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How to get rid of Cockroaches

Cockroaches are possibly the most reviled of insect pests, and with good reason.

Cockroaches discovered in your business can destroy your reputation as their presence is associated with poor hygiene standards.

Coupled with this, the cockroach really is a very resilient pest, to the extent that if the infestation has got a foothold, professional help should be sought. The health risks are too great.

The reason for this is that cockroaches need very little to survive, but will eat literally anything. Also, they reproduce in great numbers, meaning you can be facing a very large infestation very quickly.

However, if the infestation is not too large, it is possible to treat on a DIY basis.

The different types of cockroaches

types of cockroaches

There are many varieties of cockroach, but you are only likely to encounter three of them.

Oriental Cockroach

  • A large cockroach, shiny black to reddish-brown in colour.
  • The male is smaller with three-quarter length wings, about 25mm in length.
  • The female is larger, about 32mm and has no wings.
  • They can tolerate cooler conditions and are often found in basements and drains, where they can find the water they need.
  • Known for their preference for feeding on garbage and decay, these insects can most commonly be found in rubbish tips and leaf litters.

German Cockroach

  • Light brown or tan in colour, with two black horizontal stripes behind the head.
  • Reaches 13-16mm in length. Has wings, but cannot fly.
  • The German Cockroach needs warmth and will typically be found in kitchens and bathrooms.  
  • They are excellent climbers, hence the higher levels at which you will find these cockroaches, they can walk on ceilings and undersides of cupboards.
  • Most commonly found indoors, German cockroaches prefer wet, humid conditions and are typically found within the home in areas such as kitchens and bathrooms.

American Cockroach

  • One of the largest pest cockroaches to invade homes, adult American cockroaches are approximately 20 – 30mm in length and a red-brown in colour.
  • Also known as the ‘Palmetto bug’ because they live on trees, the American cockroach prefers dark, humid and undisturbed areas and can be found in basements, kitchens and bathrooms of homes.

Are cockroaches dangerous?

Apart from the way they look and scuttle around, only coming out at night, they are associated with dirt and carry many diseases 

  • Food poisoning – because they like to eat rotten food and crawl around unsanitary places, they can track germs across the food on your counter and in cabinets and that can cause food poisoning.
  • Dysentery – a disease that comes from ingesting fecal matter, which cockroaches are more than happy to walk across and then bring onto your food.
  • Tapeworms – which can cause serious illness and problems with digesting food in humans and other animals.
  • Roundworm – parasite organisms, such as pinworms, that can be very dangerous to humans and cause illnesses such as trichinosis.
  • Fungus – cockroach droppings, shed skins and other material can develop fungi that will affect the lungs or eyes. Those with asthma can be very much at risk from fungus left by cockroaches.
  • Viruses – roaches are known to carry a number of viruses including those as serious as polio.
  • Allergies – cockroach droppings, skins and saliva are one of the leading causes of allergies for those who live in urban locations

Can cockroaches fly?

Yes cockroaches can fly, some species better than others. The German cockroach though cannot fly.

Signs of a cockroach infestation

If you have noticed an unpleasant, lingering odour under sinks, behind appliances or in store cupboards, it’s time to check for cockroaches.

Whilst a single cockroach may not produce a strong odour, a cockroach infestation will definitely provide you with a heavy scent that is distinguishable.

The smell can be described as musty, sweet and sometimes like almond and this can taint food and surfaces they come in contact with.s.  

Cockroaches are nocturnal. They prefer to live and feed in the dark, meaning that if you are unlucky enough to spot one, you will already have a problem.

Faeces will be visible. For small roaches, this will be evident like black pepper. Larger roaches produce more cylindrical droppings.

They are able to flatten their bodies, so can just as easily be found beneath mats, behind wallpaper and in wall cracks. Oval-shaped egg cases, known as oothecae, may be found hanging off furniture.

What attracts cockroaches to your home

Cockroaches are closely associated with the human environment. They are attracted to buildings where there is a source of food, moisture and, in colder climates, warmth.

They feed on a wide range of human foods and materials such as cardboard, glue, faeces, dead animals and fellow cockroaches.

Some species of cockroach prefer warmer, damp areas while others prefer cooler conditions.

How to get rid of cockroaches

Whichever species of cockroach you are dealing with the treatment is similar. The German cockroach is more likely to be found at higher levels than the Oriental cockroach.

Apply an insecticide like Rentokil Insectrol, Dethlac or Protector C to the backs of work surfaces all of these products have residual properties and will remain active for several weeks.

Insecticidal dust should applied into electrical appliance and any cracks or voids that may harbour cockroaches, paying attention to gaps in skirting boards or round pipe inlets. Insecticidal dust like Ficam D or Residex P is best applied with a Pest Pistol duster.

SX Roachaway insect traps that are pesticide free can be placed at floor level, on work surfaces, inside and on top of cupboards. These are handy to monitor the success or otherwise of any treatment applied.

Imidasect Cockroach Gel Bait is a ready to use insecticidal bait for the control of cockroaches. The active ingredient works by binding to the insects’ neurons and creating a deadly interruption to the insect nerve impulses.

How to prevent cockroaches

It is vitally important to control cockroaches, as they spread disease.

The best way is to prevent an infestation by making sure you don’t provide them with food, water and shelter and all the conditions they thrive in.

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