What Are the Signs of Cockroaches?
Here are the main signs of a cockroach infestation:
- You See a Roach - You will commonly spot roaches when you walk into a dark room and flip on the light. Roaches that are in the open and feeding will scatter into the shadows or under cabinets and appliances – often at speeds approaching 3 mph. If you spot these nocturnal insects in the day, then you likely have a serious infestation since roaches dislike bright lights and sunlight.
- You Find Dead Roaches - If you move a small appliance or look into the dark corner of a cabinet and see the husks of a molted roach or a dead adult roach, then you probably have had a few generations of roaches develop.
- You Discover Roach Feces - Small roach species leave behind fecal matter that can look like specks of black pepper or ground coffee. These droppings will often be concentrated near a food or water source, and these areas are a good place to focus your eradication efforts.
- You Spot Egg Casings - You can ID an egg case by its long and rounded shape that appears to be segmented into dozens of compartments. Search for egg cases inside pantry areas, behind furniture, in wall cracks, under moulding and even inside books.
- You Smell a Musty or Oily Odor - As a cockroach infestation grows, it will begin to generate a musty or oily smell. This is a mixture of decomposing exoskeleton molts, dead roaches, their pheromones and their feces. This odor can be so intense that it can even affect the taste of food.
How Can I Control Cockroach Infestations?
The best way to keep a cockroach population from expanding is to carefully limit their access to food and water. Even then, cockroaches are known to be hardy survivors – able to go up to a month without food and a week without water.
Try these tactics to limit their interest in your home or business:
- Rinse off or immediately clean dirty dishes, silverware and utensils
- Clean your sink after rinsing off food and wipe it dry
- Don’t leave food out, including fruit
- Seal all food inside air-tight containers
- Wipe food and crumbs off of your countertops after every meal
- Rinse all items going in recycling bins
- Clean up spills immediately
- Vacuum or mop your kitchen daily
- Empty and wipe down pet dishes each evening
- Empty trash cans each evening
- Eat only in designated rooms to limit crumbs
- Clean food from furniture cushions
- Remove food debris, grease and spills from all appliances
- Seal any leaking plumbing
- Keep sinks and tubs dry except when in use
- Cover toothbrushes
- Hang up wet towels
How Can I Get Rid of Cockroaches?
Cockroach infestations can be difficult to address because these pests reproduce quickly and carry on most of their activity when you’re asleep. Eradicating a cockroach infestation requires a lot of effort, but with persistence and proper sanitation, these pests can be removed completely from a home or business.
- Be Ready With The Vacuum - As you investigate your home or business for signs of roaches, have a vacuum cleaner ready to suck up any bugs you uncover. Roaches are fast runners, so have it powered on and in your hand when you move furniture around, open cabinets or uncover suspected hiding spots. This simple method can cut the population down quickly. Just remember to empty the vacuum outside and into a sealable plastic bag immediately.
- Cockroach Traps - Set up a series of traps to capture both adult cockroaches and nymphs as they travel along their typical pathways each night. TERRO® Roach Magnet Traps stop cockroaches by trapping them on a sticky glue surface. Just collect them when full and dispose in a sealed plastic bag. These bait stations also works to attract and kill roaches, silverfish and ants too!
- Cockroach Sprays - Use TERRO® Spider and Ant Killer Spray throughout the infestation area. Focus the spray on places where cockroaches hide to eradicate them. This non-staining indoor/outdoor spray remains an effective cockroach killer for up to 12 months. To apply, spray into cracks, crevices and other areas where cockroaches congregate each day.
- Ant Dust - Another product, TERRO® Ant Dust, is effective against cockroaches. Use a dry paint brush or bulbous duster to deposit the waterproof Ant Dust directly into the cracks and crevices where cockroaches hide. One application can continue to kill cockroaches and other bugs for up to 8 months.
- Diatomaceous Earth - Using food-grade diatomaceous earth, spread this dust lightly on dry areas inside your home, including near areas where the infestation is prevalent. Applying it along baseboards and behind large appliances is recommended. This powder grinds through their exoskeleton and dehydrates them.
- Hit All Hiding Spots - Remember to apply these removal methods in areas where you see signs of cockroaches (such as fecal specks) and in the areas where you’ve witnessed them dash when you flip on the lights.
- Exterminator - If all your other efforts have failed or the infestation is too severe, it may be best to contact a local professional exterminator who has the skill and arsenal to address difficult infestations.
- Intense Heat - Some exterminators have special heaters that will raise the temperature inside your home to a level that kills off the insects inside. This is an effective treatment for many infestations. Note that the heat needs to be excessive to kill off cockroaches, so it’s best left to a professional.
How Can I Stop Cockroaches From Entering My Home?
Cockroaches can arrive in a home through a variety of methods. They can enter through utility conduits or water pipes. Any crack or opening to the outside world is an entry point for these insects, including cracks in doors, open windows, damaged window screens and gaps in your structure. They may have hitched a ride from a store, school or workplace.
With so many possible entry points, it’s up to you to create a protective barrier around your home and keep them out. Here are a few suggestions:
- Seal Cracks - Walk around the outside of your home and look for any cracks or gaps in your home. Using 100% non-organic caulk, seal up the cracks you find. Remember that cockroaches can squeeze through incredibly tiny spaces, so seal everything. As a bonus, caulking these spaces will also help with your heating bills.
- Seal Utility Access Holes - Most of our utility services – electricity, water, telephone, cable, gas – send some sort of line, wire or pipe into your home. To provide this access, a hole is created to run the utility. On initial installation, those holes were probably sealed with caulk or some other material. Unfortunately these seals may deteriorate over time, so check them and reseal as needed.
- Inspect Incoming Food, Furniture and Packages - Whether you just made a trip to the grocery store, got a package from a family member or picked up a piece of used furniture, check all of these items for roaches (and other insects) prior to bringing them into your home.
- Eliminate Shelter - Keep the area close to your home free of roaches by denying them shelter. Store firewood away from the home. Don’t allow leaves to accumulate near an outside wall. Push mulch away from the house.
- Keep Trash Away - Store trash a considerable distance from your home, and make sure it is sealed in plastic. Always put the lid on and throw out the trash can if it develops any holes.
- Permieter Control - Create a protective ring around your home with TERRO® Ant Killer Plus, which is also effective at keeping cockroaches from entering your home. Using the shaker bag, spread these granules around your home and then water the area. When cockroaches come in contact with TERRO® Ant Killer Plus, they die.