Feb132015

"Why Do I Have Roaches?"

The word “cockroach”, when mentioned, can send shivers down your spine. No homeowner wants it known throughout their neighborhood that they have a cockroach infestation. The public's general response is: “Roaches are only found in dirty houses”.

Not true, roaches can get into the cleanest of living spaces. In most situations, we unknowingly bring them home. One may have burrowed into a paper grocery bag or jumped into your briefcase at work. Or you could have brought roach eggs into your new homestead without knowing it.

Roaches can even crawl through tiny gaps around doors, pipes and other open spaces. Some adults can grow fairly large, but can shimmy through slits as thin as one-sixteenth of an inch (0.15 centimeters). Roaches aren't simply attracted to messy households, although that will extend their stay. Instead, common roaches that invade homes are seeking out warmth, moisture and darkness which causes them to become so widespread because they thrive on very little.

Roaches are especially drawn to paper products because they readily absorb a certain pheromone, or chemical attractor, that roaches emit. This aggregation pheromone is like a GPS system. It communicates the insects' locations to other ones around and leaves a trail for them to find their ways back and forth.

Here are a few tips to help prevent roaches from invading your livingspace:

  • Get any fresh fruits,vegetables and bread off the counters and into airtight containers.

  • Check through your groceries and secure open bags and boxes.

  • Clean the stove, inside the oven and underneath, the microwave and other appliances. Pay attention to grease because even small spots attract roaches.

  • Sweep or vacuum behind large appliances and remove any food waste at the bottom of dishwashers.

  • General piles of clutter where roaches can hide.

  • Do not leave dirty dishes in the sink.

  • Sweep routinely after cooking and never abandon food on counter tops.

  • Take your trash out regularly as well.

  • Items in particular that you should get rid of include:

     

    • Piled newspapers

    • Cardboard boxes

    • Paper bags

  • Perhaps more than food, roaches seek out watering holes. Search your home for places that could collect water, such as plants, the drip plate under your refrigerator or condensation around pipes. Try to keep those areas dry, especially at night when roaches feed.
  • Place stoppers over your drains and check your faucets to ensure that screens cover their spouts where roaches could crawl in.

Because roaches eat garbage and waste, they can spread bacteria like Salmonella and Shigella from place to place. As they walk, they leave trails of fecal matter, which they use to find their way around. On top of being gross, these trails can cause stains and odors. The proteins in cockroach saliva and waste can also cause allergies and aggravate asthma.

Cockroaches can be extremely difficult to get rid of. One reason is because of their natural behavior. They reproduce quickly and are hard to kill. Since they're nocturnal, many people don't notice their presence until there are so many that they've run out of places to hide.

Out of the 4,000 roach species that exist in the world, only a handful of them plague homes and businesses. These pest species include:

  • Blatella germanica, the German cockroach

  • Periplaneta americana, the American cockroach or palmetto bug

  • Supella longipalpa, the brown-banded cockroach

  • Blatta orientalis, the oriental cockroach

 

Click here to learn more about roaches and childhood asthma

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