There is nothing more disgusting than finding a cockroach helping itself to your food. Unfortunately, they are one of the most common pests in the UK household, especially during winter and early spring. The pesky little insects tend to be far more dangerous than their looks may show. While they certainly won’t attack you and can’t do serious damage to your property, they carry dangerous diseases and transmit them to everything they touch. Thus, any place where cockroaches crawl over instantly becomes a health hazard. Moreover, food becomes contaminated and needs to be thrown out. Needless to say, having this pest inside your home is not ideal, so we prepared a handbook with everything you need to know about cockroaches if you are dealing with them right now.
What attracts cockroaches to your home
Regardless of what kind of cockroach you have as an uninvited guest, they all find your home welcoming for the same reasons. Typically what attracts them most is an abundance of food. If you keep your food unprotected, you can expect more than cockroaches, though usually, they will be the first to come. Cockroaches are scavengers who can come in through various entry points. They will send a scout to check the conditions in your home, and if there is easily reachable food, soon there will be many more. To avoid this, all you need to do is to keep your home relatively clean. Leaving open food on the counter or inside kitchen cabinets is definitely a problem, just like leaving your garbage unsealed or forgetting dirty dishes in the sink overnight.
Moreover, unpacked and unprotected pet food can be an all-inclusive invitation toward roaches.
However, the food’s not the only preference in the cockroaches list. They also seek secure shelter. Thus the more cluttered your home is, the higher the chance of contracting roaches. However, even if you have your home regularly cleaned, that’s not a guarantee that cockroaches won’t visit your home, especially if you live in an apartment building. If one of your neighbours lives in a pigsty, having cockroaches in your apartment is inevitable.
Signs of a cockroach infestation
Usually, cockroaches are not the stealthiest pests. Though they try to stay out of sight, when their population increases, they become far more opportunistic to the point when they can literally attack your food as you are eating. That’s a normal reaction to the competition for sustenance. However, if you get to this point, there have been several other obvious signs you most probably ignored.
- Droppings – if you find a small black dust-like substance that usually is less than 1mm wide, this is probably a cockroach dropping. You must immediately clean and disinfect the area, as cockroach droppings may carry some dangerous diseases.
- Egg capsules – Cockroaches can easily breed out of control. They lay multiple eggs in a capsule. The size of the capsule depends on the cockroach type. For example, the brown cockroach has eight segments, while the German one has 18.
- Shed Skin – Not as scary as finding snake skin, but still equally disturbing. As insects grow in size, they tend to change their skin. Cockroaches usually do it 5-8 times in their lifetime. You will certainly find some shed skins if you have a cockroach infestation.
- Damage to food and property – That’s the easiest one to notice. Cockroaches eat everything. They even resort to cannibalism when one of their own dies. Thus, finding some small chew marks on food, packaging, or even some wooden fixtures is a clear sign you have a problem.
Cockroach hotspots to look out for
Cockroaches usually prefer places where they can easily hide and escape harm’s way. So typically, you will find them in various spots around the house. The bathroom is one of the obvious places, as cockroaches often come precisely from the sewage canal. Thus they can crow out of your drains. They love snacking on soap residue, toilet paper, and tissues. As they prefer hidden places with water access, they will probably hide near the plumbing behind the sink. However, they can feel just as comfortable behind bath furniture like cabinets or shelves.
The kitchen is another prominent place where roaches are found, as that’s where the food usually lies. They typically hide behind hanging kitchen cabinets, behind paintings, or even inside your appliances. They love the microwave, coffee maker, and oven, as these are the warmest places in the kitchen.
Naturally, these pests can also be found in basements, laundry rooms, boiler rooms, attics, and any other room where they can find quick access to food and water.
How to prevent cockroaches from invading
Preventing cockroaches from entering your home is not an easy task. In fact, you may find it much more difficult than keeping any other pest away. Still, there are some measures you can take.
- Keep your home clean
- Seal all cracks and holes in your walls
- Get your garden beds away from your home
- Forget about cardboard boxes in your storage rooms and kitchen
- Prevent any easy access to water
These solutions may sound like easy enough chores, but they can’t prevent cockroaches from entering your home 100 %.
How to exterminate cockroaches at home
When exterminating cockroaches, your task can be even more challenging. Thankfully, there are several ways you can guarantee your success. The best course of action is to use the cockroaches’ nature against them.
Use glue strips
Cockroaches are creatures of habit and usually take the same routes inside and outside your kitchen. So placing glue traps in several places around your home may show you where the nests lie. Moreover, this is highly effective in capturing pests. Just note that cockroaches can survive extremely long times without food or water, so don’t expect them to be dead once you go and check the trap.
The best places to place such traps are under the sink, behind appliances, and near electric outlets.
The only downside of this method is they might get overwhelmed if you have a more serious pest problem.
Kill them with boric acid
Cockroaches are extremely resilient creatures. Fortunately, we know of several poisons that can effectively eliminate them. For example, boric acid is one that pesky insects can’t survive. Essentially, that mixture of boron and water is perfectly fine for humans and common house pets like cats and dogs. We won’t get into too much excruciating detail about how the poison works, but basically, it affects the cockroach’s nervous system.
Creating a trap is also very easy. All you need is a paper plate, some bait, and the boric acid. Sprinkle the acid on the paper plate, place the bait in the middle, and you’re ready to go. You can use almost anything as bait, but the higher the sugar content, the more lucrative it will be for the roaches.
Sprinkle diatomaceous earth
Another natural ingredient you can trust is diatomaceous earth. It’s made out of fossilised pulverised algae and has extremely sharp particles that cause dehydration. When in contact with a cockroach, the diatomaceous earth severely damages its exoskeleton and causes extreme dehydration, leading to its death. All you must do is sprinkle some of the compound on areas with high cockroach activity, and the pests will do the rest.
Repel roaches with essential oils
Just like any pests, cockroaches are also severely disturbed by some essential oils. Spraying peppermint or lemongrass near entry points might be enough to deter these pesky pests from ever coming into your home.
Choose the easier way
Usually, the easiest way to deal with pests is by calling a professional cockroach control service provider. The only downside is having to pay someone to solve your problem, but on the other hand, you get much better and faster results. So, if you have a cockroach problem and want a quick answer, DIY solutions are not the optimal way to go. Still, if you prefer to eliminate the roaches yourself, the tips above are enough to win this unequal battle.