Roaches: How to keep them out of the house

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One of the oldest known species-the first modern cockroach appeared over 60 million years ago, the cockroach is also one of the most stubborn household invaders to get rid of. Not only do they contaminate your household, they also bring disease and other health hazards to people living with this pest.

Able to survive on almost any substance, these insects are often found on unsanitary materials including rotten food, dressings which are septic, fermenting substances, and feces. Because these items are already unclean, the cockroach spreads germs and disease as it moves from one area of the house to another.

These pests also leave feces behind, which many people are allergic to and can become ill by inhaling dust particles containing cockroach feces or bits of body parts which have become airborne. These allergens do not remain airborne for an extended period of time but settle in fabric or dust and are often stirred up by movement such as vacuuming or rearranging bedding or other fabrics which tend to trap dust. These allergens may also cause asthma to form in younger children of preschool age or cause wheezing and coughing in babies less than one year old.

Since cockroaches tend to be found in the kitchen around food and water sources, food contamination is a major problem. Food which has not been stored correctly is often contaminated with the cockroach’s odor as well as containing bits of feces, saliva and other parts of the insect. This is a major health hazard as cockroaches are carriers of serious diseases such as typhoid, dysentery, and poliomyelitis as well as gastroenteritis.

Not only are these pests hazardous to health because of risks from the antigens for allergy or asthma suffers and because they are carriers of germs which could cause serious diseases; they also pose a health risk from some of the substances such as pesticides that people use to try to eliminate an infestation.

The best way to avoid these pests is to make sure they never enter your home in the first place; prevention is the key. There are several simple things a household can do to make sure these pests do not get a foothold in the living space.

Make sure yard debris is moved from the exterior of the house since wood piles and piles of other substances such as leaves, clippings, straw, or other yard waste can be a favorite hiding place of this bug and the cockroach will easily be able to move into the house when it gets colder. It is also easy to bring in this pest accidentally by bringing in pieces of yard waste or wood.

Extend this clean up to the inside of the house by regularly cleaning up rubbish and unused items such as old newspapers and magazines. Every three or four months, check the undersides and backs of furniture and hidden area such as ducts and false ceilings for evidence of cockroaches.

Keep roaches from coming into the house by sealing cracks in exterior walls as well as cracks inside the house. This can be a time-consuming activity but well worth the effort since this removes the majority of breeding and hiding places. Do not forget to fill cracks in kitchen cabinets, the sides of door, window, and floor moldings as well as any openings in kitchen and bathroom pipes. Seal any cracks found on ceilings and floors as well.

Drains are also a good entry point for this pest; place an amount of petroleum jelly that is at least 10 centimeters wide around a drain hole and place wire mesh (about 2mm) to prevent entry.

Do not wait until you have roaches to set out traps. Using traps as a preventative measure will help catch them before they enter the house. One way to attract them to the traps is to not caulk some cracks which are near entry areas such as a drain or vents. As a backup measure, spray with a gel or liquid insecticide.

Because cockroaches will go where there is a food source, cut off any source of food. Keep the kitchen dry and clean and wash and put away dishes after a meal; do not leave them on furniture or in sinks. Do not forget to clean the microwave and toaster and turn them on in order to get rid of any scent of food they might contain. Clean beneath the stove and refrigerator regularly; a lot of food particles get trapped under these appliances.

Make sure household rubbish and garbage containers have tight lids and that trash is emptied on a daily basis; bags should be tied securely to prevent garbage falling out. After you feed pets, remove the remaining pet food, store the food securely, and clean the pet dishes right away; pet food is often an overlooked open source of food for roaches, and they love it just as much as human food. Remember that roaches are nocturnal; do not leave any food out overnight.

Cockroaches also need a water source and are attracted to damp areas, so try to not have standing water anywhere in the house; most common sources of standing water are in bathtubs, dishes soaking in the sink, or stopped-up sinks. Think about getting a dehumidifier if the house or apartment tends to be damp. Check your pipes and faucets for leaks regularly and put roach traps under sinks.

If you follow these tips, you have a much better chance of remaining roach-free. The harder a household makes it for a roach to enter and thrive, the less likely it is to decide to make your house its own personal roach motel.  For all of your cockroach pest problems, Alliance Pest Services is your local pest and roach removal expert.   

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