The best roach bait

Michael Pollick

A single roach that consumes gel bait can kill more than 100 roaches when it returns to the colony.

Despite the number of insecticides, roach traps, roach sprays, and roach baits on the market today, getting rid of an established cockroach colony is never easy. For every cockroach that forages for food, there could easily be hundreds hidden in walls or other spaces. While a roach spray may kill the visible roaches on contact, a roach bait takes the fight to the colony through a slow-acting poison ingested by a few unsuspecting members. The bait is easy to apply and is generally less toxic to animals and humans.

When shopping for a roach bait, it is important to identify the species of cockroach in the colony. Smaller German roaches tend to set up shop near sources of food or water, such as kitchens or bathrooms. Larger wood roaches can live indoors or outdoors and can be more resistant to the active ingredients of roach baits. Some roach baits are formulated specifically for German roaches, so reading the label is very important.

If you're interested in using a roach bait to eradicate a cockroach infestation, read our helpful buying guide. At the top of our list is the Combat Large Roach Bait Station, a self-contained bait trap with a powerful active ingredient that's easy to place in remote areas.

Considerations when choosing roach bait

Active ingredients

Roach baits, whether they be stations or gels, are supposed to contain a slow-acting insecticide, not a fast-acting nerve agent such as Raid. Users should not expect to find a large number of dead roaches outside a bait station or gel deposit. Better roach baits use active ingredients, such as hydramethylnon and/or imidacloprid to both attract and poison the roaches that leave the colony for food. Imidacloprid is engineered specifically for the smaller German roaches, so users trying to eradicate other species may want to avoid brands that feature it exclusively.

Roach species

When selecting an appropriate roach bait, it definitely helps to identify the specific species of roach. A knowledgeable exterminator should be able to determine this through a dead specimen, a photograph, or even a detailed description. Some roach baits work well against almost all roach species, but others are only effective against German roaches, the kind that live almost exclusively near indoor sources of food and water. These roaches can become averse to standard bait formulas, which makes them harder to eradicate than other species.

Ease of use

While most roach baits are not toxic to humans, they are not always pleasant to handle or easy to place. Gel bait is usually applied with a syringe, which means users can pinpoint specific locations near entrance points or even inject the gel into the colony itself. A bait station is essentially a trap containing gel or chemical powder, and it should be positioned in remote locations. Unlike poison traps, however, a roach bait station can stay in position for months without the need for cleaning or replacement.


A single bait station or gel application may not be enough to eradicate an entire roach colony, so shoppers should consider purchasing sets with multiple bait stations or large quantities of gel bait. For serious infestations, a multi-prong approach may be necessary. Slow-acting roach baits and gels can be put in place after more aggressive insecticides or roach powders have been applied. Roach baits can be used as a second line of attack, killing off the rest of the colony after a bug bomb or professional extermination.


Individual roach bait stations or small containers of gel can be purchased for less than $10, but the results can be variable. For larger infestations, expect to pay between $10 and $30 for multiple stations with more powerful active ingredients. A comprehensive eradication plan with gels, roach bait stations, fast-acting insecticides, and powders can easily cost $30 or more.


Q. Should I put down a continuous line of gel bait along my kitchen baseboards?

A. No, gel bait is not designed to work like a line of fast-acting insecticide. Instead, you should put down several small dots of gel bait and allow the affected roaches to return to their colonies. A long line of gel bait may force them to seek out other nesting locations.

Q. Can roach bait be toxic to my pets or young children?

A. Any ingested insecticide can make a pet or small child very sick, but the recommended amount of gel bait should not reach toxic levels. Be sure to place the bait away from heavily trafficked areas or food storage.

Roach bait we recommend

Best of the best: Combat's Large Roach Bait Station

Our take: Takes the fight directly to the cockroach colony with a powerful active ingredient and larger surface area for bait.

What we like: Traps are self-contained, no messy activation required. Contains a powerful and long-lasting insecticide. Traps fit easily in remote locations where roaches travel.

What we dislike: Formula does not work on all types of cockroaches. Users may have to add other insecticides for maximum results.

Best bang for your buck: Ortho's Home Defense Roach Bait Station

Our take: This affordable roach bait station packs the same punch as more expensive brands and is ideal for placement in kitchens or bathrooms.

What we like: Uses same active ingredient as higher-priced bait stations. Bait remains viable for at least 6 months. No-mess formula. Kills both adults and eggs.

What we dislike: Some chemicals are toxic to small pets if ingested.

Choice 3: Rockwell Labs' Invict Gold Cockroach Gel

Our take: Good solution for homeowners who have a German cockroach infestation and need to use a more aggressive approach to eliminate it.

What we like: Uses a more powerful chemical to attract bait-averse German roaches. Works well as part of a larger roach-killing campaign. Gel is easy to inject into remote openings.

What we dislike: Formulated to attract and kill smaller German cockroaches, not larger wood roaches. Other insecticides may be needed for maximum effectiveness.

Michael Pollick is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.

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