Finding signs of cockroaches in your home is an unpleasant and unsettling experience. In this article, we look at the types of cockroaches you may have, common places you would find cockroaches, and why you may have a cockroach infestation. We conclude by looking at the diseases cockroaches spread.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us for advice.
Types Of Cockroaches
Incredibly there are around 4,600 species of cockroaches in the world! 30 of these are associated with human habitats and 5 of these are well known as pests including American, German, Oriental, and Brown Banded cockroaches. In the UK, the most common cockroaches are the Oriental cockroach and the German cockroach. When we think of a cockroach it is usually the Oriental cockroach that we picture. Oriental cockroaches are much hardier than the German cockroach and, in the summer months, you may occasionally find them around external bin areas where they forage.
An accurate diagnosis of the type of cockroach in your home can usually only be made by a trained technician. 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. The adult German cockroach is a light yellowy/brown and is 10 to 15mm long, with two distinguishable dark stripes on its thorax. The Oriental cockroach is shiny black, brown, or mahogany and measures around 20 to 24mm long. Immature stages of cockroaches, called nymphs, look exactly like adults, just on a smaller scale. All cockroaches are distinguished by their very long whip-like antennae, flat oval bodies, and rapid, jerky walk.
Common Places You Would Find Cockroaches
This depends on the species of infestation as mentioned above. The German cockroach favours higher temperatures and humid environments. You’re likely to find them behind appliances where you have warm motors, such as your oven, fridge, dishwasher, and close to skirting boards where radiators are cited. Oriental cockroaches will thrive in cool, damp areas such as basements and in drains, so you are likely to find them in the bathroom, en-suites, cloakrooms, and behind your washing machine.
However, both species must eat so you are likely to find them in areas where food is stored, prepared, cooked, and served. So, your kitchen cupboards, pantry cupboards, fridges, worktops, even your dishwasher.
Think for one moment about how food including snacks and drinks find their way around your home from storing to preparing, cooking, serving, eating, and disposing of. Think too of the crumbs and leftovers that can be left overnight- easy for cockroaches to access. So, you are likely to find them in or around your bin, on your plates feasting on leftovers, in your pet bowls, and on any food that has not been stored in robust tamper-proof containers. Open bags of fruit and vegetable, packets of dried food left open – don’t be surprised to find cockroaches here!
Areas with food, water, and dark spaces to hide are ideal environments for cockroaches to live. And this is what makes your home such an ideal environment for cockroaches. You will find them in virtually every single room of your home because each room will provide some or all their basic needs for survival, shelter, and reproduction. An internal leaking pipe or a dripping tap provides a water supply to a cockroach. Skirting boards with small cracks between the board and the floor provide entry, exit, and hiding points for them.
This is what makes cockroaches so difficult if not impossible for the homeowner to eradicate.
Why You May 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 through 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.
- ewers 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) as mentioned above 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.
Why Would You Want To Get Rid Of Cockroaches?
Well, apart from the fact that they are unsightly pests they 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.
For advice on how you could get rid of cockroaches yourself we provide some helpful tips here. If you already have quite an advanced infestation it may well be worth speaking with a cockroach removal expert.