Where Do Cockroaches Come From and What You Can Do About It
It seemed like it was just yesterday (and it probably was) that your home was pest-free. But today, you made the shocking discovery that you are not alone but rather, you are sharing your living space with disgusting cockroaches! But where did they come from?
The first encounter with a new cockroach infestation is usually at night when you woke up in the middle of the night to go to the kitchen and when flipping the lights on you see a number of cockroaches scattering. Your reaction of horror may give way to confusion. “Why do I have cockroaches? I’m not a dirty person,” you may say to yourself. “I vacuum, I don’t leave dirty dishes out and I never leave my doors or windows open. What am I doing wrong?”
An erroneous belief is that cockroaches only invade homes that are filthy. The fact of the matter is, cockroaches will invade homes regardless of whether you keep it neat and tidy or if you’re a slob. Cockroaches will sneak their way indoors indiscriminately which means even if you keep the place spotless, cockroaches will muck things up and create health hazards with their knack for spreading disease and allergens.
If you are confused as to how your home came down with a roach infestation when at one point there wasn’t one you may be surprised to find out that they cockroaches may have already been present before you moved in. Another surprising way that roaches can get into a home if from hitchhiking onto your belongings while you were outdoors, at the grocery store or some other place where they unsuspectingly snuck onto your things.
In this article, we will uncover the question of where cockroaches come from, how they get into your home and what you can do to rid them from your home and prevent them from making a return.
The Most Common Cockroach Invaders
Of the 3,500 species of cockroach found in the world, only about 69 like to infest human dwellings, and an even smaller number is known to be a common home invader in the United States. If there’s one ability that cockroaches of all species have mastered, it is their knack for sneaking and squeezing their way into places where they are not wanted.
The most common cockroaches that most frequently are found invading homes are German Cockroaches, Oriental Cockroaches, Brown-Banded Cockroaches and American Cockroaches. While these cockroaches share some similarities when it comes to tendencies and appearance, there are some key differences that set them apart. It is important when you have a cockroach infestation to identify the specific cockroach as the knowledge of the roach species and their habits can help you in eliminating the pest from your home and creating conditions that will make it less likely that they re-invade
German cockroaches are the most common of indoor cockroaches and are likely the cockroach you may be encountering at home. These cockroaches thrive in areas where people live in close quarters such as apartments and suburban neighborhoods because they can easily travel from home to home or unit to unit to satisfy their needs for food, water and shelter.
German cockroaches are attracted to dark, warm, humid areas in the home where they have close access to food and water. They most usually set up their nests in kitchens, in cracks and crevices of cabinets, under sinks or under or behind appliances like the refrigerator. They’re also very actively found in bathrooms. To control German cockroach infestations it is important that you vacuum up and wipe away crumbs and spills, and refrain from leaving dirty dishes in the sink overnight. All of your food should be put away in tightly sealed containers. Garbage should also be securely contained with a tight-fitting lid and tossed out daily.
Recommended Read: German Cockroach How to Identify Them
Oriental cockroaches are a larger sized cockroach that have a distinct shiny black appearance. Much like German Cockroaches, Oriental roaches also like to stay in places where it is cool, dark and moist. Outdoors you may encounter Oriental Roaches where there is a lot of leaf litter and mulch, under patio bricks and around the foundation of a home where there is moist soil.
Indoors, Oriental cockroaches like to hang around sewer drains, basements, crawl spaces and around lower floors of apartment complexes and bathrooms. You may also spot them around plumbing and under sinks, under the fridge, and in laundry rooms. The key to eliminating this roach is reducing moisture and reducing clutter as much as possible.
Brown-banded cockroaches differ from German and Oriental cockroaches in that they actually prefer places that are warmer and drier rather than moist and damp. Brown-Banded cockroaches also are spotted high up rather than down low so you may see them in ceiling corners, high cabinets, behind framed pictures or artwork, on bookshelves and other such places. Warm areas where they may be found are around electronics, inside of televisions and computers or even where the refrigerator motor is.
The biggest of the common cockroaches that inhabit indoor dwellings, the American cockroach actually prefers to be outdoors but often finds its way into homes, restaurants and commercial buildings via plumbing or drains and decides to stick around to consume whatever food it could easily find.
American Cockroaches enjoy staying where it is warm and moist and are often discovered in boiler rooms, sewer drains, basements, around the water heater and other similar spaces.
Common Ways Roaches Gain Access Indoors
Now that you are familiar with the usual suspects, we can now move forward to how cockroaches get into the house to begin with especially if previously you didn’t have an infestation and cockroaches appeared all of a sudden without warning.
They Hitchhiked From Someplace Else
We understand if you think that you would be the last person to ever bring cockroaches into your home, but this may be the case, albeit without you knowing. Cockroaches have a tendency to hitchhike from place to place and if you are not careful with what you bring into your home, they may be tagging along.
It’s not far fetched that cockroaches find their way in cardboard boxes when you are moving or sneaking into luggage or even the groceries you bring home. Just one single pregnant cockroach that stumbled into your belongings could be the start of a full-blown cockroach infestation.
If you are a fan of purchasing things second hand like game consoles, electronics or furniture, cockroaches may be a by-product of trying to save some money.
If all of this is alarming to you, then hopefully you will make sure to be vigilant and careful when bringing outside items into your home, checking your groceries before putting them in your pantries, checking and discarding cardboard moving boxes after you are done using them and giving secondhand items a good inspection before buying them or, if you do buy it, give it a good cleaning/vacuuming before bringing it inside.
Drains and Plumbing
Cockroaches love to be where it’s warm or wherever water is so it’s no surprise they are found around plumbing. In fact, among the main ways they sneak into homes is by traveling through drains and plumbing pipes. If you live in an apartment building, this can be one of their main ways into your home as they can travel from unit to unit through the pipes. This is why even if you keep a spotless house, if your neighbor doesn’t and has roaches, you very well could get them to when they decide to trek on over to your unit.
To keep cockroaches from using drains and plumbing as a traveling highway into your home, make sure to plug drains before going to bed at night with a rubber stopper. Address plumbing leaks and make sure pipes are sealed and as dry as possible on their exterior. Use steel wool or copper mesh around plumbing to make it harder for roaches to travel.
Cracks and Gaps Around Your Home Exterior
Cockroaches, even larger ones have slender flat bodies that make it easy for them to wriggle their way into the tiniest of cracks and openings. This means that your home may be covered in gaps and holes that serve as points of entry for roaches to get inside. Also if there are gaps and cracks in your windows, vents or doors, roaches will get indoors without much difficulty.
Something you can do is get caulk and a caulking gun and go around the entire perimeter of your home to seal off and cracks, gaps, and holes that cockroaches may use to get in. Even in your kitchen, you should seal off any cracks and crevices which may be hiding places for cockroaches or where they keep their nest. For areas under doors, you can install a door sweep that will take away that gap that cockroaches use to easily slip under the door and inside.
Another thing you can do is to apply a barrier treatment of a strong repellent insecticide around the perimeter of your home. These products often have a long residual effect that will stay effective for up to 3 months. If you spray quarterly, you can get year-long control of cockroaches.
No Cockroaches Allowed
Cockroaches will stick around as long as you’ll have them so if you really want them to stay away you will need to be cognizant of how they get into homes and what attracts them to your home to begin with and then perform the environmental modifications mentioned above.
Now that you know from where cockroaches come from, you can send a clear message that they are not wanted and that they should go BACK where they came from.