How Long Does it Take to Get Rid of Roaches?

using household sprays to kill cockroaches

Getting rid of roaches can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months, depending on the severity of the infestation, the cleanliness of the space, and the effectiveness of the treatments. Roaches also multiply quickly, can hide in small spaces, and become pesticide-resistant.

A comprehensive plan is essential to tackle pest infestations before the infestation gets out of control. Roaches can spread diseases, trigger allergies, and worsen asthma symptoms, as well as damage household items like furniture and electronics.That’s why it’s crucial to develop a comprehensive plan to deal with these pests.

Factors that Affect Roach Eradication

How quickly you can get rid of a roach infestation depends on several factors, such as the severity of the infestation, species, where they’re hiding, cleanliness, and treatment methods. For effective roach control, it’s necessary to identify the source of the infestation and follow through on an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) plan.

  • Severity of the infestation: The more severe the infestation, the longer it will take to get rid of the roaches. Minor infestations can be resolved in a few weeks, while a heavily infested home can take months and often requires multiple treatments. Early detection can prevent a full-blown infestation.
  • Species of roaches: Some types of roaches are harder to eliminate than others. For example, German cockroaches are the most common roaches and the most difficult to control.
  • Pesticide-resistant roaches: Over time, roaches can develop immunity to certain treatments, so it can take longer to get rid of them. Rotating pesticides and using alternatives, including non-chemical methods, can help prevent further resistance in these situations.
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  • Cleanliness of the space: A clean home shortens roach removal time. Regular cleaning and lack of clutter will remove food sources, roach eggs, and hiding places, preventing the infestation from spreading and allowing easy access for treatments.
  • Location of the infestation: Roaches can hide in hard-to-reach places, which can prolong the extermination process. The easier they are to access, the quicker they can be eliminated. However, if the roaches are deep within the walls or coming from an outside source like a neighboring unit, extermination can take longer.
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Diatomaceous earth: marekuliasz / Canva Pro / License
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Roach Bait: Dmitriydanilov / Canva Pro / License
  • Treatment method: The chosen treatment can affect how long it takes for the roaches to die. A professional extermination is the fastest, while DIY treatments can work, but they will take longer to eliminate an infestation.
    • Professional extermination typically takes about three to six weeks and may require repeated treatments. If your company is using insect growth regulators (IGRs) alongside insecticides, these may take up to six weeks for noticeable results. However, IGRs sterilize the roaches, thus killing the colony over time.
    • Bug bombs or foggers kill roaches in a few hours but won’t get rid of eggs or roaches they don’t reach, leading to reinfestation.
    • Diatomaceous earth (DE) will kill roaches in a couple of days. DE works by destroying the exoskeleton after the roach comes in contact with the powder. However, it won’t affect the eggs or roaches that don’t come in contact with it.
    • Boric acid can kill roaches within three days, but only if they ingest the powder, and it won’t reach the eggs. Also, boric acid is toxic to people and pets if eaten or inhaled, so use it with caution.
    • Baking soda is a natural home remedy that works in about a week by causing gas to build up in their bodies after the roaches eat it. Baking soda is non-toxic, making it a safe, family-friendly part of your roach control strategy. Add sugar or a starch, like flour, for best results.
    • Roach bait typically starts to kill roaches within 24 hours of their eating it. However, it can take a week or longer for noticeable results as the roach bait has to be carried back to the nest and shared with other roaches. Roach bait won’t affect the eggs.
  • Consistency of treatments: Sticking to an IPM plan, addressing the source of the infestation, and regular treatments are key to getting rid of roaches. Any gaps in the treatment process can make the problem worse, as roaches breed quickly and may find new, harder-to-reach places to hide.

Where Do Cockroaches Come From?

roach near a sink
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If you can find out why the roaches have invaded your home, then you can get rid of them faster. Roaches go where there’s food, water, and shelter. Regular cleaning, using sealed food containers, repairing leaks, and decluttering can all help in your battle against roaches.

Below are specific factors that can invite roaches into a home:

  • Food: Although roaches will eat virtually anything, they prefer grains and sugary or greasy food. They’ll go for overflowing trash cans, unsealed containers, or leftovers, including pet food. Even in the cleanest homes, roaches will invade if food or water sources are available.
  • Water: Like most living creatures, roaches need water to survive. Leaky pipes, wet sponges, pet water bowls, and even old gutters damaging your home can attract roaches and create entry points. Water sources are one reason why you’ll find roaches in bathrooms and kitchens.
  • Shelter: Being nocturnal, roaches will come out mostly at night. They like to hide in dark, warm, and damp areas during the day. You’ll often find roaches inside furniture, in clutter, pantries, and under sinks. These pests also gather around appliances that generate heat, like refrigerators and water heaters.
  • Proximity: Roaches may invade your home from your neighbor’s space, especially if you have a shared wall, like in apartments and condos. They can travel through wall vents, pipes, and crawl under doors. Sealing access points, maintaining a clean home, and contacting the landlord for pest control can deter them.

Watch this video on how to simply and quickly seal access points around your home.

Types of Cockroaches

The time needed for roach extermination also depends on the species. Different types of roaches can adapt to various environments and treatments. 

For example, German cockroaches can take two to eight weeks to get rid of due to their rapid reproduction rate and resistance to many common pesticides. But outside roaches, like the larger American roach, average 10 days to a few months.

Each species has distinct characteristics, including differences in size and color. Some insects, such as crickets, horned beetles, and ground beetles, look like roaches, so accurate identification determines the best treatment for pest control. Here are some key features to look for:

  • Body: Roaches have flat, oval bodies with long antennae, large abdomens, and small heads. Some have wings, but most don’t fly.
  • Color: Roaches can be brown, reddish-brown, or black. Some species have distinct patterns, as well.
  • Size: Adult roaches range in length from 1/2 inch up to almost 2 inches, depending on the species.
SpeciesColorTime to Exterminate
German cockroachTan or brown with two parallel black bandsTwo to eight weeks, may require repeat treatments
American cockroachReddish brown10 days to a few months, may need repeat treatments 
Oriental cockroachDark brown to blackDie in two weeks if no access to water; entry points must be sealed
Brown-banded cockroachTwo horizontal bands across the bodyThree to five weeks, possible followup treatments

Why Roaches Are Hard to Kill

person killing a cockroach with spray
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Cockroaches are resilient due to their unique biology, which enables them to resist pesticides, survive without food, reproduce rapidly, and adapt to various habitats. They can also survive eating toxins and thrive in unsanitary conditions. Altogether, roaches are hard to kill for several reasons:

  • Omnivores: Roaches can eat almost anything and are cannibalistic, when necessary, to survive.
  • Strong immune system: Their immune systems remove harmful microbes and fungi, allowing them to thrive in unsanitary conditions
  • Pesticide resistance: Roaches have a gene called cytochrome P450, which allows them to become resistant to some pesticides.
  • Regeneration: Roaches can regenerate lost limbs and eyes during their molting stages. While they can’t regenerate their heads, they can continue to live for a week without them.
  • Adaptable: These pernicious pests can live in a variety of environments, adapt to become resistant to pesticides, and survive a month without food.
  • Reproduce quickly: Depending on the species, female roaches can lay 30 to 40 eggs in a day. Baby roaches also mature quickly, which allows them to reproduce faster. 


How Long Does it Take to Get Roaches Out of a Car?

It takes about a week to get rid of roaches in a car, depending on how bad the infestation is. To get roaches out of a car, thoroughly clean and vacuum the inside. Use roach traps or bait to kill existing roaches and keep your car free of food and debris to discourage future infestations.

Can Roaches Make You Sick?

Yes, the presence of cockroaches can make you sick. Salmonella, staphylococcus, and streptococcus are just some of the pathogens they carry. Children, in particular, may suffer from allergies and asthma caused by their droppings, shed skins, and the bacteria roaches carry.

Will Bleach Kill Roaches?

Yes, bleach will kill roaches, but it won’t eradicate an infestation since it will only kill roaches that come into contact with it. Aside from damaging surfaces, bleach can also cause skin and respiratory irritations. After treating roaches, bleach is ideal for disinfecting surfaces.

When to Call a Pro

The fastest way to get rid of roaches is hiring a professional pest control company. They have the equipment and knowledge to eliminate these tenacious pests quickly and keep them out. Don’t let roaches take over your home: Contact a local pest control pro today.

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Raven Wisdom

Raven Wisdom is a writer with a passion for pest control, gardening, sustainable living, and making a positive impact in the world. When she's not defending her garden from critters in the wilds of West Texas, Raven can be found writing, wrangling two kids in a neurodivergent family, and supporting her local animal rescues.