Why Are They a Problem?
Roaches are messy, produce unpleasant odours, can introduce and spread harmful bacteria such as salmonella and they are a major source of allergens, which can trigger asthma attacks. Cockroaches will feed on anything organic. If food and water sources are nearby, they can survive for long periods of time without ever leaving their living areas.
Small cockroaches (nymphs) will often eat the others’ droppings. Adults will eat fragments from egg cases and body parts — and their young as they hatch. They readily find adequate food in the “fallout” of crumbs, spills and poorly contained food or beverage items people provide in their homes.
Foods that have a high level of sugar, starch or grease seem to be preferred, but nearly anything that can be chewed may be fed upon. Cockroaches spend 80 per cent of their time resting in cracks and crevices, but when active, they spend most of their time searching for or eating food. Cockroaches begin their most active period just as it begins to get dark. It’s interesting that this is true even in kitchens where the lights are never turned off. They will increase their activity as the temperature rises. Because of their nocturnal habits, locating and controlling these insects can be tricky.
Roaches are a common and persistent problem in many households. Worldwide there are over 3,500 roach species. The few species that actually do bother us are a major force to be reckoned with. Cockroaches prefer temperatures in the mid-20s (ºC). Cockroaches have a broad, flattened body shape, six long legs (which are adapted for running) and relatively long antennae (or “feelers”) that are very sensitive to movement. Adult female cockroaches may live a year or more when conditions are good. Roaches can also survive for up to 20 days without food or water. The female often carries the egg case before attaching it to an object in a sheltered location. For some species, it can take two to three months before the eggs hatch. It can take four months to one year for a cockroach to be fully grown.
How to Prevent Invasions & Infestations
- Take garbage out frequently.
- Wash and dry dishes as soon as possible.
- Toss out old boxes and newspapers.
- Keep kitchen floors, counters and cupboards clean.
- Clean and vacuum regularly behind ovens, microwaves, toasters and refrigerators.
- Wipe up food spills on and around appliances.
- Restrict eating outside of the kitchen.
- Store food items in closed, plastic containers.
Cockroaches hide in cracks, crevices or other protected areas that are suitably warm and moist during the daytime hours. After dark they come out of hiding to mate and forage for food and water. To effectively control roaches, knowledge of this hiding or harbouring behaviour is very important.
When faced with a cockroach infestation, you may want to choose to use a federally registered insect control product such as Raid® Ant Roach & Earwig Bug Killer and/or contact a licensed professional.