How Do You Get Cockroaches In Your Apartment?
While there are a lot of benefits to living in an apartment, a stigma of apartment living that makes people avoid the idea of there is the likelihood of inheriting a cockroach infestation. Cockroaches, in particular German cockroaches and American cockroaches, are notorious for invading and infesting apartments with ease.
Apartments in big cities, especially those that are in the Southern United States, are always a hotbed for cockroaches because of mild winters and moist, warm and humid conditions year round. Couple those environmental conditions with the fact that apartments have multiple families living in close quarters with one another and you have a perfect scenario for cockroaches to move in and benefit.
The most frustrating thing about encountering a cockroach infestation in your apartment is how difficult they are to get rid of. Unlike a standalone single-family home, an apartment building has your unit adjacent to other units to the right of you, the left of you, above you and below you so you can encounter a cockroach infestation through no fault of your own via your neighbors having an infestation and if you kill the cockroaches you have, they may just keep on coming back from other units to where you are in a never-ending battle with cockroaches for the duration of your lease.
As hopeless and bleak as it may seem, there are ways you can overcome an apartment cockroach infestation when you have the right approach and systems in place to deter roaches from targeting your home. In this article we will cover how cockroaches get into your apartment and how you can eliminate cockroaches from your unit and keep them gone in spite of the habits and infestations that your neighbors may have.
How Cockroaches Inhabit Apartments
While a cockroach infestation may come as a surprise to you when they appear all of a sudden during a trip to the fridge at night or when you find an item in your apartment that is crawling with them, cockroaches are there for a reason.
Cockroaches only need a few essential things for their survival: food, water and shelter. German cockroaches specifically have adapted to the point where they absolutely need to live among humans or within indoor man-made structures to survive; they can’t cut it in the wild anymore.
Apartments in particular give cockroaches a plethora of options for food and water and what would seem like an infinite number of places for shelter. The way apartments are set up, the plumbing and electrical wiring are interconnected between all the units of the building. What is also true about apartments is that units share walls. Cockroaches take full advantage of this by using the plumbing and electrical wiring system as their own personal freeway to travel from unit to unit whenever they desire. They will also move between gaps, holes and crack in wall voids. If one unit is too tidy and there isn’t a lot of food or water options available, they’ll move on to the next unit over to forage for their next meal.
But how do they infest to begin with? The following ways are the most common:
You Accidentally Brought Them In
We are not trying to point fingers here but it is not uncommon for movers into an apartment to unknowingly transport cockroaches to their new place. Cockroaches have an affinity for cardboard, and thus they likely infest cardboard boxes that are laying around. During the moving process they may have crawled into your belongings, they may have been in the UHaul you rented or at a storage facility where you kept your things.
Cockroaches are known hitchhikers and will come along for the ride to your new apartment. You may have not seen them during the move but it really takes only a small handful of roaches ending up in your unit to eventually create a full blown infestation within a few weeks or months because of cockroaches constant breeding and egg laying habits and the quick turnaround time of a cockroach going from egg to reproducing adult.
Your Neighbors Have Them
This is one of the most frustrating reasons that you may encounter cockroaches because there is very little that you could actively do about your neighbors. If you’re neat and your neighbors are slobs and have bad, inconsistent cleaning habits, naturally they are going to attract cockroaches. When the cockroach population grows large enough, cockroaches within the nest will expand and move out, which means your apartment unit is their next destination to set up a new camp.
So it’s pretty much out of your personal control. You’re not their mother, so how would it look if you were to go to them and tell them that they need to be cleaner and kill their cockroach infestation because the infestation has spread to your unit? It wouldn’t be a pretty scene. While you can’t pick or manage your neighbors unit, you can at least control what happens in your unit but something you can do is advise your neighbors or the apartment management that a cockroach problem is among and everyone should make a concerted effort to be cleaner to try and address the infestation.
They Were Already There
When you browsed the apartment prior to moving, you were probably given a nice tour of the apartment, possibly even of your unit to see that it was spic and span. Apartment management usually work hard to clean up an available unit: clean the carpets, repair any issues, and possibly even conduct pest control. Or they may do the bare minimum.
No matter how much effort they put it, cockroaches are persistent and when a unit has been emptied out and cleaned up, cockroaches that had infested the previous tenants unit may still be there, hiding in cracks and crevices, waiting for the opportune time to come out and scavenge for food and water. This is likely soon after you have moved in and are settled.
Remove Cockroaches From Your Apartment
As we mentioned earlier, cockroach control when you live in an apartment complex is not easy, especially when compared to a standalone home where you don’t have to share walls with neighbors or have people living above and below you.
But that doesn’t mean that it is impossible. To be successful in getting rid of cockroaches from your apartment unit, you will need to be persistent, consistent and have the right control products at your disposal.
Regardless of the habits of your apartment neighbors and whether they have an infestation or not, you can make it so at least your unit doesn’t have roaches infesting. The way this is possible is a three step approach.
1. Take Away Food, Water and Shelter Sources
Cockroaches are inhabiting your home because there is an ample amount of food, water and shelter areas for them to enjoy. They use the shelter areas—which are usually tight spaces, electronics, dark secluded areas of your home, to rest during the day and then at night they become active, eating and drinking whatever they can find while you are asleep.
The most important step of cockroach control is making the cockroaches have to really work for their meals by cleaning up really well, and not just as a one time thing, but everyday. Make it a nightly routine before bedtime to clean up everything. Vacuum and sweep up your kitchen area, remove crumbs and food debris on your dining table and kitchen counters. Grease and syrup spills should be wiped away. Clean out your kitchen appliances like your toasters, microwaves and under your fridge for any food particles.
Washing your dishes is also crucial as cockroaches will eat food on dirty dishes that have been stacked up in the sink overnight. Take out your trash nightly as cockroaches will try to get into your overflowing trash can to eat anything inside. Do a thorough job every night and the cockroach population will be frustrated by the lack of food.
Eliminating water is even more important since while cockroaches can go 30 days without actual food, they can only go a week without water before they die. Keeping your kitchen and bathroom areas in particular as dry as possible before going to bed at night is vital to making cockroaches uncomfortable in your home so they’ll go elsewhere.
Lastly, take away shelter by reducing clutter in your kitchen as much as possible. Throw out food items in your pantries and cabinets that are old or you don’t intend to eat. The less clutter there is, the more vulnerable the cockroaches will be because they won’t have the amount of hiding spaces that they previously enjoyed.
While this may seem like a laborious routine to do daily, if you are keeping consistently clean, it should be less work to do at night time and may just require a quick 15 minute cleanup.
2. Caulk the Cockroaches Out
Caulk is an apartment dwellers best friend against cockroaches. You may be keeping your unit tidy, but cockroaches still have a way into your home through cracks and crevices between units. Caulk will help you to put a stop to the ease of travel for the cockroaches.
Arm yourself with a caulking gun and caulk and go around your kitchen and bathrooms in particular, sealing up cracks in the baseboards and trim, along cabinetry, under counters, spaces between wall voids and other such areas.
What this doe is take away even more hiding spaces cockroaches have and will make it tough for cockroaches in other units to get into your apartment. This can even trap cockroaches within a space where they will end up dying due to their being no way to escape.
You may not be able to get every crack and crevice in your home but just making an active effort of going around your home will make your home impenetrable to cockroaches.
3. Finish them With Cockroach Control Products
Once you have done your due diligence with cleanup and sealing gaps, holes and entry points with caulk, it’s time to deal a fatal blow to the cockroaches that remain in your apartment unit. It is important to use reputable cockroach control products as there are products out there that work better than others.
It is also important to use more than one cockroach killing product as cockroach are clever and will try to avoid one control method, so by having a varied arsenal, when one item fails to do the job, the other product will.
The top products we suggest for apartment cockroach control is a combination of cockroach bait, boric acid powder, roach traps and an residual roach killer. Cockroach baits are great for killing adult cockroaches. They contain a slow-killing poison that is mixed with a palatable food ingredient cockroaches enjoy such as sweets or protein. If you did a good job with clean up and cutting off food sources, bait becomes super effective because it will be the only food option cockroaches will have to eat once laid out.
Cockroaches will eat the bait and alert others to food being available and they will start to share the bait among one another and start dropping dead one by one. Cockroaches eat the feces and dead bodies of fallen roaches and will spread the poison around so everyone dies. The issue is that some cockroach can catch on and become bait averse and will avoid bait, and that’s why it helps to have another option to control them.
Boric acid is a powder form of cockroach killer that can be dusted along areas where you have seen cockroach activity. Boric acid can get pick up by the roach from crawling over it or ingesting it and will kill cockroaches via dehydration. The good thing about it being in powder form is that it will remain effective for long periods of time as long as it stays dry and it can be applied in hard to penetrate areas using a handheld duster. A little can go a long way in killing the cockroach population.
Cockroach Traps are a perfect option for trapping and monitoring. Easy to place in areas that will be difficult to reach, apply a roach bait or dust.
Finally, the use of a residual roach killer spray is a great option to a cockroach control program in that it puts a stop to the cockroaches incessant non-stop reproducing and multiplying. After you have baited and have reached a good control level, then it is time to apply a residual roach killer. This effectively puts an end to the entire population when combined with the adult cockroach killing products.
Cockroaches in your apartment can make your stay at an apartment miserable, but you shouldn’t have to live with it. By implementing the steps in this helpful guide, you can give cockroaches a permanent eviction notice and kick them out of your unit with no chance of return.
Roaches like to congregate in harborages called nests. Nests often contain large numbers of roaches (dead or alive), shed skins, egg cases, feces, and a strong odor. In order to control the cockroach population in your home, it is important to be able to locate nests so that you can place baits nearby.
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Cockroaches are common pests in homes and apartment buildings across the country. In order to get rid of a roach infestation, you must take care of all stages, including the adults, nymphs, and eggs.