How to Recognize (and Survive) Roaches in Alabama

If you spot cockroaches in your Alabama home, use this guide to figure out what kind they are and how to get rid of them for good.
Written by Bonnie Stinson
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
Even though cockroaches can be a common pest in Alabama homes, maintaining cleanliness and plugging any entry points can prevent infestations. If any cockroaches make it into your home, you have some natural and chemical insecticide options to get rid of the colony.
There’s a reason why so many horror movies feature cockroaches. Their spiny little legs, beady eyes, and the fact most of them can fly make even the stoutest of us sweat. But when the creepy little nightmares find their way into your house, it can feel worse than any scary movie.
Knowing how to keep roaches out of your home (or eliminate them if they do) is crucial information for any homeowner. That’s why
car and home insurance
comparison app
put together this guide for
homeowners. We’ll help you identify common types of cockroaches, as well as how to get rid of them for good.
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Alabama cockroaches 101: How to recognize a roach

Many homeowners love Alabama for its warmer weather, especially during the winter months. That great weather comes at a price, however—cockroaches. The warm climate is perfect for roaches to thrive. In fact, there are over 30 species of cockroaches native to Alabama. 
Now before you completely panic, very few of those 30 varieties of roach will actually want to live in your house. But it’s still important to know the difference between common cockroaches, so you can deal with any infestation more effectively.

American cockroaches

The creepiest cockroach (in our humble opinion) is the American cockroach for two reasons. One, they can get up to three inches long. Second, (and worse) they can fly. These reddish-brown roaches are usually found outdoors munching on decaying plant matter, but every now and then, they like to dine indoors on rotting food.

Asian cockroaches

Although much smaller than their American cousins (about 0.5 inches long), Asian cockroaches are also capable fliers. They mostly hang out in dark, moist areas. But unlike most roaches who scuttle away from light, Asian cockroaches are attracted to it. So if any get in your house, you might find them hanging out in light fixtures.

Oriental cockroaches

Oriental cockroaches are commonly called “waterbugs” since they mostly hang out in moist areas. They’re shiny black and only get about an inch long. They can’t fly (thank goodness), but they have been known to hang out in damp leaf piles or drains near houses, occasionally coming inside for food. They secrete chemicals with a strong, musty odor—the classic odor most people associate with a roach infestation.

German cockroaches

German cockroaches look nearly identical in color and size to Asian cockroaches, but they’re more likely to come inside a house and scatter at the first sign of light. They’re also incredibly destructive and will congregate around any available food source.
MORE: How to get bugs off your car: A handy guide

A guide to cockroach identification

It’s important to know what kind of roach you’re dealing with if you happen to come face-to-face with one in your house. Here’s a table to help you quickly identify the common roaches in Alabama:
Type of roach
Average length
Can it fly?
Where to spot them
American cockroach
2-3 inches
Food storage areas, damp leaf piles
Oriental cockroach
1 inch
Shiny black
Drains, pipes, wet leaves, or landscaping
German cockroaches
0.5 inches
Light brown
Kitchens, drawers, cabinets
1.25 inches
Black or dark brown
Light fixtures, cabinets, drawers
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Some bugs are just very good at pretending to be roaches. Here are some examples:
  • Crickets look very similar to roaches. They can be the same size and color, but they jump instead of flying. Also, the chirping is a pretty good giveaway.
  • June bugs are much rounder than cockroaches and usually smaller.
  • Giant water bugs are often mistaken for cockroaches, just like oriental cockroaches are mistaken for waterbugs. Waterbugs like to hang out in the same habitat and look similar, but giant water bugs are rounder than cockroaches.

How to get rid of roaches in Alabama

What do you do when you go to your snack drawer and a cockroach is helping himself to your Oreos? 
When it comes to roaches, if there’s one, there’s probably more. Plus, roaches reproduce rapidly, so one roach can turn into a whole colony very quickly. 
If you notice roaches, the first step to dealing with them is always regularly cleaning and sanitizing your home. Wash up any dirty dishes sitting around, take out the trash, and clean up any food spills or crumbs. You’ll also want to disinfect areas where you’ve seen roaches. They can carry nasty bacteria and pass them on to humans, so it’s important to disinfect and throw away any contaminated food. 
Once you’ve cleaned, walk around your home and find any little cracks or gaps where roaches might be getting in. Sealing up any gaps can hopefully prevent roaches from getting in your house in the first place.
If cleaning and sealing gaps doesn’t get rid of your unwanted house guests, you have some options to kill off the rest of the colony, including natural remedies, chemical bait, traps, or even professional exterminators.

Five natural roach killers

If you have small children or pets at home, all-natural remedies might be your safest bet. Here are some options; just put them in high-traffic roach areas and wait:
  1. Boric acid: Boric acid has a lot of household applications, including killing roaches. Be careful not to sprinkle too much around, as large amounts can be irritating to humans. 
  2. Baking soda: Mix a little sugar with some baking soda to lure the roaches in for a snack. The baking soda causes the roaches to explode from gasses in their stomachs. 
  3. Borax: Typically used as a cleaning agent and laundry booster, Borax quickly dehydrates roaches. Just add a little sugar to it to lure roaches in.
  4. Diatomaceous earth: Made from fossilized algae, diatomaceous earth also rapidly dehydrates roaches. It comes in a few varieties, so make sure you get a kind specifically for killing roaches. 
  5. Glue traps: Glue traps put out an irresistible scent to roaches, luring them to a sticky end. Just throw it away when you’ve caught the roaches.
These all-natural methods are cost-effective and don’t pose a threat to humans or pets. However, they don’t work as quickly as chemical insecticides. 

Chemical roach killers—and when to hire an exterminator

If you don’t want to wait on all-natural remedies, there are several chemical insecticide options to speed up the roach elimination process. 
  • Bait stations: If you want to wipe out a whole colony quickly, bait stations are a good option. Roaches eat bait from the trap, go back to their colony, and die. Then, its little pals eat its poisoned corpse, and they die. Gross, but effective.
  • Insecticide gel: Insecticide gel can go directly into little cracks and gaps that roaches are using to enter your home. They eat the gel and die before ever getting into your house. 
  • Roach spray: Roaches run through the chemical spray, and the residue sticks to them. They carry it back to their colony and politely poison the rest of their buddies. In this case, sharing isn’t caring, but it’s great for homeowners! 
Keep in mind, that all of these methods use chemicals toxic to people and pets
If you’ve tried several methods to get rid of roaches and they refuse to leave, it might be time to call a professional exterminator. They can figure out where roaches are getting in your house and use the best insecticides to get rid of them for good.

How to keep cockroaches from coming back

Once you’ve gotten rid of your creepy-crawling roommates, you need to take certain steps to make sure they stay evicted.
  • Reduce moisture in your home by fixing any leaking pipes or faucets and cleaning up any piles of moist leaves in your backyard. 
  • Clean up any food spills or crumbs quickly, and don’t leave dirty dishes around for long. 
  • Watch out for cracks or gaps that could provide entry for roaches. 
  • Create a regular cleaning routine for emptying trash, sweeping and mopping kitchen floors, and getting rid of old food. 

How to save money on home and car insurance in Alabama

Household pests are just one headache
homeowners may have to deal with. Hurricanes, leaking pipes, or even storm damage can all be major issues if you own a home and don’t have the right homeowners insurance. 
If you want to make sure your home is covered from all sorts of
, you can compare quotes quickly and easily with the
app. In less time than it takes to set out cockroach bait traps, you can be well on your way to saving an impressive amount of money on your
home and car insurance
 “I’ve shaved off at least $50 a month using
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There are several varieties of cockroaches in Alabama, but the largest can get up to three inches long.
You have several options to get rid of cockroaches in Alabama. You can try all-natural remedies like Borax or tougher chemical insecticides. If all else fails, call a professional exterminator.
Unfortunately, yes. Several Alabama cockroach species can fly, including the American and Asian cockroaches.
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