Cockroaches are perhaps one of the most unpleasant and unsightly pests you can find in your home which is why it is understandable that you want any cockroach infestation dealt with swiftly and effectively. We hope the advice in this article and the tips help you get rid of cockroaches in your property.
Reasons You Might Have A Cockroach Infestation
Cockroaches can gain entry to your home in many ways for example:
- They can get into a building through the plumbing system. They migrate between buildings by travelling along the plumbing within a common wall. So, if you live in an apartment block and one flat is infested with cockroaches, it will rapidly spread to other flats if professional treatment is not sought. The same is also true if you live in a terraced house, a maisonette, etc.
- They can also be unwittingly brought into your home in your shopping or luggage. It is quite common for cockroaches to ‘hitch a lift’ and travel from your holiday destination to your home.
- Oriental cockroaches enter buildings from their outside habitat by moving along plumbing pipes, usually up through the floor from underneath the crawl space, and under door or window jambs.
- Sewers and drains are other cockroach entry points. Repairs on the sewer system may lead to displaced cockroaches entering your home.
- Leaking pipes and holes in vents and pipes are common entry points for cockroaches.
It is a myth that cockroaches only infest dirty homes. They will enter the cleanest homes and are usually found (In the initial stages of an infestation) in the spaces where they are provided with moisture which they need to survive. So don’t be surprised to see them in your utility room, bathroom, and cloakroom.
Are Cockroaches Dangerous?
The answer to this is yes, for the following reasons.
Cockroaches contaminate foodstuffs and spread diseases including salmonella, E. Coli, typhoid, gastroenteritis, and dysentery. If the air in your home is contaminated with proteins from cockroach faeces, vomit, or shed skin and this is inhaled by a person with asthma it can trigger an attack. Cockroach faeces have an aggregate pheromone which attracts other cockroaches so one becomes many. Because cockroaches defecate anywhere, food sources rapidly become contaminated. So, the plate of food you leave on the table will attract cockroaches. They can crawl under cloths and plates and contaminate leftovers, fresh and frozen food with you being none the wiser.
So How Can You Get Rid Of Cockroaches
Before attempting any DIY treatment, you must gain an idea of the extent of the infestation including the length of time cockroaches have been infesting your home, the type of cockroach, and if neighbours are experiencing similar problems. It may be that you are not the only person with a cockroach infestation and despite your best efforts to get rid of them, they will continue to enter your home through sources you have no control of.
If you subsequently decide to try and get rid of cockroaches using DIY treatments, this advice will help you.
Firstly, look around your home at all the sources that could be providing food and water for cockroaches. This includes pet bowls, dirty dishes on the kitchen worktop, crumbs on surfaces, opened cans of food, mugs on the bedside table, rubbish in the bins, and recycling containers – for starters. Start by removing these obvious food sources, repeating the process as needed.
- Inspect in the evening. This is when cockroaches are likely to be moving from their hiding places. Use a torch to investigate the back of your oven, hob, washing machine, kitchen sink, and kitchen cabinets. Examine the cracks in cupboards and every space used for storing food, especially perishable food which is more likely to be uncovered. Empty your fridge and examine all contents and the fridge itself. Do likewise with your airing cupboard and the back of your bath because cockroaches are attracted to warm, dark areas and can form cluster groups (male, female and juvenile nymphs). Look behind your fridge/freezer because the motors which generate heat could be a breeding ground for cockroaches. You are likely to find ‘evidence’ of an infestation – tiny black pellets (faeces), shed skins, and egg capsules. Hard to see but could be there.
- Can you smell them? A sickly, sweet smell is a sign of cockroaches. The smells emanate from the smears they leave on your skirting boards, the back of cupboards, walls, and other surfaces.
- Undertake a thorough disinfectant deep clean. Carry out a deep clean of your home including all the areas mentioned earlier. Remove the potential for people in your home to encounter contaminated areas. As mentioned earlier, cockroaches spread disease so a surface they have crawled on could be contaminated and therefore poses a real health hazard to you and the occupants of your home.
- Remove the sources of food cockroaches live on. Empty your bins every day and ensure food leftovers are not left in cupboards unless secure in tamper-proof containers. Did you know that cockroaches also feast on the tiny traces of food left on discarded wrappers? Wash your bins and disinfect them. Inspect every day for signs of cockroaches and cockroach faeces.
- Ensure all foodstuffs, dried and fresh are kept in airtight, insect tamper-proof containers. Don’t unwittingly feed the cockroaches in your cupboards and fridge. A cockroach can easily access your fridge so make sure this is clean, checking daily for signs of infestation.
- Locate all the cracks and gaps in your home in every room. This includes doors, window boards, skirting boards, windows, and so on. Cockroaches can enter your home through the smallest cracks/gaps. As professional pest controllers proofing takes up much of our time. We locate the cracks where cockroaches have entered in out-of-sight places. So be thorough.
DIY Methods And Do They Work?
The answer to this is usually no, but it does depend on the extent of the infestation in your home. If you have a small infestation in just one area of your home, that is in the early stages, an over-the-counter treatment may work.
You can buy cockroach riddance treatments over the counter and on the internet including insecticides, powder, traps, and gels. If you are considering these poisons, you must ensure you’re not endangering the occupants of your home including children, the elderly, and pets. Pest controllers use tamper-proof bait boxes that are only available to professionals. Be aware too that the biggest sites of infestation in your home are likely to be out of sight – behind skirting boards, etc.
After completing your investigations, undertaking a thorough deep clean of all areas, sealing all cracks, and then safely using DIY treatments you may, at first sight, have eradicated the infestation. However, if a female has laid eggs in out of sight areas that are out of your reach it could be several weeks before the whole infestation cycle starts again. So, it might be a little time before your mind is fully at rest. You will need to remain vigilant and even then, there is no guarantee that your DIY treatments will work simply because you cannot find all the breeding areas and successfully treat them. Please be aware too that you may worsen the problem.
Why You May Need A Professional
DIY pest control using over-the-counter solutions will not work if you have a serious infestation of cockroaches in your home. There are several types of cockroaches considered as pests including American, German, Oriental, and Brown Banded. Diagnosis of the type of cockroach in your home by our trained technicians is important to determine the subsequent treatment. The German cockroach for example is the most prolific breeder among all cockroaches. The female German cockroach lives for up to 6 months. She carries an egg capsule containing 30 to 40 eggs, laying an average of 200 eggs in her lifetime. With this cycle being repeated the infestation grows exponentially and rapidly. Development from egg to adult can occur in 45 days, during which time they moult 6 times.
Once the species of cockroach has been identified in your home, they can be eradicated with a combination of effective proofing combined with special insecticide treatments. This includes specialist bait stations that are positioned within the walls of your home and in the other out of sight ‘dark areas’ which attract cockroaches. We usually advise three treatments are required to eradicate the infestation. Our technicians can also undertake any proofing that is required which typically includes sealing cracks or gaps in and around your home to reduce the number of entry points for cockroaches. This includes pipes, walls, air vents, and weak joints. Or they can advise you so that you can proof to the standards required. We can also undertake chemical-free intensive steam cleaning to sanitise the infested areas in your home.
How Much Does it Cost
It is not as expensive as you may think. However, we can’t give an estimate because the cost of removing a cockroach infestation will vary based on several factors that we will discuss with you before agreeing on any work. We always provide a fixed price quotation and will happily talk you through it.