While cockroaches are active year-round, the humidity and warm weather of spring make this a prime time of year for these pests to invade your home. Roaches prefer environments that are warm and contain moisture which is why they are most often seen in kitchens and bathrooms inside your house. They can also multiply quickly and can adapt to just about any environment, making them extremely difficult to get rid of. Cockroaches are dangerous to humans in that they are known to carry and transmit serious diseases, can contaminate food and other surfaces in your home, and trigger allergies and asthma.
The most common types of roaches in our area are the German cockroach, the American cockroach, the brown-banded cockroach, and the Oriental cockroach. What attracts roaches are food, water, and warm shelter, all of which can be found in your home. Roaches are commonly drawn to crumbs, spills, dirty dishes, garbage, pet food, open food containers, cardboard, paper, glue, and excess moisture. In order to keep cockroaches out of your home, the goal is to make it as unattractive to them as you can. Check out these tips to help prevent cockroaches.
1. Keep It Clean
Roaches are attracted to dirt and filth because they provide a source of food for them. Keeping your home clean helps eliminate these food sources, making them go elsewhere in search of something to eat. Wash your dishes and put them away after meals. Clean up any crumbs and spills. Empty the garbage before going to bed. Clean grease from your stovetop. Seal any leftover food in containers. Sweep, mop, and vacuum on a regular basis. Don’t leave pet food out overnight.
2. Clear It Out
The less clutter in your home, the fewer places roaches have to hide. Besides that, cockroaches love to breed in newspaper and cardboard. Keep your home as clutter free as possible. Dust regularly. Get rid of any old newspapers and magazines. Use plastic storage bins instead of cardboard boxes whenever possible.
3. Seal It Up
Roaches can squeeze through the tiniest of holes, especially around windows and doors, along foundations and roofs, in attics and crawlspaces, through vents, and into holes used for gas, electric, and plumbing. Inspect your home for any possible entry points and seal them up. For smaller holes seal with caulk; for larger holes seal with steel wool or foam; and for vents and chimneys cover with fine wire mesh.
4. Dry It Out
Roaches love moisture and need water to survive. Routinely check your home for leaks and plumbing issues, especially around faucets, sinks, refrigerators, and other appliances. Repair any leaks you find immediately. Keep basements and crawlspaces dry and well ventilated. Consider enclosing your crawlspace to help keep these pests at bay.
5. Go Green
Cockroach prevention doesn’t have to rely solely on chemicals. There are several natural roach repellent and elimination products available today. Some of the most common include:
- Boric acid. Mix equal amounts of boric acid, sugar, and flour to make a dough. Roll out balls of dough and place them around your home. Roaches are attracted to the flour and sugar and the boric acid kills them. Use caution with boric acid – it is not recommended for use in areas with children or pets.
- Fabric softener. Roaches don’t like the smell of fabric softener so it makes a good repellent. Mix with water in a spray bottle and apply where you see roach activity.
- Fresh coffee grounds. Roaches are attracted to the caffeine but it is toxic to them. Place coffee grounds wherever you see roach activity.
- Baking soda and sugar. This combination works the same as boric acid but is safer to use with children and pets. Mix equal parts baking soda and sugar and sprinkle in areas where you’ve seen roaches. The sugar attracts them and the baking soda kills them.
- Cayenne, Garlic, and Onion Powder. Roaches hate the smell of each of these spices. Sprinkle it around your home for an effective roach repellent.
- Essential Oils. The most effective essential oils to use against roaches are tea tree, mint, and clove oils. Dilute each of these with water and spray anywhere you see roaches in your home.
6. Leave It To The Pros
For the most effective preventative and ongoing roach control, have your home inspected and treated on a regular basis – usually monthly or quarterly – by a professional pest control company. These professionals can provide you with a thorough inspection to help identify what type of pest you are dealing with, the most likely points of entry they are using, and the most up-to-date treatment and prevention options available.
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Most people equate cockroaches with dirty homes but this isn’t always the case. What attracts cockroaches to a clean house is food, water, and warmth. While the presence of one cockroach in your home can be enough to send you into a panic, one roach doesn’t necessarily mean you have a full blown infestation. Roaches are social pests, however, and reproduce quickly. If you spot one, odds are there are a few others lurking nearby, in dark corners or cracks and crevices and they could be fast on their way to a full blown infestation.
Cockroaches are dangerous to humans – they carry bacteria on their bodies and their feet, contaminating any surfaces they come into contact with. They can also trigger allergies and asthma. Besides seeing a live bug, how do you know you could have a cockroach problem? Signs of cockroaches in your home include dead bodies; eggs or eggshells (which are small, brown and oval-shaped); droppings (which are dark and powdery like ground coffee); and a strong, musty odor that doesn’t go away.
The best method of roach control is to be proactive in preventing them. Prevent cockroaches by:
1. Cleaning Thoroughly.
Roaches are attracted to dirt and crumbs as a source of food Make sure to always wash dishes after a meal and put them away. Clean up any crumbs and spills immediately. Take out the garbage before going to bed. Clean any grease from your stovetop. Keep food sealed in airtight containers. Sweep, mop, and vacuum on a regular basis. Don’t leave pet food, treats, and water out overnight.
2. Decluttering Your Home
Clearing out clutter gets rid of places roaches can use to hide. Keep rooms clutter free and dusted often. Use plastic storage bins with lockable lids versus cardboard boxes. Eliminate newspapers and cardboard altogether as roaches love to breed in these materials.
3. Sealing Your Home Up
Roaches get into homes under doors and through cracks. Identifying these and sealing them up helps eliminate points of entry for cockroaches and other pests. Thoroughly inspect around windows and doors, along foundations and the roof, in attics and crawlspace vents, and around holes used for utility and plumbing lines. For small holes and cracks, use caulk to seal them. For larger holes, especially around pipes, use steel wool and foam to seal. Fine mesh wire can be used to seal around attic vents and chimneys.
4. Fixing Leaks
Roaches, like most pests, need water and moisture to survive. Therefore, standing water or excessive moisture can attract roaches to your home. Regularly inspect your plumbing for leaks and repair them immediately. Make sure to check faucets, sinks, refrigerators, and appliances for leaks and excessive moisture. Crawlspaces are also a common source of excess moisture in homes. Consider crawlspace enclosure to help minimize moisture under your home.
5. Calling A Professional
A cockroach infestation can be extremely difficult to control. Prevention can only go so far in the battle against roaches. If you suspect you have a problem with cockroaches, contact a professional pest control company who can help identify the type of roach you have, thoroughly inspect your home to identify points of entry or food sources, and help set you up with a comprehensive roach control treatment and prevention plan.
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One of the lesser known species of cockroaches, the oriental cockroach (Blatta orientalis), also known as the black beetle cockroach and the waterbug, is actually one of the largest next to its cousin, the American cockroach. These pests are great at hiding and fitting into tight locations and have adapted to thrive both indoors and outdoors. Let’s take a look at how to identify Oriental cockroaches, as well as some cockroach prevention tips.
The Oriental cockroach is dark brown to nearly black in color with a smooth shiny exoskeleton. Although not quite as big as American cockroaches, these bugs do get up to 1 inch in length. Males are slightly shorter than females with stubbed wings and females are longer and skinnier without wings.
These roaches are found throughout the United States and prefer warm, moist, dark locations. They thrive outdoors, often residing under piles of leaves, mulch, stone, wood, flower beds, and debris. They will travel through sewers and can come into your home through pipes and drains. Indoors, they can be found in rarely used sink drains, garbage disposals, under cabinets with plumbing, and in bathroom voids.
Oriental roaches are omnivores, eating nearly any type of food source but preferring decaying plants and rotting garbage. They will also make do with crumbs, pet food, and leftover human food, too. They are very dependent on water which is why they are usually found in areas with high moisture. They can survive up to 1 month with no food but only 2 weeks without water.
These cockroaches are slower than most of their counterparts. They prefer to be active outdoors and are nocturnal. Males have wings but don’t fly. They have a lifespan of 1 to 6 months and their reproduction is seasonal – they produce more eggs in the spring and summer than they do the rest of the year.
Oriental cockroaches are dangerous to humans as they are known to transmit bacteria such as E. coli and salmonella. Because they eat decaying food and other material, they can contaminate food and other surfaces with the pathogens picked up from their food sources. They also excrete odors which can trigger allergies and asthma in those affected.
There are 3 main signs of Oriental cockroaches in your home:
- Seeing actual live bugs.
- Finding egg cases around your home.
- A wet, musty smell that gets stronger with larger cockroach infestations.
- Keep your home clean and sanitized, especially areas with water (around drains, pipes, bathrooms, and basements)
- Seal doorways with weatherstripping
- Seal holes and cracks in foundations
- Vacuum often
- Use a dehumidifier to prevent moisture buildup
- Keep gutters clear or install gutter guards
- Divert water away from foundations with properly functioning downspouts, gutters, and splash blocks
If you have a problem with cockroaches of any kind, contact a professional pest control company for proper identification, potential points of entry, and the most up to date treatment options available.
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Cockroaches have been around for over 300 million years – even longer than the dinosaurs! These pests are resilient and adaptive with odd behaviors and survival tactics which have helped them survive for so long. While most homeowners are aware of the health risks associated with roaches, including allergies, asthma, and the spread of germs and bacteria, there are lots of interesting facts about cockroaches you might not realize. Here are 7 things you might not know about cockroaches.
- They’re everywhere! There are almost 4500 species of cockroaches worldwide with new species still being discovered. German cockroaches are the most common species. The largest species is found in South America. This cockroach averages 6 inches in length with an impressive 1 foot wingspan! The average cockroach is only 1/2″ to 2″ in length.
- They like their beauty sleep. Roaches spend 75% of their time resting. They are also not morning people. When roaches awaken they are unable to form new memories. It takes them time to become functional and they don’t start to retain new information until later in the day.
- They are flexible. Roaches can squeeze through a gap as small as 1/4 of their body length. They accomplish this feat by flattening their bodies and turning their legs to the side.
- They are speed demons. Roaches are fast movers reaching speeds of up to 3 mph. Even babies can move at these rapid speeds. This not only allows them to quickly invade new spaces but also allows them to spread bacteria and germs at a much faster pace.
- They can go without food, water, and their heads. Roaches can go up to a month without food and up to a week without water or their heads. They could actually live longer without their heads but the absence of their mouth leaves them unable to eat or drink. Roaches will eat anything from dead insects to soap, cloth, and glue. They have even been known to eat other roaches when food supplies are low or the infestation gets so large in an effort to reduce the population.
- They can hold their breath. Roaches are master breath holders. They can submerge in water for up to 1/2 an hour and hold their breath for up to 40 minutes. This is mostly due to their efficient breathing system that allows them to breathe through holes in their body segments rather than their mouths. Holding their breath also helps regulate their loss of water.
- Roaches are found in chocolate. Yes, you read that right! There are an average of 8 insect parts in each bar of chocolate you consume.The FDA has deemed this a safe amount for consumption. The solution to this dilemma is to apply more pesticides which would be more harmful than actually consuming the insects. These parts can also trigger allergic reactions when they are consumed. That chocolate allergy might, in fact, be a cockroach allergy instead. This can lead to rash, itching, respiratory problems, and even migraines.
Cockroaches are one of the most highly adaptable pests on earth which makes them extremely difficult to control or eliminate. To prevent cockroaches keep food sealed and stored properly; clean your kitchen daily; don’t leave food or pet food out overnight; dispose of garbage regularly and use cans with sealing and locking lids; identify any small cracks or holes around your home and seal them; and make sure basements and crawlspaces are kept dry and well ventilated. If you suspect you have a cockroach infestation, contact a professional pest control company who can provide you with a thorough evaluation and appropriate treatment and prevention plan.
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When cockroaches are spotted in your home several questions may run through your mind. The first one is most likely “Oh no,what do I do?” followed closely by “How do I get rid of them?” Once you get over the shock of having one scurry across your floor or countertop, several more questions may come to mind.
What attracts cockroaches? Cockroaches aren’t just attracted to dirty or cluttered houses. Roaches will come indoors in search of 4 things – food, water, heat, and shelter. While dirty or cluttered houses can provide an ample supply of food and shelter, clean houses can provide many of these necessities for roaches, as well. Appliances offer a source of heat so roaches are often found under or behind them. Leaky faucets or pipes can provide a water supply no matter how clean your home is.
Are cockroaches dangerous? The answer to this is a resounding yes. Cockroaches are known to carry bacteria that can cause illnesses in humans, such as salmonella, when it is deposited on your food or food prep surfaces. Roach excrement, shed body parts, eggs, and even saliva have been proven to trigger allergic reactions and asthma in affected people.
What do cockroaches look like? You may wonder why this is important. After all, a cockroach is a cockroach, right? Different species of cockroaches have different habits and require different treatments to completely eliminate a roach infestation from your home. While there are many different species of cockroaches worldwide, there are a few that are common to Georgia. Here’s how to identify each of them to help ensure you get the proper treatment.
The American cockroach is the largest and most common cockroach found in homes in Georgia. These roaches are a chestnut to light brown color with light yellow bands around the shield behind their heads. They are large with adults approximately 2 inches in length. Male and female American cockroaches have wings and they are capable of flying short distances. This species can live up to 2 years. They are active at night and are often found around water sources like pipes, sewers, and basements. They are also commonly found in kitchens and bathrooms. They often cohabitate with smokybrown and Oriental cockroaches.
The German cockroach is another easily recognizable cockroach in Georgia. These roaches are tan with dark brown parallel stripes on the back of their upper thorax. They are smaller than their American counterparts with adults measuring about 1/2″ to 5/8″. German roaches can live up to 12 months. This species is also active at night and are often found in kitchens near food and heat supplies from appliances. They also produce more eggs than any other species.
The Oriental cockroach is another common species in Georgia. They are glossy with cherry to black coloring. They are large with adults measuring 1 to 1.25 inches in length. Males have short wings but females are wingless. These roaches can live up to 6 months. Although they often cohabitate with American cockroaches, they are not usually found indoors. Instead they are found outdoors where they feed primarily on decaying matter. They are active at night and have habits similar to their smokybrown cousins.
The Asian cockroach is tan with double parallel strips on their backs. They are often mistaken for German cockroaches. They are a smaller species with adults measuring 1/2″ to 5/8″. These roaches are also found outdoors usually under mulch, leaf litter, or high grass. They usually only come indoors when their outdoor habitat is disturbed. These roaches can fly and are attracted to light.
The smokybrown cockroach is dark cherry or red in color. They are large with adults around 1.5 inches in length. They prefer habitats in Southern neighborhoods with mature hardwood trees because they require high humidity and protection from the wind in their shelter. They can often be found in tree holes, attics, crawlspaces, and sheds. They are active at night.
Although you can take some preventative measures to keep roaches out of your home like tidying up, keeping kitchens and bathrooms clean, fixing leaks, and sealing cracks and crevices, they are resilient pests and can often be difficult to eliminate. Contact a professional pest control company who can help properly identify the type of roach(es) you are dealing with, locate points of entry and food and water sources, and effectively and safely eliminate them from in and around your home.
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