impending danger and avoid it.

  1. They Have a Really Strong Immune System

Cockroaches are very hard to kill because of their strong immune systems. The immune systems of cockroaches are designed to destroy microbes and fungi that kill other insects through natural disease and fungal infection, which in turn gives cockroaches long lifespans allowing them to produce many offspring.

How do I get rid of cockroaches in my home?

So how do we deal with these seemingly invincible home invaders? Though hard to kill, cockroaches can be controlled and even eradicated in your home by following the following effective methods.

1. Keep Your House Clean

This is the best cockroach prevention you can adopt. Cockroaches prefer damp and dirty environments so don’t wait for them to infest and breed, start now to make your home an unfavorable habitat for them. You can do this by cleaning regularly, keeping your damp areas dry (kitchen, bathroom, laundry) and by throwing away materials that are starting to decay.
Also check to see if there are any signs of leaks in your water or drainage pipes.

2. Reduce Accessibility

Cockroaches transfer from one house to another by utilising cracks and crevices in walls so one of the most effective means to prevent cockroaches from infesting your home is to check your walls and floors for cracks and other types of openings. As soon as you see one, you can close it by using boards, silicon, epoxy, or other similar materials.

3. Use natural repellants

If cockroaches have already infested your house then you could make and use your own natural repellents.

Below we have compiled a fantastic list of the BOSS TOP 3 natural repellants. These recipes and ingredients are safe for your home, your kids and of course the pets too!

How to make cockroach repellent.


Peppermint oil repellent

Peppermint oil can be added to water in a spray bottle which you can then spray around the house, especially at entrance points such as doors and windows but also around any cracks in the wall where spiders might get through. Simply add 15-20 drops of the oil and top up with water. If you prefer, there are other essential oils that cockroaches may flee from, these include lavender, tea tree, cinnamon and rose. You might even use a combination.


White Vinegar repellent

White vinegar mixed with water at a 50:50 ratio can be super effective for warding off creepy crawlies. Mix the two liquids in a spray bottle and use in the same way as we discussed with the essential oil spray. It is important to be mindful of what surfaces you are using this spray on as those which have been varnished can be damaged by vinegar.


Citrus repellent

It is said that cockroaches will evacuate at the scent of citrus so a great way to rid your home of them is to rub a citrus peel such as lemon, lime or orange along window sills, skirting boards and any other areas where cockroaches may appear. If you do not fancy rubbing fruit all over the furniture, you could always purchase some citronella candles to burn both inside and outside the home, these will give off a citrus fragrance that will not only deter the cockroaches but other creepy crawlies as well.

4. Use Chemicals, Baits and Traps

If natural means of removing cockroaches fails, there are various chemical insecticides available in the shops that claim to be effective in killing cockroaches. They can be purchased as aerosols, dust formulations, smokes, etc.
You may also consider poisoning food and leaving it out in an isolated area of the house in hopes that cockroaches will come and eat it. You might also set food on sticky traps to catch cockroaches and then kill and dispose of them later.
The problem with baits and traps is that their effectivity decreases over time. Also this method requires care and precaution because of the risks of using poisons..

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5. Call A Professional

If you have a serious infestation of cockroaches and your natural remedies don't seem to be doing the trick, calling in the professionals may be your best bet. Pest control technicians are fully trained to be able to deal with these creatures and rid your home of them, so they certainly know what they are doing. This is the best option for those who simply want to get the job done or who have tried everything else and need a last resort.


Cockroaches may be hard to kill but fighting them is not impossible. With the right methods at your disposal, you can triumph over any species of cockroach that is infesting your home.
Good luck.

Still stuck? Need some help?

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