You're sitting at your kitchen table having a cup of coffee when a cockroach runs past your feet and seeks shelter under your refrigerator. You yell, jump, and possibly convince yourself that it's totally fine and you don't need to use your kitchen ever again, anyway. You officially understand that there's nothing worse then seeing that six-legged insect invade your home.
If the above scenario is what brought you here, welcome! You've come to the right place, where you'll learn everything you've ever wanted to know about cockroaches (or perhaps didn't, until those intruders forced your hand) and how to deal with them. Good news: There are ways to get rid of the pests and plenty of other ways to prevent them from entering in the first place. Take it straight from Charlie Jones, Executive Vice President of Operations at Arrow Exterminating, and person who changed my life because he taught me that there are actually lightbulbs that prevent bugs. Yup! Read on.
1. Cockroaches gravitate to dark, tight spaces.
When a cockroach gets into your house, it's looking for food, water, and shelter. Charlie says they'll travel along baseboards until they find a suitable area that can support those basic needs. Common areas of roach-refuge include kitchen cabinets, bathroom vanities, the spaces behind and under the refrigerator, attics, and basements.
2. They also really love cardboard boxes and electronics.
"You should inspect any type of packaging that comes into your home. This includes cardboard boxes, groceries, or any electronics," says Charlie. He explains that corrugated cardboard boxes provide almost ideal areas to harbor cockroaches, so perhaps you should take a closer look at your next Prime delivery before bringing it inside.
In addition to boxes, cockroaches can get pretty comfortable inside of your electronics. Roaches love them because of the tight spaces they can cozy up into and due to the heat they provide, Charlie says. Inspect any used TV, computer, or any other electronic item before bringing it inside.
3. There's a light bulb that can prevent cockroaches from entering your house.
Charlie suggests changing exterior lighting to an insect prevention bulb. "These bulbs emit a wavelength not easily seen by insects and are available in most home improvement stores," he explains.
4. Cockroaches lay eggs, and some could be in your kitchen.
The egg case is called the Ootheca, and the number of nymphs (baby cockroaches) per Ootheca varies depending on the type of cockroach. Charlie says German cockroaches (the most common kind in the country) can hold up to 90 nymphs per egg case. "German cockroaches will actually carry their eggs until a few hours before they hatch, and typically will be in the kitchen area," explains Charlie.
5. When using insect traps, place them in areas where cockroaches gravitate.
If you're dealing with Smoky Brown (the largest kind of cockroach) and American (typically found in sewers and drains) cockroaches, Charlie says you'll need to improve overall sanitation and then use traps. "Place insect traps in areas cockroaches prefer to live. Even with taking these steps you may need professional assistance," explains Charlie.
6. For larger cockroach infestations, seek professional help and use a vacuum with a HEPA filter.
Charlie says his best advice for dealing with German cockroaches is to call a professional and not to attempt treating the issue yourself. "Even with professional assistance, there are steps that you need to do to assist in the eradication of these persistent cockroaches," he explains. In his experience, Charlie finds sanitation issues that go unnoticed support these insects - and it can be anything as simple as a grease trap leaking or small crumbs trapped under a refrigerator. "Use a vacuum with a HEPA filter to clean up areas of German cockroach infestations. A HEPA filter will be needed as you don't want to spread allergens into the air with a standard vacuum," he says.
7. You need to do these four things to prevent cockroaches from creeping into your house.
Finally, consider this your no-cockroaches-in-my-house checklist:
- Limit food sources such as bird feed, pet food, food wastes, and pet droppings
- Remove clutter (and stored items, like firewood) from the exterior of your home, so there are less places for them to hide - and breed
- Clean your gutters and roof, which could give roaches an easy path into your home
- Keep trees and shrubs trimmed to allow for better air flow and sunlight, which roaches aren't so fond of
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