The Department of Health investigates complaints of cockroaches in lodging facilities and other settings. We can also provide information to help residents to get rid of cockroaches or prevent an infestation from occurring.  If you wish to report a problem or need more information, please call (260) 449-7459 or click here.

CockroachesAre you bugged by roaches? Cockroaches are one of the most common household pests. They can squeeze into the tiniest cracks and crevices, wherever food water and shelter is present. Once they move into a home, they multiply quickly making them harder to control.

Cockroaches are capable of contaminating food and surfaces and can contribute to asthma conditions with their droppings, body parts, and secretions.

While insecticides and pesticides are often used to control them, these chemicals can harm people too. Integrated pest management (IPM) methods usually pose less of a risk and are more effective.

Below you will find more information on the different types of cockroaches, ways to prevent and control infestations, and other helpful resources.


Cockroaches seek to hide in dark narrow cracks and crevices and are most active at night. They tend to gather in corners (in the back of cabinets or drawers, for example) and generally travel along edges such as baseboards. They may be carried into homes in boxes, egg cartons, beverage cases and produce such as potatoes. In apartments and other large buildings, they readily migrate from one place to another along water pipes.

A roach can find a snack just about anywhere. They eat crumbs, pet food, dead leaves, and trash. If they get really hungry, they might eat glue or soap.

There are three cockroach species that are most likely to be found in your home:

  • The American cockroach is the largest of the three roaches at one and a half inches long, reddish-brown, and prefers food establishments.
  • The German cockroach is the most common.  It is about a half-inch long, tan, and normally found in kitchens.
  • The Oriental cockroach is about one inch long, black or dark brown, and prefers to live in sewers.  It may enter your home through broken sewer pipes.

Cockroaches and Human Health

Cockroaches walk everywhere in the house, drop feces, and spoil food. They shed their skins as they grow and also produce unpleasant smells when their numbers become large. Droppings and body parts of cockroaches and other pests can also cause allergies and trigger asthma.

Effective Cockroach Control

By eliminating their food, water, and hiding places, you can prevent cockroach infestations from occurring.


  • Store grains and cereals in plastic containers with lids.
  • Keep counters, sinks, tables and floors clean and free of clutter.
  • Clean up spilled food and drink right away.
  • Put all trash into a container with a lid.


  • Fix any leaking pipes or faucets.
  • Run the garbage disposal regularly.
  • Remove any puddles in bathrooms or basements.


  • Remove any clutter or unnecessary boxes.
  • Screen vents or pipes that lead outside.
  • Seal cracks and crevices along baseboards, behind sinks, inside cabinets and around windows.  Seal around the water and waste pipes under sinks.

Trapping and Baiting

Sprays and fogs may kill a few cockroaches, but the survivors will move on to the next room or apartment (if in a multi-unit building). A variety of glue traps, bait stations or gel baits can be used to catch and kill cockroaches more effectively.

Glue traps will help monitor how many cockroaches are present.  Bait stations protect children and pets from accessing the poison.  Gel baits can be placed into cracks and crevices.  The cockroaches eat the bait, go to where other cockroaches gather, and die.  The other cockroaches will eat the dead cockroach and die.  This may occur over several generations of cockroaches.

If using insecticides, remember to apply insecticides to all areas where cockroaches hide. Check 1-2 weeks after initial treatment and apply more if necessary.

Additional Resources