Cockroach infestations can be frustrating. Cockroaches are known to carry disease. They can cause asthma and trigger allergies. They contaminate food and dishes. And, maybe worst of all, many people think that they are frightening to look at and embarrassing if the neighbors find out.
Many times it seems that the cockroaches just “keep coming back” after they were exterminated. There can be several reasons for this. Many times people use foggers to try to eliminate cockroaches. The chemical in the fogger is repellant to the roaches, so when they smell it, they run into the walls to hide. In about two weeks, the roaches must come out for water, so the people start to see them again.
Sometimes people try to kill roaches but they do not kill all of them. The survivors reproduce quickly and they can re-infest the home in just a few weeks. This is very frustrating, but it happens very often.
Solving a roach problem can take a few weeks. Roaches are almost never eliminated with just one treatment. Eliminating roaches usually involves more than just applying insecticide.
The first step is to take away the food and water that the roaches have gotten used to. Wipe up spills promptly. Put away leftover food and wash dishes before going to bed (roaches are active at night). Store food in containers that can be sealed. Doing a thorough “spring cleaning” can help get rid of any crumbs that may have been missed before.
If there are large roaches outdoors, pick up any un-eaten pet food after the pet has eaten. Clean out the leaves in the gutters. Keep a lid on the trashcan and pick up anything that falls out of the trashcan. Try to rinse cans and bottles before they go into the recycle bin and move the recycle bin out of the house and the garage.
Move the firewood away from the house and stack it on a rack. In the flowerbeds, rake the mulch and dead leaves 12″-24″ away from the foundation. Trim grass and ivy away from the foundation to prevent roaches from nesting next to the house.
If the roaches are the small (0.5″ long) German roaches, use the vacuum cleaner to remove them from as many of the cracks and crevices as possible. Take the vacuum bag outside and wrap it in a trash bag before discarding it.
Closing up cockroach entryways will help prevent a re-infestation. Make sure exterior doors close tightly. Use weather-stripping to eliminate gaps under the doors. Secure the access door into the crawl space and make sure the vents are screened. Check the screens on the attic vents. Since many large roaches are attracted to light, it may be necessary to change to porch light bulb to a yellow “bug light”.
Cockroach bait is an excellent tool for eliminating roaches. The biggest reason people have poor results is that they do not use enough bait. As long as roaches are eating, keep replacing the bait.
In condos and apartments, roaches often travel inside the walls from one unit to another. It may be necessary to apply a dust inside the walls. Tiny holes in the wall above the baseboard are all that is needed. Either diatomaceous earth or silica gel will be best, but boric acid will work too.
Sticky traps are an excellent way to measure the progress. Place them along the edges of shelves or walls where roaches have been active. The traps will show where the roaches are still active.
This type of program requires patience and a lot of follow-up. Because of that, many people ask a pest control professional to do the baiting, the dust application, and the monitoring parts of the program.
Many people consider cockroaches to be disgusting and they do not want them around. They want something that will drive cockroaches away.
People have tried many kinds of plant to repel cockroaches. Some people say that if you sprinkle crushed bay leaves in the cabinets, roaches will stay away. Others say that planting marigolds in the flowerbeds will keep cockroaches out of the house.
Some people say that catnip is the best cockroach repellant. They say that the catnip can be used as it comes or it can be boiled to make a tea. They say that the catnip tea can be sprayed around the kitchen to repel cockroaches. They advise that this is best in homes that do not have a cat.
There are occasionally ads that promote devices to repel roaches. There are a variety of these machines on the market. Unfortunately, there is not much evidence that they are effective.
Some materials actually are repellant to cockroaches. Silica gel and diatomaceous earth are natural products. Silica gel may be hard to find, but diatomaceous earth should be available wherever swimming pool supplies are sold. These powders can be applied in wall voids, cabinet bases, and similar places. They will last a very long time and they will repel roaches.
Plant extracts, like pyrethrum, are very repellant to cockroaches. A quick spray of an aerosol that contains pyrethrum will send cockroaches running. The trouble with pyrethrum or diatomaceous earth is that they often cause roaches to run from one hiding place to another. .
For a solution that will last a long time, many people are turning to Integrated Pest Management. (Many people use the initials – IPM.) It’s a method that combines several techniques to eliminate cockroach problems and to prevent problems from developing.
For the large cockroaches, IPM begins outdoors. Move firewood away from the house and put it up on a rack so roaches can’t hide underneath. Clean the gutters – some large roaches actually eat decaying leaves. Keep the lid on the garbage can and pick up any trash that spills over. If there are outdoor pets, pick up any un-eaten pet food when the pet finishes eating so the roaches can’t eat it during the night.
Make sure exterior doors close tightly. If a dime can slide under a door, a cockroach might be able to get in. Check at the home store for weather-stripping. Make sure the crawl space access can be closed securely. There should be screens on the crawl space vents and any ground-level windows. Sticky traps can help – put them just inside the garage doors. One trap on each side will capture any roaches that squeeze past the doors.
The small roaches get into the home in packages and backpacks. Inspect items from flea markets, thrift shops, and yard sales. Check backpacks that have been at school or day care.
In the kitchen and bathroom, caulk cracks and crevices, especially around the sink. Take out the trash regularly. Store food in containers that can be sealed. Put away leftover food and wash dishes before going to bed – cockroaches are active at night.
Insecticide can be used as a barrier. Apply a liquid insecticide to the foundation outside. Because of rain and sun, the barrier will have to be re-applied periodically. Many people prefer to get a pest control professional to make these applications.