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).
If you have the makings of a cockroach infestation, try some of these cockroach prevention tips to help get them under control.
- 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.
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German roaches are one of the most common household pests and also one of the most difficult to get rid of. It is important to understand how to identify these cockroaches live and what they are attracted to in order to understand how to get rid of them.
These roaches are light brown to tan in color with 2 black horizontal stripes behind their heads. They are smaller in size (adults usually grow to about 1/2″ in length) and although they have wings, they rarely fly and prefer to run instead. They are most often found indoors, preferring warm humid environments like the ones found in your kitchen or bathroom. They will eat almost anything but prefer crumbs, spills, pet food, book bindings, soap, and toothpaste. German cockroaches are often brought into your home on dry goods, such as bags, boxes, cardboard, used appliances, and furniture.
German roaches are dangerous to humans because they can spread bacteria and contaminate surfaces with salmonella and E. coli. Their feces, cast skins, and saliva can cause allergic reactions which can subsequently trigger asthma.
Common signs of German cockroaches include droppings which are small and black and look like pepper, commonly found in drawers and cabinets and on the tops of doors; egg cases left behind by females; and a mild, musty odor that gets stronger as their populations grow.
These pests are nocturnal and usually only scavenge at night, making it difficult to know you have a cockroach infestation until it is already established. Once inside, German roaches can reproduce quickly, making them very difficult to eradicate. Each female is capable of producing 4 to 6 egg cases per life cycle and can live anywhere from 100 to 200 days.
Because they can be so hard to get rid of, the best way to eliminate German roaches is to prevent them in the first place. Here are some German roach prevention tips you can use in your home.
- Empty your trashcans often and keep them clean.
- Clean up crumbs from counters and floors daily, including spilled pet food.
- Sweep daily.
- Vacuum frequently.
- Make sure food is not left in sink strainers.
- Run the garbage disposal frequently.
- Keep food (including pet food) sealed in airtight containers.
- Don’t leave dirty dishes in the sink overnight.
- Keep appliances clean of food and grease.
- Clean out clutter in your garage and attic, especially cardboard.
- Use plastic storage boxes rather than cardboard when possible.
- Seal entrances around utility pipes.
- Ventilate crawlspaces to prevent moisture.
- Store soap out of reach.
- Don’t leave pet food out in bowls overnight.
- Dry all sinks, tubs, and showers before bed each night.
- Use a dehumidifier in your home.
If you have a problem with roaches or any other pests, contact your local pest control company to properly identify the type of pest you are dealing with and recommend the most appropriate treatment plan going forward.
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Cockroaches are household pests known for spreading bacteria and triggering allergies and asthma. These nocturnal pests come out at night to feed and hide in cracks and crevices during the day. Roaches are attracted to moisture and are most commonly found in bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms, basements, and drains. Because they are nocturnal, you may not notice you have a roach problem until a full blown cockroach infestation has set in. Spotting the signs of cockroaches can help you head off an infestation before it gets out of hand. Here are 7 signs you may have cockroaches.
Roaches Next Door
If your neighbors mention having a roach problem, especially if you live in an apartment, condo, or townhouse, the odds are likely that they will make their way over to your home, as well. One way to help prevent this is by getting rid of what attracts roaches in your home. Don’t put open food containers in the trash; don’t leave crumbs on the floor; clean up messes as they happen; keep garbage cans sealed; and try not to store outdoor trash cans near your home.
Roaches are attracted to moisture so they are often found in areas of high moisture in your home. In these areas, they will often produce dark, irregularly-shaped smear marks as they rest or crawl along walls. These smears are often seen on horizontal surfaces and where the wall and floor meet.
Roaches leave droppings behind wherever they are. The size and shape of droppings vary between species. Some species leave behind a small brown stain. German cockroaches leave behind pepper-like specks that can also resemble coffee grounds. The larger American cockroach species leaves behind droppings closer to a grain of rice. The most common places to check for droppings are floor corners, cabinets, under the fridge, and under the stove. It is important to clean any droppings up when you find them as they are known to spread bacteria.
Egg casings are long, hollow, light brown tubes that hold cockroach eggs, anywhere from 20 to 50 at a time. Although most species leave egg casings behind once the eggs are laid, some species actually carry them with them until their offspring hatch. Egg casings are usually found at the base of the refrigerator, in cabinets that store food, and near leaky pipes. If you find a casing that still has eggs in it, dispose of it by flushing it down the toilet.
Roaches and their feces give off a musky, unpleasant odor. While one roach usually doesn’t emit a strong enough odor to be detected by humans, when larger numbers of roaches get together the smell gets stronger and more easily detected. While the smell is usually associated with live roaches, dead cockroaches can also emit the odor as part of the decomposition process.
The feces and exoskeleton of cockroaches contain proteins that can trigger allergies and asthma. If you don’t usually have allergies and have symptoms appear without a known trigger; or your current allergy and asthma symptoms seem to get worse without a known trigger this may indicate the presence of cockroaches in your home. Symptoms include stuffy nose, wheezing, red itching eyes, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and the increased use of your inhaler.
If you see one roach, the odds are likely that there are many others present. Roaches are nocturnal and usually spotted at night. If you are seeing roaches during the day, overcrowding from an infestation may be forcing them out in the open.
The best way to avoid a roach infestation is to prevent them in the first place. Prevent cockroaches by:
- Thoroughly cleaning your home each week.
- Storing all food in tightly sealed containers.
- Cleaning up yard debris such as leaves or fallen tree limbs.
- Not letting shrubs, trees, or woodpiles touch your home.
- Remembering to clean under forgotten spaces such as under the fridge, stove, and inside cabinets.
If you have a problem with roaches or any other pest, contact your local pest control company for a free analysis and comprehensive treatment 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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You’ve prepped your home, made sure all messes are cleaned, and closed all open gaps, but you’re still seeing roaches in your home! Why are these pests still attracted to what’s inside your house and how do they keep entering?! We break down some common cockroaches you could be seeing and how they keep sneaking in!
The Species Matters
It’s important to note that there are several different species of cockroaches. Each species is attracted to and thrive off of very different environments. The Oriental cockroach prefers a dark, cool place to hideout. You can often find them in organic matter such as mulch, wood chips, and even between your home’s foundation. Brown-banded cockroaches, on the other hand, like warmer, drier environments. These cockroaches are commonly found in areas above eye-level, such as cabinets, pantries, and even TVs. Another common species is the American cockroach that prefers living in warm, moist areas. These pests can be found in homes, restaurants, grocery stores – basically anywhere food is prepped and stored!
What attracts roaches can be easily found inside anyone’s home. What if you’ve taken precautions, however, to ensure these pests won’t get into your house but they still keep coming back? There are several reasons why roaches keep finding their way back into your home. Roaches are extremely resilient and are excellent hitchhikers! These pests can be easily transported from one place to the other by hitching a ride in your grocery bags, luggage, and even cardboard boxes. Roaches can also travel from neighbor to neighbor, so if your neighbors aren’t taking great roach precautions they could be coming from next door!
Roaches are year-round pests making them extremely hard to control. Because of this, you’ll have to take precautions 12 months out of the year to keep them out of the house. Here are some tips to prevent roaches throughout the year.
- Eliminate any standing water in and around your home; check for leaks, seal gaps around your sink and tubs, and don’t leave pet bowls outside overnight.
- Inspect the interior and exterior of the home; seal any open gaps and tears throughout your house and use weatherstripping around all entryways
- Clean up all messes; clean up crumbs and food immediately, wipe down food prep surfaces, clean under appliances, and don’t leave dirty dishes out overnight
- If you’re still experiencing roach issues, call your local pest control company to provide a comprehensive plan to remove this nuisance pest from your home.