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Structural Pest Control Section

How to Prevent and Control
Cockroaches in your Home


Nobody likes cockroaches, but cockroaches are a common problem. How can you prevent a cockroach problem? If you do have cockroaches, how can you get rid of them? This brochure contains information on these and other questions on how to prevent and control cockroaches more safely.

How to Prevent a Cockroach Problem
Don't give cockroaches a good place to live:

The fewer places cockroaches can hide, the better.

Caulk, weather-strip, and repair holes around water pipes, baseboards, doors and windows.

Put screens over windows, vents, floor drains, and ducts-they can be cockroach highways and hideaways.

Get rid of old newspapers, paper bags, etc. Throw them away or recycle them frequently.

Keep areas outside of your home clean of trash and leaves. Stack woodpiles away from the house.

Inspect all baskets, bags or boxes of food brought into the house.

Don't feed cockroaches:

Store food in tightly sealed containers or in the refrigerator. Never leave food, crumbs, or trash uncovered anywhere in your home. Never leave dirty dishes out. Do not leave uneaten pet food out overnight.

Use a trashcan with a tight-fitting lid. Avoid placing your trashcan under the sink. Empty the trash can frequently.

Rinse beverage and food containers before you recycle or throw them away. Recycle items frequently; don't keep them in your house for long.

Don't give cockroaches water:

Fix leaky faucets and drains.

If necessary, use all pesticides safely and correctly:

Follow the pesticide label's instructions.

How to Control a Cockroach Problem
Tips for using a pesticide yourself. After following the tips in the checklist, if you decide to apply a pesticide yourself, you will need to decide what pesticide to buy, where to buy it, and how to use it.

What type of pesticide should you buy?

In addition to following the tips in the attached checklist, you can buy pesticide sprays, dusts, baits, and traps that will help you control cockroaches. Buy a pesticide only if it is in the original manufacturer's container. Make sure the container has a label that lists the pesticide's chemical name and ingredients, and directions for use. The label should say the pesticide is for cockroach control. Pesticides can be purchased as dusts and ready-to-use sprays. You can also buy concentrated pesticides that need to be mixed with water before you spray them and baits may also be used. Baits are low risk pesticides and work well for cockroach control. Bait can be carried inside walls and hiding places used by the cockroaches. If you use cockroach bait, do not use a spray in the same area since the spray may repel the cockroaches and prevent the bait from doing its job.

A light dusting of boric acid (another low risk pesticide) can be used behind and under appliances and sinks. Boric acid and other pesticides should be used only according to the label's instructions. Do not use boric acid for cockroach control if the container does not say it can be used for cockroach control.

A pesticide labeled "FOR OUTDOOR USE ONLY" Should never be used inside your home.

Where should you buy pesticides?

Always buy pesticides from stores (for example, garden supply stores, retail stores, or grocery stores). Never buy pesticides at a flea market or from someone selling out of a car. Pesticides should only be purchased in their original, labeled containers. If you see someone selling pesticides in unmarked containers or under suspicious conditions, call the NCDA & CS, Food and Drug Protection, Pesticide Section.

Follow Pesticide Label Instructions!
Unfortunately, people can hurt themselves, their families, and their pets if they don't use pesticides properly. The label on the container will tell you how to use the product safely. Follow all instructions for protecting yourself and others. When you handle a pesticide, avoid getting the chemical on your skin and do not breathe in pesticide sprays or dusts. Use pesticides in areas where cockroaches are most likely to be hiding, such as cracks in walls, behind baseboards, and in cabinets in the kitchen and bathroom (after you've emptied the cabinets and cleaned them out). Also, apply pesticides behind the stove and refrigerator. DO NOT apply pesticides on areas where food is prepared, such as kitchen counter tops, or in areas where children or pets can come into contact with them. Before using a pesticide, remove food, dishes, pots, silverware, and children's toys from the area to be treated. Return these things to the treated areas and cabinets only when the instructions on the label say it is OK to do so. If any pesticide gets on these items, wash them before you use them or someone might get sick. If you feel you or your family have a health problem because of pesticide exposure, contact your doctor or local poison control center right away. If the pesticide needs to be mixed with water, the label will tell you how the mix it safely.

Stronger is not better! If you add more pesticide to the water than the label recommends, the pesticide can hurt you and others. Avoid mixing up more spray than you need. Never pour excess pesticide down your toilet or sink or into a sewer. Store pesticides and other household chemicals out of children's reach. Read the label for the right way to throw away empty containers. Never put pesticides in containers such as drink bottles, spray bottles, or salt shakers to store, give away, or sell. Some people have mistaken pesticides in other containers for something else and have poisoned themselves and others.

Tips for Hiring a Pest Control Company You may decide to hire a pest control company instead of applying pesticides yourself. All individuals who perform structural pest control work for hire in North Carolina must have a license from the North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services (NCDA & CS), Structural Pest Control Division (SPCD) or be employed by a licensee. This license ensures that pest control companies know how to safely use chemicals to get rid of cockroaches. When you hire a pest control company, always ask for the name and license number of the individual who will be performing or supervising the work. Also, make sure that the company's license permits household pest control work. Call the SPCD if you have questions about or related issues concerning a pest control company or someone who works for one.
When a pest control operator comes to your home, always ask to see their identification card. Check the ID to make sure the individual is working for a licensed pest control operator. This ID is not the same thing as a business card. It is a requirement in North Carolina that all employees must obtain a registered technician identification card or become a certified applicator within 75 days of employment. Get a receipt from the pest control operator that shows:

The pest control operator's name;
Company name, address, and phone number; and
A list of pesticides used at your home.

For More Information about Pesticides, Contact:
North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services (NCDA & CS)
Structural Pest Control Division (SPCD)
1090 Mail Service Center Raleigh, NC 27699-1090
(919) 733-6100

North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services (NCDA & CS)
Food and Drug Protection Division
1070 Mail Service Center Raleigh, NC 27699-1070
(919) 733-7366

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 4, Pesticides Section
61 Forsyth Street Atlanta, Georgia 30303 (404) 562-8968

North Carolina Poison Control Center (800) 848-6946
The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry Atlanta, Georgia
(800) 447-1544

National Pesticide Telecommunications Network (800) 858-7378

For Health-Related Information, Contact: Your Local Health Department or the Department of Health and Human Services Public Health Pest Management Section, Division of Environmental Health (919) 733-6407


NCDA&CS Structural Pest Control and Pesticide Division, J. Patrick Jones, Director
Mailing Address: 1090 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-1090
Physical Address: 4400 Reedy Creek Rd., Raleigh, NC 27607
Phone: (919) 733-6100 ; FAX: (919) 733-0633

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