Using a vacuum cleaner to remove cockroaches from a home may sound like a silly idea, but who hasn’t, at one time or another, used a vacuum for this very purpose? The act of sucking roaches into a vacuum is certainly satisfying for residents who regularly find the disgusting insects in their home, but this method will not clear a house of an infestation. Of course, cockroaches can appear in homes that are not thoroughly infested, and in these cases, there are pros and cons to using a vacuum to remove a few random roaches that may enter a home.

Most insects will eventually die after being sucked into a vacuum cleaner, but it is well known that cockroaches are very difficult to kill. Anyone who has used an over-the-counter insecticide against cockroaches knows that it takes a copious amount of the poison to kill one single roach, and cockroach pests are evolving to become more resistant to traditional insecticides. This is especially the case when it comes to the most common indoor roach pest, the German cockroach. Naturally, many consumers are curious to know if roaches are killed after being sucked into a vacuum, and if roaches are not killed in this way, can the pests escape from a vacuum cleaner bag only to reestablish a shelter indoors?

According to one former entomologist, Elizabeth Uster, not only can cockroaches continue to live within a vacuum, but the eggs of a female cockroach can also survive and develop into adults before escaping a vacuum cleaner bag. However, if roaches are sucked into a vacuum cleaner bag, the bag should be immediately removed and placed out in the sun or in freezing cold conditions to ensure that the roaches are killed. Simply throwing the roach-infested bag into an outside dumpster is also an option.

Using a bagless shop vac to remove roaches will not kill the insects, but at least they will not be able to escape. Some people put dish soap and water within a shop-vac before vacuuming roaches, as this solution will break down a roache’s exoskeleton, effectively killing the pests. If a resident is intent upon using a vacuum to kill roaches when they appear indoors, then a shop-vac with a HEPA filter is the way to go, as a HEPA filter removes tiny particles, like cockroach allergens, from a home. In any case, a vacuum cleaner is ultimately a poor substitute for professional indoor roach treatments, as pest control professionals are able to determine whether or not a home is infested.

Have you ever used a vacuum cleaner to remove cockroaches from your house?