In addition to being unwanted pests, roaches spread disease. They can carry bacteria that cause food poisoning, vomiting, diarrhea and other illness. Many people are extremely sensitive to allergens which are contained in cockroach excrement and cast skins. Those individuals may experience skin rashes, watery eyes and sneezing. Even Asthma has been attributed to, and can be aggravated by, exposure to these allergens.
The best way to fight cockroaches is to prevent their ever getting a hold on your home.
An Ounce of Prevention
Cockroaches thrive where food and water are available, even in tiny amounts. So it’s important to keep your home as clean and moisture-free as possible. Here are tips on what you can do to keep roaches out of your home.
Eliminate places where they live. Keep trash in containers with tight-fitting lids. Empty trash daily. Frequently dispose of newspapers, magazines, rags and boxes. (Cockroaches especially love to hide in corrugated cardboard.) Caulk cracks and crevices and fill gaps around pipes. This is particularly important in places like apartment houses and condominiums where utilities and water lines run from one unit to the next.
Eliminate sources of food and water. Clean up spills and crumbs right away. Even the smallest amount of food can be a feast. Don’t leave food and candy lying around. Store food in tightly sealed containers. Don’t leave pet food out over night. Don’t leave dirty dishes in the sink. Fix leaky pipes and taps. Vacuum cracks and crevices to remove food crumbs.
Head off invasions from outside. Trim shrubbery and eliminate ivy or other dense ground covers near the house. Seal cracks and other openings to the outside. Inspect boxes, bags, appliances, furniture and items recently in storage that may harbor roaches.
Get Rid of Those Roaches
Once cockroaches set up home in your home, you may need to take extra measures to get rid of them.
Pesticide Application. Cockroach baits are perhaps the most effective means of controlling cockroaches once they have been identified. They are available as bait stations to consumers as well as gels and powder to commercial pest control providers. Baits are also desirable because of they have little or no negative impact to the environment. Also, no advance preparation is required for their use as compared to the old way of fogging an infested area.
If there is a heavy infestation, a crack and crevice application may be warranted, followed by application of cockroach bait. This type of application is best done by a professional applicator because they have the appropriate equipment to perform the application.
The three most common cockroaches are the German, Oriental and American. The average roach is about 1/2 inch to 2 inches long.
The German cockroach is the most common indoor species, especially in multiple-family dwellings. Although it has a short life cycle of three to eight months, it reproduces the fastest: a single female and her offspring can produce over 30,000 individuals in a year. The German cockroach prefers food preparation and storage areas, kitchens, and bathrooms because they favor warm, humid areas that are close to food and water.
Oriental and American cockroaches, also known as waterbugs, can be found in dark, moist areas where there is filth or decaying organic matter both indoors and out. They are most often found in basements, crawl spaces, floor drains and sewers.