Best Roach Bait

Updated November 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

39 Models Considered
7 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
380 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best roach bait

Last Updated November 2019

When it comes to ridding your home or workplace of cockroaches, there are several approaches, each with advantages and disadvantages. Nonlethal roach traps only eliminate the most adventurous cockroaches in the colony, leaving the rest of the nest intact. Roach sprays use insecticides to kill roaches on contact, but the effects are limited to those that leave the nest. Some roach colonies can be driven out of their hiding places with electronic ultrasonic repellents, but results vary. Another option that’s growing in popularity is roach bait.

Roach bait combines a food-based lure with insecticide. Once a cockroach ingests the bait, it carries the slow-acting poison back to the nest, where it’s shared with other roaches through droppings or bodily fluids, eventually killing the entire nest.

When shopping for roach bait, it’s important to consider the type of cockroach and its potential nesting areas. Not all roach bait works on all common species. The challenge is finding the nest’s entry and exit points and positioning the bait appropriately.

If you need professional-grade help with a roach infestation without paying professional pest control prices, consider the products highlighted here. We’ve also created this in-depth shopper’s guide to address your questions about roach bait.

Gel roach bait works best indoors, while bait stations and solid tablets are more effective outdoors.

Key considerations

Types of cockroaches

When searching for the best roach bait, it’s helpful to know your enemy. There are several different species of cockroaches found in the US, but the most common are the smaller German cockroach, often found near garbage and other waste sites, and the larger American (palmetto) cockroach, which generally resides outdoors unless cold weather drives them inside buildings.

It’s important to determine which species has infested a particular location because different insecticide formulas have different effects. A gel bait designed to kill German cockroaches may have little to no effect on American cockroaches. The product description on the packaging should state which types of cockroaches it’s intended to exterminate. Some cockroaches develop a natural resistance to the ingredients in roach bait, so it pays to invest in brands that appeal to “bait-averse” cockroaches.

Bait station vs. gel

There are two different methods for delivering poisoned bait to cockroach populations: a bait station or gel.

Bait station: This is a plastic container with small entry holes. A bait station can work indoors or outdoors because the solid bait inside is protected from the elements. Cockroaches detect the appealing food-based lure, then enter the bait station and ingest the poison. When they return to the nest, other cockroaches come into contact with the poison and die. Bait stations are easy to handle, easy to place, and easy to remove.

Gel: The other method is the injection of a gel bait. Small portions of an attractive food-base gel are placed strategically near potential points of entry and exit to the nest. Some cockroaches ingest the gel and take the poison back to the nest, where others come in contact with it and die. The main advantage of an injectable gel bait is the ability to reach remote nesting areas. However, gel bait can be messy to apply, and the gel can also be attractive to pets and small children.

Indoor vs. outdoor

When dealing with a larger cockroach infestation, some users prefer to use both indoor and outdoor methods.

Indoor: Most German cockroach colonies tend to form their nests in protected indoor areas near reliable sources of food and water. Injectable gel bait tends to perform much better indoors because the gel can get washed away or diluted if used outdoors. Bait stations can be challenging to place in remote indoor locations.

Outdoor: American or palmetto cockroaches tend to form nests outdoors but will travel indoors during inclement weather. Some roach bait, especially tablets and solid bait stations, performs very well in outdoor conditions.

DID YOU KNOW?

A single cockroach that consumes gel bait can kill over 100 cockroaches in the colony.

Roach bait features

Delivery system

One important feature with gel roach bait is the delivery system. Most gels are packaged in tubes, but the nozzle and dispenser may differ from brand to brand. A squeeze tube with a tapered nozzle can be challenging to use in remote locations. A better option is a preloaded syringe with a plunger to force out the gel through a needle-shaped nozzle. Some users may want to invest in a professional-grade bait gun that can hold a generous supply of gel and deliver precise amounts of bait in remote areas.

Quantity

Because effective cockroach extermination requires such diligence, it pays to have a generous supply of bait stations or gel bait on hand. Many roach bait manufacturers offer bulk packaging of both types, so you can either treat the entire building at once or have a steady supply of replacements available every three months.

Active ingredients

The main active ingredient in most types of roach bait is a slow-acting insecticide that kills any adult cockroach that ingests it. However, this ingredient alone may not be enough to eliminate an entire cockroach colony. Some mid-priced and more expensive types of roach bait also include chemicals that destroy immature eggs or larvae or affect the reproductive cycle of adult females. When shopping for an effective multi-pronged approach to cockroach eradication, consult the product information on the packaging or online to see if it contains additional types of insecticide.

Gel roach bait contains ingredients that attract, not repel, cockroaches.

Roach bait prices

The retail price point of roach bait is generally affected by the size of the packaging and not necessarily the potency of the active ingredients. For example, a small syringe of roach bait gel may only treat one or two rooms, but the gel formula itself can be professional grade. Here’s a quick summary of what to expect in different price ranges:

Inexpensive: For less than $10, you’re more likely to find roach bait stations, roach-killing tablets, and roach powder with a lure. These types of bait can be effective both indoors and outdoors, but they rely more heavily on curious cockroaches discovering the bait while foraging in the open. Small containers of gel bait can be found at this price, but they may not be quite as effective as more expensive products.

Mid-range: You’ll find more powerful gel bait in the $10 to $30 range. There is often a distinction between bait designed to kill smaller German cockroaches and bait for larger American cockroaches. The bait stations are generally larger and contain more solid bait. Some of these bait formulas use a multi-pronged approach, incorporating both a poisonous food lure and chemicals designed to kill eggs and larvae. The application method is also an improvement, with professional-grade syringe applicators for more precise bait placement.

Expensive: The most expensive roach bait costs over $30 and tends to use professional-strength insecticides designed for maximum effect. A household with a significant roach infestation may want to consider investing in a higher-end approach combining roach bait stations with a generous application of gel bait. Bait stations can also be purchased in bulk for larger commercial properties, and larger gel bait syringes are also available at this price.

Tips

  • Use the right amount of bait for the type of cockroaches you have. Smaller German cockroaches respond better to smaller amounts of gel bait, while larger American cockroaches respond to larger applications.
  • Avoid applying gel bait to areas warmer than 100°F. The gel can melt and become much less effective.
  • Remove old, dried-out gel bait whenever possible. It’s no longer attractive to cockroaches.
  • Do not use gel bait in cockroach bait stations. These “roach hotels” should only contain solid bait.
  • Observe the cockroaches’ behavior after applying gel bait. If there doesn’t appear to be much interest, you might need to experiment with other brands. Cockroaches can develop a resistance to familiar gel bait.
EXPERT TIP

Cockroaches can develop resistance to gel bait, so you should consider changing brands every three months.


Staff  | BestReviews

Other products we considered

While compiling our shortlist of quality roach bait contenders, the BestReviews research team also discovered several other products worthy of consideration. Because cockroaches can develop “bait aversion” over time, many experts recommend switching out brands every three months or so. If American (palmetto) cockroaches are the target, we find that the Maxforce FC Roach Control Bait uses a powerful insecticide that starts to work within hours and can eliminate an entire roach colony in as little as eight days. The food-grade ingredients attract species that tend to avoid the standard lure found in other gel bait brands. While many other roach bait brands tend to specialize in American or German cockroach targets, the HaRuion Cockroach Gel Bait claims to be equally effective on both species. This dual-action formula can be very useful in areas where both large and small cockroaches are present. The package contains four syringes at an affordable price, which makes this brand ideal for first-time users on a budget.

The active ingredients in gel roach bait are slow-acting insecticides that last for weeks inside the cockroach colony.

FAQ

Q. Can I use a roach-killing spray along with a gel roach bait?
A.
Not in the same area. Gel roach bait is designed to attract roaches, so they will carry the insecticide-laden “treat” back to the colony. Insecticide sprays are designed to kill visible roaches on contact. Using both methods at the same time can contaminate the gel bait and reduce the number of cockroaches returning to the colony.

Q. I have very curious cats. Could gel roach baits be toxic to them?
A.
Any product containing insecticide has the potential to affect pets or humans, but the amount of get roach bait required per application is generally very small. A pet that ingests a small amount of roach bait may become ill, but the level of insecticide should not be lethal. Be sure to apply the gel bait in areas that are difficult for pets or children to access.

Q. I have a very serious cockroach infestation in a rental apartment, and I want to put down a long line of gel roach bait along the baseboards. Is this a good idea?
A.
While it might be tempting to put down gel bait at every possible entrance point, a continuous strip of gel would actually be less effective. The roaches might see this line of bait as a barricade and avoid it. You’re better off applying a series of small dabs no larger than an pencil eraser. Roaches will see those as potential food sources.

The team that worked on this review
  • Bronwyn
    Bronwyn
    Editor
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Michael
    Michael
    Writer

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