Roaches in an apartment are a common and unsettling issue for many apartment dwellers. These persistent pests, particularly German and American cockroaches, can lead to a significant roach infestation, posing health risks and discomfort. This article will guide you through effective cockroach control strategies, from establishing proactive pest control policies and identifying an infestation to employing various pest treatment and preventative measures.

TL;DR: The best way to get rid of roaches (and prevent roaches in the first place) in your rental is to have a regularly scheduled professional pest control treatment plan on a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly basis. Without one, you may need to rely on routine inspections or have your tenants be on the lookout for any roach issues (and some never will).

For more detailed information, please continue reading.

1. A Pro-Active Approach to Roaches in Rentals

In apartment communities, routinely monitoring the entire building is vital for effective roach control because these pests can quickly move between units.

Here's why routine rental inspections are so essential from a pest control standpoint:

  1. Shared Infestation Source: Roaches often travel through shared walls, pipes, and ventilation systems. An infestation in one unit can quickly spread to others. Routine inspections and treatments can curb this issue by preventing roaches from becoming established in the building in the first place.
  2. Unified Pest Control Efforts: When all tenants and the landlord work together on pest control measures, it ensures a more comprehensive and effective approach.
  3. Identifying Common Issues: Routine inspections and treatments, along with collaborative efforts, help identify common attractants or structural issues that may be contributing to the roach problem and address the source of the problem before it becomes one.
  4. Preventing Re-Infestation: All nearby units must be inspected if one rental has a roach problem. Even if one unit is treated successfully, roaches from neighboring units can re-infest it. Coordinated treatment across multiple units is more effective in preventing this.

A multi-pronged, proactive approach in apartment communities ensures a more robust and long-term solution to roach infestations, resulting in happier tenants and reduced pest control bills.

2. Tenant and Landlord Responsibilities

In an apartment setting, most leases dictate that addressing a roach infestation requires cooperation between tenants and landlords. Tenants should report infestations to their landlords and practice good hygiene to prevent roaches. On the other hand, landlords should provide necessary pest control services and ensure that the apartment building is properly maintained to deter pests.

The sooner a roach sighting is reported by the tenant to the landlord, the quicker it can be eradicated before a full-blown infestation can take root in the rental. Failure to report a bug infestation to the landlord in a timely fashion may result in the tenant receiving an invoice for the costs associated with eradicating the issue.

3. What To Look For

Now that you know you should conduct routine inspections at your rental, here are the things you should be looking for in your rental property when inspecting and proactively treating the space to prevent future roach issues.

Identifying Roaches in Your Apartment

Identifying roaches in your apartment involves recognizing signs of their presence. German roaches are known for their rapid breeding, but American roaches are also common culprits. A thorough inspection will help you determine the extent of the infestation - if you have one at all. Check for cockroach hiding places, such as behind appliances, in cabinets, or near food sources.

Here's what to look for to identify a potential roach issue in your apartment:

  1. Dead Roaches: Finding roach carcasses is a clear indication of an infestation.
  2. Droppings: Roach droppings resemble black pepper or coffee grounds and are often found near food sources or hiding places.
  3. Egg Casings: Roach egg casings (oothecae) are oblong, usually brown or dark colored, and can be found in secluded areas.

Noticing these signs early on can help you address a roach problem more effectively.

Understand What Attracts Roaches

Understanding what draws roaches to your apartment is crucial. Roaches are attracted to environments that provide their basic needs. Here are the most common things that attract roaches:

  1. Food Sources: Roaches are drawn to food remnants, including crumbs, grease, and even pet food.
  2. Water: They need moisture to survive, so leaky pipes, damp areas, and pet water bowls can attract them.
  3. Shelter: Roaches prefer dark, warm, and hidden areas. Cracks, crevices, and clutter offer ideal hiding spots.
  4. Warmth: They thrive in warm environments, often in kitchens and bathrooms.

Understanding these attractants can help in effectively preventing and controlling roach infestations. Even clean apartments can harbor roaches if these elements are present.

4. Integrating Pest Control Methods

Combining various methods, such as home remedies and commercial solutions, is an integrated approach that often yields the best results in roach control. 

For instance, using bait stations in conjunction with glue traps can effectively reduce the roach population while monitoring the extent of the infestation. Similarly, combining chemical methods with preventive measures like sealing cracks and maintaining cleanliness can prevent future infestations.

The following sections cover more home remedies, natural solutions, and chemical or commercial products to eliminate roaches.

Home Remedies and Natural Solutions

Several home remedies can help combat roaches. Baking soda, diatomaceous earth, and boric acid are effective natural solutions. These substances can be placed where roaches are active, offering a safer alternative to chemical treatments.

Chemical Methods and Commercial Products

Commercial pest control products like gel bait, roach motels, and bait stations can be more effective for more severe infestations. Products like Combat Roach Killing Bait and glue traps target roaches directly, reducing their numbers. Following safety guidelines when using these products is important, especially in homes with pets or children.

5. Professional Pest Control Services

When home remedies and over-the-counter solutions fall short, it's time to consider professional pest control servicesExpert exterminators can tackle roach infestations with a wide range of tools and techniques, including commercial-grade cockroach bait and gel baits specifically designed for persistent pests like German roaches. These professionals can also provide targeted solutions for apartment complexes, ensuring the roach problem is addressed thoroughly.

Many apartment communities have signed contracts for weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly professional pest control treatments routinely scheduled as part of their operations. Rather than being reactive and only treating an issue once it becomes known, this proactive treatment schedule helps keep the roaches at bay.

It's helpful to set automatic calendar reminders for yourself or your team to remember to make sure those treatments are being done on schedule. Property management software can help you set those reminders so that everybody (including the pest control service professional) is on the same page.

6. Preventing Reinfestation

Preventing cockroaches from returning is as important as getting rid of them. Here's a quick overview of best practices to prevent the return of a roach problem: 

  1. Food Source Control: Clean up crumbs and spills immediately, store food in sealed containers, and avoid leaving pet food out overnight.
  2. Eliminate Water Sources: Fix leaky faucets and pipes, avoid standing water, and ensure bathrooms and kitchens are well-ventilated to reduce moisture.
  3. Clutter Reduction: Declutter your space to eliminate hiding spots for roaches. Regularly clean under and behind appliances and furniture.
  4. Seal Entry Points: Seal cracks and crevices in walls, windows, doors, and plumbing to prevent roaches from entering.

Last but not least, regular cleaning, especially of food crumbs and dirty dishes, is just as important.


Dealing with a roach problem in your apartment requires a multifaceted approach. From natural home remedies to professional pest control services, various strategies can be employed based on the severity of the infestation. 

Remember, consistent preventive measures are key to keeping your apartment roach-free. Whether in a bustling city like San Francisco, CA, NYC, or Austin, TX, or a quiet single-family home rental in a rural setting, understanding and addressing the factors that attract and sustain roaches is essential in maintaining a comfortable and pest-free living environment.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What are your rights if your children or pets become ill due to a roach infestation?

A: If your children or pets become ill due to a roach infestation, your rights largely depend on local tenancy laws and the specific circumstances of your situation. You can learn more about tenant-landlord laws in your state on our state laws page. Generally, landlords are responsible for maintaining habitable living conditions, which includes pest control. If a landlord neglects this duty (regardless of whether it leads to illness), you may have grounds for legal action. It's advisable to document the infestation, report it to the landlord, seek medical attention, and consult a legal expert in your state to understand your rights and potential courses of action.

Q: Can you move out of your apartment if there is an infestation?

A: Whether you can move out of your apartment due to an infestation depends on local tenancy laws and the specifics of your lease agreement. Generally speaking, landlords must provide habitable living conditions, and failure to manage a severe pest infestation could breach this requirement. If the landlord doesn't address the issue after being notified (everything should be in writing), you might have grounds to break the lease. However, before deciding, it's important to document all communications, seek legal advice, and understand your rights and responsibilities under your lease and local laws.

Q: Do people living in apartments need to accept roaches as part of life?

No, people living in apartments do not have to accept roaches as a part of their life. While apartment living can present challenges in pest control due to shared spaces and close proximity of units, tenants have the right to live in a pest-free environment. Landlords are typically responsible for ensuring that apartments meet health and safety standards, which includes addressing pest infestations like roaches. Tenants should report such issues to their landlord and expect timely and effective action to resolve them. If the issue is not addressed adequately, tenants may have legal recourse depending on local tenancy laws.

Q: Why do you have a roach infestation in your clean apartment?

Experiencing a roach infestation in a seemingly clean apartment can be quite frustrating. This situation often arises due to several factors that go beyond surface cleanliness. Roaches are attracted to moisture, so any water source, like leaky pipes or pet bowls, can lure them into your living space. Additionally, they are adept at finding even the smallest food residues, such as crumbs in hidden spots or grease buildup. Entry points are another concern; tiny cracks or gaps around windows and doors can easily become gateways for these pests. Furthermore, in apartment complexes, roaches can migrate from neighboring units, especially if there's an existing infestation nearby. Lastly, external climatic conditions sometimes drive roaches to seek refuge indoors. Maintaining rigorous cleaning standards, ensuring food is stored securely, and sealing potential entryways are crucial to mitigating such infestations.