Cockroaches are common household pests that are found worldwide. While they don’t bite or cause structural damage to homes, they can be harmful to your health by contaminating food and other surfaces and triggering allergies and asthma in those affected. Roaches can get into the cleanest of homes in their quest for food, water, and shelter which they need to survive. Once inside, roaches will seek out warmth, moisture, and darkness, often being found in kitchens and bathrooms.
How do they get inside? Roaches have become very resourceful when it comes to getting into places. They can crawl through small holes or cracks in the exterior of buildings, flattening themselves into the smallest spaces. They will also squeeze through openings around doors and windows or sneak through when they’ve been left open too long. They will hitch a ride (or even lay their eggs) on bags, luggage, backpacks, used furniture, used appliances, packages, and even groceries that you bring unknowingly into your home. They can also come in through pipes or other holes in walls (especially shared walls like those in apartments).
- Find the entry points. The first step is to identify where and how they are getting in. If you’re only noticing them in one room (e.g. the kitchen), it’s likely that’s where they’re making their way inside. You can put out sticky roach traps; the traps with the heaviest traffic are most likely closer to the nest and closer to where they are getting in. Seal any cracks or crevices you find with flexible caulk. Use weatherstripping on doors and windows. Carefully inspect any items before bringing them into your home.
- Clean up food sources. Roaches will use clutter (especially areas that aren’t disturbed often) to hide out during the day before they forage for food at night. They also especially like to feed on items that contain glue (magazines, books, cardboard, etc.). Clean out piles of old newspapers and magazines, cardboard boxes, paper bags, and any other areas of clutter in your home. Take bread, fruit, and veggies off your countertops and store them in airtight containers. Make sure any open boxes or bags are secured. Clean your stove thoroughly, including the eyes and inside the range top and oven. Clean your microwave and other appliances. Sweep and vacuum behind larger appliances and get rid of any food stuck in the bottom of the dishwasher. Don’t leave dirty dishes in the sink overnight. Sweep after cooking and take the trash out regularly.
- Check for water sources. Roaches need water to survive. Check your home for water sources and keep them dry, such as plants, the drip plate under your refrigerator, and condensation around pipes. Check for leaky faucets and repair them immediately. Place stoppers over your drains at night. Cover faucet spouts with screens.
- Call the professionals. Cockroaches are extremely resilient and an infestation can grow seemingly overnight. If you have a problem with cockroaches or any other pests, contact your local pest control company for an evaluation and appropriate treatment plan.