Cockroaches are one of the pests that people do not want to find on their property. Learn more about their biology, why you do not want them around, and how to control these insects.
Biology of Cockroaches
Cockroaches develop via a process that involves incomplete metamorphosis. Females will deposit their egg sacks in areas where the young should find favorable conditions for growth. The next stage is the nymphs that emerge from the eggs. Those nymphs are very similar in appearance to adult cockroaches, except they do not have wings and are smaller in size. The nymphs then go through several instars or stages between molts. Cockroaches do not pass through any pupal stage. It is possible for the time from hatching to a cockroach reaching its reproductive age to be just two or three months. Once they reach adulthood, cockroaches can live up to a year in ideal situations. Since circumstances are not typically ideal, most cockroaches end up living between three and six months instead. Based on the short amount of time needed to reach maturity, it should be somewhat obvious why cockroaches are considered prolific. During the typical 3 or 4 months that a German cockroach, for example, will live, the female produces between 4 and 6 egg sacs, with each having 30 to 40 eggs. Putting that together, each female cockroach has the reproductive potential to produce 120 to 140 offspring within its life. Once you account for the fact that the nymphs can reach their sexual maturity in as little as eight weeks given the right conditions, it is easy to see how a single female cockroach can become hundreds or thousands in a year.
Why Cockroaches Are Pests
One of the biggest problems associated with cockroaches is health concerns. These insects are pests since they can transmit many serious illnesses, worsening others. Just some of the diseases they can either transmit or worsen include E. Coli, Salmonella, food poisoning, Hepatitis E, dysentery, diarrhea, and asthma. Additionally, roaches are responsible for contaminating hundreds of thousands of pounds’ worth of food every single year. This occurs both via direct contact and through the shedding of skins which then cause the contamination.
There is also the issue that cockroaches tend to be linked to a lack of proper sanitation. As such, when they are present, this can hurt the reputation of a business or home. Cockroaches can also leave behind foul smells that may last for a long time and be hard to eliminate. Not only are cockroaches problematic, but the difficulty with which they are eradicated also helps classify them as pests. They can become resistant to insecticides fairly quickly, reproduce quickly, and are highly adaptable.
Methods for Controlling Cockroaches
Because cockroaches reproduce so quickly, it is essential that you start taking steps to control them right away. Begin by using a flashlight to inspect the common roach hiding spots, like behind the fridge, crevices in your shelves and cabinets, and under your sink. You can also use glue strips to figure out which areas have the most roach activity. Part of professional control of roaches should always include caulking up any gaps that new cockroaches can use to get inside. Otherwise, you will have an endless cycle of cockroaches breaking into your home for you to kill and remove.
Professionals will commonly suggest bait stations or gel bait to kill cockroaches. You can apply the gel bait in crevices and cracks as well as under baseboards. The downside with a gel bait is that you will have dead cockroaches to clean up, but at least you will not have to deal with the live ones. Bait stations have the roaches feed on poisoned bait before going back to their home to die. This method, however, will not typically get all of the cockroaches, so it must be combined with another approach. Boric acid is a useful supplement to other methods of controlling cockroaches and it is among the best killers of roaches. The issue, however, is that boric acid can easily move with air currents and you may misapply it. When this happens, it can pose a health risk to pets and children. Because of this, you should leave the boric acid application to the professionals and combine it with another treatment method. When it comes down to it, the absolute best method for dealing with cockroaches is to hire a professional and let them take care of it. They will have the knowledge of which treatments work best and are safe for your family. They will also be able to spot the signs of roaches to target the insects in their main locations.
DIY Tips to Get Rid of Cockroaches
You can supplement the professional control methods for dealing with cockroaches with some simple DIY methods. These are also a good first line of defense to put into place while you wait for the professional methods to work. The most important DIY method to prevent and eliminate cockroaches is to eliminate their food sources. This means that you should clean your kitchen appliances, including the recesses, backs, and under areas. Try not to eat in multiple rooms of the home and regularly clean out your cabinets for spills. Opt for a trash can that has a tight-fitting lid and keep your food securely stored in sealed containers. Make it a point to clean your kitchen floor, ideally every night, to get rid of any leftover food crumbs.
Vacuum the areas of your home that are unrelated to food regularly as well, ideally every two or three days. This will not only help with sanitation, but also get rid of cockroach body parts, skins, feces, and egg sacs. Any of those roach parts have pheromones that could potentially attract more roaches. Do not forget to also remove potential food from immediately outside your home. This includes keeping your outdoor trash bins clean and away from the building. You can also try some natural remedies to help get rid of cockroaches, such as baking soda with sugar, fabric softener spray, bay leaves, lemon juice or peels, or homemade coffee traps. For the best results, combine your DIY methods of cockroach control with professional methods.
Go back to the Home Pest Control home page or email us for more info about Cockroaches