When the weather is sweltering, we head indoors to stay cool. Unfortunately, so do cockroaches. American cockroaches are more active when temperatures are 70 degrees or higher, and these common house insects gravitate toward air-conditioned spaces just as humans do.
Few household pests disgust us more than cockroaches. Our survey+ backs this up, as 65 percent of homebuyers say they’d walk away from a prospective home purchase if they discovered a cockroach infestation.
Cockroaches not only make our skin crawl – they can make us sick. American cockroaches are capable of carrying at least 33 different types of bacteria (including E. coli and Salmonella,) 6 different parasitic worms and 7 other human pathogens. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation, cockroaches can aggravate allergies and asthma, especially in children. Additionally, a cockroach crawling across a kitchen counter or inside a cabinet can contaminate food.
These common household bugs are found almost everywhere in the U.S., and American and German cockroaches are the most common types. American cockroaches – also known as palmetto bugs – can grow as long as 2.1 inches. Typically, they’re reddish brown or mahogany colored, with a yellow band behind the head. The German cockroach is about a half-inch long and pale brown in color. German cockroaches are particularly problematic in apartment buildings and multifamily housing, as well as restaurants and other commercial facilities.
American cockroaches live outdoors but will sneak inside in search of food or during rainy or hot weather. Outdoors, they prefer warm, damp areas like flowerbeds or under mulch, and they like to hide in trees. Many sewer systems in American cities also harbor cockroaches. Cockroaches are nocturnal and prefer to lurk in dark nooks and crannies. When they live outdoors, cockroaches eat leaves, wood particles and fungi. Once they get inside your home, they’ll find a way to feast on a diet of crumbs, spilled food, sticky or sugary residue, grease or pet food.
Cockroaches are creepily indestructible. They don’t need much sustenance – they can survive as long as a month without food! Consider, too, that cockroaches have been known to live a week or longer after they’ve been decapitated, and you’ll understand why it’s so hard to get rid of these hardy bugs.
Unfortunately, many homeowners experience problems with cockroaches – about 40 percent, according to our survey+. As with most pests, your best pest defense is prevention. To help control cockroaches, follow these tips:
Keep your home clean. Good sanitation is the best form of pest-proofing. Cockroaches are less likely to be lured into a home without a ready food supply and places to hide.
Put food away. Don’t leave any food out overnight. Be sure to wipe up crumbs and spilled food immediately. Wash dirty dishes daily. Use a disinfectant spray to clean kitchen counters nightly. Don’t forget to wipe down appliances too.
Ban crackers in bed. Restrict eating to the kitchen or dining room. The more areas where people snack or dine in the house, the more chances for a few dropped crumbs or spills to accumulate unnoticed, and the more opportunities for cockroaches to thrive.
Roach-proof your food storage. All food should be stored in sealed containers. Roaches can sneak through small openings in most cardboard food packages (like cereal boxes).
Stow pet food. Pet food should be stored in sealed containers. Cover or remove uneaten pet food at night and put away any pet food bowls.
Look under and behind. Roaches love to feast on grease, sugary or sticky residue, and spilled food under or behind your toaster, refrigerator, dishwasher, microwave or kitchen sink. Check under mats, rugs and floor drains and in cupboards and drawers. They can also hide within walls and behind wallpaper.
Reduce moisture sources. Promptly repair leaky pipes or faucets. Moisture in bathrooms can lure cockroaches too.
Cut the clutter. Although cockroaches can infest even immaculately clean homes, they thrive in cluttered, untidy conditions. Minimize hiding places.
Bar the door. Cockroaches sneak inside through windows and garages, under doors, or by way of drains and pipes. Eliminate these entry points. Seal cracks and crevices. Check windows and doors to make sure they are secure; install weatherstripping, if needed. When cockroaches do get inside the house, they tend to hang out in basements, laundry rooms, kitchens and bathrooms, so be extra careful to secure those areas.
Secure the trash. Tightly seal garbage bags and trash cans, two favorite food sources for cockroaches.
For more information, check out our Bug Basics YouTube video on cockroach prevention.
To request a quote for our pest control service or if you have a cockroach problem, go to www.pestdefense.com/request-quote/ or call 855-855-4873.
+ Survey of national homeowners by HomeTeam Pest Defense, 2012.