Last Updated March 2nd, 2023: Unlike other insects, roaches are stealthy and good at remaining unseen. If you have any, they hide inside your walls, home furnishings, and electronic gadgets. Since you can’t spray insecticides all over your television, luring roaches out is the only way to kill them. Coming up with ideas to accomplish this goal without paying a professional will save you money and teach you how to deal with this situation faster in the future.
How To Lure A Cockroach Out Of Hiding
In a Hurry? Use cockroach lures, bait, or DIY traps to make them feel safe enough to leave their nest. Bait traps purchased in stores are constructed with highly flammable substances which give off an appealing fragrance. Roaches are hypnotized by this scent and come out to dine on the bait and take some back to their nest before dying. Sticky traps are our personal favorite because once they land on them, the cockroaches cannot escape. These traps are easy to throw out once they are full or ineffective. Anyone on a budget can use DIY choices like a jar trap, coke bottle traps, anti-roach desserts, or duct tape.
The latter options are acceptable if the infestation is small and you want to save a few bucks. But if it’s a full-on invasion, commercial products are your best bet. Only premium-quality insecticides can kill huge colonies. Once you have them, plan precisely where you want to plant them to eliminate as many cockroaches as possible.
We’ve had great success with Hot Shot Liquid Roach Bait! It seems to do a great job of attracting the roaches and then killing them shortly afterwards!
How To Get A Cockroach Out Of Hiding – Attract A Roach Out Of Hiding
To attract a cockroach out of hiding you generally have to bait them out with the promise of food, or what they think is food.
Cockroaches are clever and will not come out unless the rewards outweigh the risks. Roaches hide because they understand their fragility, tiny size, and the fact that we will kill them. All it takes is one subtle hint that they are in danger, and they make a run for it.
Because of this, avoid banging on the walls, putting kitchen appliances upside down, or bouncing on mattresses with a roach infestation because it makes things worse. The most effective way to get a cockroach out of hiding is by using a lure. To use a lure correctly, follow the sections below:
Choose The Proper Cockroach Lure or Bait
Chances of getting a roach out of its nest increase the hungrier they feel. You need to understand what attracts roaches. Taking advantage of this hunger gets them out of their hiding spots. Successful lures will be:
- Aromatic: Catch cockroaches with bait traps that have fabricated yet enticing smells.
- Combine with food crumbs: Have food that’s sweet or has high starch levels ready because not all traps come with bait.
- Position close to a food source: Roaches will follow similar travel routes in your kitchen, so install traps on the way to their destinations.
Choose the Proper Time Of Day
Don’t stick around after setting your trap, and stay as far away as possible. Cockroaches hide and won’t come out if there is still:
- Light: Evenings are best, and your lights should be off unless it’s a small lamp.
- Sounds: Make your home as silent as possible to create the illusion of safety.
- Activity: Don’t walk or around the home and keep any other noises to a bare minimum
Stay far away from your cockroach traps, and don’t check on them repeatedly. As long as you choose the right spot, there will be plenty of dead roaches to clean up in the morning.
Since cockroaches come out at night, you should setup your traps before you go to bed and check them in the morning.
Best Lures For Drawing Out Cockroaches
This section will discuss the top commercial lures to buy when trying to attract roaches out of their hiding spots.
Sticky or Glue Traps to Kill Roaches
A Glue trap is a thin sheet with sticky adhesive all over the surface. It is known for trapping cockroaches that walk on top of it, making it impossible for them to get off. The moment the bottom of their stomachs touches the sticky traps, their fate is set. Every morning you can wake up and inspect these roach traps to see if you need to discard and replace them with new ones.
A study conducted by scientists in Germany Tested 7 well-known sticky traps. Their results proved that these lures are good at trapping baby roaches or immature nymphs. Full-sized ones were more likely to escape. 
Also, the strategy you use to position them and the design created by the manufacturer affected the number of roaches collected. Two set-ups were tested. The first trap was laid flat with no folds, and the second was folded into the shape of a tent. The former setup was the best at killing roaches and required less effort.
At the end of the study, after extensive testing on 7 sticky traps, they announced Victor-M330 was the top performing brand. It trapped the highest amount of cockroaches because it produced the most accurate pheromone aroma. It was the closest scent a natural roach would give out when trying to mate. Cockroaches hiding in their nest would let their guard down, thinking a potential mate was waiting for them on the outside with food.
Poisoned Bait To Attract Roaches
We’ve had great results with Hot Shot Liquid Bait, it is really effective at attracting roaches to the bait, and the killing power is quite strong so the roaches will be dead shortly afterwards!
The typical roach traps sold in stores lure and kill roaches. Part of the strategy is spraying food crumbs as bait with insecticide spray and pheromones to attract bugs. These insects die after consumption. They take a while to pass away because the poison is designed to give them time to return to their cockroach nest. Other roaches in the colony will die because they eat the poison together.
Poisoned bait like this is effective for a cockroach infestation because it can wipe out a whole nest. A study conducted by Indian researchers tested imidacloprid gel, a popular cockroach bait sold in stores worldwide.  The gel decimated cockroach communities in a controlled environment at a high percentage rate by:
- 75 to 85% in 7 days
- 75 to 90% in 14 days
- 95 to 100% by the final day of the second month
Scientists stressed the importance of consistency by adding more bait when necessary. It increases the chances that it will spread faster, and roaches eat enough for the poison to be effective. The study is not perfect since it was done in a controlled environment. Not everyone wants to wait 2 months for the bait to work, and then they have to worry about children or pets consuming this deadly substance.
The Journal of Economic Entomology states this lure option has the same disadvantage you experience when using sticky traps. Both are only useful for minor roach infestations. Commercial poisons will not be enough if faced with a more extensive invasion. It’s time to call a pest control specialist at this point to do the job safely. 
Mixing Food with Sticky Traps and Bait
Food is the number one tool to use when trying to lure cockroaches out of their nests. Because of this, combining food with sticky traps and poisonous bait is the most sound strategy. Below are foods that roaches love:
- Bread: Break white bread into small pieces laced with poison and sprinkle them on glue traps. Another German experiment by the Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata discovered that bread makes sticky traps more successful. Roaches love bread because they have high starch levels. The more starch a food has, the longer they go without getting hungry. If you ever wondered why cockroaches eat the spine of your books and wallpaper, it’s because glue contains tons of starch.
- Beer and Baby Food: Baby food jar traps are more effective at enticing mature roaches and bigger nymphs than glue traps. This food has a creamy composition that makes it easier for roaches to digest and high-calorie levels. Bread will have the same texture as baby food if you dip it in beer for 3 to 5 minutes.
- Peanut Butter and Grain: Another option you can use with sticky traps is peanut butter and distiller’s grain. Several studies examined the behavior of cockroaches when exposed to specific traps and foods. The results were clear with most researchers that distiller’s grain and peanut butter were more attractive to roaches than pheromone laced traps. Finding a distiller’s grain is challenging, but you can try a local farmers’ market. Peanut butter is readily available in supermarkets and online retailers. Take either one and mix it with insecticide liquid. Once a roach gets a small taste, its nervous system breaks down. They will take most of their population down if they can reach their nest before they die.
DIY Cockroach Lures
Not everyone can afford commercial lures or pest control experts. If this is you, read this section to learn 4 DIY methods that work most of the time. You only need to know that these strategies are for small colonies and don’t work when your infestation is severe. For the latter, you will have no choice but to find the funds to buy commercial-grade insecticides.
Some optional methods below require insecticide availability, while others don’t. Most of the supplies you need for them should already be in your home or are easy to buy if you don’t. Only the last alternative won’t work without purchasing anti-roach chemicals.
Duct Tape Trap
Construct a homemade glue trap with only two supplies:
- Construction Grade Duct tape
- Creamy Style Peanut butter
Follow the steps below to make it:
- Cut out a strip of duct tape 7 to 9 inches long.
- Place it on the floor in a spot roach walk on often with the sticky side facing the ceiling.
- Apply 1 whole tablespoon of peanut butter to the center of the duct tape.
The peanut butter method works like a charm on baby roaches at trapping them on the tape. Other spreads you can use include strawberry jelly and ketchup. Inspect the duct tape every 24 hours to see what you caught and replace it if the chosen food spread begins to spoil.
Use this method as a short-term solution only because it doesn’t work as well as the other options. Another thing to remember is that depending on where you live, the tape will trap other insects, which will make any roach retreat instead of being tempted to approach it.
The only two things you need for this trap are Vaseline and an empty jar. To get started:
- With a spoon or ice cream stick, spread petroleum jelly all over the insides of the jar.
- Position the jar close to a spot where there are cockroach hiding spots
- Put baby food or bread crumbs at the bottom of the jar as roach bait.
- A secondary option would be to choose an almost empty peanut butter jar that you didn’t clean out yet
The purpose of this trap is to lure cockroaches inside but ensure there’s enough vaseline to make it impossible to escape. This method requires less maintenance and doesn’t need to be replaced daily. After you notice the jar is filled with roaches, you must:
- Wash the jar and put the dead cockroaches in the trash
- Put a fresh spread of vaseline on the inside of the cleaned jar.
- Repeat the process over again
We love this method because it’s environmentally friendly and saves you money. But be aware that some roaches can fly depending on their species. If their wings are not covered with vaseline, they will have a chance to get away. Lastly, like the duct tape method, the cockroach bait inside the jar will be less attractive if other insects enter.
Soda Bottle Traps
This trap shares some similarities with the jar method, but more steps are involved.
- Use a knife to slice off the twisting top of a 2-liter soda pop bottle.
- With a spoon or ice cream stick, coat the entire exterior of the bottle with vaseline or culinary oil spray.
- Put in a food source like bread crumbs drenched in beer towards the lower base of the soda bottle.
- Grab the curved top you cut off in step 1 and put it upside down towards the interior of the soda bottle.
- Put tape to connect the bottle to the curved top inside until it’s stable and sealed correctly.
- Be sure there are no gaps where roaches can make a getaway between the two pieces because they will be difficult to trick a second time.
Put this trap in an area where you see cockroach droppings daily. A great way to make the bottle easier to climb would be to cover it with a piece of fabric.
While away from your soda bottle trap, roaches will get into the bottle through the cap, attracted to the bait at the bottom. Inside they will be helpless and unable to leave because of the petroleum jelly coating. To get rid of all the roaches inside once the bottle is full:
- Put steaming hot water mixed with soap detergent inside the bottle.
- Don’t pour so much that it will overflow.
- Let the bottle sit with the soapy water solution for 60 to 120 minutes. All the trapped roaches will drown.
You can repeat this cycle with the same soda bottle to kill other roaches a few more times before you need a replacement. Always wash the bottle thoroughly after discarding the dead roaches so future victims won’t be scared away. Lastly, you will not need to clean this bottle every day but make it a habit to inspect it every 24 hours to see your progress.
Preparing a batch of anti-cockroach cookies is easy and takes little time. You buy the ingredients and chemicals below before you can start:
- Regular Dough: Use it to make homemade bread, freshly baked pizza, and cookies. The dough is easy to find in a local supermarket or online store.
- Boric acid powder: Insecticide dust that can kill insects or even humans once ingested.
How To Make An Anti-Cockroach Cookie:
- 4 ounces of boric acid powder
- 4 ounces of original dough
- Combine them with your hands for 3 to 5 minutes until merged.
- When you are done, break the mixed dough into smaller pieces and spread them around in areas roaches congregate in your home.
- Save the leftover dough in your fridge. Cover it with plastic and label it toxic so no one in your home tries to eat it.
- Inspect the areas where you place the cookies every 24 hours. If they are entirely dried up, replace them with a fresh piece from the fridge.
Anti-cockroach cookies should be replaced every 7 to 14 days. You won’t always see dead insects near the cookie bait. The insecticide takes a while to kick in, so it’s possible they went back to die in their colony. If, after two weeks, you start seeing less roaches crawling around, you’ll know it’s working.
One last thing to keep in mind when using anti-roach cookies is safety. You are using a poisonous chemical so read the directions and safety measures on the product with care. It may not kill you, but here are a few facts about boric acid you should know:
- Irritates the skin and leaves rashes
- Do not inhale
- Don’t attempt to eat it because it’s’ not edible
Can You Scare Cockroaches Out Of Hiding?
This tactic isn’t recommended because it makes your situation more complicated. These insects move fast, have great reflexes, and are light on their feet. Because of this, it’s unlikely that you’ll hit your target with spray by scaring them out of their nest. And if it escapes, you will be forced to find this clever insect’s new hiding place since it won’t return to its old home.
While it may not work on an individual roach, an adequately planned scare strategy may work on a colony. The first step is to locate the cockroach’s lair and set traps up outside that they will fall into while trying to get away. Be aware that this tactic will be effective if the roaches live in a movable nest. Some of these include:
- Cardboard boxes
- Home Furniture
- Household appliances
If their nest is immovable, here are a few ideas you can attempt to get them out of hiding:
- Use a lamp or your phone’s flashlight.
- Spray the inside and outside of the colony with insecticide
- Mix hot water and laundry detergent. Then put the mixture in a spray bottle to snuff them out with this solution
Scaring a Cockroach Colony Out of Hiding
Pesticides are necessary if you want to prevent the roaches from escaping after you scare them out of hiding. Follow the steps below:
- Place traps all over your home in discrete locations.
- Locate the nest.
- Spray insecticide all around the colony and on top of it.
- Once the roaches start coming out of their home, they will try to find a new nest to live in for survival.
- Most of them will run into the traps you set up if you did it correctly.
For safety reasons, wear a mask, gloves, and clothes that cover your entire body. The insecticide will send them scurrying out on the floor and all over you. Here are airborne residue that will be in the air:
- Cockroach droppings
- Egg sacs
- Dead roaches
- Bacteria and other pathogens
- Discarded exoskeletons
The safety gear we recommended will protect you from all of this but also ensure your windows are open for ventilation. Lastly, remember that if the colony is larger than average, stick with using poisoned bait or an exterminator to avoid getting hurt.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where Do Cockroaches Hide In Your Home?
Cockroaches generally will hide in the kitchen, around and under appliances, as well as in bathrooms. They also will hide inside your plumbing tubes and pipes! They prefer areas in your home where there is access to water and food.
Do Dead Cockroaches Attract More Roaches?
Yes, they do because of the oleic acid they produce after they die. After killing them, clean up their carcasses immediately to avoid this situation.
- Changlu Wang, Gary W. Bennett, Comparison of Roach Traps and Attractants for Monitoring German Cockroaches https://doi.org/10.1603/0046-225X-35.3.765
- Agrawal, Vk & Tilak, Rina. (2006). Field performance of imidacloprid gel bait against German cockroaches. The Indian journal of medical research https://www.researchgate.net/publication/6862725_Field_performance_of_imidacloprid_gel_bait_against_German_cockroaches_Dictyoptera_Blatellidae
- A. M. El-Sayed, D. M. Suckling, J. A. Byers, E. B. Jang, Potential of “Lure and Kill” in Long-Term Pest Management and Eradication of Invasive Species, Journal of Economic Entomology, https://doi.org/10.1603/029.102.0301