It’s pretty disturbing to see cockroaches scuttling away when you switch on the kitchen light at night. These pests are not only unpleasant to look at, but their presence can lead to a host of problems in your home.
Cockroaches will snack on your food – and contaminate it with disease-causing micro-organisms in the process, – they’ll damage your books, wallpapers, and electronics, and could trigger allergies for some people. The allergic reactions are triggered by an allergen secreted by these pests referred to as tropomyosin. The allergen (found in the roaches droppings) causes asthma and eczema.
In addition to these problems, cockroaches will also produce a foul smell that will taint anything they come into contact with such as surfaces as well as food.
Common cockroach species in Australia include: the oriental cockroach, German cockroach, and the American cockroach. Because they breed pretty fast and can survive extremely tough conditions, cockroach infestations are fast spreading and quite difficult to deal with once they begin. It is, therefore, important to keep an eye out for signs of a cockroach infestation for early detection and control.
Signs of a cockroach infestation
Cockroaches are nocturnal and will stay in hiding during the day and come out at night when it’s dark and quiet to look for food. This makes it a bit difficult to catch an infestation – especially in the early stages. There are several signs, however, that you can keep an eye out for to identify a cockroach infestation. These are:
- Live cockroaches scampering into hiding when you turn on the lights.
- Cast skin – roaches moult as they grow.
- Egg cases, also known as ootheca.
- Dead cockroaches inside your house.
- Cockroach droppings.
- A foul unpleasant smell on surfaces and food.
How to prevent a cockroach infestation
You can keep cockroaches out of your house by doing the following:
- Denying them food and drink. Roaches will invade your home in search of food and drink. Deny them access to these, and they will have no reason to come into your home.
- Fix leaky plumbing
- Cover your bins
- Do your dishes immediately you’re done using them
- Vacuum your house often – especially the kitchen
- Clean food and drink messes
- Store your food in sealed containers
- Avoid clutter. Keep your house clutter free to deny cockroaches of hiding places.
- Seal entry points. Identify and seal potential entry points that cockroaches could use to keep them out.
- Keep wood away from your house. Wood piles will provide a place for cockroaches to live near your house increasing the chances of an infestation indoors.
If cockroaches have already invaded your home, worry not. There are effective ways of getting rid of them:
- Insecticides. Applying an insecticide (preferably one made with natural ingredients) will exterminate stubborn cockroaches. You might need to reapply a couple of times as cockroaches are pretty hardy and won’t be totally wiped out in a single application. Using an automatic insecticide dispenser will help ensure continuous protection without requiring you to do much – just set it up, and that’s it.
- Traps. Cockroach traps work by luring the insect and then catching it with an adhesive. Traps are especially useful where insecticides cannot be used for certain reasons. Use several in areas with high roach populations for maximum effectiveness.