How to Recognize (and Survive) Roaches in Utah

From the large American roach to the foul-smelling oriental roach, here’s how you can identify and destroy roaches in Utah.
Written by Kara Vanderbeek
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
Cockroaches are an unfortunate part of life for
homeowners, but infestations can be avoided with the right sanitation procedures and prevention techniques. If you recognize the fateful signs of a roach infestation, there are a variety of natural and chemical insecticides that can eliminate a roach colony from your home.
As if their unsightly appearance and excessive reproductive habits weren’t enough to send you screaming, these six-legged creepy crawlies also carry germs and contaminants that can leave you sick with diseases. Luckily, there are steps you can take to protect your Utah home from the pesky Periplaneta species. 
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Utah cockroaches 101: How to recognize a roach

Of the 4,000 species of cockroaches worldwide, Utah is home to four in particular. In general, the roaches you’ll find in Utah are around a half to three inches in length, with six legs and wings
However, each roach species comes with its own unique characteristics, which you can use to identify a colony and stop an infestation in its tracks.
Keep reading for a detailed breakdown of the four most common Utah roaches:

German cockroaches

Measuring half an inch long, German roaches are tan or light brown with two dark streaks on their heads. This species is sensitive to the cold and prefers to roam in warm, humid environments. Look out for this species of roach in tight spaces, around refrigerators, stoves, sinks, and walls
German roaches have the highest reproductive potential of all roach species, so if you notice any signs of German roaches in your home, it’s important to act fast.

Brown-banded cockroaches

The brown-banded roach is the smallest cockroach species in Utah, measuring half an inch long. You can recognize these dark brown creatures by the distinctive horizontal yellow bands running across their abdomen. 
Interestingly, this species isn’t quite as attracted to moisture as other roaches, so you might find them lurking in unsuspecting areas like your kitchen cupboards or appliances

Oriental cockroaches

Much like their black, glossy appearance, these roaches prefer to inhabit dark, moist areas. Watch out for this species in sewers, drains, basements, or porches. The oriental roach is considered a major household pest and should be dealt with immediately. 
After feeding on decaying matter or garbage, these six-legged disease carriers can bring all sorts of bacteria and viruses into your home. If you need any sort of reminder of their nasty habits, these roaches also bring with them a strong, unpleasant odor

American cockroaches

The most common roach species in the United States and the largest to grace Utah, the American roach can be up to three inches long. This species is reddish-brown and active all year round in warm, moist environments. Be on the lookout for these pests in your basements, crawl spaces, trash, and cracks in your home’s foundation. 
MORE: How to get bugs off your car: A handy guide

A guide to cockroach identification

If you’ve spotted a cockroach in your home, you’re probably wondering how it got there, what attracted it inside, and most importantly, how to get rid of it.
To help you distinguish between Utah’s most common cockroaches, you can refer to the table below:
Type of roach
Average length
Can it fly?
Where to spot them
American cockroaches
2-3 inches
Sewers, trash, bathrooms, kitchen sinks, drains
German cockroaches
0.5 inches
Light brown
Moist areas, water sources, warm appliances
Brown-banded cockroaches
0.5 inches
Dark cherry, black
Males have short wings, females are wingless
Ceilings, around appliance motors, light switches
Oriental cockroaches
1 inch
Dark brown, black
Damp, cool areas such as sewers or piping
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How to get rid of roaches in Utah 

If you’ve happened across a growing roach colony in your home (and recovered from the initial shock and disgust), it's time to act. While a singular roach spotting may not be cause for concern, it’s better to take all the precautions to ensure you stop an infestation in its tracks.
While roaches are known for their uncanny survival abilities, they aren’t unbeatable and require food and water, just like us regular folk. As such, your first line of defense will be to starve and dehydrate your resident population. 
Remove and properly seal any food sources around your home and attend to any leaking pipes or areas of moisture. In addition, ensure that any entry points into your home have been sealed tightly with wood filler, steel mesh, or silicone caulker. 
Once you’ve stacked your defense lineup, you can move on to the nitty-gritty of roach killing. Depending on your personal preferences, you may opt to go the natural route, or if you’re eager for efficient results, you may choose to use a chemical insecticide.

Five natural roach killers

Natural roach killers are an excellent choice for homeowners who prefer to avoid the toxic additives used in chemical insecticides. With the methods listed below, you can effectively kill off a colony without having to worry about accidentally poisoning your pets or small children.
  1. Baking soda: Nothing screams “natural” like an ingredient from your kitchen cupboard! With a few sprinkles in areas of high roach activity, baking soda will generate enough gas in a roach to cause it to explode and die.
  2. Borax: Borax and sugar combine to make the perfect DIY roach bait. This mixture will dehydrate and kill roaches upon ingestion.
  3. Diatomaceous earth: Sprinkle this powder in high-traffic roach areas to dehydrate a roaches exoskeleton upon contact. 
Natural roach killers are both inexpensive and safe to use in your home. However, they do come with the unfortunate task of having to track down and remove the dead cockroaches yourself. In addition, natural methods will take longer than a chemical alternative to completely eradicate a population from your home. 

Chemical roach killers—and when to hire an exterminator

For fast and effective results, chemical insecticides are the way to go. If you’re eager to remove these creepy crawlies from your home, you can try out any of the methods below.
  • Bait stations: Bait stations will kill off a roach colony almost instantly. After consuming the bait, a roach will return to its nest and die, where the other roaches will then feed on its carcass and poison themselves. 
  • Insecticide gel: With a little roach-killer gel squirted into the cracks and gaps of your home, you can quickly exterminate a roach infestation at the source. 
  • Roach spray: If you want to see big results overnight, opt for a roach spray. Simply spray the insecticide solution around water and food sources, along with home entry points, and roaches will be paralyzed and killed upon skin contact. 
  • Traps: Traps use a scent or bait to attract roaches and catch them on a sticky surface. Keep in mind that it may take a while for this method to kill off a large colony.
If you’ve tried several different roach killing methods and you can’t seem to kick your roommates to the curb, it may be time to call a professional exterminator

How to keep cockroaches from coming back

Roaches are attracted to dirt and filth, so implementing a stricter cleaning process in your home can make all the difference. Before you head to bed at night, make sure all of your sanitation boxes have been ticked off:
  • Dishes are washed and put away
  • The floor is clear of crumbs and spills
  • The food preparation area is sanitized 
  • The trash has been taken out
  • Grease has been washed off the stovetop
  • Food is sealed in containers

How to save money on home and car insurance in Utah

Roaches are just one of the many problems
homeowners have to deal with. From bug infestations to severe storms, there’s never a dull moment if you own a home in the Beehive State. 
Fortunately, with the right
homeowners insurance
policy, you’ll be covered from many of the perils that threaten your home. While it won’t cover roach treatments, a good insurance policy with the
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Once you download Jerry, just answer a handful of questions that will take you roughly 45 seconds to complete, and you’ll immediately get car and home insurance quotes for coverage similar to your current plan. Jerry customers save an average of $887 a year on their car insurance alone!
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Unfortunately, cockroaches are a common problem for Utah homeowners, with the American, oriental, brown-banded, and German species infesting most homes.
Roaches are typically attracted to areas with moisture and food, and can often be found feeding on trash, pet food, dirty dishes, and leftover crumbs. To keep roaches at bay, ensure your home is regularly cleaned and sanitized.
Roaches are active throughout the whole year, but Utah residents may see more roach activity throughout the summer months when temperatures are warmer.
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