Of the dozens of pests that live in Northeast Pennsylvania, cockroaches are considered the most revolting and probably the last thing any homeowner wants to see.

Perhaps it’s their awful smell from uric acid stored in their fat that makes cockroaches so gross. Or maybe it’s the fact that cockroaches are the single fastest insect on earth, making their attempts to scurry away from being spotted a jump scare in the making.

Whatever creeps you out about cockroaches, we can all agree that spotting a cockroach is a significant health hazard and emotional burden for most families.

As cockroaches are a fairly common all-seasonal bug in Northeast PA, learning how to get rid of cockroaches is essential to your well-being.

We’ll discuss some tips for getting rid of cockroaches and why you should avoid DIY removal and contact a local exterminator for cockroach control instead.

Cockroaches are dangerous, quiet pests.

What Attracts Cockroaches to Your Home

The three main ingredients of any pest infestation typically include food, water, and shelter.

For cockroaches especially, keeping a dirty or unkempt home could be a significant attractant–not to mention for other pests as well.

To help prevent and control cockroaches, controlling for these three attractants is important.

  • Food: Cockroaches are attracted to a variety of food sources, including sugars, starches, meats, cheeses, and grease. Therefore, any left-out food scraps or unsealed garbage cans will be a major draw for hungry cockroaches nearby.
  • Water: Like most household insects, standing water from dripping pipes will be a major attractant for cockroaches, in addition to mosquitos, ants, and termites.
  • Shelter: Clutter in the form of loose trash, cardboard boxes, and even clothes and knickknacks all serve as the perfect hiding places for cockroaches. Since most cockroaches tend to dwell in basements, perform a little spring clean every now and then to eliminate clutter.

Remember that cockroaches tend to dwell in your yard before entering your home. Therefore, you’ll need to eliminate water from clogged gutters and bird baths to prevent cockroaches. Likewise, leaf piles and outdoor clutter can also serve as the perfect shelter for cockroaches.

7 Steps to Get Rid of Cockroaches

If you find cockroaches dwelling in your Scranton or Northeast PA home, take these seven steps to get rid of them.

Step 1. Identify Your Cockroach Species

While there are over 4,000 different species of cockroaches, three of the most common cockroaches in Northeast PA are the German, Oriental, and American Cockroaches.

German Cockroaches

These are the notorious kitchen dwellers who provide a nice jumpscare when you’re reaching for a late-night snack. German cockroaches can easily be identified by their light brown bodies, which contain two parallel dark stripes down the side.

While only half an inch long, these cockroaches can lay 40 eggs at a time and carry disease on the surface of their hands and feet, making them the worst cockroach of the bunch. Due to their ability to hide and multiply so quickly, these cockroaches always require professional assistance and immediate help.

American Cockroaches

About half an inch longer than German cockroaches, American cockroaches are more commonly found in basements, laundry rooms, and anywhere where water persists.

These cockroaches have reddish-brown bodies and tend to dwell outside, munching on mulch and garbage. Simple prevention tips, such as sealing your exterior, will help prevent these critters from making their way inside your house.

Oriental Cockroaches

Also known as water bugs, these black-bodied cockroaches thrive in water and typically don’t enter homes except through pipes. While more common in urban areas, Oriental cockroaches have been known to make their way into homes across NEPA and the Poconos from time to time.

Generally, all species leave similar signs of an infestation, including smear marks and foul odors. But once you understand what type of cockroach you are dealing with, you can make a plan to get rid of them as soon as possible.

2. Seal All Entry Points

The best way to stop an invader is to not let them in. This sounds easier said than done, but if you perform regular checks on your home, you can stop all manner of pests from getting in.

Use a landscaper’s caulk to seal up openings and cracks along your siding, especially where it meets the ground. For larger openings, use an expandable spray foam. Simple weatherstripping will work for most windows and doors.

As a reminder, be sure to inspect your foundation, chimney, and vents for any openings as well and fill them with appropriate materials.

3. Inspect Hiding Places

Cockroaches don’t like to come out in the open very often. Instead, they prefer dark, quiet places, especially behind clutter.

One way to inspect these roaches is to shake up and look behind any furniture at night to see if you spot any movement. Look for areas you wouldn’t normally inspect either, such as behind refrigerators and appliances.

Remember, keeping a clean home is an essential step to keeping cockroaches away.

4. Eliminate Trash and Food Sources

Be mindful of where you have your food and how you store it, including any pet food. Any room where food is stored, prepped, or enjoyed should be cleaned thoroughly–almost daily–and all food properly sealed.

When eating, it’s best to keep it to one central area; nothing is worse than opening an old pizza box in your room and finding creepy crawlers. Likewise, whenever you prep or cook a meal, clean your dishes, wipe up afterward, and empty your garbage regularly. If the cockroaches don’t have a food source, they will move on to a place that does.

Eliminate the food source to keep cockroaches out5. Eliminate Standing Water

Keep an eye out for leaking pipes, damp basements, or even your pet’s water bowl. Anywhere they can find water, cockroaches will swarm. So, be wary of any area in your home that may have any water source including humidifiers, sinks, refrigerators, and bathtubs as well.

6. Try Store Bought Baits

If you have cleaned up, plugged up, and got rid of any potential food source, cockroaches can still hang around. Go in for the kill using either a store-bought bait, spray, or trap.

Baits and traps work by transferring a harmful chemical  that disrupts a cockroach’s nervous system. Through mutual contact, the chemical will spread to the rest of the colony, providing relief for any infestation.

7. Contact an Exterminator

Unfortunately, most store-bought products fail to provide an effective long-term solution against cockroach infestations. At the first sign of a cockroach, we recommend contacting a professional immediately, especially considering the health risks that any contact with cockroaches can present to you and your family.

Estimating how big your infestation is can also be difficult since roaches can be very difficult to see. It’s also common for cockroaches to resurface, even after you’ve thought you eliminated them entirely. To truly get rid of cockroaches, the best call will be to find a pest control expert to help with your infestation.

Is DIY Cockroach Removal Safe?

While many homeowners may be tempted to reach for DIY solutions, such as neem oil, diatomaceous earth, and essential oils, the sad truth is many home remedies for cockroaches don’t work as cure-alls.

Take diatomaceous earth. While this powder does attack roaches, the amount you would need to take out a full infestation would be more expensive than hiring an exterminator.

When treating roaches with store-bought products, it’s also important to consider your safety. For one, personal protective equipment (PPE) should always be used when applying insecticides and dealing with roaches. Secondly, you want to avoid any and all contact with roaches to prevent any risk of disease transmission.

Ultimately, you need to evaluate the consequences of failing to get rid of roaches versus the financial benefits of DIY-ing it, which simply are not worth it.

Crushing Cockroaches for Good.

When it comes to health and safety, you can never be too careful, and a cockroach infestation can quickly become more than just a sanitary problem. Don’t let these pests take over your home; always contact a professional pest control expert at the first sign of an infestation for your safety.

A quality exterminator will be able to eliminate cockroaches in no time and provide follow-up inspections to ensure that cockroaches are gone from your NEPA home for good.


How do cockroaches enter homes?

Cockroaches can enter homes through various entry points, such as cracks in walls, gaps around doors and windows, utility pipes, vents, and even through belongings brought into the home. They are opportunistic and can squeeze through incredibly small openings.

How long does it take to get rid of cockroaches?

The time it takes to eliminate a cockroach infestation can vary depending on factors such as the severity of the infestation, the methods used for control, and the effectiveness of those methods. In some cases, it may take several weeks to completely eradicate cockroaches from a property using DIY methods.

Can cockroaches survive without food?

Yes, cockroaches can survive for extended periods without food, sometimes up to a month or longer, depending on environmental conditions. However, they require water more frequently and cannot survive as long without it.

Are cockroaches more active in certain seasons?

Cockroaches can be active year-round but may be more noticeable indoors during warmer months when they seek shelter from the heat. However, some species may also become more active indoors during colder months in search of warmth.