How Dangerous Are Cockroaches?

How Dangerous Are Cockroaches?

Cockroaches thrive in environments where they have adequate sources of three things: food, shelter, and water. Oftentimes our homes provide ample amounts of each of these which is what attracts cockroaches. The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) reports that 63% of all homes in the US have cockroaches even if the homeowner doesn’t realize they are there.

There are more than 4000 species of cockroaches worldwide. They are nocturnal pests and extremely versatile, adapting to almost any environment, making their populations extremely difficult to control. Roaches can survive up to a week without their heads and up to 30 days without food.

While roaches are nuisance pests in your home and quite unsightly when you stumble across one unexpectedly, are they dangerous to humans? Can they make you sick? Let’s answer these questions and more:

Do Roaches Bite/Sting?

While bites from roaches are extremely rare, they are, in fact, possible. Roaches are typically not aggressive pests and tend to flee rather than fight when faced with a predator. There have been rare instances, however, where roach bites did occur, most often when humans were sleeping or pets were too weak or debilitated to brush them off. Roaches don’t produce any form of poison and cannot sting.

Where Are Roaches Found?

Roaches come from areas that harbor bacteria, such as bathrooms, drains, and dumpsters. They feed on garbage, breed in sewage, and excrete waste over every surface they touch. Roaches are excellent hiders and particularly favor moist and confined areas. Roaches are thigmotropic which means they want to feel contact on all sides of their bodies. Because of this, roaches are commonly found nesting under sinks, in wall cracks, in drains, around water heaters, behind appliances, in cupboards and pantries, under stacks of paper and cardboard, and under undisturbed furniture.

Are Roaches Harmful to Human Health?

Roaches carry pathogens and microorganisms that can cause disease in humans. In fact, up to 30 different species of bacteria have been discovered on cockroaches. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that roaches can carry pathogens that cause a variety of diseases including gastroenteritis (with diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting), dysentery, cholera, leprosy, typhoid fever, plague, poliomyelitis, and salmonellosis. Roaches can also exacerbate asthma and allergies through their saliva, feces, and shedding body parts. Roaches produce a protein that can trigger allergic reactions in humans. In fact, studies have shown that about 26% of the US population is sensitive to the German cockroach allergen.

How Can I Prevent Roaches?

  • Seal any cracks around your home.
  • Repair any water leaks.
  • Remove any sources of standing water.
  • Try not to overwater houseplants.
  • Wipe down your kitchen counters after every meal.
  • Put dirty dishes directly into the dishwasher or wash them immediately after using them instead of leaving them in the sink overnight.
  • Wipe down your stove after cooking.
  • Sweep daily and vacuum weekly.
  • Keep firewood and compost as far away from your home as possible.
  • Keep your grass and landscaping neat and tidy.

Roaches can be incredibly difficult to control and eliminate. If you have a roach problem, contact a professional pest control company or schedule a free pest inspection now. A pest control technician can thoroughly inspect your home to identify not only where and how roaches are getting into your home, but also the specific type of roaches to better treat and eliminate them, keeping the health of you and your family intact.

 

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Where Do Roaches Come From?

Where Do Roaches Come From?

Cockroaches carry many diseases and can cause several health issues in humans including food poisoning and can trigger allergies and asthma attacks. So where do roaches come from?

If you have a roach infestation in your home, there could be several reasons why. Roaches may have already been in your home before you moved in. Roaches are also very good hitchhikers and are easily transported from one place to another. They can get into your home in grocery bags, cardboard boxes, luggage, furniture, or appliances. They can also get in through the plumbing, sewers or drains. They can travel over from your neighbor’s home into yours, too.

But what attracts cockroaches if your house is clean? Like most pests, roaches are looking for three main things: food, shelter, and water. They are year-round pests and are incredibly resilient – making them difficult to control. Different species of cockroaches are attracted to and thrive in different environments.

German cockroaches are the most common indoor roaches. They prefer dark, warm, humid places near food and water, preferably in a temperature range of 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. You can usually find German roaches in kitchens, in cracks and crevices of cabinets, near sinks or appliances, and in food prep and storage areas. They can also be found in bathrooms when the roach infestation is heavy. Early detection and control of german roaches is extremely important as they can be very hard to get rid of.

Oriental roaches prefer dark, damp, cool habitats. Outdoors you can usually find them where there is an abundant supply of organic matter like mulch or wood chips, under patio bricks, or between the soil and your foundation. Once inside your home, they are often found in drains, basements, and crawlspaces. They can also be found near leaky water pipes, under sinks, refrigerators, floors, and washing machines.

Brown-banded roaches prefer warmer, drier places (greater than 80 degrees Fahrenheit). They live in higher areas, usually at eye level or above, like your cabinets, pantries, closet shelves, behind pictures, in books, or under kitchen tables and chairs. They can also be found in warm areas such as near clocks, timers, TVs, and refrigerator motors.

American cockroaches are found in homes, restaurants, bakeries, and grocery stores – anywhere food is prepped and stored. They prefer warm, moist environments and can often be found in boiler rooms, basements, around pipes and water heaters, and in drains and sewers.

Here are some tips to prevent roaches from infesting your home:

Food

Clean up spilled crumbs and food immediately. Don’t leave dirty dishes out overnight. Throw away any food that is left out on the counter. Wipe down the surface of all food prep areas every night. Clean under your appliances and wipe down any that are on your counter. Make sure to clean underneath the refrigerator and stove, also. Rinse out milk jugs, juice cartons, and cans before throwing them away. Empty your garbage can every night and use garbage cans with tight fitting lids. Check kitchen drawers for any food debris and crumbs. Store food in airtight containers. Store pet food in airtight containers and elevate them off the floor. Don’t leave your pet’s food and water bowls out overnight. Roaches communicate through chemical pheromones they secrete as they move. Cardboard and paper are excellent absorbers of these pheromones. Replace cardboard boxes with plastic containers if possible. Don’t bring any cardboard boxes used for storage inside the home. Don’t store piles of newspapers – recycle them instead.

Shelter

Carefully inspect the interior and exterior of your home. Seal any gaps or crevices you find, even the smallest ones. Roaches can squeeze through the tiniest openings to get into your home. Use weatherstripping around all entryways including doors and windows. Declutter as much as possible. Roaches can also get into your home through drainpipes. Use stoppers or metal baskets on all the drains in your sink and shower and make sure to keep your drains clean. Roaches will also hitch rides on firewood. Make sure to only bring in enough wood for one fire and don’t store any extra wood inside.

Water

Most species of roaches prefer moist areas so eliminating water is key to helping prevent them. Remove any standing water in and around your home. Check for leaks and repair them promptly. Use caulk to seal gaps around your sink and tubs to keep water out of the walls. Don’t let water stand for long periods of time in plants and flowerbeds. Don’t leave your pet’s water bowls out overnight. Hang any wet towels and mats up to dry after using them. Keep your kitchen sponges dry and don’t store them on the counter.

Call The Professionals

Roaches can be incredibly difficult to control and eliminate. If you have a roach problem, contact a professional pest control company or schedule a free pest inspection now. A pest control technician can thoroughly inspect your home to identify not only where and how roaches are getting into your home, but also the specific type of roaches to better treat and eliminate them.

 

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Which Pests Are Active In Your Area?

Which Pests Are Active In Your Area?

Just as the weather changes with the seasons, pest activity shifts to usher in new groups of active pests. Let’s take a look at what pests are active in your area and some tips to keep them away.

Subterranean Termites

The humidity and moisture that come with early summer is what helps to increase subterranean termite activity. “Swarm season” is in full effect, and this can present a problem for your home.

  • Avoid water accumulation around your home, specifically around the foundation.
  • Invest in a moisture-reducing program to help reduce humidity in your home’s crawl space.

Bed Bug

Summer is the biggest travel time for many. College students are coming back home, and family vacations are planned. This increases the chances of having an incident with bed bugs, and a bed bug infestation is no easy battle.

  • When returning from vacation, leave suitcases in the garage or driveway. Remove clothing and take immediately to your laundry room to be washed in warm water.
  • Consider packing a large garbage bag to place your suitcase in while on vacation.
  • Do not unpack your clothing and place them in the hotel drawers as these can be hiding places for bed bugs.

American Cockroaches

As the summer weather starts to rev up, American cockroach activity will skyrocket. While they live outdoors, if they find themselves low on food or if the weather experiences a drastic change (extreme heat or excessive rain), they will try move indoors.

  • Put dirty dishes directly into the dishwasher or wash them immediately after using them instead of leaving them in the sink overnight.
  • Make sure to eliminate any sources of standing water around your home.

Pest infestation can be costly and a major hassle. Contact a professional pest control company like Northwest for a free pest control estimate to protect your home from pests year-round.

What Attracts Cockroaches to a Clean House?

What Attracts Cockroaches to a Clean House?

Take out the trash regularly; keep your house spotless; store your food in airtight containers: these are just a few of the things you can do to prevent pests from coming into your home. So what attracts cockroaches to a clean house? Cockroaches are extremely versatile pests. They have a very wide-ranging diet and will eat just about anything you can imagine. They have highly tuned water-finding senses and are experts at hiding. All of these adaptations allow them to survive in just about any environment. Roaches also pose health concerns to humans. They are known to carry diseases and can trigger allergies and asthma. They are also extremely hard to get rid of once you have cockroaches in the house. But how do cockroaches get in your clean house?

Location

Some areas are more prone to cockroaches than others. The southeastern United States, especially Georgia, Florida, and Alabama, are home to a large population of American cockroaches (also known as palmetto bugs). If you live in these areas you can expect to see these pests in your home despite cleaning on a regular basis. Unlike German cockroaches, American cockroaches aren’t associated with unsanitary conditions. They may enter your home through a gap in a window seal or through a door that is left open for a prolonged period of time.

Accessibility

Roaches come into your home in search of three things: food, shelter, and water. They have also developed the ability to use even the smallest of openings as an entryway into your house. They can come in through cracks in the exterior walls, dryer vents, or even the gaps between walls and floors. Perform a thorough evaluation of the exterior of your home and seal any entry points you find.

Moisture

Roaches need moisture to survive and this search for water will bring them into even the cleanest of homes. Leaky pipes and faucets are one of the most common attractants for cockroaches and is one of the main reasons you often see them in bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms. They will also hide out under refrigerators and air conditioning units to indulge in their condensation, and even drink from pets’ water bowls when left out overnight. Roaches love places that are dark and undisturbed so you can often find them in basements, in the dark corners of cabinets, and underneath large appliances, especially those that use water.

Food Sources

Roaches will seek out food sources wherever they can find them. Despite your best efforts to keep your kitchen spotless, these resilient pests will make do with just about anything to eat. In fact, they have been known to feast on cardboard, wallpaper paste, book bindings, grease, leather, soap, and even human hair. They can often be found hiding out in stacks of cardboard in your attic and garage, books that you’ve stored away for extended periods of time, and even behind pictures that have been hanging on the walls.

Forgotten Areas

While these areas may not be in need of repair or even in plain sight, they can attract roaches and need to be addressed to prevent roach infestations. Roaches have been known to hide out in the spaces between outside doors and floors. They can get into your home through window screens that aren’t flush with the frame or that have rips or tears in them. They can also get in around air conditioning units that don’t fit properly in windows, and into trash cans that aren’t cleaned regularly, even the ones in your bathrooms.

Landscaping

Roaches will come into your yard in search of the same things as your home: food, shelter, and water. You can harbor as many roaches in your yard as you do in your home. Any standing water in places like bird baths, flower pots, and gutters will attract cockroaches. Compost and wood piles provide food and shelter. Trash and recycling bins provide an excellent food source. Leaf litter, dense vegetation, and mulch or pine straw provides ideal hiding places.
Roaches are versatile pests that are extremely hard to get rid of once they get into your home. There are some roach prevention steps you can take to help keep them from invading your house:

  • Seal any cracks around your home.
  • Repair any water leaks.
  • Remove any sources of standing water.
  • Try not to overwater houseplants.
  • Wipe down your kitchen counters after every meal.
  • Put dirty dishes directly into the dishwasher or wash them immediately after using them instead of leaving them in the sink overnight.
  • Wipe down your stove after cooking.
  • Sweep daily and vacuum weekly.
  • Keep firewood and compost as far away from your home as possible.
  • Keep your grass and landscaping neat and tidy.

It can be frustrating to work hard at keeping your house clean and still have issues with roaches. If you have a roach problem or if you want to get a prevention program started before they become a problem, call a professional pest control company who can provide you with a customized pest control program using only the most innovative and advanced pest products and equipment available. Give us a call or request a free estimate to get started.

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Battling a German Roach Infestation

Battling a German Roach Infestation

Any type of pest infestation is cause for a headache and panic, but no infestation is more difficult and stress-inducing than that of a German cockroach. They amass inside homes in large numbers, making them difficult to contain.
There are plenty of questions homeowners have when dealing with a possible invasion: “How do I know if this is a German roach?”; “Why are they in my home?”; and “What can I do to get rid of them?” Let’s take a moment to answer these questions.

How do I know if this is a German roach?

Adult German Cockroach Nymph German Cockroach

Adult German Cockroach                                               Nymph German Cockroach

German cockroaches are among the smaller of the cockroach species, measuring anywhere between ½” – 5/8” in length. Oval-shaped and light brownish, almost tan, German cockroaches have two identifying, almost parallel, dark lines that run down their back just behind their head.

Why are they in my home?

German Cockroaches
German cockroaches are very good at hitchhiking and can make their way in to your home by way of grocery bags and cardboard boxes. They prefer dark, warm places where they can hide. While they can be found anywhere in a home, they are primarily found in bathrooms and kitchens.

What can I do to prevent or get rid of them?

Practicing good sanitation is the best prevention to a German roach infestation. Vacuuming often and looking throughout the home for possible entry points to seal are great preventative measures. A properly ventilated crawl space will help prevent the moisture that German roaches seek out. As always, if you suspect you have a German roach problem, contact your licensed pest professional to set up an inspection as soon as possible.

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