Cockroaches are one of the most common pests across the world. While these insects are eaten in some countries, in the United States they are much less wanted or used.
Cockroaches can be found across the US, and pose an issue for homeowners and businesses alike. If you find cockroaches on your property, you will want to get rid of them as soon as possible.
Although cockroaches are everywhere around us, having them in your home or business property can be very unnerving. If there is one, there is likely to be more. There are numerous ways to try to take care of the issue, but often cockroach infestations require professional assistance.
Not only do these insects carry a number of different health risks, but they are also notoriously difficult to kill. If you try to deal with the issue yourself, but keep finding cockroaches in your building, it is nothing to be ashamed of. In most cases, the professional equipment and skills are a necessary cost to eradicating these pests.
What Are Cockroaches?
Cockroaches are insects that can be found in most parts of the world. Like with all insects, they have six legs. There are around 4,600 different cockroach species in the world, but only 30 are considered to be pests.
Only 30 of them are seen as pests, as most species do not live anywhere near humans and do not cause problems for us.
These insects can be identified pretty easily. Cockroaches have oval-shaped bodies that are flatter than most other insects. Their size can vary from ¾ an inch to up to 3 inches, depending on their species. After molting, a cockroach will appear to be white, but they are typically a reddish-brown color.
A common attribute to all cockroaches is their impressive speed – roaches can run around and evade predators and danger more easily than other insects. Manually killing these insects by stomping or swatting them is unlikely to be successful, and may prove to be more frustrating than anything else.
Below is a list of common cockroaches that you may come into contact with. Many of these roaches are not native to the US, but have accidentally been brought over from other countries.
- Oriental cockroach – this species of cockroach is sometimes called a “water bug”, and can grow to be up to 1 ¼ inches long. You can identify these cockroaches easily as they appear to be almost completely black. Typically, you can find this species of cockroach in places like drains, woodpiles, and basements. They will often invade houses in search for food, so it is important to store pet food in sealed containers.
- American cockroach – this species of cockroach can be found in many places around the world, despite their name. These insects are either a dark brown or a reddish-brown color, and can grow up to 1 ½ inches long. Unfortunately, this type of cockroach has the ability to fly a short distances, which makes dealing with them more difficult. These roaches have an appetite for anything and everything, including garbage and plant material.
- German cockroach – this species of cockroach is usually a caramel or light brown color, and can grow ⅝ of an inch long. Despite having wings, this roach species cannot fly, and are easily identifiable by the dark lines that run parallel from their heads to their wings. These roaches like spending time in moist and damp environments, such as bathrooms and kitchens. If you think you may have a German cockroach problem, you are likely to spot them near sinks and dishwashers.
What Risk Do Cockroaches Pose?
The World Health Organization (WHO) states that cockroaches are “unhygienic scavengers in human settlements”. These insects are considered to be dangerous as they are a strong allergen source and can trigger asthma.
They have been linked to health concerns including typhoid fever, cholera, dysentery, and diarrhea. Not only that, but the bacteria they carry can cause sickness to humans and animals if it gets into food.
While these insects do not bite, they are armed with leg spines. They can use these leg spines to scratch you, spreading bacteria and disease. As briefly mentioned, roaches are a strong allergen source, which means that they can pose a risk to those with asthma and other triggered breathing problems.
A study done in 2012 was published in the journal Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Research, and revealed that these insects are actually the most common source of indoor allergens.
Children are more sensitive to the cockroach allergens, and if you react to these insects, you are likely to be prescribed medications to help control the symptoms.
The risk of disease and potentially serious allergen-related conditions make cockroaches dangerous to many people. Not only that, but the reason for cockroaches to be in an area is also cause for concern, which is why businesses and restaurants take these creatures so seriously.
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Where Do Cockroaches Live?
Cockroaches can live in most environments, but prefer dark, damp areas. They can typically be found where there is a good food source, such as trash cans. These insects are common in rotting trees and sewers, as well as basements or other dark or potentially damp locations.
They are the most active at night, and will avoid bright lights and the sun, emerging after dark to scavenge.
How Do You Know If You Have A Cockroach Infestation?
There are a number of things to look out for if you are concerned about a cockroach infestation. Below is a list of things to look for around your house or any other buildings.
- Unusual odors – if there is an established cockroach infestation in a building, there will be an unpleasant, lingering odor in the area. This odor will be musty and will linger on any items that come into contact with the area.
- Shed skin – immature cockroaches will shed their skin anywhere between 5-8 times before they become mature adults. Look for these nymphal skins around the house, particularly in areas where the roaches would hide during the day.
- Droppings – look out for roach droppings around the house and in damp, dark places. Their droppings can cover areas and are less than 1 mm wide, but can vary in length.
- Smear marks – there are likely to be unusual smear marks on the baseboard or floor-wall junction. Cockroaches will create these marks if they are active, and if there is water in the area, they will create irregular brown smear marks.
- Live roaches – if you find live roaches in our home or another premise, the problem is right in front of you. Depending on the species of roach, you can look in different places in the building. If you suddenly turn on a light at night, you may see cockroaches scatter and disappear under pieces of furniture as they go into hiding.
- Damage to organic items – since cockroaches are not fussy eaters, they will damage anything that is made out of organic material, including books and leather. Examine any organic material you have in your house to see if you can find any damage from roaches eating it.
What Attracts Cockroaches?
Depending on the cockroach species, different things could be drawing them to your house. Generally, however, the important factors are warmth, shelter, and food. If there are places in your home that would suit a cockroach population, they are likely to seek refuge there during the daytime.
Similarly, if there is constantly food left out or smells that will attract these insects, they will come and investigate. Warm temperatures are favored, and because of this it is common to find roaches under devices or in cupboards, there it is always warmer.
How To Avoid A Cockroach Infestation
Since cockroaches thrive in damp, dark spaces with lots of food, getting rid of those three things will help to get rid of them. A few specific things you can do are as follows:
- Apply varnish or paint your wooden shelves – since cockroaches eat all kinds of organic matter, by applying a coat of paint or varnish to your wooden furniture and items will eliminate them as a food source. The roaches will have to start looking for food that is not the wood in your house.
- Keep food and liquid waste to a minimum and clean up frequently – any food or drinks that are spilled, especially in places like kitchens, will attract roaches. Make sure that you regularly clean up any kind of debris, including the spaces under sinks, appliances, and all food preparation areas. It is common for food to fall down the sides of stoves, or behind them, so check those areas daily to sweep up any scraps.
- Seal all the entry points to your home – if you can stop the roaches from getting in, this may be the best option to go with. Entry points to your house can include drains and pipes, but also cracks and electrical sockets. Ensure that everything is plugged so that no cockroaches can sneak in during the night.
- Declutter unnecessary hiding spots – not only will decluttering your home help reduce the amount of organic materials that roaches could feed on, but it also gets rid of hiding spots. Getting rig of stacks of newspapers, magazines, and boxes will be very helpful in your fight against roaches. When cockroaches find a nice, safe spot, they release an aggregation pheromone that can be found in their droppings. This pheromone alerts other roaches that they have found a cozy spot, and they will soon be joined by all their friends.
- Always rinse recycling – by rinsing all forms of recycling, you will be getting rid of liquids and smells that would otherwise attract the roaches to your house. Do this before putting the plastics, cans, and bottles in recycling. To be safe, ensure that you use bins that can be sealed, so that the roaches will not be able to get inside and feed.
- Get rid of potential food sources – if the roaches can’t eat, they won’t want to stick around. Make sure that all dry food in the house is stirred in airtight containers and sealed bags. Never leave food sitting out on the counters, or even leave your dog food out overnight. Any liquids that are left in sinks, glasses, or anything else, can attract roaches.
Dealing With Cockroaches
If you have found yourself with a cockroach infestation and are unsure of what to do, a good option would be to call our professional service. Since roaches are difficult to exterminate effectively, there is a good chance that at-home remedies will not be long-lasting or efficient.
However, there are a number of things you could try to do to get rid of these pests. There are many myths surrounding at-home remedies for getting rid of roaches.
These myths include using cucumbers, lemons, and bay leaves to repel roaches. As nice as it would be for these simple and natural remedies to work, they are only more likely to bring more roaches to your yard.
Similarly, many think that coffee will repel these insects, but this has been proved to be untrue as roaches seem to have no real opinion on it.
The two methods that have been shown to have some positive effects on roach populations are fabric softener, and soap and water. While these two methods may deal with a number of roaches on the property (the ones you can see), they will not have a lasting effect and the pests are going to return.
Three methods that have much higher success rates than soap of cucumbers include using roach bait, heat treatments, and fumigation. It is important to note that it is almost impossible to carry out these methods on your own, as professional equipment and materials are usually required.
- Heat treatment – no matter where roaches are in their life cycle, a good heat treatment will take care of them. To do this, the insects need to be exposed to temperatures between 122 °F and 140 °F for a period of time. This will kill the roaches, and it does not involve any chemicals.
- Fumigation – to successfully fumigate, the building or infested area will have to be sealed off and a fumigant gas introduced. This is a great method and successfully reduces the roach numbers, but if more effective when used alongside other methods, such as bait.
- Bait – specialist bait can be used to kill roaches. This bait can be placed inside and will poison the insect once ingested. The poisoned roach will then affect any other cockroaches it comes into contact with, creating a snowball effect and poisoning large numbers of roaches before they die.
Nobody wants cockroaches in their homes, or anywhere else. Not only are they a sigh of bad hygiene in the area, but they can also be dangerous. Diseases and allergies are common problems with many species of cockroaches.
Since these pests are so difficult to get rid of at home, it is wise to call in the professionals in pest control services to deal with the issue for you. Not only will you save a lot of time, but you will likely save money, too. If you think you have a cockroach issue, give us a call, so you can end your nightmare.
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