What Causes Roaches in a Clean House

What Causes Roaches in a Clean

What Causes Roaches in a Clean House?

Contents

Cockroaches, specifically German cockroaches, are often associated with dirty and unsanitary homes, which can be true to an extent. But you’re an excellent housekeeper and know good and well your home is clean. So why are you suddenly seeing roaches in your house?

What Causes Roaches in a Clean

You may be relieved to know that the issue probably stems from factors that don’t involve your cleaning abilities. Learn what causes roaches in a clean house and what attracts roaches to even the tidiest of homes.

The Region of the United States in Which You Live

First, consider where you live. For example, if you call a state like Florida, Georgia or Alabama home, you’re bound to have roaches get into the house at some point. This is especially true if you live in an area with a lot of American cockroaches, sometimes referred to as palmetto bugs.

Does seeing a palmetto bug in your home one evening after there’s been a lot of traffic in and out of the side door mean you have an unsanitary home or a roach infestation? Not necessarily. It’s more likely one just snuck in an opening, such as under a window seal gap, screen door, etc.

Areas in Your Home That Need Repairing

The Region of the United States in Which You Live

When thinking about what causes roaches in a clean house, you probably first land on the areas that are within plain sight, such as kitchen counters, dining room floors and so forth. And it’s true that you do need to keep these places tidy and free of crumbs or food residue, as little daily messes such as those are part of what attracts roaches to a location.

But roaches are also looking for shelter and water. That means they’ll creep in through cracks in the exterior of your home, dryer vents and even gaps in between your wall and floor. Walk the perimeter of your house and seal these up to eliminate cockroach entry points. While you’re at it, repair any leaky spigots or sinks and unclog rain gutters to cut off water sources for the insects, including cockroaches.

Roach Entry Points and Attractants that Fade Into the Background

Repairs are one thing, but there are also areas of the home that we just don’t think about as being access points or attractants for roaches. And while they don’t necessarily need to be fixed, they do need to be addressed in order to help prevent a roach infestation. Some items that may blend into the background or be forgotten include:
  • The spaces between outside doors and floors
  • Window screens that aren’t flush or that have small tears
  • Air conditioner units that don’t fit properly in windows
  • Crumbs underneath toaster ovens, stoves or refrigerators
  • Pet food or water that’s left out at night
  • Trash cans that aren’t cleaned regularly (including bathroom trash cans)

What to Do if You Suspect a Roach Infestation

If you think cockroaches may have invaded your home, you want to act quickly. Roaches are prolific breeders. Don’t risk these insects getting out of hand by trying DIY cockroach removal methods. Rely on Terminix® to customize a cockroach prevention and control plan that fits the needs of your family.

The Best Mouse Trap Method

Everyone has seen the cartoon mouse trap: A big wedge of cheese perched precariously on a small wooden rectangle, just waiting for an unsuspecting mouse to come along. Most modern mouse traps don’t use pieces of cheese, although they can still use food as bait. One of the most popular baits, believe it or not, is peanut butter. There are still versions of the snap trap from cartoons, but there are also other kinds like electronic traps. Because these traps usually mean dealing with dead mice, plenty of people wonder if there’s a way to help get rid of mice without classic mouse traps. Although mouse traps are the most effective in helping to get of mice, you can also try the following natural methods to see if they help remove these pesky rodents.

How to Help Remove Fruit Flies from Your Home

Fruit flies are one of the most common household pests and they can be a huge nuisance for homeowners. Not only that, but researchers have found that fruit flies can “transfer bacteria from a contaminated source, food, or waste to surfaces or ready-to-eat food.

How to Naturally Get Rid of Bugs on Plants

Buying houseplants can put you at risk for harboring unwanted pest infestations. Before these bugs cause damage to your new plant, know how to take care of them using natural remedies.

How to Help Prevent Mosquito Bites

Itchy bites and illness may occur after exposure to some arthropods such as mosquitoes and ticks. The bites can cause discomfort and, in some cases, transmit pathogens (bacteria, viruses and protozoans) that can cause a variety of diseases. Some examples of diseases that are of concern in the United States include: (mosquito) chikungunya, dengue, La Crosse encephalitis, West Nile fever, Zika; (tick) Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. The good news? There are many precautions you can take to help avoid bites from mosquitoes and ticks.

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What Bugs Are Related to the Cockroach?

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Cockroaches are insects that are members of the order Blattodea. While scientists formerly classified the mantids, stick insects, earwigs, grasshoppers and roaches in the same order, they have recently broken the group into several different orders. Though entomologists have adjusted the classification system, they still think these groups are closely related.

Cockroach Basics

Roaches are nocturnal scavengers found all over the world. Scientists have described more than 4,000 species worldwide. Roaches are fast, crawling insects that sometimes utilize communal hiding spaces. Roaches undergo gradual or incomplete metamorphosis.

Ear Wigs

The 1,000 worldwide earwig species comprise the order Dermaptera. Originally, this order contained grasshoppers and crickets, which are now categorized in the order Orthoptera. As Orthoptera has been elevated to the level of order, the earwigs are the sole remaining members of Dermaptera. Earwigs are among the closest relatives of the cockroaches and exhibit a number of similarities. Earwigs have legs that have evolved for running quickly, just as cockroaches have. The wide variety of foods eaten by earwigs — including grains, dead animals and paper — is similar to the opportunistic food habits of roaches. The name Dermatera means “skin wing” and refers to the leathery texture of the animals’ forewings.

Grasshoppers, Crickets, Katydids and Locusts

Grasshoppers, crickets, locusts and their kin make up the order Orthoptera. Most species of this clade have strong, well-developed rear legs used for jumping, though many species can also fly. Many orthopterans produce and hear sounds, either by rubbing their wings together or by rubbing the rear legs against a wing. Grasshoppers, locusts and katydids consume vegetation, but some crickets are scavengers — some mole crickets may even predate on other insects. More than 20,000 species live worldwide, and many have important economic impacts.

Stick Insects

Scientists classify stick insects in the order Phasmatodea. Stick insects are herbivores that primarily consume the leaves of trees at night, under the cover of darkness. As most species are unable to jump or fly, stick insects have few defenses other than their remarkable camouflage. The males of many species are smaller than the females; the males of some species ride on the backs of the females for extended periods.

Mantids

Mantids are among the closest relatives to the roaches, and comprise the order Mantodea. Approximately 20 mantid species inhabit North America, while 1,800 species live worldwide. All mantids are predators equipped with highly modified front legs used to grasp their prey. Though it’s often incorrectly seen as a sign of intelligence, mantids can rotate their head from side to side — a trait unique to their order.

See also:  What Do Wasps Eat, Western Exterminator

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7 Bugs that Look Like Cockroaches and How to Tell the Difference

If you’re on this page, you probably saw a bug that looks like a cockroach. If that’s the case, this page will hopefully identify what type of bug you’re dealing with. Once identified, you’ll know if the bug is one you need to be concerned about.

However not every bug or insect that have six legs, antennae, reddish brown or translucent wings is a cockroach; there are several other insect species that have a cockroach-like appearance but distinct characteristics and habitats that make them easy to distinguish.

Keep in mind that there are many species of cockroaches and looks vary greatly. If you want to see the types of cockroaches check out our guide on the best ways to get rid of cockroaches here.

Here is a List of Bugs That Look Like Cockroaches

1. Giant Water Bugs

Giant Water Bugs are often confused with cockroaches because they do have some similar physical characteristics.

However, they both are distinct and entirely different species with key differences lie in their size, habitat, and diet. Though cockroaches inhabit humid and damp places like basements, bathrooms, and sewers, they don’t live in water, while on the other hand, water bugs are found in freshwater sources or in standing water like ponds in the outdoors or in stagnant water in the garden or yard.

Water bugs are quite specific about their food choices and as they live in water, so they prefer to consume fresh food like small fish or tadpoles, unlike roaches that are notorious for eating away literally anything that they come across.

When it comes to size, water bugs measure up to one inch across as compared to cockroaches that have a slender appearance. Generally, water bugs have a darker and deeper body color that lacks the characteristic reddish-orange tint of the cockroaches. As compared to cockroaches, giant water bugs are aggressive in nature and their bites can be quite painful for humans, so it’s best to prevent their infestation by keeping your house’s surroundings clean and dry.

2. June Bugs or May Beetles

People who have never seen these flying insects or just got a passing glance of them often misidentify them as cockroaches, but there are basic differences that tell these two species apart.

May/June bugs are about the same size as cockroaches (½ to 1 inch), and just like cockroaches, their body color varies from reddish brown to black. But these beetles have a stockier appearance as compared to roaches with higher and rounded backs.

Farms and fields happen to be a favorable habitat for these beetles as they are vegetarian and feed upon leaves, on the contrary cockroaches prefer to live in indoors with no specific food choices. May/June bugs are benign and unlike cockroaches, they aren’t known for carrying diseases.

3. Ground Beetles

Generally, ground beetles are mistaken as cockroaches because of their dark and shiny bodies. Just like cockroaches, they have wide body frame, wings, and deep red/brown exterior but the distinguishing factor between the two is that the front wings of beetles are hardened while cockroaches have leathery wings.

Ground beetles though are often despised because of their resemblance with cockroaches, but they are not harmful pests; neither do they carry diseases, nor they destruct materials, in fact, they’re beneficial for gardens as they eat away pests that are detrimental for crops. Since these beetles are beneficial insects, so it’s better to prevent them instead of killing them and for this, you can set outdoor barriers to prevent their invasion and infestation.

4. Palo Verde Beetles

Found mostly in South-western part of US, these beetles have an uncanny resemblance to American cockroaches because of their size and color. However, these flying beetles are a distinct species and bear darker body color as compared to cockroaches. More so, Palo Verde Beetles have comparably harder shells and longer bodies than cockroaches. These insects lay their eggs under Palo Verde and Olive trees where the baby beetles live and feed upon roots till they mature which usually takes almost four years. Mature Palo Verde Beetles are almost 3 – 4 inches long.

5. Many Species of Crickets

Crickets are known for their chirping sound but upon spotting, most people confuse them with cockroaches because of their six legs, long antennae and reddish-brown/black bodies, all tricking them into believing them to be cockroaches. But all it takes is a little sleuthing to ascertain their true identity.

Crickets are smaller and faster than cockroaches and they prefer to live in outdoor settings. Unlike cockroaches, that are typically silent bugs, crickets come out during summer nights and sing which appear to us as persistent chirping noise. Their most distinctive feature is their long hind legs which they use for hopping. As compared to cockroaches, it’s easy to get rid of crickets and you’ll only require bug lights or cricket traps for the task.

6. Wood Boring Beetles

Due to their six legs, antennae, body shape, and brown translucent wings, wood boring beetles remarkably look same as cockroaches but they can fly, which mostly roaches can’t and there are other characteristics that tell these two bugs apart.

Some of these beetles species, like Locust borer beetles, have distinct red, black and yellow markings which you can clearly spot when they land. Similarly, Ash borer beetles move swiftly around and have dark body color as compared to cockroaches.

7. Asian Long-horned beetles

Despite bearing distinctive look and characteristics, sometimes the size and shape of Asian long-horned beetles baffle people and label them as cockroaches. With a little knowledge, it’s not difficult to discriminate between the two species; unlike cockroaches, the body of Asian long-horned beetles have a jet black color and irregular shaped prominent white spots. Moreover, their long antennae curl back and give the impression that they’re completely encircling the body.

So, next time you come across any of the above mentioned bugs, before jumping to a conclusion, closely examine them. Not all of them are harmful like cockroaches; some are beneficial for ecosystem while others may require specific pesticides and cockroach-specific pesticides may fail to prevent their infestation. In case you fail to identify the bugs, it’s better to take help of the professionals, because not only they’ll accurately determine the insects’ species you’re dealing with but if there’s an infestation, they will also provide pest-specific treatment to eliminate the bugs.

I’ve worked in many other industries as well, including consulting, managing, as well as at the ground level in fields including Food Service, Corporate Automotive sales and finance.

Over half of my life has been dedicated to providing service to people with a premium placed on excellence. Whether it be providing counsel, content, or hands-on support; my goal remains to add value to the lives of the people I serve. If you have any questions regarding pest control, leave them below. I would be happy to help you out any way I can.

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Bugs That Look Like Roaches

There are several bugs that closely resemble cockroaches and some people even confuse them for roaches while they’re something totally different. Knowing the kind of insect or bug that you’re experiencing, is vital so that you can take the necessary precautions to help you get rid of them and at the same time, protect yourself against the creatures. Some of the commonly mistaken bugs for cockroaches are; ground beetles, crickets, June bug, water bugs, Asian longhorn beetles to mention a few.

Bugs That Closely Resemble Cockroaches

I. June bugs

This are among the many bugs which are confused with cockroaches. For someone who has never seen one, it is almost certain that they’ll think it’s a cockroach. Despite the close resemblance, June bugs are quite different from cockroaches. For one, they are harmless although a bit annoying and do not carry diseases like roaches. Secondly, they’re prone to infesting farms and outdoor areas whereas the cockroaches are often found inside homes.

II. Ground beetles

One way or another, ground beetles will find their way into homes and most home owners will mistake them for roaches. As a matter of fact, they’re confused for the oriental cockroaches because of their black and shiny surface. From a close look, one may differentiate the ground beetle from roaches but from afar, this may be difficult since they look alike.The ground beetles are great insects since they’re known to be beneficial to gardens. This is because they feed on other insects that may destroy your crops.

III. Asian longhorn beetles

These bugs form part of the beetle family which closely resemble cockroaches. From the look of their bodies, it is hard to differentiate which is which however, one thing stands out on this bug, the length of its antennae’s. Unlike the cockroach, the Asian longhorn beetle have longer antennae, about 4 inches. Apart from that, this beetles share a lot in common to roaches from color, body appearance and size although not that conspicuous.

IV. Crickets

This loud and annoying bugs are really noisy and have a few similarities to cockroaches. Most of them are black or tan brown, colors which they share with the cockroaches. However, the roaches are bigger and have a harder exoskeleton compared to roaches. While spotting the two can prove hectic at first sight, the loud noisy crickets have distinctive, longer and hairier, hind limbs compared to roaches.

V. Water bugs

This bugs belong to a species which relates to the roach species. However, they are totally different from cockroaches in terms of their behavior, habitation and physical appearance. Like the name suggest, this bug dwells in water bodies while the cockroach lives in dark areas like in cracks and crevices. While cockroaches will feed on food particles which have dropped on the floor or kitchen surfaces, the water bugs are known to hunt for their food and solely feed on other smaller creatures such as insect larvae, tadpoles and small fishes.

See also:  What If There Were No Cockroaches, Cockroach Elimination, Live Science

Well, it is evident that the roaches have plenty of imitators which are often mistaken with. However, one thing will always stand out between them since most of the bugs are harmless and will not invade homes and most especially, they’re not looking for food to feed on.

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Why Do I Have Roaches in My Clean House?

Even if a home is kept clean and sanitary, it is possible to pick up cockroaches outside of the home, such as at a store or at work, since the insects can travel in bags, briefcases, packages or potted plants. Roaches can also get in through pipes or open doors. Once inside of a home, roaches are very good at hiding and getting into hard to reach spaces.

Similar to bed bugs, cockroaches are adept at surreptitiously hitchhiking into a home. A roach infestation is not always a sign of dirty and/or unsanitary living conditions. However, certain conditions, such as clutter, make it easier for roaches to survive and propagate in a home. Cockroaches spotted in fastidiously cleaned homes are far less likely to be part of a sizable infestation than roaches in a cluttered, dirty environment. Roaches are attracted to paper, including paper bags, newspapers and cardboard, since they can use paper as a way to communicate with fellow cockroaches using pheromones. Roaches are also attracted to food or even tiny bits of food remnants left out in the open, as well as any drops of water or condensation. Appliances such as dishwashers or stoves not kept extremely clean also have the potential to attract cockroaches.

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Nasal Allergy Trigger: Cockroaches

Nobody likes cockroaches. They’re icky and spread germs. But did you know that cockroaches are also a major allergy and asthma trigger?

Cockroach Allergy Facts

Cockroach allergies — and cockroaches — are most common in cities. Between 78% and 98% of homes in urban areas have cockroaches.

Up to 60% of people with asthma who live in cities are allergic to cockroaches.

Due to the warmer climate, cockroach allergy is especially common in the South, particularly in low-income families. But cockroaches can invade anyone’s home.

Specifically, people seem to be allergic to the saliva, waste, and bodies of cockroaches.

Symptoms of Cockroach Allergy

  • Chronic stuffy nose
  • Frequent ear and sinus infections
  • Itchy eyes and nose
  • A cough that doesn’t go away
  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing
  • Chest tightness

Cockroach allergy can also cause rashes.

If your doctor thinks you have a cockroach allergy, you may need skin tests to be sure.

Controlling Cockroach Allergy

Cockroaches are good at hiding in walls and cracks. You may not even know they’re there. Experts say that if you see just one roach in your house, about 800 could be nearby but out of sight.

The first thing you need to do is reduce your contact with cockroaches. That means making changes around your house.

Seal all food in jars or plastic containers. If cockroaches don’t find anything to eat, they may go elsewhere.

Keep your kitchen and dining room clean. Vacuum and mop regularly. Wipe up spills and clean up crumbs right away.

Keep a lid on your kitchen trash.

Don’t leave your pet’s food out in a bowl.

Reduce clutter. Roaches can hide behind piles of newspapers or boxes. They may eat paper, too.

Check pipes for leaks under sinks and in the basement. Cockroaches like damp places.

Use cockroach baits. Boric acid may help. Make sure to keep baits away from children or pets.

If you are allergic to cockroaches, over-the-counter antihistamines and nasal corticosteroid sprays, or prescription allergy medication will help В symptoms. В If you have asthma, your doctor may prescribe other pills and an inhaler.

Allergy shots may also help ease your symptoms. You’ll get a series of shots over several years.

Sources

American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology: «Cockroach Allergy Information.»

Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America: «What Is Cockroach Allergy?»

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How to Get Rid of Cockroaches

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Out of all the critters that can invade your home, perhaps the most dreaded is the cockroach. These beetles are fast, hard to kill and get into everything. So what can you do to get rid of them?

Table of Contents

Identifying a Roach Infestation

While most people first become aware of a cockroach problem when one runs in front of them, or they find a carcass in the cupboard, there are other ways to keep an eye out for these pests. Some of the signs of an infestation are:

  • feces resembling coffee grounds, black pepper, or (for larger species) tiny cylinders
  • an oily or musty odor
  • oval-shaped egg cases behind books, furniture, or other barriers

What Are the Reasons They’re Bugging Your House?

These cockroaches like to live indoors among humans because humans provide shelter from the elements or hiding places from predators, warmth and provide easy access to food & water. Just like any other animals, these insects are just looking for a place to survive, and your home is giving them exactly what they want and need.

What To Do to Get Rid of Cockroaches?

Cockroaches are highly adaptable and have developed a resistance to many pesticides. This makes them increasingly difficult to exterminate. Even worse, it may take several weeks to eliminate an infestation, if eggs are present. Thankfully, there are many ways on to how to control cockroaches and then get rid of roaches on your house eventually.

The best way to get rid of cockroaches is a clean home. Cockroaches will not be attracted to your home by cutting off their food and water sources completely. No food scraps and a dry and clean sink will surely make it hard for them to find food or water in your home. Don’t ever leave dirty dishes in the sink, keep your garbage cans tightly sealed, reduce clutter and regularly dispose of your garbage.

Dry the sink, bathroom, and any wet area every night. Fix any plumbing leaks especially under the kitchen sink and empty pet water bowls at night.

Although it’s impossible to get rid of cockroaches, the steps mentioned and the other home remedies to get rid of cockroaches listed in this article.

Roaches in the Walls

One of the most common places for a roach infestation is in the walls of your home or apartment. In a case like this, the easiest method is to check for any water sources, such as leaky pipes, and seal them. Next, use a child-proof bait trap such as Raid or spread a gel poison in the corners of infested rooms.

Another method is the use of roach bombs. Open all windows and make sure there is no food exposed to the poisonous vapors. Take all pets and children from home before setting off the bombs. Allow a few hours for the building to air out before returning. Repeat this process one to two weeks later, according to the instructions on the bombs.

Always be careful when using poisons around pets or children, and place the traps behind appliances or in other dark, warm, and damp areas. Bait poisons are typically slow acting, and it may be several weeks before the infestation is completely eliminated.

  • Keeps Killing Roaches Continuously for up to Three Months.
  • Relief from severe roach problems.
  • Child Resistant Baits.

  • Kills ants, roaches & spiders
  • Penetrates into cracks & crevices to kill bugs where they live & breed
  • Keeps killing for up 2 months

Roaches in the Car

It is uncommon to find roaches in your car, but when it happens, the result is a far more persistent infestation. This is partly because the car is often a place to eat on the go. As the roach nest could be hidden anywhere, it can be challenging to eliminate them.

The simplest solution is to prevent roaches from entering your car is to vacuum your car’s interior thoroughly. Be sure to get between the cushions and underneath. Likewise, vacuum the trunk, glove compartment, and any other spot where food particles might accrue or cockroach eggs may accumulate. Next, place some bait traps in strategic locations such as the trunk, glove box, and under the seats. The poison baits will take a few weeks to completely eradicate the pests, so be sure to avoid eating or drinking while in the car.

Getting Rid of Cockroaches Naturally

Over the past few decades, extermination services have discovered that pesticides and poisons have become increasingly ineffective against the cockroach. Their highly adaptable nature and ability to develop resistance or immunity over several generations has become a significant issue. Thankfully, there is a multitude of organic-based methods or natural ways to get rid of cockroaches which still have some effect.

Does Boric Acid Work?

One of the most popular weapons against cockroaches and other insect infestations is boric acid. Highly effective when used right, this chemical solution is relatively safe but should still be kept away from children and pets. There has been no evidence of resistance to this substance in any roach species.

To use, mix some boric acid with flour and something sweet, such as cocoa powder or sugar. Be sure to place somewhere there is water, such as the kitchen and bathroom. The more spots you put it, the better.

When the roach comes into contact with the mixture, it absorbs into the legs or is ingested and will even be spread to others by the infected roach. The acid then works its way into the nervous system where it eats away at the nerves. Paralyzed, the roach starves to death.

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Borax

A much less refined relative to boric acid, borax is commonly used in green households for laundry and hand soaps. The powder may be used in the same manner as boric acid or simply dusted along places a roach is likely to tread. The roach will ingest the borax while grooming.

This method takes some time, but it is perhaps the most cost-effective method of eliminating roach infestations. Because of the risk of eggs, it is best to leave the borax where there are signs of cockroaches for at least one month. Also, while technically safe, it is best to keep borax out of the reach of children and pets.

Many companies sell borax as a pesticide. However, 20 Mule Team Borax is cheap and easy to find. It is also stronger than other brands and any left over from the dusting process may be mixed into homemade laundry detergent, thus saving even more money.

Catnip and Bay Leaves

Bay leaves may be used in the same manner as catnip, and chances are, you already have some in your spice rack. The downside to these two herbal solutions is that they repel, but do not kill. Thus it is best to use them to help protect countertops and other areas where food is prepared.

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Diatomaceous Soil

This non-toxic substance is comprised of the finely milled fossilized shells of diatoms. It has two effects on cockroaches as pest control. First, it absorbs the waxy outer layer of a roach’s exoskeleton. Second, the sharp debris lacerates the roach, causing it to dehydrate and die. One peculiar advantage is that the other roaches will devour the dead roach, causing them to ingest any particles of diatomaceous soil sticking to the corpse and lacerating them from the inside.

Baking Soda

Another kitchen remedy is equal parts of sugar and baking soda. Roaches find the sugar to be irresistible, and they will readily consume any dustings of the mixture. The baking soda will ruin their digestive systems, causing them to die eventually.

Cockroach Bait Stations

Cockroach baits are either housed in a childproof-case or applied as a gel and contain a slow-working poison mixed in with a cockroach- attractive food. The roaches eat the poisoned bait and bring it back to the nest. The poisoned bait will finally kill all the other cockroaches

Hiring an Exterminator

While home remedies are useful, they’re not very quick. Most home remedies will take a month or more due to the presence of eggs. For this reason, professional extermination remains an important option.

What Should I Expect?

A professional exterminator is trained to seek out nests and use a variety of extermination methods. These may include growth regulators, insecticidal sprays, bait, or cockroach traps.

In addition, a professional exterminator will provide you with tips for preventing future infestations and often leave monitor cards to help them determine how successful the chemical sweep was.

Cockroach Prevention

Perhaps the cheapest means to deal with cockroaches is to avoid attracting them in the first place. There are key things which cockroaches are attracted to, and removing them dramatically reduces the risk of an infestation. Even if you are currently suffering a roach problem, these methods may help with home remedy and poison effectiveness.

Food

Tiny crumbs on the floor, in furniture, or scattered throughout your car are all attractive food sources. To avoid roaches treating your home like an all-you-can-eat restaurant, be sure to vacuum regularly and clean up all food spills. This includes regularly cleaning behind appliances such as stoves where food debris might fall or be kicked under.

Do not leave any food sitting out. What isn’t kept in the refrigerator should be kept in airtight plastic or metal containers. Baking ingredients such as flour or sugar can be kept in canisters to reduce the risk of attracting bugs. Finally, try to avoid eating in the car.

Water

One of the things that attract a roach most is a source of water. Check all of the pipes in your home to ensure they are not leaking and make sure not to leave any dirty dishes overnight, even if soaking. Also, examine the kitchen and bathroom for places where water might pool. By cutting off their water supply, roaches are more likely to feed on bait or migrate towards a new water source outside of the home. Cockroaches will die from dehydration after approximately one week without water.

Other Prevention Methods

Cockroaches can feed off of all sorts of waste found around the house, including hair. Be sure to vacuum regularly and clean out brushes and other sources of human or pet dander. Remove garbage from the house to avoid attracting roaches.

Using repellent herbs such as bay leaves in your cabinets may reduce the risk of cockroaches, although it will not cause them any harm once they are there.

Potential Health Risks

While cockroaches are feared mostly for their looks, the list of potential health risks they create is cause for alarm. They can carry 33 different kinds of bacteria, pose an allergy problem, are host to six different types of parasitic worm, and may also transmit seven other human pathogens. On top of that, their legs and bodies can pick up new bacteria and spread it wherever they go. Here are just a few of the threats they pose:

Allergies

Cockroaches can pose a severe problem for people with allergies. Their saliva, feces, and corpses all contain allergenic proteins. This means that they can trigger an allergic reaction whether or not you are allergic to cockroaches specifically. On top of that, they can make allergy symptoms worse, especially in children.

Bacteria

The number of bacterial diseases transmitted by cockroaches is extensive. This is partly because they feed off of bacteria-infested waste, corpses, and other debris. When dealing with roaches, you may be infected with many problems, including:

  • urinary tract infections
  • food poisoning
  • wound infections
  • diarrhea or dysentery
  • pneumonia
  • septic arthritis
  • sepsis
  • bacteremia

In many cases, the roach may be host to more than one species of bacteria responsible for a particular illness. You do not have to come into direct contact with the roach to be at risk. In addition, if you have a cat in the house, roaches may become infected with Toxoplasma gondii, a protozoan responsible for toxoplasmosis, after eating contaminated cat feces.

Parasites

Cockroaches not only carry bacteria, but they are also hosts for several parasites which can pose health risks in humans. Many of these parasites are transmitted through feces and can survive outside of a host. A few of the parasites your roaches might transmit include:

  • Tapeworms: These parasitic worms can live in a host for up to 30 years. They latch onto the intestine, but certain types can migrate outside of the intestinal wall and form larval cysts which often have serious complications.
  • Pinworm: Female pinworms lay their eggs in the folds of skin surrounding the anus while the host sleeps. This can lead to symptoms such as itching, loss of sleep, and irritability.
  • Hookworm: Taking up residence in the small intestine, these parasites rarely cause symptoms, although in some cases they can cause blood loss, resulting in anemia.
  • Whipworm: Another intestinal parasite, whipworm can cause growth retardation and even cognitive development issues in children.
  • Cockroach mite: This parasite has been known to bite humans.

Common Household Cockroaches and How to Identify the Pests You’re Dealing With

While there are over 4,000 known species of cockroach only about 70 are common in the United States. Luckily, even fewer species are likely to invade your home. The following are the four most common types of cockroaches and identified as pests.

American Cockroach

This reddish-brown species can be determined by a yellowish figure eight on its head. They are common in sewers and basements, preferring to assemble near pipes and drains. These type of cockroaches are the largest household roach and prefer temperatures above 70 degrees.

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German Cockroach

These oval-shaped roaches are found most often in kitchens and bathrooms. Identified by the two dark stripes on their back, the German roach is the most common invader. They are also notorious for spreading more illnesses and allergic reactions than their kin.

Oriental Cockroach

This distinctive species has a black, shiny shell and is often referred to as a water bug. They infest the northern part of the United States, preferring sewers, drains, basements, and wood piles. They are considered the dirtiest species and are more significant than many other roaches.

Brownbanded Cockroach

Named for the two light bands on their wings, the brown-banded roach will invade most rooms. The Brown-banded cockroaches prefer higher elevations, such as cabinets. Ironically, they lay their egg cases under furniture, so if you have them, be sure to clean floor to ceiling to get both eggs and adults.

Additional Resources

The websites for the Mayo Clinic and Center for Disease Control and Prevention offer articles on the various parasites and bacteria transmitted by cockroaches.

eLocal offers a current, national directory of cockroach exterminators.

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