The roach is an insect that is unfortunately commonplace and recognizable. Almost all of us have heard the scuttling of, seen the wiggling antennae of, or found the leavings of a roach at one time or another in our lives. What happens when it is not just a single roach that crosses your path, but an intrusion? (An intrusion is the actual word for a group of roaches.)When your home is suffering from an intrusion of roaches, the first thing you want to know is how to get rid of roaches as quickly as possible, preferably in a way that won’t harm your family. Luckily, there are many steps you can take to rid your house of roaches and keep them from returning. Here we explore what the roach is, why they want to be in your home, and how to get rid of roaches.
What Are Roaches?
A Buggy Bug
Roach, or cockroach, is a commonly used word for an insect in the Blattodea order (which also includes termites). Roaches are insects with six legs, a hard exoskeleton, and two antennae. They are flat bodied and earth colored. They range in size from just over a centimeter to three inches.Cockroaches are abundant throughout the world. They are hardy creatures that have been rumored to survive without food or even underwater for an extended period of time. They usually reproduce quickly and mature into adulthood in mere weeks.
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Roaches are thought to have evolved along with humans. Even though many of us automatically think of roaches as pests, there are thousands of cockroach species in the world, and only a few are considered pests. Others are used in medicine, as food, and even as companions.There are three main types of roaches in US households that are considered pests. The American Cockroach is reddish brown and about an inch and a half long. The German cockroachs are much smaller, about half an inch long, and have dark stripes running parallel down the side of their bodies. The Asian cockroach is similar to the German cockroach in appearance, but prefers to live outdoors, only coming in when there is a nearby outdoor infestation.
That Can Cause Harm
Household roaches are emotionally distressing to many of us, and most people have some anxiety about encountering a roach. In large enough quantities, roaches can produce a bad odor that is musky smelling. As if the yuck factor alone is not enough reason to want to get rid of roaches, they can also be physically harmful.
Roaches are associated with allergies and can lead to respiratory difficulty, especially for people with asthma. They can carry pathogens, such as e-coli or salmonella, that can cause food contamination leading to digestive illness including stomach upset and diarrhea. For some people, roaches can cause uncomfortable skin rashes. These health dangers mean that most people are interested in how to get rid of roaches.
What Attracts Them to My Home?
The same things that make you want to return to your abode after a hard day at work makes the cockroaches want to call your home theirs. As sinister as they may seem, they are most concerned with their survival. Disrupting your home is an unfortunate side effect of roaches fulfilling their basic needs. Roaches are simply looking for food, water and shelter and to get rid of roaches you must first know what they are after.
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For a cockroach anything is food, and food is anything. They are true scavengers, sustaining themselves on whatever is readily available. They survive on food crumbs, oil residue, garbage, glue, hair, paper, old skin, and decaying matter.
Spills, dripping faucets, the toilet, a sink full of dishwater and pet bowls are all fair game. Cockroaches are not choosey when it comes to a water source and can survive for a week while looking for their next drink.
Newspapers, cardboard, or stacks of old mail are palace to cockroaches. Some roaches will live outside in piles of leaves. They also love the warmth of your home and will gravitate to areas of heat such as behind the refrigerator.
How to Get Rid of Roaches
If you’re interested in how to get rid of roaches, the first step is to make your home unappealing. Eliminate all their food sources and reduce any water sources (obviously there are certain limitations; you cannot get rid of your toilet!). Next you must clean and make the environment less attractive to them.
Keeping them from entering your home in the first place will prevent re-infestation. Finally, if absolutely necessary, use natural pest control methods or contact a professional pest company for help. (There are some DIY options for more aggressive pest control poisons, but these may be unsafe for your household so please use caution.)
Below are ways you can get rid of roaches in your home for good.
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Eliminate the roaches food source
- Seal all your dry food stores and leftovers
- Clean up all food spills right away
- Do all your dishes and sweep daily before bed
- Put away pet food when not in use
- Clean the stove top and other areas where grease accumulates
- Clean behind things such as the refrigerator, toaster over, and garbage cans
Reduce the roaches water source
- Fix your dripping faucets
- Avoid over-watering houseplants
- Wipe up all spills, even water, right away
- Put away pet water right away
Make the environment less supportive
- Get rid of newspapers, stacks of mail, and other hiding places
- Cool the house as much as possible
- Kill roaches, when found, with soapy water spray (or a shoe!)
- Keep outdoor leaf piles and litter to a minimum
- Examine all things that come from outside in (packages, shoes, grocery bags, etc)
Seal your home to keep roaches out
- Use a silicone or latex caulk to seal all cracks in the wall, on baseboards, and around outlets
- Apply weatherstrip to all windows and doors
- Patch holes in screens
- Plug your drains when not in use
Pest control methods
When it turns out that cleaning, sealing and eliminating roaches food and water sources are not enough to get rid of roaches, some people turn to pest control methods as an alternative. Pest control methods may be natural and safe or a toxic pesticide poison. If you are considering more toxic pest control methods, you may want to hire a professional. Less toxic pest control methods are easy to get and use on your own.
Diatomaceous earth is a powder made of silica which is harmful to roaches but not to humans or to pets. Food grade diatomaceous earth is very safe to use around children and pets. It is a powder that can be placed under appliances and inside cabinets. Diatomaceous earth works to get rid of roaches by damaging the legs and exoskeleton of the cockroaches.
Boric acid and powdered sugar is a tempting treat for roaches and is less toxic to us than poisons. Although it is less toxic, it is still wise to keep boric acid away from children and pets. Boric acid poisons the cockroaches over time as they absorb it through their skin or consume other roaches that have boric acid on or in them.
Glue strips can help catch roaches and help you determine where they gather. A glue strip is a sheet of paper with a sticky section on one side. When the roach walks on it, they stick to it and cannot escape. Using glue strips can help you determine where the highest numbers of roaches are.
Roach hotels are enclosed glue strips with either glue only or with an added pesticide. Roach baits are a concentrated pesticide in a gel carrier that can be hidden behind appliances and cupboards. Although easier to keep clear of children and pets than a roach spray, we advise caution when using these more toxic methods. Some question whether they are effective in the long run.
Roaches are likely to go on living where humans live as long as we provide them with all the food, water, and shelter they need for healthy lives. Although roaches may be happy to live with us, we are rarely happy to live with them. A roach invasion can unsettle and be physically harmful. When roaches show up in your house and you’re thinking about how to get rid of roaches, remember to make your home inhospitable to them.Spend time deep cleaning. Get behind and under appliances. Clean the backs of cupboards. Scrub out the trash bins. Deep clean the stovetop and oven. Develop a daily cleaning habit to keep up. Sweep and do dishes nightly. Keep food and water sealed and clean up all messes. Seal your house using caulking and weatherstripping. If needed, use a less toxic pest control substance or call a professional company. Following these steps will help you get rid of roaches for good, leading to a safer and healthier home.
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