Finding cockroaches in your home or business can be very distressing. They are known carriers of diseases such as Salmonella, Dysentery & Gastro-enteritis, exposure to this pest therefore poses significant health risks. Eczema and asthma have even been linked to cockroach droppings.
Cockroaches are very tough insects and their ability to breed rapidly makes professional treatment essential to control any infestation. Expert products and solutions are powerful enough to eliminate all stages of their lifecycle and it is important to understand the life cycle in order to eradicate them.
These are notorious for their world-wide distribution, German cockroaches are easily identifiable by 2 dark stripes across their thorax. Adults can grow to approximately 12 - 15mm in length.
Most commonly found indoors, German cockroaches prefer wet, humid conditions and are typically found within the home in areas such as kitchens and bathrooms.
They are of a uniform dark brown or black in colour. Oriental adult cockroaches are 20 - 30mm in length.
Highly adapted for surviving in the natural environment, Oriental cockroaches thrive in cool, damp areas such as basements, drains and openings beneath porches. Known for their preference for feeding on garbage and decay, these insects can most commonly be found in rubbish tips and leaf litters.
Cockroaches have a purse shaped egg case called an ootheca. Typically, a German Cockroach oottheca contains around 36 eggs and hatches within 1 month, whilst an Oriental Cockroach ootheca typically contains around 16 eggs and hatches between 2-3 months. The length of time it takes oriental cockroaches to hatch coupled with the fact that the ootheca is hidden soon after forming, makes it more difficult to control but with both types of cockroach, effective control can be achieved over a sustained period, taking into consideration the life cycle of the different cockroaches and using the correct formulations and applications.
Tackling a contract infestation requires an integrated approach including preventative measure, physical measures and chemical treatment over a sustained period of time. Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a systems approach that combines preventive techniques, non-chemical pest control methods and the wise use of pesticides with preference for products that are least harmful to human health and the environment. It is not the total elimination of pesticides but an alternate approach to traditional pest control measures. Complete reliance, in the past, on pesticides alone for pest control allowed certain pests to develop resistance, created potential human exposure to harmful chemicals, produced unsound environmental contamination, and created a threat to nontarget species and pesticide waste. IPM consists of routine inspection and monitoring with treatment only when pests are actually present, thus reducing traditional, routine pesticide application treatment (calendar date sprays) whether pests were present or not.
By following a cockroach IPM plan, cockroach activity is monitored using sticky traps or glue boards. These monitoring stations are placed throughout a structure where roaches are likely to be found such as in dark places along cabinets, walls, under appliances, on pipes, etc., in bathrooms and kitchens. Any tight cracks about 3/8 inch or smaller are good cockroach habitats. Monitoring indicates whether cockroaches are present and if control practices are working. IPM tools include glue boards, baits, vacuum cleaners, caulking, insect growth regulators (IGRs), etc.
If you have noticed an unpleasant, lingering odour under sinks, behind appliances or in store cupboards, it's time to check for signs of cockroaches. It is often easier to spot signs of a cockroach problem than the actual insect pest. Cockroaches are most active during the night. During the day they prefer to stay hidden in cracks and crevices, coming out to feed mostly at night time. Cockroaches are attracted to all types of food available in your home. They will eat anything from foods, paper, packaging, plastics and fabrics to animal matter (i.e. hamster and rabbit droppings). If you suspect a problem in your home or business there are some simple ways to tell if you have cockroaches.
To identify a possible cockroach infestation there are some common signs which can help. An established cockroach infestation produces an unusual smell, a lingering and unpleasant odour that taints items they come into contact with.
If little water is available cockroaches produce brown/black cylindrical droppings, 2mm long.
If water is abundant cockroaches will produce brown and irregular shaped smear marks. Check for marks on horizontal surfaces and at wall and floor junctions where cockroaches scuttle.
Cockroaches shed 'cast nymphal 'skins 5-8 times as they mature to adults. These are usually found close to where they are sheltering.
Check bathrooms, kitchens and laundry rooms
German cockroaches need warmth and humidity so are likely to be found in and around bathrooms, laundry rooms and kitchen areas. They are also good climbers, scaling smooth surfaces like glass and polished metal with ease, due to sticky pads on their feet.
Check your basement
Oriental cockroaches can cope with cooler, damp conditions and are more common scuttling about in basements or drains. If conditions are tolerable they can survive outside in areas such as rubbish tips. They are not as agile as German cockroaches, but can climb a surface such as rough brickwork.
Preventing Measures Cockroaches
Like it or not, homes and business properties are ideal breeding grounds for certain species of cockroaches. With plenty of food, warmth, water and nesting sites, these formidable pests can remain active all year round. Learn how to prevent cockroaches from infesting your property.
Eliminate food sources
The most effective way to deter cockroaches is to deny them food, water and shelter. To get rid of them, get rid of what sustains them. Do not leave food sitting out on counters. Store dry foods in tightly sealed containers. Do not leave liquids in sinks or buckets. Rinse cans, bottles and plastics before putting them in recycling bins. Empty the rubbish on a daily basis.
Clear all waste food and liquid spillage, cleaning up food debris from food preparation areas, under sinks and appliances. Remove pet food, drink and litter trays before nightfall. Cockroaches release an aggregation pheromone in their droppings telling others they have found a safe harborage. Remove old stacks of newspapers and magazines, unused cardboard boxes and all other forms of clutter from the floor or bottom of cupboards where these pests have easy access.
Take preventive measures by using varnish or paint on all wood shelves to seal them and wipe them clean regularly.
Check key risk areas where cockroaches may gain entry into the home, cracks, crevices, vents, sewers and pipe drains. Seal areas such as cracks in walls, around skirting boards, behind electrical sockets, under kitchen sinks and bathroom cabinets to reduce potential hiding areas.
Take prompt action when you have signs of infestation. Without specialist know-how and equipment, cockroach control can sometimes be a losing battle. Should you have an existing cockroach problem contact a pest control professional immediately.