Tips to keep your home cockroach free
APART from being horrific to look at, it’s believed cockroaches are one of the top causes of asthma and other allergic reactions (including eczema) after dust-mites.
Their droppings and shed skin lead to allergen accumulation, which in turn is known to trigger asthma attacks, especially in children. Cockroaches also carry a range of other serious illnesses including salmonella, dysentery, gastroenteritis and E.coli.
Think you might have a cockroach problem? You might need to do a little sleuthing to find the source of the cockroach infestation. These insects are nocturnal, meaning they are active during night time, which is when they come out in search of food.
Generally, they hide in cracks and crevices around your house and also enter through drains or vents, preferring warm, humid areas such as kitchens as their prime infestation spot.
Look out for cockroach droppings, cast skins and egg cases coupled with an unpleasant odour in dark, undisturbed areas like cupboards, kitchenettes or under refrigerators.
1. Eliminate potential food sources The most effective way to deter cockroaches is to deny them food, water and shelter. To get rid of cockroaches, you need to get rid of what sustains them. l Do not leave liquids in sinks or buckets. l Do not leave food sitting out on counters. Store dry foods in tightly sealed containers. l Rinse cans, bottles and plastics before putting them in recycling bins. l Empty the rubbish on a daily basis. l Clear all waste food and liquid spillages, and clean up food debris from food preparation areas, under sinks and appliances. l Remove pet food, drink and litter trays before nightfall.
2. Declutter Cockroaches release an aggregation pheromone in their droppings, telling other cockroaches that they have found a safe harbourage.
Remove old stacks of newspapers and magazines, unused cardboard boxes and other forms of clutter from the floor or bottom of cupboards where these pests have easy access.
3. Take preventative measures l Varnish or paint wood shelves to seal them, and wipe them down regularly. l Check key risk areas where cockroaches may gain entry into the home such as cracks, crevices, vents, sewers and pipe drains, and seal them with caulking or a sealant product. l Seal areas such as cracks in walls, around skirting boards, behind electrical sockets, under kitchen sinks and bathroom cabinets to reduce potential hiding areas.
4. DIY cockroach control l Place cockroach poison (available from your local supermarket) in areas where you have spotted the cockroach infestation. Always make sure you read and follow the instructions carefully. l Put cockroach traps down in your home wherever cockroach activities are highest. These traps entice cockroaches in and then entrap them with an adhesive. l Mixing natural home remedies such as boric acid and water to form a paste which acts as a poison that cockroaches carry back to their nests and feed to nymphs (the life cycle stage before they develop into adults) is a worthwhile exercise you could also try. l Bay leaves can also be used as a natural cockroach repellent, but do not kill them.
Top tip: Always exercise great care when using DIY cockroach traps or poison, and always follow the label and warning instructions carefully. Also, be sure to place them in areas where children or pets do hot have direct access too.
5. Take prompt action Without specialist know-how and equipment, cockroach control can sometimes become a losing battle, especially because they are such resilient creatures and breed at rapid rates. Should an existing cockroach problem not respond to a DIY approach, contact a pest control professional.
Cockroaches are easily attracted by waste food and liquids spillages that are not cleaned up.