Quite known to many, cockroaches are among the most common household pests. Aside from that, they are also among the filthiest and nastiest nuisances that can ever infest your property. Many people shun the presence of roaches for they are known to carry and transmit bacteria and viruses. Hence, these disgusting critters are the last things you want anywhere near your food or your belongings.
Unfortunately, roaches are so stubborn and are not easy to get rid of. They are also flexible so that they can survive all year round regardless of the weather and environment they are in. Being omnivorous pests, roaches can consume any type of food source and what mainly attract them to your home are food waste and humidity.
According to Scott Hodges, as quoted by Perry and Allen on Forbes (2021), roaches put you at risk for dangerous viruses like E. coli, Salmonella, Streptococcus, and Staphylococcus. They also trigger allergies and asthma symptoms, especially among children.
Roaches are the kind of pests that go crawling anywhere where there is an abundance of food and poor hygiene. You can find them in garbage bins, sewers, drains, bathrooms, kitchens, septic tanks, basements, laundry rooms, and just any place that is dark and moist bringing with them various microbes that cause harm to our health. However, this does not mean these disgusting pests do not invade a clean household. Regardless of hygiene, roaches will still infiltrate your home as long as they can sense the smell of food and there is an opening that allows them access indoors.
One of the first steps to cockroach control is to identify the telltale signs of cockroaches’ presence, which include:
- Droppings – Roaches leave their black grainy droppings everywhere they go. You can find these tiny black specks behind or underneath your kitchen appliances (i.e. stove and fridge), cabinet tops, along floor corners, under the sink, inside drawers, and other dark areas in the house.
- Smear marks – Roaches love to dwell in a humid environment. As they crawl along floors, walls, and other horizontal surfaces, they make irregular brown smear marks.
- Unpleasant musky smell – This musky odor comes from the cockroaches’ droppings. The smell is so intense it contaminates the home atmosphere and is even more palpable when the infestation is heavy.
- Exoskeletons – Roaches shed their skin about 5 to 8 times before they mature completely. Their exoskeletons or molted skins can be spotted in their breeding areas.
- Eggs and egg casings – Cockroaches usually leave behind their casings after their eggs are hatched. These casings are brownish and oval-shaped and may be found in dark and moist areas of your home such as food cabinets, under the fridge or sink, and around leaky pipes.
- Property damage – Cockroaches also chew on objects like paper, leather, food packaging, and/or book pages.
You should immediately take action if you have cockroaches at home and not wait for the infestation to worsen. Here are effective ways to get rid of these pesky pests:
- Clean up and starve the roaches. Filthy spaces are very tempting to roaches and cleaning up your home to keep these pests at bay entails a great deal of effort and vigilance. “This Old House” emphasizes that, since roaches can survive without food and water for months, homeowners need to be stricter when it comes to hygiene and sanitation. We need to immediately clean up food spills and food crumbs and do away with anything that attracts roaches. Trash must be disposed of properly and regularly and all spaces at home that are mostly frequented by roaches must be kept clean, dry, and free from any food debris.
- Chemical Baits and Traps. Baits and traps can be bought over the counter. They must be stationed in areas like under the sink, inside cabinets, or near garbage cans. According to Potter (2018), insecticides formulated as baits, when used correctly, are even more effective than professional cockroach control procedures. Chemical baits are combined with a food attractant. Since they are slow-acting, roaches who have ingested the insecticide will unknowingly infect the others in the nest. On the other hand, roach traps contain a sticky substance intended for getting the roaches stuck on the trap.
- Boric Acid. Using boric acid is a natural way of exterminating cockroaches. Boric acid, which has a powdery texture, should be scattered lightly on dry surfaces such as floors, drawers, floor corners, beneath the fridge, and under the sink. However, one must be careful when applying and storing boric acid at home, especially if you have old people and small children since it contains poisonous ingredients.
- Baking Soda. To attract the roaches’ attention, you need to add diced onions or sugar to the baking soda. Once ingested, the baking soda causes the roaches’ stomachs to bloat or inflate, which will lead the pests to their deaths.
- Diatomaceous Earth. Similar to boric acid, DE is a powdery substance that has to be sprinkled on cockroach-infested zones. The pulverized sediments present in DE absorb the fats and oils of the roaches’ exoskeletons, which leads to their dehydration and then death. The wearing of masks and gloves is recommended when handling DE. Inhaling the substance can be dangerous to your lungs.
- Essential Oils. Essential oils have been regarded as natural pest repellents. There are various kinds of essential oils but among the most tested and effective ones are lemongrass and peppermint. You may mix the essential oil with some water and spray it on the dwelling and hiding spots of the cockroaches.
- Seek professional help. The most practical way to solve your cockroach problem at home is to call a professional cockroach exterminator especially if you are dealing with a heavy infestation.
When it comes to effective pest control, the aforementioned ways will be useful to homeowners. As per a professional in roaches pest control in Stewartstown, PA, “Eliminating cockroaches, for good is never an easy task.” Overall, the most important thing to remember to keep roaches away is to thoroughly remove all access points as well as the water and food sources inside your household. Without their survival tools, roaches will have no way of thriving.