Our Water Our World: Reminder on Controlling Cockroaches

City of Goleta’s Environmental Services Division wants to remind everyone about tips to keep cockroaches away and avoid harmful pesticides as much as possible.

Controlling Cockroaches

  • If you only have a few cockroaches, you may be able to control the problem with sticky traps and cleanup.
  • Use a strong vacuum with a crevice attachment to pull cockroaches from their hiding places and clean up nests. Use a vacuum with a HEPA filter if possible. After vacuuming, take the vacuum cleaner outdoors, remove the bag, seal it in a plastic garbage bag, and put it in the trash. Wipe down the vacuum cleaner with a damp cloth.
  • Cockroach droppings (frass) attract more roaches and other pests. Clean up frass with soap and water. Then, use a hand duster such as a Pest Pistol to blow diatomaceous earth (DE) or boric acid powder into cracks, crevices, and other openings in walls, under large appliances, or in areas where you have found cockroach nests. Be sure to use DE sold for pest control, not for pool filters. When applying DE or boric acid powder, protect your lungs and eyes by wearing a dust mask, gloves, and safety goggles. Apply a very light coating because cockroaches will avoid piles of dust. It doesn’t take much to kill them.
  • One way to get to a cockroach hiding place behind a wall is to remove the cover plate on an electrical outlet or switch. Always turn off the power before applying products near electrical outlets.

If dusting is not effective, use enclosed cockroach baits.

Keep Cockroaches Out

Keep cockroaches away by blocking access to your home and to their food, water, and shelter. Follow these simple good housekeeping tips to keep them from coming back:

  • Store food in the refrigerator or in containers that seal tightly.
  • Clean counters and eating areas daily. Vacuum or sweep floors. Don’t leave dirty dishes out overnight, even in the dishwasher. Take out recycling and any garbage containing food scraps every night.
  • Place pet food and water bowls in larger bowls of soapy water.
  • Reduce clutter in all rooms (it provides shelter for cockroaches).
  • Keep kitchen surfaces dry whenever they are not in use, especially overnight.
  • Fix leaky plumbing.
  • Check items you bring into your house for cock- roaches or their egg cases. Pay special attention to used furniture and appliances, and cardboard cartons from food stores.
  • Put out sticky traps so that you’ll know as soon as cockroaches return. This is especially important in apartment buildings, condominiums, or other homes that share walls, where cockroaches can easily move from one home to another.

Find more information on controlling cockroaches with eco-friendly pesticide alternatives in our OWOW brochures in English and Spanish

The City of Goleta along with the Cities of Buellton, Carpinteria, Solvang, Santa Barbara, Santa Maria and the County of Santa Barbara have partnered with the OWOW organization to promote the use of less-toxic products in an effort to reduce pesticide pollution in our communities. By reducing pesticide use and the use of less-toxic products around the home, you can help reduce pesticides and other pollutants such as herbicides and fertilizers from being picked up while watering or when it rains and transported to the nearest storm drain inlet and into our waterways. The OWOW website is a great resource for finding less-toxic products to use around your home or garden.