Cockroach Exterminator: How to Select The Best One

Written by Brandi Allred
Published: February 5, 2022
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Choosing a cockroach exterminator is something no one ever wants to have to do, yet, many home and business owners are faced with that choice at some point in their lives. Cockroaches are ubiquitous with modern, urban life; there are around 30 problem species that include the German, American, and Oriental cockroaches. Seeing even one roach can herald a deeper, more problematic, infestation. Cockroaches are notorious for spreading disease and filth; they can even trigger asthma and breathing problems in otherwise healthy people. Though many species of roach pose no problems to human life, those few that do come into our homes have to be dealt with promptly, often by a cockroach exterminator.

Here, we’ll explore all the signs of a cockroach infestation, and when you should call a professional exterminator. Then, we’ll talk a little more about exactly what to expect from your exterminator, and how long it may take them to get rid of your roach problem. Then, we’ll learn how to choose the best pest professional, and examine the costs of roach extermination. Finally, we’ll go over the methods you can use to prevent another infestation.

How to Tell if You Have a Cockroach Infestation

Cockroaches come in just a few shapes and sizes; they’re black to reddish-brown, generally between ¼ and 2 inches long, have long antennae, six legs, and usually, wings. Young roaches are smaller and paler and are known as nymphs; they’re born to eggs contained in egg sacks. One cockroach usually means more, and if there’s enough food, they breed and produce even more roaches.

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Signs of an infestation include adult and baby roaches, egg sacks, feces, stains, and bad smells. You’re more likely to see a cockroach at night, when you turn the lights on; they’re nocturnal, and scatter quickly once the lights go on.

When to Call a Cockroach Exterminator

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Hiring a cockroach exterminator may depend on the severity of your infestation


Once you discover that you have a roach problem, your options are to either take care of it yourself or call a professional cockroach exterminator. Getting rid of the infestation on your own will require a lot of work, and you’ll have to purchase traps and insecticides and learn a little more about the dos and don’ts of killing cockroaches.

Hiring a professional, though marginally more expensive, eliminates the need for you to learn how to eradicate an infestation. You also won’t have to purchase any roach traps or insecticides. One thing you’ll want to factor into your decision is the severity of the infestation; more severe infestations are best left to professional cockroach exterminators.

What to Expect from a Cockroach Exterminator

Calling a cockroach exterminator means letting a professional into your home or business, much the same way you would call a plumber or an electrician. The exterminator will usually make a thorough catalog of the house, learn where the worst of the problem is, and advise you on the best course of action. Usually, this includes applying insecticidal spray in key areas, like baseboards and under-the-sink cabinets. The exterminator may also lay roach traps and schedule a return visit.

How Long Does it Take for an Exterminator to Get Rid of Roaches?

The length of the cockroach exterminator’s visit depends largely on the size of the home and the extent of the problem. If you have a small, uncomplicated home, or your infestation is minor, the visit may take as little as 30 minutes. However, if you have a severe infestation, or a large, complex home, it may take as much as two hours. 

Choosing the Best Cockroach Exterminator

When choosing your cockroach exterminator, it’s natural to want the best person for the job. One of the best ways to tell if you’ve found a good exterminator is by looking at customer reviews. Any local pest professional should have multiple positive reviews from clients about their work. When choosing, you can also ask the cockroach exterminator about their practices, prices, and expectations. From here, it should be fairly easy to make a judgment as to who is best for the job.

How Much Does a Cockroach Exterminator Cost?

Baby Cockroach - Cockroach Egg

Hiring a professional cockroach exterminator is the best choice for those who don’t want to get their hands dirty

©Georgy Dzyura/

Getting rid of cockroaches costs a bit of money, there’s no way to get around that. Cockroach exterminators are generally more expensive than taking care of the roaches on your own. Depending on the company, and how much time is needed to get rid of your infestation, a professional exterminator may cost anywhere from $50 to $400.

Is an Exterminator Worth it for Roaches?

Determining whether or not it’s worth it to hire a professional cockroach exterminator is a question of factors. First; how bad is your infestation? If it seems like a minor issue, with only a few roaches, you may want to try taking care of it yourself before calling in the professionals. If the problem seems severe (roaches in multiple areas of the home, intense bad smells, or recurring roach infestations) it’s probably best to call in a cockroach exterminator.

Further, the question of whether or not to call in a professional depends heavily on just how involved you want to get with cockroaches. If you’re the kind of person that wants nothing to do with these disease-carrying pests, then a professional is for you.

How to Prevent Roaches from Coming Back

Once your cockroach exterminator has eradicated the infestation, you’ll want to take steps to ensure it doesn’t come back. The best way to prevent roaches from invading your home is to take care of all food waste and garbage promptly. Don’t leave leftovers, or dirty plates, out, and clean regularly to ensure there are no food crumbs to tempt the roaches back. 

Additionally, take care of clutter. Cockroaches love places to hide. They also love damp areas, so check all of your plumbing pipes, and fix any leaks.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © LightField Studios/

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About the Author

Brandi is a professional writer by day and a fiction writer by night. Her nonfiction work focuses on animals, nature, and conservation. She holds degrees in English and Anthropology, and spends her free time writing horror, scifi, and fantasy stories.

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