Spotting a cockroach crawling across your kitchen counter is one of those moments that’s sure to make your heart drop. And after the initial shock fades, you brace yourself for a long battle against the bugs. To give you a fighting chance against the roach infestation, we reached out to Chelle Hartzer, the technical services manager at Orkin, for her professional tips on dealing with these notoriously difficult pests. With this insider knowledge, even an insect that’s supposedly capable of surviving the apocalypse won’t stand a chance.

You Should Replace Your Traps Regularly

If you have some cockroach traps left over from last year’s infestation, it may be tempting to pull those out of storage. However, according to Hartzer, buying brand-new traps is the way to go. “You should get new traps on a regular basis because the attractiveness to them wears off,” she explains. “Also, many employ sticky surfaces and those surfaces naturally get dusty and dirty and the glue becomes less effective at trapping the cockroaches.” While reusing traps will save you a few bucks, in the long run, it could cost you by allowing the infestation to thrive.

Learn Where Roaches Like to Hide
 If you’re leaving your traps out in the middle of the counter, the chances a roach will cross its path is low. Instead, target these insects’ favorite hangout spots. “Cockroaches like to hide in dark protected areas. They also like warmth, so look behind and under kitchen equipment like refrigerators and microwaves. Also look in the backs and corners of cabinets,” recommends Hartzer.
Don’t Forget About the Family Room
 While most people know to check for cockroaches in the obvious areas, such as the kitchen, bathroom, and basement, Hartzer also recommends focusing on the family room. “People often spend a lot of time in these areas playing games, watching TV, and they often bring food with them. Crumbs and leftover wrappers, even dishes, might sit for longer than they should and be a food source for cockroaches,” says Hartzer. To fight the infestation, start by eliminating all sources of food and crumbs in this area (hint: establish a no-food policy with your family) and then remember to set traps in this room as well.
Stop More Bugs from Entering 
Besides dealing with the bugs already in your home, don’t forget to prevent even more roaches from entering. “Cockroaches can also enter from the outside. Make sure your doors and windows seal properly when closed, and don’t leave them open for extended periods of time,” says Hartzer.
Known When to Call a Pro
Even armed with expert advice, it’s still a smart idea to schedule an appointment with a professional exterminator if you know you have roaches. “Each situation will be slightly different and a trained professional will be able to evaluate each particular site for the best possible control plan,” explains Hartzer.

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