Where Do Cockroaches Come From In Apartments?
A cockroach infestation in a single-family home is a terrible hassle to deal with, but if you live as a tenant in an apartment, cockroaches present even more frustration and trouble. These days, especially if you live in an area conducive to cockroaches taking residence (ie: warm, humid parts of the country like the Southern United States, an infestation is highly likely. But for apartment residents, cockroaches are practically an inevitability. Unless your neighbors are neat freaks and cockroach killing experts, you’re going to get them sooner rather than later.
In the average stand-alone home, cockroach infestations can be difficult but are much more manageable because a homeowner has the benefit of not having their home connected to any other person’s house. Cockroaches also have nowhere else to retreat to if a homeowner begins to make the environment unappealing and uncomfortable for them to stay in. Some DIY treatments or an exterminator call will surely wipe the infestation out without much resistance.
At an apartment complex, units are in close quarters with one another and share walls. If one apartment resident happens to have attracted cockroaches, it can be likely that cockroaches can travel to your unit and infest there as well. Unfortunately, you can’t control your neighbors and force them to be clean.
Why Cockroaches In Apartments Should Be Taken Seriously
The most common cockroaches that can infest apartment units are American cockroaches and German cockroaches. While their presence may be annoying and embarrassing to have when guests are over, cockroaches are also a health concern.
Cockroaches have been reported to carry over 30 types of bacteria, pathogens, and parasites that could cause sickness and disease. This is because their attraction for filthy areas while scavenging for food leads to them tracking these unsanitary particles on their feet and into our homes, items and food.
Where there are cockroaches there are also lots of nasty cockroach droppings that contain a strong musty odor which can trigger asthma attacks in allergic and sensitive people. If you or someone in your household is prone to seasonal allergies or asthma, the presence of cockroaches can make living in an apartment unbearable.
How Did Cockroaches Infest Your Apartment?
If you are a new apartment resident, perhaps on your first day or a preliminary visit to the empty unit you did an inspection and saw that the place was clean and ready to be moved in. There was no indication of cockroaches at all at first, then after you had already unpacked and settled, they began appearing. There can be a number of different reasons why cockroaches were nowhere to be found one day, and are infesting the next day with the simple answer being that apartments are just more prone to cockroach infestations. The following reasons will cover how they were able to gain access.
They Were Already There
While on moving day you noticed a spotless unit, the cockroaches may very well have been in hiding. Some apartments make an effort after a tenant leaves to get an exterminator to treat the place and ready it for a new resident, but others do the bare minimum cleanup without addressing cockroaches.
Cockroaches are in hiding during the day and become active with their scavenging and foraging at night. They very well could have been in their hiding nooks and once you unpacked and brought out your belongings and filled your pantries and cabinets, they were excited for food to have returned and begin to re-emerge to your dismay.
You May Have Brought Them By Accident
Did you have a cockroach problem where you were last staying? This makes it highly likely that cockroaches will follow you to your new apartment by hitchhiking in your boxes and bags. If you didn’t have cockroaches at your previous residence, cockroaches could still weasel their way into your things during the moving process. Even a small handful of cockroaches is enough to result in a full-blown infestation over time at your new unit because of their quick and constant reproductive habits.
It doesn’t help that cockroaches absolutely love cardboard and boxes which prevent great little hiding spaces for them to stay out of sight and comfortably get moved to your new home.
Your Apartment Neighbors Have Them
The toughest thing about living in an apartment is that you are smack dab between other apartment units. People live to the side of you, above you and under you so you are all sharing walls. If your neighbor is not the tidiest of people and has a cockroach infestation as a result, those cockroaches can move on over to your unit during their usual scavenging and exploring or when the population has grown so heavy that they need to expand to other units.
Cockroaches travel is made even easier due to construction errors and apartment wear and tear. Over time, cracks, gaps, and holes can be made in walls and thus, cockroaches can use their flat-shaped bodies to easily squeeze through cracks and crevices in walls, doors and windows to travel from unit to unit through these means.
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Cockroaches are also known to easily travel either through plumbing or electrical outlets. Usually, these utilities are interconnected through all the units of a floor or building and thus they use the plumbing and wires as a superhighway to migrate between apartments with ease. It’s also not surprising for cockroaches to come up through the tub and sink drains during their travels.
Cleanliness is Key
So now that you know how cockroaches may have gotten into your home, how can you get rid of them so they are not a constant issue during the entire duration of your lease? It depends on how clean you keep your home. Cockroaches are not picky eaters and will gobble up whatever food item you happen to leave out, so the first plan of action is to take away easy access to food. If cockroaches can’t find food to eat, they will go to another apartment unit.
Daily consistent cleaning of your kitchen, bathrooms and living spaces need to be done to address an infestation. You will need to sweep up your kitchen floors, clear your counters of food crumbs, clean up any spills of grease and do not allow your dirty dishes to pile up in the sink. You should also clean under appliances, using disinfectant wipes to pick up any food particles and eliminate any roach pheromones, droppings and eggs that may be hidden.
Examining and decluttering your cabinets and cupboards should also be done. You should try not to have an abundance of food in your storage areas because cockroaches will get into them or will use all the clutter as a hiding space. All food should be stored appropriately in tightly sealed containers. Trash bags should be thrown away daily and trash cans should have a tight-fitting lid.
Detailed cleanups are best done at night right before bed. We get that cleaning up at this time when you want to relax and take it easy is not ideal, but if you want to eliminate your cockroach problem, it’s what has to be done.
Just as important as keeping your kitchen areas sterile with no food available for consumption, you should also keep your kitchen and bathroom areas as dry as you could possibly get them. Cockroaches are attracted to moisture and wetness and need water for survival. They can go no more than 7 days without water.
One of the prime places where cockroaches get water is the sink. Sinks that are left wet provide an oasis of water for cockroaches to quench their thirst. When you are not using your sink you should take a dry cloth and dry the entire sink area, especially before bed. Dishes should be dried and put away as well. If you have any plumbing leaks under the sink or an appliance like your fridge where water is accumulating, those need to be addressed immediately. The drier the conditions are in your home, the less likely the cockroaches will want to stick around.
Caulk Cockroaches Away
After food and water have been taken away from the roaches, you now need to take away their points of entry and hiding places with the help of caulk. Caulk is easy to use and dries quickly. Go around your entire apartment unit, namely the kitchen and use caulk to seal off any little cracks and crevices inside the cabinets and cupboards, behind the refrigerator, along the walls and baseboards and any other nooks and crannies that cockroaches may be using to travel into your unit from somewhere else.
Not only does doing this make it hard for them to come into your home, but you may also even seal cockroaches in a tight hiding space so they cannot escape. The hiding spot essentially becomes a tomb for them to die in. It’s not likely that you will get every single gap and hole, but as long as you put in the effort, cockroaches will feel less comfortable in your unit and will be more vulnerable.
Use the Right Treatment Products
Last but not least, once all the above cleaning and sealant measures are carried out, you can deal the final deadly blow to the cockroaches that choose to remain in your apartment unit with the proper cockroach control products. Cockroach bait is the best product to use to kill cockroaches because they contain a food-grade attractant. If you did a good job taking away access to food, they will gladly eat the bait and share amongst others and they will start falling dead in large numbers.
You shouldn’t totally rely on just bait though as it is best to use multiple methods of attack on an infestation.
A roach killing powder like Boric Acid or Diatomaceous Earth can be a good companion killer alongside cockroach bait and can be placed in areas of high activity to kill cockroaches. Sticky traps may also be useful.
You should also look into getting an insect growth regulator as these products halt the reproduction cycle of cockroaches in the home—when exposed to an IGR, cockroach eggs can’t hatch, cockroach babies can’t grow into reproducing adults and cockroach adults become sterilized and can’t lay eggs.
Recommended Read: How to Get Rid of Cockroaches
A combination of these products can successfully take out the cockroach infestation and make your home a cockroach cemetery quickly.
If your apartment is crawling with disgusting cockroaches, you shouldn’t rely on management to help you because usually they do the bare minimum and skimp on pest control. By carrying out the measures mentioned: eliminating food sources by cleaning up consistently, eliminating moisture, sealing off cockroach points of entry and hiding spaces, and using strategic cockroach control products, you can eliminate disgusting cockroaches from your apartment for good.