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HOW TO GET RID OF ROACHES
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What are cockroaches?
Cockroaches are a fairly large type of insect pest that has a tendency to live in dark, damp, and dirty places where they can find an abundance of food. They are typically flat, have oval-shaped bodies, are usually brown in color, have long antennae, and many species also have wings and can fly. However, all species are surprisingly quick and can scurry from place to place in a hurry. Roaches eat both food and non-food materials, and that often means they like to live in areas around trashcans, wastebins, and compost piles. They are also prolific breeders, meaning just a few invaders can create a large-scale infestation in a short period of time.
What are the most common types of cockroaches?
Only 30 out of the 4,600 known species of cockroaches live with humans, Of the 30, here are the three most common types you may find in your home.
American cockroaches, also known as palmetto bugs, are 1–2 inches in length, reddish-brown in color, and have a flat body with a figure eight-shaped yellow marking behind their heads. They’re extremely fast runners and can travel up to 50 body-lengths per second.
American roaches tend to be found in large buildings, in sewer drains, in basements, and landscaping, especially in subtropical and tropical environments. At times, they may wander into houses, especially in warmer regions.
Lighter in color and smaller in size, German cockroaches are the most common type of roach and they thrive in shelters with humans. They are about 0.5 inches in size and live 5–7 months after reaching adulthood.
What makes German cockroaches so invasive? Well, they compensate for their shorter lifespans with their rapid maturity and breeding rates. Female German roaches produce eggs three days after mating, and the eggs hatch within 20 days. About 30–40 eggs hatch into nymphs at a time. A typical German cockroach nymph completes development in two months. Many overlapping generations of German roaches can easily coexist at one time.
They eat pretty much everything as well, including table scraps, pet food, even the glue found in cardboard boxes and book bindings. Large infestations in apartment buildings or multi-family homes can cause allergic reactions for the people living there, due to direct contact and sometimes even bites from the roaches.
The Oriental cockroach, also known as a water bug, likes to live in wet and moist areas like sewers, crawl spaces, and plumbing drains in the kitchen or bathroom. They are usually found in California up through the Pacific Northwest, in the midwest, and in the southern United States. These roaches eat garbage, sewage, or decaying organic matter found in plumbing. They’re typically black in color and have a smooth, shiny exterior. An adult can live 1–6 months and often produces its eggs during spring and summer.
What do roaches eat?
Cockroaches, especially German roaches, eat just about anything. It’s nearly impossible to eliminate their food sources as they will eat most organic materials like hair, fingernails, glue, paper products, dead insects, and even some inorganic material like plastics. Even if you have managed to cut off all food sources, roaches can survive up to a month without food.
However, they are extremely sensitive to dehydration and cannot survive more than a week without water. Hunting for water sources is natural to them and they can live off of the smallest amount of moisture.
Where do cockroaches come from?
Cockroaches can invade your home through holes or cracks in your walls or floors, through the sewer, or from drains. If your neighbor has a cockroach problem, they can easily spread into your home through these entry points. Some roaches can even find their way into your home by hitching a ride on items from the outside, such as in the boxes you might bring home from a large warehouse store, or any other building with a cockroach infestation. German cockroaches are generally introduced to a structure via human activity.
What are signs of a roach infestation?
It’s not super easy to find signs of an early roach infestation, since roaches are nocturnal and typically come out only at night. But, if you do see a single cockroach, it can mean there are more. If you do you see them out in daylight, this is a sign of overcrowding, which means there are a lot more hiding out of plain sight.
Contact a pest control expert, like Hawx, as soon as you spot any of the following signs.
Droppings and smear marks
Cockroaches leave behind droppings or smear marks wherever they crawl—on your walls, furniture, or even your food. Check hidden areas and crevices, such as floor corners, cabinets, under sinks, fridges, or stoves.
Smaller cockroaches produce small black feces similar to coffee grinds or black pepper, while larger species produce cylindrical feces the size of a grain of rice. Smear marks and small, brown stains are unsolidified cockroach waste.
Cockroaches taint everything they touch with a musty smell, attracting other roaches to the site. This musty smell comes from their pheromones found in their feces or dead bodies. This odor becomes stronger as the infestation grows larger.
Cockroaches lay or carry oval-shaped capsules called ootheca. These capsules may contain more than 20 eggs at a time. The shell of the ootheca is left behind once the eggs hatch. If you find this shell around your floor or in your cabinets, it’s a pretty clear sign there are hatched roaches in your home.
As they mature into adulthood, cockroaches shed their tough exterior shells about 5–8 times. These skins are often light-brown and oval-shaped like their bodies. Look for them in possible nesting locations or other hidden areas.
Check for damage on packaging and other organic materials in your kitchen. While cockroaches do not harm the structural integrity of any buildings, they can cause small property damages overtime to your paper products and books, wallpaper, or some furniture. Since cockroaches eat glue and similar materials, parts of your home that have adhesives may deteriorate. Check your baseboards for smear stains. In serious infestations, the sheer volume of cockroach colonies in a home can damage walls, floors, or insulation.
What are common roach hiding places?
Roaches tend to look for dark, warm, damp spaces close to food sources. The kitchen alone has plenty of locations that are perfect for a roach colony.
Here are some more common places to check for German roaches—the most common type of roach you’ll find in your home.Kitchen appliances
Check for egg casings, droppings, or skin sheddings under and behind the fridge, stove, and small kitchen appliances where there may be crumbs and other debris.Inside cabinets
Food spills and unsealed packaging attract unwelcome pests, especially cockroaches. Cabinets under sinks make excellent nesting grounds. Look for the telltale signs mentioned above in the corners of these spaces.Plumbing
Cockroaches often live close to pipes because they provide moisture. Unfortunately, these pipes run throughout your home and will not be immediately accessible to you.
You can possibly catch sightings of roaches in areas with exposed plumbing such as the basement or your boiler room. A floor drain is also a common hiding spot and entry point for German cockroaches or water bugs.Furniture
While not as invasive in furniture as bedbugs, cockroaches can easily use parts of your furniture as a nesting ground. A roach may leave their eggs to hatch inside your couch, under the bed, or in the closet.Electronics
If you eat while you’re working, crumbs and food particles can fall into your keyboard or other crevices. Cockroaches are able to maneuver through the tiniest spaces and may hang around more if they see regular food sources near your nice warm electronic devices.Storage
If you have any cardboard boxes lying around and you suspect a roach infestation is happening in your home, dispose of the boxes immediately as they are a food source for roaches. Multiple boxes stacked together make a good nesting and breeding location for them.
Are roaches dangerous?
Roaches can be potentially harmful to humans if infestations aren’t managed correctly. This is because they can carry harmful bacteria and diseases, and they contaminate everything they touch. The pathogens found in their bodies and legs are discarded everywhere they go. These waste products also attract more cockroaches and feed the young nymphs to maturity, making the infestation more difficult to control with time.
Roaches can spread E. coli and salmonella or bring in diseases such as dysentery, cholera, and listeriosis into your home. Some people may develop allergic reactions or rashes from having a cockroach come into contact with their skin or from a rare roach bite. Empty egg casings, exoskeletons, and roach waste products can also trigger breathing problems, particularly if you have allergies or asthma.
How do you prevent roach infestations before they start?
These tips can help you prevent German cockroach infestations in the future.
Regularly vacuum your floors, upholstered items, and furniture so there are no crumbs lingering on these items. Keep kitchen areas clean and free of food debris. Check and sweep under and behind kitchen appliances and inside your cupboards.
If you spot any smear marks or stains, wash and scrub the area with lukewarm water and soap. Then let it dry. Spray disinfectant on the area and let it sit for a few minutes, Wipe with a dry cloth and wash the area with lukewarm water and soap.
If there are smear marks on your clothes, rub chlorine on the smeared area and let it sit on the fabric before putting it in the wash. When handling and cleaning smears, make sure not to touch them directly.
Seal off any openings
Place weather stripping around windows and doors and replace damaged or torn window and door screens. Check your home for any cracks on the exterior and make sure to seal any openings.
Store food properly
Remember to also keep trash cans and compost bins covered and secured, and make sure your food is properly stored and sealed.
Use a dehumidifier
Use a dehumidifier to dry out your basement. Inspect pipes and fixtures inside and outside your home and immediately fix any leaks.
Inspect cardboard before you bring it inside
Before bringing boxes, furniture, or appliances into your home, inspect the items first, especially when you are purchasing these items secondhand.
Help, I have a German roach infestation! How do I get rid of them?
Cockroach infestations can be difficult to handle. Because German cockroaches rapidly reproduce, it’s important to act quickly. To ensure the effectiveness of pest treatments, like the comprehensive service from Hawx, it’s important that homeowners and pest specialists work together.
How can Hawx help with German cockroaches?
Hawx Pest Control will address a German cockroach infestation right at the source, destroying their nests, identifying and blocking any possible entry point, and fully cleansing your home of cockroach residue and smells. We tailor our treatments to the season for maximum effectiveness.
Our German Cockroach treatment includes removing all visible cockroaches using a vacuum and a thorough inspection of the home for cockroach activity. The inspection helps us to identify (and then communicate to homeowners) what places in the home are optimal for roaches and to determine optimal treatment zones.
Following treatment, we recommend a monthly recurring service where these products are reapplied and the house is reinspected.
Getting rid of roaches
Eliminating cockroaches is a difficult task, and that’s why we recommend leaving it to a professional, particularly for severe infestations and major problems. If you have a serious issue, Hawx Pest Control offers comprehensive solutions using modern techniques and materials. Every service is customized to the customer, and we even tailor our treatments to the season for maximum effectiveness.
However, you may want some helpful tips for keeping roaches away. When combined with proper prevention, these suggestions will help you avoid a roach problem in the future.
- Regularly vacuum your floors, and keep kitchen areas clean and free of food debris.
- Check the exterior walls of your property, sealing off any openings you find.
- Place weather-stripping around windows and doors.
- Replace torn window or door screens.
- Dry out basements using dehumidifiers.
- Make sure outdoor trash cans and compost bins have locking lids.
- Fix leaky pipes and fixtures – both inside and outside of your home or business.
- Inspect packages, boxes, and used appliances for cockroaches before bringing them in.