As we move into the sweltering heat of the summer, most of us try to seek the refreshing cool of the air conditioned indoors. The same goes for pests; in particular, the American cockroach. American cockroaches are generally more active when the temperature is 70 degrees or higher. What do you need to know about American cockroaches and how can you keep these unsightly pests out of your home? Check out this helpful information and our 9 steps to preventing cockroaches from taking over your home.
Adult American cockroaches can be up to 3 inches in length. They are typically reddish brown or mahogany colored and have a yellow band behind their head. They are also known as “palmetto bugs.”
American cockroaches typically live outdoors but will come inside in search of food or with large amounts of rain or hotter weather. They prefer warm, damp areas like flowerbeds or under mulch. They also are commonly found in trees. They are also found in most sewer systems in American cities. They commonly enter homes through windows, garages, and under doors. They will also use drains and pipes to enter your home. They are typically found in basements, laundry rooms, kitchens and bathrooms when they enter homes. They can also be found in commercial buildings such as restaurants, grocery stores, and warehouses.
With an adequate food supply, American cockroaches can mature from eggs to adults in as little as 5-1/2 months. Wings develop with adulthood and both males and females are capable of flying. American cockroaches eat leaves, wood particles, and fungi. They will also occasionally eat small insects. Once inside your home, they will eat crumbs and spilled food. They will also eat any unsealed pet food.
THREATS TO HUMANS:
American cockroaches are capable of carrying at least 33 different types of bacteria, 6 different parasitic worms, and 7 other human pathogens. It has also been shown in recent studies that cockroaches can aggravate allergies and asthma, especially in children and those living in metro cities where the populations are higher.
The most obvious sign of an American cockroach infestation is seeing them in your home. They can run very fast and will often fly when startled. They will also leave their droppings behind, usually in basements and pantries. They are often mistaken for mice droppings. They will also lay eggs in egg casings which can also be found in your home. They are dark colored and are usually found in basements, laundry rooms, and kitchens.
Now that you know what to look for, how can you prevent these unwanted pests from entering your home? Follow these 9 tips for cockroach prevention:
- Keep it clean. Good sanitation is the number one way to prevent cockroaches.
- Focus on the kitchen. Don’t leave food out overnight. Wash dirty dishes daily. Wipe up crumbs and spilled food, even in cabinets and pantries. Clean kitchen counters with disinfectant spray every night. Don’t forget the appliances. Roaches love to feast on grease and spilled food on, in, under, and behind your appliances, including your refrigerator, stove, dishwasher, microwave, toaster, and under the kitchen sink.
- Limit where you eat. Restrict food consumption to one room. This not only makes cleanup easier for you, it limit crumbs and spills that you might not notice in other rooms that provides another food source for roaches.
- Store all food in sealed containers. Roaches can fit inside the openings of typical cardboard packages that food comes in. This also applies to pet food. Pet food should be kept in a sealed container, preferably on the back porch so as to not attract roaches into the house. Pet food bowls and containers should also be emptied every night.
- Empty the trash. Make sure your trash can has a tight fitting lid and empty the trash each night. Make sure your outside trash cans are clean and kept away from the home.
- Roaches feed at night. Vacuuming the kitchen floor nightly eliminates the food supply for roaches. Vacuum the other rooms in your house every 2 to 3 days, as well. This helps to get rid of roach feces, body parts, and egg sacs. These contain pheromones that attract other roaches into your home.
- Get rid of entry points. Seal around utility pipes and crawl spaces. Make sure windows and doors are secure and have weather-stripping if necessary. Seal all cracks and crevices.
- Remove anything roaches can use for shelter, such as cardboard and paper.
- Call a pest control professional. If you suspect a roach infestation, contact an exterminator. Treatment plans can vary depending on the type of roaches you have. A pest control professional can do a thorough evaluation and set you up with a comprehensive treatment plan.