How to get rid of cockroaches in an apartment building


Roaches can vary; they can be large, small, alone, or in groups. They are all incredibly quick and sneaky making them difficult to get rid of. They are one of the most adaptable and efficient insects and breed very fast.

One huge problem of having a roach problem in an apartment complex is that you are at the mercy of the other tenants. Other living habits will affect the success of you getting rid of the ones in your apartment. There are some measures you can take to get rid of them and do your best to prevent more from coming.

Locate where the cockroaches are in your apartment

Setting traps will identify how large of a problem you have with roaches. It will also show you where they are gathering. There are inexpensive sticky roach traps you can purchase from local hardware stores to set out to capture them. You can also make your own traps with petroleum jelly and bread. By coating the jar in the jelly and placing the bread inside, the roach will go in for the bread and the jelly will prevent it from escaping.

Put the traps randomly around your apartment; in corners, under furniture, and inside cabinets. The roach normally travels along the edges of floors and furniture avoiding being out in the middle of rooms. Leave the traps out for a good day and see where the most have been trapped. Dispose of the traps you’ve purchased and if you’ve used the jar and bread, kill those roaches by filling the jar with warm soapy water.

Get rid of the cockroaches

Now that you’ve located where most of the roaches are residing in your apartment; you can start the process of eliminating them. Begin with natural insecticidal dust. The most effective are:

  • Diatomaceous earth dust
  • Boric acid or borax laundry product

These contain a natural killer of insects but will not harm mammals and will be safe to use if you have a pet.

Pour the dust you’ve chosen lightly on surfaces where the roaches are the heaviest. The borax works well because it poisons the roach and the diatomaceous dust will actually work more quickly as it gets in the insect’s shell at the joints and pores. The roach cannot develop resistance to either of these products.

Here is a boric acid recipe one frustrated roach hater came up with that worked well:

  • Boric acid powder
  • Karo syrup (or another sweetener such as peanut butter, honey, etc.)
  • Rice Flour (any kind will actually work)
  • One Popsicle stick
  • One mixing bowl

To make the recipe you put two parts of the boric acid with one part flour and enough Karo syrup or other sweetener of choice and mix until a thickish consistency. The roach will find the disguised boric acid and with the sweetener added; eat it and get poisoned. If you have pets it should be inside a trap that your pet cannot get into because just as the sweetener fools the roach; it will fool your pet too.

You can also set up more traps to begin eliminating the roaches that are sold in most hardware stores. Two brand names that have been effective are Combat and Maxforce. Change the locations of the traps often and replace them frequently as the bait will be consumed quickly if you are dealing with a lot of roaches. Traps that contain Hydramethylnon are the most effective as they will kill the roaches within three days after they eat it.

Another option is hiring a professional to come in to exterminate your apartment. A professional insect control company will have access to chemicals not available to the public.

Prevent the roaches from returning

You will not be able to completely eliminate your problem if the rest of the building is not treated. You will need to talk to the manager of the apartment complex to help in ridding the rest of the apartments of roaches.

Cockroaches love carbohydrates and sugars found in our food, plants, and even soaps. Make sure you keep all your food in plastic containers with tight seals. Do not leave any products in bags or boxes as the roach can easily get inside them. Do not use bar soaps, instead start using soap dispensers and if you have house plants, spread petroleum jelly on the plant holders so the roach cannot reach the plant.

Keep all surfaces where food is prepared wiped down so no remaining crumbs are left behind. Roaches will seek out any small particle of food or residue from spills you leave behind and consider your areas a good food source.

Keeping your floors vacuumed or swept daily will also cut down on food scraps or crumbs they will be able to find. Scrubbing often will increase your success to discourage the roaches from crawling across your kitchen.

Roaches can travel from apartment to apartment through cracks and gaps in the walls. They will also come in through doors and windows. Check all doors and windows to make sure there are no small gaps in any of them and also check that there are no cracks or gaps in any wall areas of your apartment. Silicone caulk is a good product to use for sealing any cracks or gaps you might find.

Problems that cockroaches can cause

Cockroach Bites

Besides being creepy, roaches can cause other problems if you don’t get rid of them. They are omnivores, meaning they’ll eat plants and meat.

Does that mean roaches can bite people???

There are documented cases of cockroaches eating human flesh—both dead and alive Although roaches tend to feast on human fingernails, eyelashes, feet, and hands.

If bitten by a cockroach, you’ll form lesions, swelling, and the bite marks will itch. The cockroach is not a clean insect in its search for food, so it is possible the bite can also cause infections.

Humans are not the first choice of food for the roach. They are not entering your apartment with you as their target for the next meal. It will begin to happen more frequently though in areas where their population has not been monitored and controlled. When their food source starts to become limited, cockroaches will forage on things they don’t normally consume. Hopefully, you will have taken control of the infestation before it reaches this level.

Cockroach Feces

The roach feces or droppings are easy to identify. They are small and resemble coffee or black pepper in appearance. If the roach is large the feces will be cylindrical in shape with ridges down the side. Their feces contain proteins and allergens which have been known to cause asthma attacks. Studies have been done showing roach feces worsen asthma symptoms more than any other trigger. If you find the feces; vacuum and clean the area immediately with warm water and soap.

There is no question about it; you cannot share your apartment with a roach. Talk to your landlord to see about extermination and then follow these tips to get any remaining out of your apartment and keep them out.

By David Jackson

I enjoy learning about new pest control strategies and sharing what I learn at I aim to create a reliable resource for people dealing with all sorts of pest issues.


  1. We have moved into a flat in Krugersdorp 7 months ago and we have been trying to get rid of the infestation of cockroaches and they keep coming back. Please help us!

    1. Hi Aflred, glad you stopped by. If the DIY tips above didn’t help then you may have a more serious infestation that requires professional fumigation. If that is the case get in touch with some professional pest control companies here to get a quote. When you moved into the flat, were the cockroaches already there? If so you should talk to the landlord about that as it sounds like that responsibility may fall on them (although laws differ in all locations). Again try DIY methods first, make sure you are excluding all food by ensuring you keep a clean floor, clean dirty dishes right away, and don’t leave trash out. Also, perform a thorough investigation of your home and look for any small holes or cracks the cockroaches may be entering in. If you find them apply some silicone caulk or something similar to plug the opening. You can try cockroach traps, there are many available on the market. And if none of that works, I would contact a professional take a look. You may have a more serious problem and they have better tools to detect cockroach activity in your home. Stop back by NeverPest and let us know how your flat cockroach problem gets resolved. We’d love to hear how much it cost and what method was used because it helps everyone out to know these things. Good luck and take care!

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