Cockroaches In Your House: How to Solve
Cockroaches: it’s an embarrassing problem to have. Heck, it’s even embarrassing to utter. “Cockroaches are in your house.” You may have thought of people who had this issue were those that lived in filth or were careless. But now that it’s an issue you have, you may be in denial. “I’m not filthy! I keep clean. I shouldn’t have this problem!”
There’s a famous saying that goes like this: “the first step to solving a problem is to first recognize that it does exist.”
The fact of the matter is that cockroaches don’t discriminate. No one, no matter where they live, what their financial status or social class, is immune to encountering a cockroach infestation in their house. Having cockroaches doesn’t mean you’re dirty person or that you don’t care. The truth is that cockroaches can establish themselves in even the cleanest and most well-kept of houses through no fault of your own.
For example, you may have unsuspectingly brought cockroaches into your home after a trip to the grocery store because they had fallen into some packaging when it was being processed. You may have spent some time outdoors and laid some of your belongings on the ground and cockroaches crawled into it and hitchhiked to your home. If you live in an apartment, you could keep your home immaculate but your neighbors in the unit adjacent to you may not and the cockroaches that are breeding and multiplying in their unit just happened to trek over to your unit to explore.
Cockroaches Trespass With Ease
Cockroaches have the benefit of being tiny and they were gift with flat bodies to make it easy for them to crawl through tiny gaps and holes of a structure, slipping under doors, traveling through wall voids and via plumbing to get inside your home without much difficulty.
Even adult cockroaches can wriggle their way into slits and crevices. They were designed to sneak into homes because they were made to forage and scavenge for their survival. Cockroaches don’t need much to survive, but what they do need, your home—no matter how big or small, how clean or dirty it is—has what they are looking for. Cockroaches look at human dwellings as a place where they can find warmth, moisture and seclusion. And if there happens to be crumbs or food nearby, that is an added incentive to stick around and make themselves permanent residents.
Cockroaches have been a long-time pest of humans because unfortunately we offer them the three things they need most to live: food, water, and shelter. These three things have been part of their simple wants since the beginning of creation, it’s just that nowadays with human beings living in climate controlled indoor dwellings and having pantries filled with food rather than going out and hunting for food like our ancestors had to do, cockroaches have adapted to get their needs met in our homes.
Most of the time cockroaches are tucked away in the bowels of your home: in a wall void, behind a refrigerator, the dark recesses of cabinetry, and even inside your prized electronics such as a video game console or internet router. Your home presents a plethora of great living spaces for cockroaches to set up camp which is why it is crucial to act quickly to address cockroach infestations before they grow to unmanageable proportions.
The Usual Suspects
Of the over 4,000 cockroach species found in the world, only about 20 are indoor pest issues. Of that 20 or so are four cockroach species that are the most common in the United States. Knowing which cockroach species you have invading your home is an important step in eliminating them since all have unique habits and tendencies which you can exploit by researching about the pest. The four are as follows:
- The German cockroach: the most common indoor cockroach issue. They are known to multiply in large numbers and set up their nests in warm, secluded areas hidden away in the kitchen or the bathroom.
- The Brown-Banded Cockroach: similar to the German cockroach in appearance and size, this pest prefers areas that are drier and will usually nest in high places.
- The Oriental Cockroach: Prefer to live outdoors but become an increasing problem in houses when the weather becomes cooler and they look to move indoors for a warm place to reside.
- The American cockroach: This is a large creepy looking cockroach that also prefers to be outdoors but often finds their way indoors through plumbing areas or sink drains.
Approaching Cockroach Control
While your first instinct upon discovering a cockroach problem is to stock up on cockroach killing sprays, it’s important to slow down and come up with a well-thought-out plant of attack. While it may sound silly to plan out how to kill cockroaches in your house rather than spray indiscriminately everywhere, you will achieve more satisfying results by strategizing an effective cockroach control program.
Keep in mind what we have already discussed: cockroaches desire food, water and shelter. By eliminating the cockroaches access to these three things, you will have already conquered half the battle in getting rid of them from your house.
Preliminary Actions: Inspecting for Cockroaches
Start by first identifying the areas where cockroaches have been most active as this will give you an idea of where they are nesting. If you’ve observed that cockroach activity is mainly concentrated in one area, this may be a dead giveaway that they are nesting there.
To be absolutely sure you can lay out insect monitors. These are little sticky glue traps that are often coated with cockroach attractants and pheromones that will lure cockroaches toward the trap where they will be stuck.
The monitor traps that have captured a heavy amount of cockroaches would mean that the cockroach nest is nearby. Insect monitors should be used throughout the control process to gauge the infestation level, whether they have transferred to another area of the home or whether their population has dwindled down to nothing.
When you can’t find cockroaches themselves, you will need to observe what they leave behind: egg capsules or oothecae, cockroach droppings or sheddings. These are a surefire sign that cockroaches are around and actively frequent the area.
Preliminary Action: House Cleaning and Decluttering
A detailed, thorough cleanup of your home is one of the most essential parts of cockroach control. While you may keep your home relatively neat, it may not be enough since cockroaches are thriving. Decluttering and a top to bottom wipe down and clean up will take away those food and shelter sources that cockroaches covet so much.
When decluttering you should make sure to toss away paper bags, cardboard, pantry items that you have had around and uneaten for a long time and other paper based products. Why focus on these items? This is because paper and cardboard are attractive to cockroaches because they are able to easily absorb cockroach pheromones which alert other cockroaches to an area and enables them a trail to follow to get to where they want to go (a food or water source).
Aside from decluttering, you should also make sure not to leave any food out in the open. Place fruits and vegetables in the fridge and put breads in sealed containers. Wipe away counters of crumbs, food particles and grease. Under appliances and appliances themselves should also be cleaned out of any food crumbs and remnants. Sweep up and vacuum all surfaces and clean out any food in the dishwasher and sinks. Take out the trash daily.
Once this is done you should make the effort to clean your home (especially your kitchen and bathrooms) regularly and consistently. This means there should never be dirty dishes left in the sink overnight, trash not taken out or water left on the sink or counters. Address any moisture issues, be it a plumbing leak or another problem, so that your kitchen and bathrooms are totally dry every night before going to bed.
Exterminating Cockroaches With Pesticides
After a thorough cleanup has been carried out and you have eliminated all the readily available sources of food and water for the roaches, you now need to address the cockroaches directly. At this point you should already have a good idea of where they are hiding or generally where their nest is. You should then use caulk to seal up any cracks and crevices that cockroaches can crawl into to hide or travel from place to place.
Out of all the types of cockroach control products there are out their, the best pesticides for indoor infestations is a combination of cockroach bait, insect growth regulators and pesticide concentrates.
- Cockroach insecticide concentrates kill adult cockroaches on content. Some are non-repellent where a cockroach will not suspect they are walking over a poison until it kills them. Others are repellents that will keep cockroaches away from the area. Combined with the above products, this will totally control the cockroach infestation, either killing them totally or forcing them to go elsewhere.
- Cockroach bait is very effective in eliminating roaches who, after their food access has been taken away from them from good preliminary sanitation practices, will be desperate for any morsel of food to consume. Cockroach bait contains palatable food grade attractants that cockroaches enjoy eating mixed with a lethal slow-killing poison.
Cockroaches will readily eat and share the bait with other roaches and slowly succumb to the effects, often dying where the cockroach nest is. Roaches will then eat the feces and dead bodies of fallen roaches and becomes poisoned themselves so the bait will have eliminated a sizable chunk of the infestation, if not the entire population.
- Insect Growth Regulators address the upcoming generation of cockroaches and the roaches tendency to reproduce and multiply. Applying insect growth regulators makes it so cockroach eggs do not hatch out new roaches and cockroach nymphs don’t grow into egg-laying adults. By putting a stop to the cockroaches ability to grow their population, the infestation will no longer continue.
Patience and Persistence Will Pay Off
It is important to note that even with a good cleanup and application of the above pesticides, a cockroach infestation takes time to eliminate. You likely are not going to eliminate cockroaches with a “one and done” application. Heavy infestations will require a repeat application of the insecticides after 10 to 14 days or so.
You will need to be patient and persistent with your application of pesticides and with your daily cleaning habits so the cockroaches pay the price for being present. A multi-pronged approach is the best way to eliminate an infestation and if you stick with it, cockroaches in your house can be a thing of the past.