Shopping for a roach bait gel? Congratulations! You’ve already caught onto what’s possibly the best, most effective way to kill cockroaches and eliminate infestations.
Now, you’re faced with a choice: which bait should you buy? Let’s take a look at how gel baits work and what goes into a good bait to help you choose the best product for your situation.
A Simple 5-Step Guide For Getting Rid of Roaches
“Print or Follow on Your Phone. It’s FREE!”
Remember, when using insecticides, the label is the law—read and follow the instructions carefully, not only for your own safety, but to make sure each treatment is as effective as possible.
Cockroach Gel Bait: An Overview
Gel bait (codename: cockroach killer gel, for its lethal potency) isn’t just used by homeowners. It’s used by professionals, beating out necessities like sprays and roach traps as exterminators’ favorite tool.
How cockroach gel works
Roach gel does more than kill the occasional roach scurrying across the floor; it attracts roaches to find and eat its poisonous ingredients, inviting them to their last meals.
Gel baits are more strategic weapons than roach killer sprays or the end of a broomstick. Their killer feature: they spread their pesticides from roach to roach and throughout the colony, reducing the population from within and resulting in a quicker kill.
How effective is roach gel?
Gel bait is extremely effective at killing both large and small roaches. It has transformed the pest control industry and brought serious power directly to consumers. It’s even successful against the most notorious small roach invader: the German cockroach.
In one study, a single application of an insecticide gel for roaches eliminated 99% of German cockroaches in one month. Even after just the first week, nearly 3/4 of the roaches had been killed!
Gel baits eliminate cockroaches in a variety of residential and commercial settings, including hotels, schools, hospitals, warehouses, restaurants and food handling facilities, supermarkets, commercial and industrial buildings.
How to Use Cockroach Gel Bait
But where cockroach gel really shines is in homes and businesses. You can use these products to deal with your cockroach problem just like the professionals.
Using a gel bait comes down to 3 simple steps:
- Choose your gel bait.
- Apply on surfaces and in cracks and crevices.
- Monitor and reapply.
1. Choose your gel bait.
Good gel bait isn’t designed to kill on contact like a bug killer spray. Instead, baits have delayed effects to allow one roach to spread the insecticide to others.
Common active ingredients in gel baits include hydramethylnon, fipronil and imidacloprid. Most products work against all of the usual roach suspects. Research has shown imidacloprid to be especially effective against German cockroaches.
Gel bait comes in two forms: liquid gel and bait stations. Bait stations are small plastic cartridges that hold the gel inside them. Both forms are useful—bait stations avoid any mess but gel bait can be dropped into tiny spaces.
How do you know if your bait is going to work? Well, one exterminator has a good test but… you’re not going to want to try it:
“If you can hand-feed the cockroaches your bait, you are going to gain control.”6
Talk about getting your hands dirty! A better test is keeping a close eye on the amount of bait left after each night. The more bait that’s eaten, the better it’s working. On the other hand, if the bugs don’t seem to be eating the bait, it’s time to either try a different product, or take another look at where they’re coming from and try baiting a different space.
One of the most common (and highly regarded) bait brands is Advion. Among gel bait products, Advion cockroach gel bait is the most popular for a few reasons. It uses a non-repellent formula so it strongly attracts roaches with no hint of chemicals.
Additionally, the active ingredient, indoxacarb, was the first insecticide to remain toxic after being passed on to not one but two more cockroaches. For every one roach that dies from the bait, several more could ingest the insecticide by feeding on the excretions the poisoned roach leaves behind. That’s exponential pest control!
2. Apply the gel on surfaces and in cracks and crevices.
To pack the hardest punch, apply gel bait close to areas roaches frequent (such as the crevices where roaches hide). Each day, only some of the bugs will emerge to search for food, so the closer the bait is to them, the better.
When using roach killer gel, place small, pea-sized drops of the gel. That lets the roaches eat the bait without feeling threatened or confused by lots of strange goo.
If you’re facing a large infestation, place drops about 3 inches apart in several locations. For smaller colonies, drops can be 2 to 3 feet apart. 5 to 10 drops spread throughout a home should be enough to kill small to moderate roach infestations.
As long as the evidence is there, focus on the kitchen and bathroom—they’re the most likely cockroach hiding spots.
3. Monitor and reapply
Once you’ve applied the bait, the waiting game begins. During this time, it’s tricky to know if the bait is working. You shouldn’t see dead roaches lying around the bait; that’s a sign that the insecticide is killing them too quickly—not what you want.
Gel will have to be reapplied regularly (especially if it’s working well—i.e., being eaten). On the other hand, bait stations are fine to leave in place for months, as long as there’s still bait left inside.
How long does it take for roach killer gel to work?
You could start seeing dead roaches within a matter of hours, and should start to see significant results within a week. After a month, over 90% of roaches could be dead. At that point, you’ll see very few emerging from hiding. Still, you should continue to apply tiny drops of gel bait until you stop seeing roach activity.
How do I know if the roach bait is working?
The number one sign is fewer cockroaches out in the open. You should also find fewer droppings (if that’s been a problem).
Remember to keep an eye on the bait. At first, if it’s disappearing quickly, that’s a good sign—the roaches are taking it and it should be doing its job. Later, as it kills the pests, you should find more left over when it’s time to reapply.
Pro Tips: What Not to Do When Using Gel Bait
Although roach bait gel is extremely effective and fairly easy to use, there are a few ways you might step on your own toes.
Don’t use too much gel.
You shouldn’t apply cockroach gel bait as if it were caulk, spreading it in thick layers or packing holes with it. It’s potent stuff; you only need a little. Plus, roaches are sensitive to perceived danger. Too much bait might scare them away and spread the infestation further.5
It’s best to drop only very small amounts, spread out across the target area. This avoids spooking the roaches or causing them to move to avoid the bait altogether.
Don’t cancel out the bait with repellents.
When using other products in combination with a gel bait, it’s important not to counteract the attractive bait by using repellents or bad-tasting sprays. Additionally, don’t spray household cleaners near the bait. We know you’re dying to disinfect, but if a cockroach catches a whiff of chemicals instead of the smell of tasty bait, it’ll flee and never come back for more.
Don’t forget about cockroach eggs.
Roach eggs aren’t affected by baits because the bait has to be eaten. Until they hatch, eggs are perfectly safe from your secret weapon. It’s important to persist with the bait, even after it seems most of the roaches have died. There could be eggs lying in wait, ready to restart the whole roach problem.
Buy fresh bait.
Found an old, faded bottle of roach bait in the closet of the apartment you’re renting? It’s probably lost its strong odor and won’t be as effective as a fresh bottle. Remember, the roaches have to want it. You’re better off buying fresh, delicious-smelling bait that they won’t be able to resist.
Roach Bait Gel as a Part of Your Pest Control System
Successfully eliminating cockroaches is a multi-step process. First, you have to identify their entry points and hiding places. Then, try to locate the nest and determine what species of roaches you’re dealing with.
Next up is your roach bait, which will reduce the existing population. Diatomaceous earth is a fantastic natural roach killer that works great as a sidekick for your bait.
Finally, it’s important to keep roaches away with good prevention techniques: cleaning, organizing and sealing. Roaches enter homes for food, water and a hiding place. By sweeping, vacuuming and cleaning dishes, you remove their food sources. Make sure you’re sealing up pantry items, too.
Decluttering removes potential hiding places inside and outside: cardboard boxes, old paper items, woodpiles, fallen leaves and more. Sealing up any holes, cracks or spaces in the exterior walls of your home prevents roaches from getting inside and starting trouble.
You can kill roaches with a gel bait but if you skip the rest of what makes a pest control plan successful, there’s a good chance they’ll come back to try again.
When it comes to getting rid of roaches, bait gels are some of the most powerful products available. Pick up a good gel bait, follow our tips and your roach problems will be a distant memory in no time!
You’ve got this!
Frequently Asked Questions
There’s always a chance that roaches could return, finding new entry points from outside or hatching from eggs you hadn’t known were there when you took care of the adults. If they do, add a few drops of gel bait to deal with the new invaders. Then, do an even more thorough inspection of the outside of your home—they’re finding a way in somehow. Finding and sealing that entry point is the key to keeping them out.
Roach bait won’t attract more roaches to your home. It might bring more out into the open as the bait makes the bugs want to feed on it but it will inevitably kill those that do emerge. If it seems to attract more from various hiding places, it only means it’s doing its job.
Gel insecticide for roaches remains effective even after the gel dries. You can expect it to remain effective for up to two weeks after application, after which if necessary, you can re-apply.
Written by Andrew Martin. Reviewed by James Miksanek, PhD.
Disclaimer: This page is strictly for informational use. When using insecticides, keep in mind—the label is the law. Insecticides should be applied correctly and safely when needed, and according to the laws of your state or country.
Andrew writes for, and along with his daughter, publishes Cockroach Facts. You can read more about him here.
James Miksanek, PhD.
James is an entomologist and adjunct professor of biology. His background is in biological control, and he has a passion for ecology and environmental science. His research has addressed a variety of topics including pest control and the management of invasive species. You can learn more about our contributors here.
- State of the Cockroach Market (2019) Zoecon/Central Life Sciences.
- Wang, Changlu et al. (2013) Baiting for Success. Pest Control Technology: Annual Cockroach Control Issue. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/265795191_Baiting_for_success
- Pollick, Michael (2020) The best roach bait. Chicago Tribune. Retrieved from https://www.chicagotribune.com/consumer-reviews/sns-bestreviews-tools-the-best-roach-bait–20200319-zasr4ez75zhyliny2j6tld4tsy-story.html
- Indoxacarb Insecticide Wipes Out Entire Cockroach Generations (2008) Science 2.0. Retrieved from https://www.science20.com/news_releases/indoxacarb_insecticide_wipes_out_entire_cockroach_generations
- 2019 State of the Cockroach Control Market. Syngenta.
- 2019 Cockroach Management Supplement. Pest Management Professional.
- Baniardalani, Mojgan et al. (2019) Toxicity of imidacloprid and chlorpyrifos against German cockroaches Blattella germanica. International Journal of One Health. Retrieved from www.doi.org/10.14202/IJOH.2019.107–112