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.