What to Expect After an Exterminator Sprays for Roaches

You've had so many roaches that you had to bite the bullet and call an exterminator. For heavy infestations, spraying with professional-grade pesticides is a relatively quick and effective way to get rid of roaches. So, when the exterminator leaves, all your roach problems will be solved, right? Wrong. Here's what to expect after an exterminator sprays for roaches in your home.

What to Expect After Cockroach Extermination

It's normal seeing roaches after extermination treatments. It's also normal seeing baby roaches after extermination. When dying, they come out into the light. Eventually, you will stop seeing them as they all die. Avoid cleaning after roach extermination so the pesticide has the best chance of killing as many roaches as possible.

Will the Smell of the Exterminator Spray Bother You?

Pesticide sprays intended to bother roaches sometimes wind up bothering people, too. People who suffer migraines or upset stomachs from strong smells may suffer attacks for days or even weeks after treatment. Heat or strong sunlight may cause the smell to become stronger. If possible, sleep in the coldest parts of the home to avoid the smell. You may have to spend a few nights at a hotel until the smell dies down.

Opening windows and setting fans up in the home helps dissipate the smell. If possible, have a fan blowing onto you to help “mask” the smell. Here are more tips from Hunker.com on cleaning after roach extermination in your home:

  • Use vinegar and water spray on fabrics like drapes, carpets, some upholstered furniture, and curtains. Simply mix one part water to one part vinegar in a clean spray bottle and use liberally and allow the spray to air-dry on the fabrics.
  • Sprinkle baking soda on the carpets, let sit overnight and vacuum the next day.
  • Set out a small bowl of vinegar in a bad-smelling room to cover up the smell.
  • Consider getting a portable air purifier.

Why Am I Seeing More Roaches Than Ever Before?

The day or even hour after the exterminators leave, the roaches come out of the walls, woodwork or wherever even in the daytime or even if the light is on. Could it be that the chemicals in the spray attract roaches? No. It's actually a good sign when seeing roaches after extermination treatments, even if you see more roaches than you ever have in your life. This seeming invasion means the roaches are dying.

The poison in the pesticide, whether delivered in a spray or a food bait, messes with the roach's nervous system. It may also affect its thinking process or what passes for thinking in cockroaches. Roaches will often run in small circles before they die. They often do not even run away from you when you lean over to kill them or suck them up with a vacuum. According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, vacuuming kills the bugs.

Cleaning Up After Cockroach Treatments

Your professional pest control company will usually give you a list of instructions for making sure the pesticide they just sprayed has the best chance of killing the roaches. Because of the smell of the sprays, you may be tempted to clean the sprayed areas. Resist the temptation. Cleaning after roach extermination treatments removes the very stuff you just paid for to be put down to kill the cockroaches.

One safe way to clean is to vacuum. It's best to use gloves so you do not get into contact with roaches or their droppings, even if using a vacuum. Roach droppings can make you sick, so you do not want to touch them. Be sure to empty the vacuum or change the bag after use, just in case a roach or roach eggs just happen to survive and crawl back out of the machine.

What About Cleaning Areas Not Sprayed But Has Residue or Smells?

Roaches like floors. They know that's where the food falls. Floors also provide many hiding places where they can zip to in an instant. That is why exterminators concentrate on spraying the floors and baseboards and any cabinets at floor-level. They usually do not spray on the walls or ceiling.

Sometimes the smell or a sticky residue develops on the walls, furniture or countertops above where the spray was applied. These areas are okay to wash. It's especially important to disinfect cabinets or anywhere food is prepared. You don't want to accidentally get any pesticide residue in your food.

Will the Roaches Come Back After Spraying?

Do roaches come back after extermination? Sometimes, sadly, yes. You do have to do your part to make your home as uninviting to bugs as possible. Here are some prevention tips from Michigan State University:

  • Fix any leaky pipes as cockroaches only need a little drop of water to keep alive.
  • Keep your basement as dry as possible since mildew or damp basement is full of weak spots that a determined roach can find and widen in order to get into your home.
  • Keep food in sealed containers
  • Pick up pet food regularly. If you have a bird feeder, sweep up the mess underneath that could attract bugs or mice.
  • Make sure your garbage cans have a tight lid and do not have holes. An easy access trash can is a free 24-hour buffet for roaches.
  • Check your doors and windows for any gaps. A roach only needs a tiny space to squeeze through and then he's home free in your home. Fill up these gaps or cracks.

How Long Will It Take for All of the Roaches to Die?

Cockroaches do not all die instantly as soon as your home is sprayed, dusted or if lots of bait stations are used. It takes a while to spread out and come into contact with all of the roaches in the colony living in your space. It can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks for the roaches to disappear.

You may be concerned at seeing baby roaches after extermination treatments. They could have come from eggs that hatched after the spraying. Most professional sprays contain chemicals to stop baby roaches from turning into adult roaches. This means they cannot breed and so when they die, there won't be any more babies to take their places.

Are There Any Other Ways to Kill Roaches?

If getting your home sprayed with pesticides seems like too much, there are other ways of dealing with roaches. Your exterminator may be able to provide these ways for you. These include:

  • Gel baits or food bait stations: These combine tasty treat with the deadly insecticide. Remember not to spray these with bug sprays as that will make the bait taste bad.
  • Make your own bait with three parts boric acid to one part powdered sugar. This has to be kept away from small children or pets or they may eat it and become very sick or die.
  • Use diatomaceous earth dust in areas where you have seen roaches or where roaches are likely to pass by. This natural substance kills the roach through dehydration.
  • Heat treatments: High temperatures kill roach adults, babies, and eggs. This is why vacuuming kills roaches. There are extermination companies that have whole home treatment heating systems to turn up the heat, so the roaches die, according to New Scientist. You, your pets and your houseplants cannot be in the home during the treatment.

In summary, here's what to expect:

  • For a few days or weeks, you will see more roaches than ever, but they are coming out of their hiding places to die.
  • Any baby roaches will have hatched after the spraying and should soon die.
  • Dying bugs can be vacuumed up.
  • The spray may smell bad and make you feel ill.
  • Do not clean the sprayed-on areas.
  • Go through your home and yard to limit a passing roach's access to food and water.
  • Go around your home to make sure there are no gaps or cracks where roaches can squeeze through. Fill those holes up.

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