Removing cockroaches from your home
There are several types of cockroaches that can infest homes and businesses; most commonly the German cockroach and the American cockroach. While just the thought of cockroach infestation is disturbing to most people, they also present a public health hazard. They can contaminate food and eating utensils, and may also carry certain human pathogens like E. coli and salmonella, which give rise to serious and sometimes life-threatening illnesses. The waste products left behind by cockroaches can also aggravate or trigger problems in children and adults with allergies and asthma.
The German cockroach thrives in a warm, humid environment of 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit and is most often found in the humid areas of homes such as kitchens and bathrooms. Cockroaches often hide in small nooks and crevices in cabinetry such as cracks or beneath drawers, and also near plumbing fixtures under kitchen and bathroom sinks. They are usually concentrated in these areas, and aren't found as often in other areas of homes and businesses, unless the infestation is unusually large.
The American cockroach tends to live near food preparation areas, making it far more common in restaurants and markets than in private homes. Like the German cockroach, the American cockroach also lives in warm, moist environments, but thrives in higher temperatures of 82 degrees Fahrenheit or more. Restaurant kitchens are especially prone to American cockroach infestation.
To prevent serious cockroach infestation, there are cockroach control methods that can be taken by home and business owners. The three main cockroach control methods are:
- Prevention. Stop cockroaches from entering your home or business by checking bags and boxes before you bring them in, especially if they've come from somewhere that you suspect may be infested with cockroaches.
- Sanitization. Do not leave food or debris in the open, and make sure all food is put away and dirty dishes are cleared daily – this includes pet dishes. Repair leaky plumbing, and improve ventilation in areas where condensation and humidity tends to build up.
- Elimination. Get rid of cockroach habitats by removing boxes, especially those made with corrugated cardboard. Seal cracks and crevices with caulking. Eliminate unnecessary clutter such as newspapers, bags and boxes, and leave open space between items in storage to discourage cockroaches from hiding there.
Vacuums and sticky traps can help when the cockroach infestation is limited, but professional cockroach extermination is often necessary in cases of established infestations. Cockroach extermination involves the application of insecticides by an experienced pest management company, and this works best when used in tandem with prevention and sanitation measures.