How Does Roach Bait Work and Which is The Best Roach Bait?

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Last Updated on January 20, 2023 by Griselda M.

How Does Roach Bait Work? Let’s have a look at how cockroach baits work, and then have a look at the somewhat biased question of “Which is the best roach bait?”. The truth is, there is no such thing, but there are good options for certain applications. Let’s have a closer look at Cockroaches, and then use that knowledge to control or eliminate them from our house.

How do Cockroaches Survive and What Do they Do?

Before we ask “how does roach bait work?” lest start off by asking “how does a cockroach work?” because this will give us the answers needed to kill these pests. There are in fact about 30 species of cockroach that can live with humans and become a pest – the other 4570 species stay out of our way.


These insects can have quite simple lifestyles and in the case of some species, such as the German cockroach, they have a social structure that results in the formation of colonies. The reproductive cycle is relatively similar across the range – females mate. In some species, the females keep the eggs in a pouch and carry them around with them, in other species the young actually develop inside the mother and are given “birth to”.

Baby cockroaches are called nymphs and grow into adult cockroaches that can live for up to two years. Due to the high level of parental care, the survival rate of the young is very high, with the result that a small infestation can turn into a very big infestation in a year or so.


Cockroaches are cooperative with sharing information about food, and food quality. They tend to learn their favorite foods and have preferred feeding areas and foods. When they become established, they actually memorize the food area and know exactly where these are.

This is important to understand in terms of our question “How does roach bait work?” We need to be able to place roach bait in such a way that it will be found, and eaten. If we observe the roaches, at night, and find where they feed, and what they are feeding on, it will inform where and how we place our roach bait stations. More on that later.

Best Roach Bait: What Is Cockroach Bait Anyway?

As we have already mentioned, cockroaches can tell the quality of food and communicate this to each other. A cockroach bait station has poison in it – so if you kill a forager who is out scouting for new food, it will just die and not call its friends and family to the bait. This is why it is important to place a bait station near an existing feeding area.

In many cases, poisons in a bait station will be consumed by adults, who then return to the nesting site, and their droppings will contain this poison. The nymphs eat the poison and are in turn killed. This helps a lot to remove the problem.

Cockroach baits tend to contain an active ingredient/s (poison) and then bait (food) and various other things to hold the bait together. I have read a few of the patents listed for cockroach baits, and they appear to be a pretty standard formulation. Generally, these baits can be formulated as gels or granules. Some of the ingredients used are relatively harmless to humans and pets if accidentally consumed – these tend to be the ones available to the public. Slightly more toxic, specialist products are available for licensed pest exterminators.

The Benefits of Roach Bait

With our above knowledge of basic cockroach feeding strategies, we can place bait in such a way that it will neutralize the entire cockroach colony – adults and nymphs. The bait is very specific, and as a result, targets cockroaches. This is far more beneficial than using an untargeted fumigant – fumigants can kill beneficial household creatures, such as geckos and lizards that actually predate upon many household pests and are really cute.

The bait can be placed in crawl spaces where it is only accessible to cockroaches. This is very useful as it minimizes risks to household pets and children.

best places to put roach bait

Best Roach Bait: How to Effectively Use a Bait

Roaches tend to find places that are under things, where they can crawl and build their nest. In my experience, the most common places tend to be under refrigerators (nice and warm), under dishwashers, and then if a built-in cupboard is badly built and has places where they can get into empty void volumes in the cupboard, this is another favorite.  Cockroaches tend to nest in a place where they have water and food available within a few-foot radius of where they are nesting.

Placing bait so that it is near the food source the cockroaches are moving to will result in them finding the bait and eating it.

Baits also should not be mixed with contact killers (normal bug surface sprays). A contact killer is a pesticide that will kill a roach on contact. This sounds like a good idea, but the pests are smart and will avoid it when they see a friend dead. This means that these cockroaches won’t take any bait near the killer and won’t spread it to the nest.

Finally, keep the baits away from children and pets because they are poisonous and can seriously injure or kill anyone who unintentionally consumes them.

Best Roach Baits Reviews

Combat Max 12-Month Roach Killing Bait

The active ingredient in Combat for Roaches is Fipronil. Upon ingestion, this pesticide causes the insect’s nervous system to malfunction.

The Combat Max 12-Month Roach Killing Bait consists of free-standing stations that can be filled with liquid bait and then placed throughout the house. The 18 stations are attached in a strip – you just break the stations off and put them in the various places that are out of the way, so that you can get the bait to the cockroaches. Because you have quite a large number of stations, the chances of getting one in the perfect place are quite high.

The stations are effective for about 3 months – so after you have put these out, assuming you get a complete knockdown of your cockroach colony, you will most likely be covered for a season – 12 months. I personally think the labeling is a bit confusing, as the product data specifically says it is active for 3 months, not 12 months.

The packaging makes it pretty difficult for a child to open the bait stations and get in contact with the poison. If you have a large, goofy dog, it may try to chew this and would be able to get through the plastic. Although it is unlikely that the dose in one station is enough to pose a risk to the dog, if you have such a creature, maybe do not place the stations where it could get them.


  • Comes with Stations.
  • Stations are Child-Resistant.
  • Works on Roaches of All Ages.


  • The stations are moderately expensive.

Rockwell Labs – Invict Gold – Cockroach Gel

Invict Gold made by Rockwell Labs is one of the most powerful cockroach baits currently manufactured. The gold gel is designed to be exceptionally attractive to cockroaches by being sweet and having a meaty aroma detectable to these pests.

Not only can this gel be applied indoors and outdoors. The powerful imidacloprid in the formula kills in 20 minutes and works as a secondary killer. This means any cockroach who comes in contact with the body or feces of a roach who ate the bait will also die.

Invict Gold is easy to place in cracks and corners. Unlike the bait stations mentioned above, this product is in a syringe, and you squeeze the gel out. When I have had to use baits such as this, I get old lids and cut them as shown in the picture to allow roaches to easily crawl onto the lid. Then I apply the gel to the lid and slide it under the fridge and various other places. This means that I can lift these lids up later and dispose of them without leaving residues in my kitchen.

PHOTO 2023 01 19 16 38 19
PHOTO 2023 01 19 16 38 20


  • Kills in 20 Minutes.
  • Made without Common Food Allergens.
  • Works as a Secondary Killer.
  • Works Indoors and Outdoors.


  • Somewhat Expensive.
  • Not Kid or Pet Friendly.

Vendetta Roach Gel Bait Insecticide

Vendetta Roach Gel Bait is a powerful insecticide that comes in a gel form. It can be applied in hard-to-reach places and uses Abamectin B1, which is a slow-acting poison designed to be spread between roaches. This helps users kill entire populations, including the young nymphs that pose future problems to the homeowner.

The gel uses ingredients that attract multiple types of cockroaches, including German and American varieties. This is great for people who struggle to identify their infestation and want to kill as many pests as possible. You can use the same plastic lid bait station method I showed above for the Invict Gold product. This means you will not leave residues on surfaces.


  • Easy to Apply.
  • Attracts Multiple Species of Cockroach.
  • Uses Abamectin B1.


  • Users Should Use Twice as Much as Suggested.

Harris Roach Tablets

The Harris Roach Tablets make use of one of the most popular pesticides for cockroaches: Boric Acid. The formula in these tablets includes a special lure that gives the acid a sweet smell to attract more roaches. A roach will taste the tablet and then bring it back to the nest, spreading the poison and killing the entire nest and infestation.

Harris sells the tablets in boxes of 40, which is enough to cover 12 rooms. The tablets are inexpensive and boric acid is registered with the EPA, meaning there is tons of research on its effectiveness. This is great for individuals with low budgets who still want to live pest-free.

I was once rather pleasantly surprised to find that a small ants nest that had moved into my house also nibbled away at one of these tablets and proceeded to die. I am not sure if this is supposed to happen!


  • EPA Registered.
  • Kills Entire Nests.
  • Uses a Lure to Attract Roaches.
  • Inexpensive.


  • Tablets are exposed.

Advion Cockroach Gel Bait

This Advion Cockroach Gel Bait is one of the most effective products on the market because it uses Indoxacarb, a powerful toxin that targets the pest’s nervous system and shuts down function. You can apply the gel anywhere cockroaches are common and watch them trip over themselves to lap it up before perishing.

One benefit of using Advion is that the gel has a long shelf life. So, if you don’t use it all during one infestation, you can save the pesticide to use if the cockroaches come back. Multiple bottles are included in a single package, making this great for large homes or serious infestations.


  • 5-Year Shelf Life.
  • Easy to Apply.
  • Uses Indoxicarb.


  • Counterfeit Products are Common, hence ordering from a reliable source

How Does Roach Bait Work and Why You Should Rotate Treatments 

It is important to understand that cockroaches can become resistant to a specific treatment. Hence, as with many pests, it is good to rotate treatments each year – you will see I have listed treatments with a wide range of different active ingredients. If you use a different treatment from the above list each year, then your cockroach population will remain sensitive to the poisons. If you use the same one, year in and year out, you will invite trouble into your life!!

What Are The Best Places to Put Roach Bait?

As we have discussed in the body of the text, cockroaches hide under things and make their colonies there. In my experience their absolute favorite place seems to be under fridges – there is a nice warm environment, and the drip tray on top of the compressor normally has some water. Another favorite is the cupboard below the sink. I know people who have cockroaches in their bathrooms, but I don’t even want to think about that because cockroaches live near food.

The best place to put a roach bait is where you see them scuttle to at night. Go into the kitchen, turn on the light and see where they all go and hide. That is where they have their next, and try to bait around that. Also, look where they are feeding – that is where you can also put bait stations.

How Long does Roach Bait Last?

This will depend on the make – look at the instructions and they will tell you how long the bait lasts. Normally baits seem to last a few months, although some can last longer. Pesticides have half-lives – this is the time takes for half of the active ingredient to break down. If you need a certain dose to kill a cockroach, and now it is eating bait where there is just a little bit left, it can result in some cockroaches being killed – the sensitive ones – and some surviving – the resistant ones. In this way, old bait helps to select cockroaches resistant to the poison you are using.

Do Roach Bait Traps Work?

Yes – these bait traps are cleverly designed to trigger cockroaches to want to go inside and explore.


There is no best treatment as we can see! There are options, and we must rotate the use of these options to ensure that we retain the ability to kill cockroaches. If you have a neighborhood Whatsapp group, it would actually make sense to all agree to use the same treatment at the same time – then next year you all agree to a different treatment. This way you will keep the entire reservoir of cockroaches in your block from developing resistance.


Where should I put roach bait?

Roach bait should be placed in a location that will make it as accessible as possible. One should put the bait near food and water sources, as roaches need those two things to survive.

For example, if a roach is living in a kitchen because of food or water sources, then one should place the bait near the sink because that is where they will be going to eat and drink.

Roach baits are often dispersed throughout an infested area so they can cover a wide surface area. This helps them kill more cockroaches for a better price because it lowers their costs per kill ratio.

What is the best outdoor roach killer?

Currently, there is no single solution for cockroach control. The best way to get rid of them is to use traps like glue boards or set out poisoned baits. You should also seal up cracks in the foundations or around the house where they come in; this will make it hard for them to climb up on your walls or enter through the foundation cracks.

In order to find the best outdoor roach killer, one has to take into account all of the different factors that influence its effectiveness, such as:

1. Active Ingredient: The active ingredient in a roach killer is what determines how effective it will be at killing cockroaches on contact. A high quantity of active ingredient will not only enhance the effectiveness but also increase safety for pets and children.

2. Concentration: Similar to how water becomes more powerful when you add more H2O molecules, a concentrated solution increases its potency.

The best outdoor roach killer is bifenthrin because it is not toxic to humans or pets, has a quick kill time which leaves fewer roaches alive to reproduce and spread their infestation, it can be applied as bait or sprayed on outside surfaces for maximum effectiveness, and it has no odor so neighbors won’t know you have an infestation.

Do cockroaches eat garden plants?

Cockroaches are common in gardens and they often eat the plants.

Evidence: Cockroaches leave behind droppings, which can indicate their presence.

Conclusion: Cockroaches eat garden plants if they are available and their population is large enough to consume them.

Cockroaches eat garden plants but not all the time. It depends on their population and availability of food in the area. If there is enough food, cockroaches will eat more than just vegetation from a garden.

What is the most effective roach bait?

Roach bait is anything that a roach (or other insects) eats in order to get high and/or die. Roaches are natural predators of cockroaches and use them as food.

There are many different types of roach bait, including boric acid, diatomaceous earth, granulated sugar, and vinegar. When you’re looking for a roach bait to apply to your home or building, it’s important to know what type works best.

The most effective roach bait is boric acid because it kills not only the adult head-stage roaches but also the young crawling stage and eggs that they lay.

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