You’ve seen it before in movies or experienced it yourself first hand. It’s the middle of the night, you go down to the kitchen for a drink of water, turn on the light, and freeze in a moment of horror as you see critters scattering in all directions. Cockroaches!
Many people joke about how a natural or man-made disaster could wipe out the world, yet cockroaches would probably still survive. Well, they have managed to stick around for 400 million years so they’re doing something right. But having a cockroach infestation is not something any of us want to experience. They are a health risk that can get out of hand quite quickly. It is said that between 79% – 98% of most urban houses will have cockroaches lurking. And once they have moved in, they are able to spread 6 forms of parasitic worms, 33 forms of bacteria, and around 7 other pathogens that affect humans. The allergens from cockroaches can trigger asthma and allergies.
Cockroaches can feed on just about anything. They thrive in damp and dirty places where they choose to build their habitats. The American cockroach likes to build close to its food source and quite often will choose to live in food storage areas, basements, sewers, and steam tunnels. They are extremely drawn to fermented food as well.
So how do we get rid of such a resilient foe?
Sanitation is one of the biggest keys in fighting a cockroach infestation or even avoiding one from happening altogether. We mentioned how they like to keep near sources of food. So it’s important to keep these areas tidy. Cockroaches usually are found in bathrooms and kitchen, mainly under sinks and appliances.
- Keep surfaces clean – any area where you prepare or eat food should be wiped down immediately and after every use. The same goes for your stovetop. You don’t want to leave bits of food around that will entice cockroaches to set up camp.
- Wash those dishes – It’s a habit many of us can fall into, especially in a busy home. Leaving dirty dishes to sit out overnight is like an open invitation to cockroaches. If you don’t have time to wash up then at least rinse your dishes, or leave them soaking in some soapy water. The same rule applies to dishwashers. Rinse your dishes before loading them in and be sure that your dishwasher itself is kept clean. Food particles can get left in the filters. A good tip to try is to flush your washer with a white vinegar rinse. One cup of vinegar placed on a top rack and a half cup in the bottom of the dishwasher, run on a hot cycle, can get it really clean.
- Our furred and feathered friends – If you have pets, it’s important that you keep their food and water bowls clean. Give them a good wash every day. And don’t leave food out overnight. You may want to find a better way of leaving water out at night too because your pet’s water bowl is another attraction to cockroaches.
- Store your food properly – Any food that is stored in cabinets should be sealed in containers that are airtight. Cereals, pasta, flour…these often get placed back in the cabinets in their original containers and wrappers, not sealed properly. The next thing you know, you go to pour that bowl of cereal and find an unwelcome guest amongst your corn flakes. Seal loose food like this in Tupperware containers. And keep those shelves tidy as well.
- Those neglected areas – Your microwave and stove are two appliances that often get neglected where cleaning is concerned. They are also two of the main appliances that can attract cockroaches because of all of the food fragments that can get left inside of them. Make it a point to properly clean your stovetop, oven, and microwave on a regular basis, including any extractor hoods over the stove. If you have a toaster, make sure you empty the crumb trays daily. Other neglected and hard to reach areas that need attention are behind and under the stove and refrigerator which should be cleaned on a regular basis too.
- Take out the trash – Don’t leave open garbage bags laying around. Be sure to dispose of any garbage and compost properly. Even having a garbage bin in your kitchen with a lid is not ideal. Garbage should be disposed of every night in their designated, outside bins. Also, be sure to sweep and vacuum your floors on a regular basis to make sure food particles are not being left to collect in corners. If you use a vacuum that has bags, this can be another source of food for cockroaches (if you are vacuuming up food) so change those bags regularly as well.
- Ventilation and holes – If you have areas where moisture build-up can happen, such as in crawl spaces and basements, find a way to ventilate these areas in order to create a drier atmosphere. Also, be sure to seal any holes and cracks that you find, both inside and outside of the house, along with any utility pipes. In the house, look for gaps and cracks in the walls and floors (especially floorboards), around cabinets, water pipes, and electrical cables. Look for leaks, especially under sinks, and seal them properly.
If you can get into a good routine it will really cut down the chances of having a cockroach infestation in your home. It will benefit your health as well because you will be cutting down on bacteria, pathogens, and parasites that could trigger allergies, asthma, and possibly other ailments.
For more information on cockroach control in Providence, call us at 401-992-9000.