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Seeing any kind of insect scurrying across your kitchen floor is enough to make your skin crawl – but the sight of wood roaches is something different completely. While cockroaches are universally unsettling, wood roaches present a unique nuisance to get rid of.

Unlike German and American roaches that thrive indoors, wood roaches prefer outdoor wooded areas and only venture inside homes inadvertently. In the sections below, we’ll explore targeted strategies to identify and gently guide them back out, emphasizing safe, sustainable practices.

Know Your Opponent

Wood roaches differ markedly from their urban cousins. Preferring the freedom of the great outdoors, these insects thrive in moist, wooded environments. They can wander into a house through an open door, a crack, or hitch a ride on firewood. Knowing this helps inform the approach we take to manage their presence!


  • Appearance: Wood roaches are distinguishable by their size and color. Males have wings and may appear more frequently due to their ability to fly.
  • Habitat: They favor natural habitats, thriving in areas rich in leaf litter and woodpiles.
  • Behavior: Typically not aggressive, they don’t breed indoors and often avoid people if possible.

Why They Enter Homes

  • Seeking Moisture: During dry periods, they might come indoors in search of humidity.
  • Accidental Entry: Often, they are unknowingly brought inside with firewood or can wander in through open windows and doors.
While wood roaches are larger than typical roaches, they're less likely to be the type you have to rid your home of.

Identifying a Wood Roach Infestation

Firstly, a lone wood roach sighting does not an infestation make – so, don’t panic. These insects are solitary by nature, and their presence inside is often accidental. Recognizing the signs of an actual infestation versus a stray visitor is key to responding appropriately.

What to Watch For

  • Sightings in Uncommon Areas: Finding wood roaches in living spaces, especially during the day, can indicate they’re entering from the outside.
  • Increased Activity at Night: Like many roaches, they are nocturnal. Spotting them at night, especially in areas with high moisture, is common.
  • Seasonal Presence: Finally, their indoor appearances are often more frequent in the warmer months when they are more active outdoors.

How to Get Rid of Wood Roaches

First things first, prevention is the biggest player in your court. Conduct a detailed inspection of your home to look for cracks and crevices in walls, foundations, and around windows and doors. Use silicone caulk to seal these openings securely. Even the smallest gap can serve as a welcome mat for a wood roach seeking entry.

Reduce Moisture

Implement dehumidifiers in damp areas like basements to curb moisture levels. Ensure your home is well-ventilated, repair any leaks promptly, and adjust downspouts to direct water away from your foundation. A dry environment is far less inviting to wood roaches.

Maintain Cleanliness

Additionally, frequent vacuuming and floor cleaning are crucial to removing food particles and potential roach attractants. Store all food in sealed containers and dispose of garbage in bins with tight-fitting lids. A clean home is your first defense against unwanted pests.

Natural Prevention

  • Diatomaceous Earth: This non-toxic, fine powder is deadly to roaches yet harmless to humans. Sprinkle it along pathways where roaches are likely to travel.
  • Boric Acid: Effective and efficient, this substance can deter roaches when mixed with a bit of sugar. Apply it sparingly and keep it out of reach of pets and children to avoid any mishaps.
  • Essential Oils: Also, essential oils like peppermint and lemongrass can repel wood roaches. Combine a few drops with water in a spray bottle and mist potential entry points and problem areas.

Chemical Treatments

In many situations, a chemical strategy may be the best course of action. Opt for products or services specialized in roach control, and closely stick to instructions if you’re doing anything yourself.

Preventing wood roaches by maintaining yard cleanliness can mean not having to get rid of them at all.

Other Recommended Maintenance

A proactive approach to exterior maintenance is key to making your home less appealing to wood roaches.

  • Manage Yard Debris: Above all, keep the area around your home free of leaf litter, stacked wood, and other debris. These can be prime hiding spots for wood roaches.
  • Trim Vegetation: Maintain a buffer zone between your home and any foliage. Trim bushes and tree branches to prevent them from acting as bridges for pests.
  • Store Firewood Properly: Equally important, place woodpiles at a distance from your home and elevate them off the ground. This strategy deters roaches and other pests from taking up residence.

When to Call a Professional to Get Rid of Wood Roaches

Although there are many effective steps homeowners can take to rid themselves of wood roaches, difficult infestations may require calling professionals.

If you’ve cleaned, sealed entry points, removed attractants, and monitored traps, but the roach population persists or continues increasing, it may be time to bring in expert help. Significant established infestations often warrant stronger treatment methods like chemical pesticide application, fumigation, or heat treatments that require professional training and equipment.

Likewise, if you begin seeing wood roaches frequently in multiple areas of the home, this likely indicates a major underlying issue that home measures aren’t fully resolving. Don’t continue battling a widespread roach presence alone!


Unsightly as they are, wood roaches aren’t anything to be afraid of. With the right knowledge and tools, you can manage their presence around your home effectively and safely. Remember, the goal isn’t just to remove these occasional visitors but to create an environment that’s inherently less appealing to them.

However, if you find yourself in combat with a wood roach population or any other pests in Jacksonville, FL, and surrounding areas, don’t hesitate to call Inside and Out Pest Services.

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