How to Recognize (and Survive) Roaches in Oklahoma

Oklahoma cockroaches can wreak havoc on your home, but you can prevent most infestations by sanitizing your spaces and sealing off cracks.
Written by Abbey Orzech
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
homeowners can have huge trouble with cockroaches, but vigilant cleaning practices and attention to potential points of entry can help prevent an infestation. If it’s too late for prevention, there are natural and chemical remedies available to you, or you can call in a professional exterminator. 
Cockroaches carry diseases, trigger allergies, and eat everything in their way—including their fellows. These grubby garbage eaters thrive during Oklahoma’s hot and humid summer months but are able to sustain themselves year-round. 
To help you recognize and get rid of the various roaches in Oklahoma, the top-rated
home and car insurance
has created this comprehensive guide. Brush up on the basics, and you won’t need to panic if you encounter one scurrying about in the middle of the night behind your bathtub. 
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Oklahoma cockroaches 101: How to recognize a roach

Cockroaches come in many shapes and colors—there are over 4,500 different species across the globe. In Oklahoma, however, you’ll really only need to worry about four species:

American cockroaches

The American cockroach may be the first image you conjure up when you hear about these creepy bugs. They can grow to reach two to three inches long, are a reddish-brown color, and have large wings that allow them to fly (although they are a bit clumsy during flight). 
Also known as a Palmetto bug, the American roach prefers to hang out in sewer systems and drains, feasting on fermenting material like fungi, overripe fruit, and decaying leaves. 

Brown Banded cockroaches

Reaching only about half an inch in length, Brown Banded cockroaches (as their name suggests) have two horizontal bands stretching across their bodies. 
The Brown Banded roach is a formidable foe because it can very quickly reproduce and spread throughout your home. They don’t need moisture like other roaches, so they like to inhabit your high and dry spaces like cabinets, ceiling cracks, or appliances. 

Oriental cockroaches

Glossy black or dark brown, Oriental cockroaches reach about an inch long and have wings that act as decoration—they can’t fly (thank goodness). 
Identifiable by the particularly horrid smell that they excrete to communicate with their friends, these roaches prefer dark and damp spots. Basements, garbage cans, and drains beware. 

German cockroaches

German cockroaches are the most common species of cockroach in the world. They are typically about half an inch in length and they love the tight spaces around your fridge, stove, and sink. 
These guys will eat pretty much anything, including toothpaste and glue. The German roach finds its way inside most of the time on packages and used electronics
MORE: How to get bugs off your car: a handy guide

A guide to cockroach identification

Here are the identifying characteristics of the roaches listed above (and one that less commonly invades your home):
Type of roach
Average length
Can it fly?
Where to spot them
American cockroach
2-3 inches
Basements, drains, crawl spaces
Brown Banded cockroach
0.5 inches
Light brown
Attics, gutters, leaf litters
Oriental cockroach
1 inch
Glossy black or dark brown
Basements, leaf litters, drains
German cockroach
0.5 inches
Light brown
Kitchens, bathrooms, basements, garages
Smokybrown cockroach
1.5 inches
Glossy brown
Leaf litters, woodpiles, garages
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Not all bugs in your house have the same destructive potential as cockroaches. Keep an eye out for these common roach impostors
  • Crickets can have similar coloring and shape, but they hop around quickly rather than scurrying around like the roach. (And don’t forget their classic chirping.) 
  • June bugs are smaller than most cockroaches, and they’ve got a distinctive rotund shape.
  • Giant water bugs will stick around water. They are usually larger than cockroaches and also have large pincers that they can use to bite

How to get rid of roaches in Oklahoma

No one (except maybe entomologists) wants cockroaches in their home. If you do happen to spot one or if you’re noticing their excrement around, you’ll want to work quickly to make your home roach-free.
The first thing to do in the event of a roach spotting is a thorough cleaning and sanitation of your spaces. 
Roaches live for the dirty clutter that they can eat, so remove their food sources by doing the dishes, sweeping and mopping the floors, and wiping away any crumbs or spills. 
After cleaning, the next step is exclusion. Identify any potential points of entry, like cracks in windows or door frames, gaps in the siding, or any torn screens, and seal them off. 
Sanitation and exclusion are the essential first steps, but you may still have an infestation issue even after cleaning up and sealing the cracks. 
If this is the case, you can turn to natural remedies, chemical methods, or professional help.

Five natural roach killers

These natural options are great to try first, especially if you have young kids or animals at home or just don’t want to work with the toxic chemicals:
  • Boric acid: While harmless to your people and pets, boric acid sticks to roach legs and wings and is fatal to them if ingested.
  • Baking soda: Baking soda is an effective baking agent and roach killer. Try dicing up some onions and mixing them with the baking soda to draw the roaches in. When they eat from it, they will experience a gas build-up and then an explosion. Keep this one out of reach of your pups, though. Onions are toxic for dogs.
  • Borax: Mix this laundry booster with a bit of white table sugar, and watch the roaches drop!
  • Diatomaceous earth: This is fossilized algae, and it is very damaging to cockroaches. Sprinkle some of this in high-traffic areas and, when ingested, it attacks inner roach systems and leaves them dead.
  • Glue traps: Tasty-scented (for cockroaches) glue will lure them in and keep them there. 
Effective and non-toxic, these natural roach killers are a good option if you’re worried about the harmful effects of harsh chemicals. Just know that you’ll have to retrieve and dispose of the roach corpses yourself.  

Chemical roach killers—and when to hire an exterminator

As long as you’re aware of their toxicity, the next line of defense to implement is chemical products. These tried and true methods are popular for a reason. Here are some chemical solutions to a roach infestation:
  • Bait stations: You can set these bait stations up around your house where you suspect the roaches commonly travel. The unsuspecting insect will eat its fill of bait, head back to the colony (and die), and the other cockroaches that eat its dead body will become infected too. 
  • Insecticide gel: This is a more concentrated option with a precise applicator, making it popular for cracks and crevices, especially in vehicles and boats. 
  • Roach spray: Very effective and long-lasting chemical roach killers can be found in a roach spray. Spray the poison where you suspect the bugs go and you’ll have about two months of protection. 
If you do choose any of these options, be sure to read and adhere to all instructions on the label and supervise young children and pets
If the natural and chemical solutions are not successful or if you want to simply leave the dirty work to someone else, call in a licensed exterminator.

How to keep cockroaches from coming back

It is a fine victory when you finally banish these bugs, but don’t stop there! Keeping up with cleaning and home maintenance is essential for preventing cockroaches from surfacing again. Here are some effective practices that will help you maintain a cockroach-free home:
  • Reduce moisture in your home by buying a dehumidifier. 
  • Limit food consumption to one area of your home so you can control crumbs. Or be sure to vacuum and sweep regularly to avoid buildup.  
  • Fix leaky plumbing and potential entry points by installing weather stripping around your windows and exterior doors. 
  • Create a cleaning checklist that hits all the problem spots—dishes, sweeping, wiping counters, and sanitizing. 

How to save money on home and car insurance in Oklahoma

Roaches in Oklahoma are a nightmare, to be sure, but Sooner State residents also face dangers like tornadoes, ice storms, and car accidents (which can be especially dangerous on rural roads). 
To protect yourself and your personal belongings from these perils, it is important to have the right coverage insurance—but a good policy doesn’t need to break the bank. 
In addition to providing you with cockroach destruction tips, the #1 rated insurance comparison app
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Cockroaches are considered one of the most common household pests in Oklahoma.
Roaches are attracted to dirty dishes, crumbs, garbage, cardboard, leftover food, and other sources of mess in your home.
Although roaches are the most active during hot and humid summer periods, you can spot them year-round in states like Oklahoma.
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