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5 Best Cockroach Baits [Most Effective for DIY]

The signs of a roach infestation are all too familiar: a foul smell, little piles of refuse throughout your home, and you may even spot a roach or two scuttling across your floor. But by then it’s too late – you have a major roach problem that needs immediate attention.

Roach infestations are extremely common, especially in large urban apartment complexes. But there are steps you can take to deal with the problem. The cornerstone of treating any roach infestation is to use one of the best cockroach baits. Cockroach baits have revolutionized how the industry kills cockroaches – let’s get into why.

What Are Cockroach Baits?

Cockroach baits are products that are attractive to cockroaches (due to their smell and taste), which lure cockroaches to come eat them. The baits also contain pesticides which will end up killing them!

advion cockroach gel bait tubes

The best cockroach baits can come in a variety of forms, but the most common is a gel. Gel cockrocah baits are easy to store, easy to apply, and easy to cleanup if needed.

The second most common form of cockroach bait is granular baits. Granules look like grains of rice that can be scattered around for cockroaches to come pick up.

Granules can be useful for broadcasting into a wall void or placing in a bait tray, but for the most part I prefer gel baits.

How Do Roach Baits Work?

The best cockroach baits are a great pest control strategy because they don’t take a lot of work on your part. The bait does a lot of the heavy lifting for you.

The basic principle behind any roach bait is that it contains something tasty to attract the roaches, and something toxic to slowly kill them. The roaches snack on the delicious bait, and then later are killed by the poison.

That’s great for when it comes to killing a single cockroach, but the great thing about modern cockroach baits is you’ll also get secondary and tertiary kills.

What does that mean?

One cockroach eats the bait, but it doesn’t die right away. It has time to get back to their harborage where other cockroaches live. The cockroach that ate the bait can then vomit, pass feces, and die. Now other cockroaches will eat that vomit, feces, and even the dead cockroach itself!

One cockroach taking the bait goes on to kill many, which makes clearing a cockroach infestation much more manageable for the DIY homeowner and you also get to see results faster.

Types of Roach Bait

There are two main formulations of roach bait: gel baits and granular baits. Gel baits are used for most at-home infestations. It’s difficult and messy to spread granular bait around well enough to be effective, but it is often cheaper by volume. This makes granular bait a better choice for infestations of larger cockroaches, who may eat too much of the more expensive gel baits to spread them around well.

Gel baits are great for home infestations. They can be applied in small amounts and in smaller areas than granular bait – so it’s less messy and inconvenient. Odds are if you’re reading this article, a gel bait is the right fit for you.

Best Cockroach Baits

Advion Evolution Cockroach Gel Bait

Advion Evolution Cockroach Gel Bait
Active Ingredient: Indoxacarb 0.6%

Advion Evolution is the latest formulation of cockroach bait from Syngenta, a major pest control manufacturer. It’s been proven to spread to multiple cockroaches and be more attractive than the competition.

Why DoMyOwn? offers professional-grade insecticides to DIYers while ensuring proper storage of chemicals. Couple that with their impressive customer service and knowledgeable staff, it’s the #1 choice.

Advion is one of the biggest and best names in pest control, and for good reason – their products work.

Advion Evolution uses indoxacarb as its active ingredient. This is a modern pesticide that is unique because it has been proven to spread to secondary and tertiary targets. This means that not only can a cockroach spread it to its neighbor, but that neighbor can go on to spread it to its neighbors, spreading the bait much more quickly.

As a result, a small amount of bait can go a long way toward knocking out your infestation.

advion cockroach gel bait set up

While Advion Evolution can work on its own, if you’re dealing with an ongoing cockroach infestation the manufacturers recommend rotating it every three months with Optigard Cockroach Gel Bait.

While both baits are good on their own, they have different active pesticide ingredients and formulas. Rotating baits can help minimize pesticide-resistance in a population and help get rid of cockroaches that may not like the taste of one bait.

We recommend this as the #1 best cockroach bait to start with when fighting an infestation!

Advance Cockroach Gel Bait

Advance Cockroach Gel Bait
Active Ingredient: Dinotefuran 0.5%

Harris Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth is an all-natural Diatomaceous Earth that is effective at killing most crawling pests over time.

Why DoMyOwn? offers professional-grade insecticides to DIYers while ensuring proper storage of chemicals. Couple that with their impressive customer service and knowledgeable staff, it’s the #1 choice.

While pest control products are often dangerous, toxic, or generally bad for the environment, Advance is unique in that it contains dinotefuran, a relatively new pesticide that is classified as “Reduced-Risk” by the EPA.

Reduced Risk Status means that the active ingredient has been found to be a commercially viable alternative to riskier pesticides that could be neurotoxins or carcinogens.

Dinotefuran is a neonicotinoid, which means it attacks the nervous system of insects (and only insects). So while you wouldn’t exactly want to eat it (it would taste terrible!), Advance bait isn’t toxic to pets, children, or the environment. It’s not known to have any harmful effects on mammals.

As a result, Advance Cockroach Gel Bait is a great choice if you’re very worried about children or pets getting into your bait.

Vendetta Plus Cockroach Gel Bait

Vendetta Plus Cockroach Gel Bait
Active Ingredient: Abamectin 0.05% Pyriproxyfen 0.5%

Harris Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth is an all-natural Diatomaceous Earth that is effective at killing most crawling pests over time.

Why DoMyOwn? offers professional-grade insecticides to DIYers while ensuring proper storage of chemicals. Couple that with their impressive customer service and knowledgeable staff, it’s the #1 choice.

Vendetta Plus is an interesting product because it actually combines two completely different mechanisms for pest control.

The first active ingredient is a slow-release pesticide (abamectin), which means it will kill cockroaches the same way other baits do. But unlike other baits, Vendetta also contains pyriproxyfen, an insect growth regulator (IGR).

This is a hormone that interferes with insect growth and development, so it’s a great addition to a bait. If any young, developing cockroaches escape the pesticide, they’ll be caught by the growth regulator, which can prevent them from advancing to mature cockroaches that can reproduce.

Maxforce FC Roach Bait Gel

Maxforce FC Roach Bait Gel
Active Ingredient: Fipronil 0.01%

Harris Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth is an all-natural Diatomaceous Earth that is effective at killing most crawling pests over time.

Why DoMyOwn? offers professional-grade insecticides to DIYers while ensuring proper storage of chemicals. Couple that with their impressive customer service and knowledgeable staff, it’s the #1 choice.

This is a pretty standard-issue cockroach bait, but it contains a different active ingredient to any of the others on this list – fipronil, which disrupts the nervous system of insects.

Maxforce can work well on its own, but it’s also a great secondary bait to use in rotation for tougher infestations. It’s a particularly good complement to baits that use a different active ingredient from Maxforce like Vendetta or Advion.

Combat Roach Bait Stations

Combat Max 12 Month Roach Killing Bait, Small Roach Bait Station,...
  • Start killing small roaches in hours and prevent them from returning for up to 12 months
  • Easy to use, no mess baits, do not require activation. Note : Not for Garden Use
  • Simply place them where roaches are found and relax while they kill non-stop day and night

If you want a really hands-off approach to roach baiting, then the best cockroach bait to use are these Combat Roach Bait Stations. These products already have the pesticide inside a plastic container that you can more easily place around your home and it uses fipronil, the same active ingredient as Maxforce FC above.

On a per-unit basis these are quite a bit more expensive for the amount of pesticide you get and worst of all you can’t really monitor if the cockroaches are eating the bait or not since it’s hidden inside the container.

For those reasons I don’t really recommend it because you’ll have to wait days to see how well it’s working or if you need to change bait locations. No one wants to waste time when dealing with a cockroach infestation!

How To Apply Cockroach Gel Bait

Here are some tips on applying cockroach baits –

Find Their Hiding Spots

To effectively apply cockroach bait, it helps to think like a cockroach and try to find out where they’re hiding. Cockroaches prefer dark enclosed places where they’ll spend ~75% of their time. They typically only really leave their hiding places at night to hunt for food or water.

Cockroaches are most commonly found in kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry rooms. What do these rooms all have in common? Sinks, pipes, and cabinets.

Cockroaches will use leaky pipes as a source of water and hide under cabinets, appliances, vanities, washing machines, etc. Wherever you’re finding the most cockroaches, that’s where you want to bait.

You’ll want to apply your bait close to their harborage so they’re more likely to eat it up immediately.

Do a Clean Up

Before applying the bait it’s best to take a few minutes and tidy your space up. If you have any leaky pipes, roofs, windows, etc, fix them so they aren’t a source of water for the roaches.

The same goes for food sources. Check all your cabinets for loose food that roaches are feeding on like broken bags of sugar. You should also try to vacuum up any loose crumbs or food items you can find.

Cockroaches have also been known to eat pet food, so try to put your pets on an eating schedule rather than leaving food out all day and night.

By eliminating these other sources of food and water, there’s less competition for your cockroach bait and they’ll be more likely to eat it.

Apply the Cockroach Bait

Now it’s time to apply your cockroach bait. I’m assuming you’re using a gel bait, but if you want to place granules into an open plastic container of some sort that can work as well.

Apply small dabs of gel bait about 8-12 inches apart in areas like the bottoms of cabinets, in and around small cracks and crevices, and especially around any plumbing (cockroaches love moisture).

If you can access behind appliances that is great. You could also try applying the bait onto something like an index card and slipping it under your fridge and stove. Just be sure you can retrieve it later to check if the bait has been taken.

advion cockroach bait

A little bait goes a long way – dime-sized dabs will do the trick.

Wait and Re-Apply

The most important thing when applying the gel bait is to be patient. The whole point of baits is to attract the insects first and then kill them over the course of a few days.

You may see even more roaches in the first days after application since they think they just found a great new source of food.

Don’t be tempted to spray additional pesticides around the area – this may kill a few roaches, but it will compromise the long-term effectiveness of the bait by contaminating it. Roaches will not eat bait covered in spray pesticides!

Check the bait regularly and if it has been eaten up, apply more bait to the same area. The more bait the roaches eat, the faster they’ll die out.

If you find that the roaches haven’t eaten the bait after ~3 days, toss out the old bait and apply more bait wherever you’re still seeing the most cockroach activity.

You should start to see results within a few days, possibly within 24 hours. Again, don’t be alarmed if you see a few extra roaches for a day or two. It’s just part of the process.

Cockroach Bait Troubleshooting

The cockroaches are not eating the bait!

First, make sure you genuinely have a roach infestation. Roach bait may not attract other types of insects, so if you’ve misidentified your infestation, the bait may cause more harm than good! Check out this article for information on identifying a roach infestation.

Make sure your bait is fresh. Pesticides are often quite volatile chemicals that can degrade and be less effective over time. So if you’re using the same tube of bait from the last infestation you had years ago, it’s likely gone bad and you should try again with a fresh batch.

If all else fails, try a different brand or formula. It may be impossible to determine why, but sometimes roaches just don’t go for a certain bait. That’s why it’s great that there are so many great cockroach baits out there!

I’m still seeing cockroaches after a whole week!

If the cockroaches are eating the bait, then you need to keep applying and be patient. If you have a very large cockroach infestation then it’s going to take more time and bait to fully get the job done.

You may also want to look into additional tactics like applying cockroach traps to monitor their activity and apply insecticide dust like CimeXa into cracks and crevices which will help kill additional bugs.

Where should I apply a cockroach bait?

You should try to apply the bait as close to their harborage as possible. The closer the bait is to the cockroaches main hiding spot, the more likely they are to find it and eat it.

Can I buy a single tube of cockroach gel bait?

This isn’t really possible. Manufacturers only sell baits in sets of 4 tubes.

How can I make my own cockroach bait?

There are some DIY recipes out there you could follow to make your own cockroach bait, but it isn’t really advisable. The active ingredients in manufactured cockroach baits and stronger and spread better between cockroaches.

More importantly, these companies have invested tons of research into formulating their baits in ways that cockroaches will find attractive and favorable to competing food sources in your home. You’re likely to go through the work of making a cockroach bait and finding the roaches aren’t really interested. There’s a reason why these are the best cockroach baits!

Is cockroach bait toxic to dogs and cats?

In theory yes, but your cat or dog would need to eat an extremely large quantity to be harmed. Much, much more than you’ll be putting out in your home at any given time to kill cockroaches.

Keep in mind how tiny cockroaches are. Baits are formulated to kill them slow enough that they have time to get back to their harborage before they die. They weigh mere ounces whereas your pets weigh many pounds, so it’s really not that dangerous.

That being said, try to only put the bait where your pets can’t reach it.

Cockroach baits or spray?

Spraying chemicals in your home should be a last resort. Baits can be applied in a much more controlled manner and are less likely to end up where you don’t want it. Most infestations can be handled without spraying chemicals inside the home, so we always recommend to start with baits only.

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Written by Miles Martin

Miles is a professional science writer with a Bachelor of Arts in Biology from the University of Rhode Island and a Masters of Science in Science Communication and Public Engagement from the University of Edinburgh.

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