The 10 Best Cockroach Gel Baits
This wiki has been updated 22 times since it was first published in January of 2017. If there's one thing everyone can agree on, it's that cockroaches don't belong inside the home. If your property has been overrun with these pesky and resilient critters, fight back with an insecticide that they can neither resist nor survive. These lethal gel baits work quickly, are often odorless, and can sometimes resolve infestations of other pests at the same time. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
December 14, 2020:
The old link for the immensely popular Syngenta Advion was out of service, so in this update we fixed the issue by redirecting that item's page to its currently active listing.
We searched for new releases that warranted spots on the list, but all of the options you see here have remained unchanged both because they've continued to enjoy acclaim and because many of the other popular options for killing cockroaches are not specifically gel baits. If you're looking for sprays, tablets, liquids, or other means by which to eliminate a roach infestation, take a look at the more general category of roach killers.
October 22, 2019:
Roach infestations are often hard to get rid of, not to mention rather disgusting. Luckily, these roach bait gels cost much less than hiring a professional, but are equally as effective. It is important to understand however, that that roaches are highly adaptable pests. Because of this, the best way to completely eradicate a colony, especially a large one, is to rotate your products every three months. This will help overcome the problems of bait aversion and insecticide resistance.
Syngenta Advion and Bayer Maxforce FC Magnum are some of our favorite choices because they have a very high concentration of their respective pesticides, 0.6% Indoxacarb in the case of the former, and 0.05% Fipronil in the latter. Of course, since these are generally used in homes, not everybody wants the most toxic formula they can find, even if that means they are reducing their chances of killing all the roaches. For those individuals, we have included Maxforce FC Select, which has just 0.01% Fipronil, and Raid Roach Gel, which has just 0.3% Indoxacarb.
While most of these gels will work on any species, Rockwell Invict Gold and BulbHead Original Roach Doctor utilize Imidacloprid, which is especially effective against German roaches, so if you are dealing with an infestation of this smaller species, you may want to reach for one of these. It is worth noting that this particular chemical has been shown to start losing its efficacy against colonies after about eight weeks, so you should rotate to a different insecticide sooner when using either of these than some other options.
Though these products are generally safe for use in homes with children or pets, it is important that you closely follow the manufacturer's recommendations on how and where to apply them, so that there is never any unwanted exposure. Another thing to note is that you should never spray a roach killer on or around these baits, as this will cause the insects to avoid approaching or eating them, which defeats their purpose.
A Brief History Of Cockroach Traps
While this is undoubtedly an adorable solution, it's still not effective, as it's merely a form of population control.
Nobody likes seeing a cockroach skittering across their floor.
This has been true throughout most of human history, as in ancient times they were considered disgusting, even as they were being used in medicine; in fact, Pliny the Elder, an early Greek physician, recommended squishing them and using the resulting goop to treat ear infections.
Go ahead — try it. We'll wait.
However, while humans have always detested the bugs, for most of recorded history there was no good way of dealing with them short of giving them a good stomping. Thus, preventative practices (such as keeping your home tidy) were the only defense.
In fact, it wouldn't be until 1969 that the first deterrent was created. A gentleman by the name of Arnold Mallis recommended coating tin cans with Vaseline, with the idea being that the bugs would crawl in and get stuck. Of course, while this may have worked for individual critters, it would do next to nothing to curb an invasion.
Still, individual traps — usually cardboard boxes coated with a strong adhesive — became big business in the ensuing years, earning millions annually.
In 1975, researchers at the University of Florida unveiled a new insecticide that purported to kill cockroaches. Made of a chemical found in chrysanthemums, the poison (called pyrethroid) quickly became popular, largely because of its effectiveness and low toxicity in mammals.
About 11 years later, a man named Carl Djerassi created a birth-control formula for roaches (presumably because it was far too difficult to teach them to practice safe sex). His chemical didn't kill the bugs, but prevented them from reproducing, eventually causing the entire colony to wither and die.
In New York in the 1990s, a particularly bad infestation even caused city dwellers to start snatching up geckos, as the lizards were capable of eating hundreds per day. While this is undoubtedly an adorable solution, it's still not effective, as it's merely a form of population control.
Today, gel baits are quite popular, as they're capable of decimating an entire nest. Roaches snatch up the gel and take it back to their relatives at home, who then share it among themselves. This allows you to target the problem at its source, wiping out entire generations in one fell swoop.
Gel baits are currently your best bet for finally getting a handle on your roach problem. We say "currently" because there appears to be evidence that some species are evolving to avoid them.
Lousy jerks. They're always one step ahead!
Everything You Probably Didn't Want To Know About Cockroaches
Most people only want to know two things about roaches: where they are and how to kill them. However, these bugs are actually quite fascinating, and are worth learning more about.
Ok, you got us — the only reason to learn about them is to be able to kill them more effectively. So, read on.
Still, they can survive a long time without any chow — up to one month, in fact.
Roaches are social creatures, and they tend to congregate in large nests. However, there isn't traditionally a queen like you'd have in an ant colony. Instead, males and females mate individually, and each female is capable of producing as many as 400 offspring in her lifetime.
Naturally, when you have that many kids, finding food is imperative. Luckily, roaches will eat almost anything — including the droppings of other roaches. This is another reason why gel bait is so effective, as you can kill multiple bugs with a single serving.
Still, they can survive a long time without any chow — up to one month, in fact. This even enables them to live for up to a week without a head! They use their bodies to breathe, and chopping their heads off only eventually kills them when they become dehydrated, so maybe put away your plans for that tiny cockroach guillotine.
As you might already know, they're notoriously hardy creatures. They can survive being submerged in water for up to 40 minutes, and can often walk away from a good stomping completely unscathed.
However, it's a myth that they can survive a nuclear blast — but only because the heat would kill them.
So there you go. Now you just need to get your hands on a warhead somehow.
Tips For Eliminating Roaches From Your Home
The bad news about roaches is that, if you've seen one in your home, there are likely a lot more that you haven't seen. Fortunately, it's relatively easy to get a handle on the problem, provided that you're willing to do a little work.
Buying a gel bait trap is a good start, but if you do, resist the urge to spray any individual bugs you see. Many gels lose effectiveness when combined with other insecticides, and you want the little menace to survive long enough to make it back to his nest anyway.
While not suitable for eliminating the problem on its own, boric acid does wonders when combined with other treatment methods.
Beyond that, it's primarily a matter of making your home unattractive to six-legged guests. That includes disposing of food promptly, vacuuming regularly, and not allowing liquids to sit out.
Also, make sure they don't have any easy entry points into your home. Caulk up any gaps in your tile or walls, and use weather stripping on your doors and windows. You should also canvas the perimeter of your home with a flashlight, looking for any holes or crevices they may use to break in.
Once you find these entry points (and after you seal them up), coat the area with a little boric acid. While not suitable for eliminating the problem on its own, boric acid does wonders when combined with other treatment methods. Just don't sprinkle it around your food.
With a little bit of time and effort, you should be able to rid your home of pests relatively quickly. Of course, roaches are nothing if not persistent, so it's unlikely that any solution will be a permanent one.
Except that nuke we told you to get. That will let 'em know you mean business.