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Cockroach killers review

Cockroach killers are an effective short-term solution - but in the long term, prevention is best.
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We have test results for three types of cockroach control: 

  • 15 surface sprays
  • six baits/traps, and
  • three knockdown sprays.

First, you'll need to find out which type of cockroach you're trying to get rid of, then look for the best-performing product on test.

Most people would agree that cockroaches are very unpleasant. They’re also very adaptable, but they thrive in warm, dark areas, and we often find them lurking in such areas in our homes. There are more than 3000 cockroach species worldwide, but the most common species in Australia are the American and German cockroaches.

American cockroaches are large and ubiquitous, while the smaller German cockroaches mainly live inside. Both are not only a nuisance, but can also carry diseases, not to mention produce a horrible odour if they reach infestation proportions. They breed rapidly and are highly resilient, so it’s important to take preventative measures to deter these unwelcome insects.

Unfortunately, it’s unlikely you’ll ever be completely rid of cockroaches in your home, but there are ways you can control them. 

For chemical control that knocks these pests on their backs, there’s a wide variety of insecticides on the market. In our test of three types of cockroach control we found that, in some cases, their effectiveness depends on which species you’re targeting. 

  • Surface sprays provide more preventative, long-term control. They’re best applied to cracks, crevices and voids as well as inside rubbish bins, cupboards, drawers and shelves. Don’t treat surfaces with surface spray where food is handled or that get washed regularly. If treating storage areas, ensure food is sealed and removed first and only replace it once the treatment has dried.
  • Baits and traps also provide long-term control, but can be more effective if teamed with a surface spray. Place them in corners and along edges where cockroaches travel, but don’t contaminate them with surface or knockdown sprays as this will repel the cockroaches and make the baits/traps ineffective.
  • Knockdown sprays target individual cockroaches and provide a quick response. If the response isn't quick, it could be the difference between being able to collect and dispose of the cockroach and the cockroach scurrying away to an area you won’t be able to see or reach.

Products tested

Surface Sprays
  • Amgrow Patrol Ant, Spider and Cockroach Killer
  • Atlas High Performance Cockroach & Surface Spray
  • Baygon Do-it-Yourself Indoor Expert Home Surface Spray
  • Baygon High Performance Egg Kill Crawling Insect Surface Spray
  • Blitzem Insect Killer
  • Coles Crawling Insect Killer Spray High Performance
  • Coles Smart Buy Spray Surface Low Irritant
  • Mortein High Performance Surface Spray
  • Mortein NaturGard Surface Spray Crawling Insect Killer
  • Pea Beu Insect Killer Low Irritant Lemon Fresh (A)
  • Raid Cockroach & Spider Killer Indoor Surface Spray Do-it-Yourself Expert
  • Raid One Shot Crawling Insect Surface Spray Targetkill
  • Woolworths Homebrand Surface Spray Low Irritant
  • Woolworths Select Extra Strength High Performance Surface Spray
  • Woolworths Select Natural Pyrethrum Insect Spray

(A) Since testing, the manufacturer has told us that the Pea Beu is primarily for use on flying insects and is not intended for use as a surface spray. This is not obvious when looking at the product which is why it was included in the test.

  • Brunnings the Buzz Insect Control Household Pest Glue Traps
  • Brunnings the Buzz Insect Control Cockroach Traps
  • Mortein Lure 'n' Kill Cockroach Baits
  • Mortein Nest Kill Cockroach Baits
  • Raid Cockroach Baits Fast Killing
  • Roachkill Cockroach Gel Bait
Knockdown Sprays
  • Atlas Fast Knockdown Fly & Insect Killer
  • Mortein Fast Knockdown Multi Insect Killer
  • Woolworths Select Fast Knockdown Insect Spray

How we test

Surface sprays Plywood surfaces are treated with each product for this test. Five German cockroaches are placed in a plastic container that’s then placed on a treated surface, so cockroaches were exposed it. We note knockdown after one and four hours of exposure, and knockdown and mortality after 24 and 48 hours of exposure. This test is also carried out for American cockroaches and repeated four times for each product.

Baits/traps The gels, baits and sticky traps are removed from their packaging and aged for two, four and eight weeks. In each tray, 20 German and 20 American cockroaches are placed (German and American cockroaches are evaluated in separate containers) and left for one day to acclimatise (any dead cockroaches were replaced). Each tray also has an alternative food source, water dispenser, and harborage. The gel, bait, and sticky trap are introduced to the trays and left for seven days. The numbers of dead cockroaches is noted at one, three and seven days, and the test is repeated four times for each product.

Knockdown sprays We assess how fast (in seconds) the spray works to “knock down” cockroaches. Independent external testers place 10 German and 10 American cockroaches in specifically designed chambers. German cockroaches receive a 0.5 second burst of the aerosol, while American cockroaches receive a two-second spray, both from a distance of 45cm, and the response time and number of cockroaches knocked down is noted. Each test is repeated five times for each product.

Each test includes controls.

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