Cockroaches are a hardy group with approximately 4,600 separate species distributed around the world. About 50 different species are found in North America, but most types of roaches are content to make their homes outdoors. However, four species are considered major household pests in the Savannah area, finding human dwellings to be much more attractive than the great outdoors.
Why Cockroaches Infest Homes
Cockroaches find human homes inviting for several reasons. A home provides shelter from the elements and protection against predators. There is an abundant source of easily obtained water and food, allowing the roach population to increase rapidly.
However, while most humans prefer to spend their time in open areas, roaches prefer tight spaces where they can conceal themselves when they are not foraging. A typical home has baseboards, crown molding, wall art, furniture, large and small appliances, cabinets, boxes, kitchen drawers and closets that are ideal hiding places.
Damages Caused by Cockroaches
Cockroaches rate high on many lists of the most disgusting, most hated and most psychologically disturbing insects potentially found in a home. However, the damage that roaches can cause goes far beyond emotional unease.
Cockroaches are known to carry bacteria and viruses on their feet. When a roach contaminates food, dishes or eating utensils with these organisms, it can lead to a variety of diseases in humans, including dysentery and salmonella. There is also some evidence that roaches could be vectors for cholera, plague, E. coli, listeriosis, staph and strep.
Several studies have shown that cockroaches can trigger or exacerbate asthma attacks or allergic responses. The worse the infestation, the greater the risk of hypersensitivity.
A home infested with roaches will typically have a foul odor. Cockroaches can emit a chemical to communicate with each other. Their feces, decaying bodies and molted skins can also produce a strong, unpleasant smell.
Roaches can also damage the home's contents. They may feed on documents, books or other paper products. In addition, their droppings can stain fabrics, photographs and other surfaces.
How to Handle a Roach Infestation
If your home is infested with cockroaches, you should contact a reputable exterminator to deal with the problem. Different species are attracted to different food sources and nesting spots, so the first step in eradicating an infestation is to have a professional provide an accurate identification to determine the proper treatment plan. However, there are some things that you can do to help ensure the success of the treatment plan.
- Deny roaches access to food. Clean up spills and crumbs immediately and thoroughly. Store cereal, sugar, crackers and other food — including pet food — in airtight plastic or metal containers. Do not leave pet food in a dish overnight; put out just enough for a feeding. Be sure to wash the dish after your pet has eaten.
- Deny roaches access to water. Repair leaking pipes and dripping faucets. If you have drip pans under appliances or plants, empty them frequently. Empty your pet's water dish before you retire for the night.
- Remove overgrown vegetation and mulch from around your foundation and beside the walkway to your door. This can help keep roaches from having a hiding place when they are migrating from a neighbor's house.
- Indoor trash cans should be equipped with a tight-fitting lid and emptied frequently. Pizza boxes or other containers used for food that do not fit inside the can should be immediately placed in the outside trash bin.
- Caulk or otherwise seal gaps and cracks around windows, doors and pipes.
- Exercise caution if you purchase a used computer, toaster, gaming console, microwave or other electronic product. Roaches could be hiding inside them. You can also bring roaches into your home inside cardboard boxes.
If you need help solving any type of pest problem, contact Ideal Pest Control. We are a family owned and operated company serving Bryan, Bullock, Chatham, Effingham and Liberty counties since 1974. Call us today to receive a free estimate.