Bait is simply just a food source the insect will eat that has a component to it that kills the insect. Most baits have a delayed reaction because for it to be effective they need to take it home. Some baits that have Fipronil or Imidacloprid as the active ingredient can even get secondary insect control if the ants or cockroaches feed on the dead insects. The main insects we try to control here in Yavapai County with bait is ants and cockroaches.
Ants to me are like feeding a three year old – what i mean is, if you give them what they want to eat they will eat it. If you give them something they don’t want, they won’t touch it. Ant’s preferences also change – sometimes they want carbohydrates and sometimes they want protein. Figuring out what they want is the hard part – as a homeowner you really don’t want to go to the store and spend a bunch of money on different baits to see if they like it. If you go with a pest control professional, ask them the price and what type of guarantee do they give? You may find it’s cheaper to hire your local pest control guy when dealing with ants.
Cockroaches are a little different – they are like your fat uncle at the family reunion that wants your aunt to bring him his food. They do not want to go too far to eat. One thing with roaches is they will usually eat what’s closest to them rather than travel for something they like better. If you have the German Cockroach (this is the one we find in our kitchens) the biggest problems you will face is getting the bait to them and eliminating competing food sources. These little guys hide everywhere and are extremely difficult to control. If you decide to bait them, I recommend one of the baits with Fipronil or Imidacloprid.