Nobody likes pests, but cockroaches are a different story; there’s something about the way they scuttle around, the smell they cause, and the sheer number of them that places them firmly at the bottom of everyone’s favourite pest list. All it takes is one cockroach, and before you know it, your house is crawling with them.
Cockroaches are generally drawn to warm environments, which explains why they don’t like to spend too much time outside in the British weather! So instead, they will make their way inside your homes, squeezing through any minor cracks they can find.
Once they’ve made their home, they can be challenging to remove, which is why we’ve put together our ultimate guide on how to get rid of cockroaches.
Failing this, you will require the help of a pest control professional. Our highly qualified, skilled technicians provide cockroach control services in London and across the South East of England.
How to Identify a Cockroach
The first step in dealing with cockroaches, or any pest in general, is to identify them.
Their body shape means that they can often be confused with beetles, but a few distinguishable features can help you recognise a cockroach. These include their flat, oval-shaped bodies, their long whip-like antennae, and their quick, jerky walk.
Cockroaches are a diverse bunch, with over 4,000 different species of roaches out there! Luckily for you, there are only two types of cockroaches you need to look out for in your home: the Oriental and the German cockroach.
The German cockroach ranges in colour from a light yellow tone to brown, and sometimes almost black. They have two distinguishable black streaks along the back of their heads that may look like eyes from a distance. German cockroaches typically grow to around 10mm long, with some growing up to 15mm.
The female roaches can carry up to 30 nymphs at a time and are some of the fastest reproducers in the insect world – which explains how cockroach infestations can get out of hand so quickly! German cockroaches mature quickly, growing from larvae to adults in around six weeks.
Oriental cockroaches are sometimes referred to as ‘black beetles’, although this can cause confusion as they are 100% cockroaches, not beetles! In addition, they are much larger than their German counterparts, growing as large as 27mm in length – almost three times the size of German cockroaches.
Oriental cockroaches are dark in colour, with black, glossy bodies. Their reproduction rates are also much slower than that of the German cockroach; to grow from larvae into adults, it takes the Oriental cockroach between six to twelve months.
Signs of a Cockroach Infestation
Cockroaches are nocturnal creatures who spend most of their time hiding away in the shadows. Unfortunately for you, this makes it extremely challenging to identify their presence in your home as the likelihood you’ll see them with your own eyes is very low.
Instead, here are a couple of telltale signs to look out for that signify a cockroach infestation:
Just like all other pests, the presence of cockroaches can be identified by their faeces. Cockroach droppings from smaller cockroaches can look like coffee grounds or black pepper. Larger cockroaches may leave behind dark, cylindrical droppings with a blunt end.
Cockroaches, especially infestations and large groups, will emit a strong, unmistakable aroma. Some people describe it as a musty scent, while others say it’s oily, but it’s definitely unpleasant and easy to notice.
As cockroaches grow, they shed their skin. So look out for dried up dead skin in warm and dark areas of your home.
If you have your concerns, but you’re still unsure, it may be worth conducting an investigation. As previously mentioned, it’s doubtful you’ll see them in the daylight; wait until nighttime and grab your torch.
Cockroaches will gather in warm, damp areas with access to food sources. So head to the kitchen and have a good look at all the little nooks and crannies. Pay particular attention to cupboards and areas around pipework.
If you have noticed any of these signs and believe you have a cockroach infestation, you could be in danger.
The Dangers of a Cockroach Infestation
There is a reason we have such a natural aversion to cockroaches, and that’s because they are a danger to us. They carry a wide range of diseases, meaning their presence in your home create a severe health risk to you and your loved ones.
Cockroaches are known to spread diseases. They carry bacteria including salmonella, staphylococcus, and streptococcus, leading to further health problems requiring medical attention. The bacteria are passed to humans via the ingesting of contaminated foods.
Scientists have recognised that cockroaches play a big part in spreading intestinal diseases such as dysentery, diarrhoea, cholera, and even typhoid fever for many years. If left untreated, these diseases can become life-threatening.
According to a scientific journal, cockroaches are the most common source of allergens in our households today. It’s believed that the enzymes found in the faecal matter of cockroaches cause these allergic reactions. Children are much more susceptible to these allergens that may result in lifelong afflictions like asthma and eczema.
This is why it’s vital to act fast when you suspect a cockroach infestation. Protect yourself and your family and get rid of them immediately.
How to Get Rid of Cockroaches
To completely rid your home of a cockroach infestation, it is vital to kill them in all stages of life, including eggs, nymphs and adults. This can be a challenging task to complete, but we’ve put together some DIY methods you can use to rid your home of cockroaches:
- Clean Up – Cockroaches tend to infest homes with poor hygiene levels. Clutter and mess provide an excellent place for them to hide and deliver potential food sources for them. By giving your home a good clean, you can help to prevent the chances of a cockroach infestation.
- Remove Food Sources – cockroaches are natural survivors who will feed off anything they can find. One of their primary food sources is usually crumbs left behind in your kitchens. Make sure to seal up your food packaging tightly and tidy up after you’ve made a meal to remove the food sources and keep them out.
- Bins – often full of food, and maybe even the floor around the bin is too! This makes it a perfect feeding area for roaches. Don’t let your bins overflow, and keep the immediate area around them clean and tidy to remove all potential food sources for the cockroaches.
- Seal All Gaps – if you’ve got a cockroach infestation in your home, they must have entered through somewhere. Take the time to check the exterior of your home for small gaps and cracks that these pests could have used to gain access to your property. Seal up all potential entry points you find.
- Bait Stations – these are one of the most effective methods for trapping and killing cockroaches in your home; however, it is worth bearing in mind that they can be extremely harmful to children and animals if misused.
- Sticky Traps – although they may not rid your home of cockroaches, sticky traps are valuable tools for identifying the presence of these pests. You could use them as a preventative method or after you’ve cleared the infestation to monitor the situation and see if they have returned.
Unfortunately, none of these methods are guaranteed to rid your home of cockroaches for good. DIY alternatives can only do so much before it’s time to contact a pest control professional.
Professional Cockroach Control
Eliminating cockroaches is not an easy task. Completely clearing your home of them forever means you must kill them at all life stages and follow this up with proofing methods to prevent their return. The only real way to guarantee this is to use a pest control professional.
Integrum are BPCA members with years of experience in dealing with all pests, including cockroaches. Our extensive knowledge, combined with our specialist equipment, allow us to guarantee your family’s safety by ridding your home of cockroaches for good.