You spot a creature in your home with six legs, a shiny brown body, and two long antennae—and quickly conclude that it’s a cockroach.
It can be an unpleasant discovery. Not only do cockroaches make our skin crawl, but they can contribute to indoor allergies and harbor unpleasant diseases. Thus, it’s in your best interest to deal with the problem immediately.
But cockroaches can be a pain to get rid of. With their resilience and grit, they are particularly good at evading humans. Don’t worry—there are ways to make them leave for good. In this article, we’ll go over why they are dangerous for our health, the best ways to prevent infestations, and how to get rid of cockroaches in your home.
Is It a Cockroach Problem?
You may have your suspicions but aren’t sure if it’s truly a cockroach infestation. Let’s go over the ways you can identify infestations as well as the specific species you’re dealing with.
Here are the top warning signs that point to a cockroach infestation:
- Odor: Are you noticing a smell, and you can’t quite pinpoint where it’s coming from? Cockroaches are notorious for leaving behind a musty or oily stench. If this odor suddenly appeared and you can’t explain it, it could be a sign of a cockroach problem.
- Shells: A good way to know that you are dealing with cockroaches is if you find one or many cockroach shells or exoskeletons. They are usually a light or dark brown (depending on the species) and are often left in damp or musty areas.
- Fecal Matter: Often mistaken for dust or dirt, cockroaches leave behind tiny droppings. They’re so small that they can resemble coffee grounds or even black pepper. Larger species will leave tiny pellets with blunt ends.
- Eggs: All species of cockroaches lay eggs, and they look slightly different from one another. If you see eggs in a brown or red case, it’s likely a cockroach infestation that’s spreading.
Appearance and Species
Certain species of cockroaches invade most American homes, each with different characteristics and intentions. Knowing which species you have will help you better understand how to get rid of cockroaches in your home.
Here are the four most common types:
The Oriental cockroach has a dark brown coloring. They are drawn to cool, moist, and damp environments—so expect to find them in basements or crawl spaces. They are mid-size, measuring around 3.2 cm.
German cockroaches are the most common type found in American homes. They have a light brown color and are on the smaller side, measuring about 1.6 cm. This species loves to invade food sources. They’ll usually be found hanging out in kitchens or other humid environments.
The American cockroach is common in urban areas. It’s distinctly reddish-brown and measures at about 5 cm (larger than other species). It prefers damp and humid spaces.
Distinct bands across their bodies characterize the brown-banded cockroach. It’s also tiny, measuring at about 1.4 cm. It’s different from other species in that it prefers high temperatures with low moisture. That means you’ll likely find this species in a bedroom or living space.
Why Do I Have Cockroaches?
If you’re harboring cockroaches, you may be wondering why they chose your home in the first place. It’s important to note that having cockroaches doesn’t necessarily point to a messy home. In fact, cockroaches often take up residence in clean spaces, because their driving force is often to find shelter.
Some species are attracted to the warmth of your home. Others want to escape the heat and soak up the humidity in your bathroom or kitchen.
Another reason cockroaches enter homes is to find food. They could pick up on its scent, even if it’s tucked away in cabinets. However, leftover crumbs or dirty dishes can play a role in attracting certain species. Keeping pantry food sealed up and scraps out of the house is essential to keeping these creepy crawlies at bay.
Harmful Effects of a Cockroach Infestation
Cockroaches don’t tend to bite or bother humans directly, but they can affect our health in other ways. They often carry bacteria that can transfer to food they tamper with. Moreover, they may carry intestinal diseases like diarrhea and dysentery, just to name a few.
Cockroaches are also a known cause of indoor allergies. The National Pest Management Association estimates that between 78 to 93 percent of urban homes contain cockroach allergens from shed skin, excrement, or saliva. The symptoms can be more harmful to children. If you notice you or your child suddenly experiencing the following symptoms, act quickly to address the situation:
- Sinus or ear infections
- Asthma attacks
How to Get Rid of Cockroaches in Your Home
First and foremost, cockroach control should involve preventing the problem from getting worse. To do this, make sure you are constantly sweeping up food crumbs, never leaving out dirty dishes, and keeping trash covered with a lid. It may also help to seal up cracks along walls to deny entry points.
Since cockroaches thrive in humid conditions, many have found that humidifiers and keeping bathrooms as dry as possible help prevent outbreaks.
However, this will do little to expel the cockroaches already in your home. They can survive just about anywhere and under any conditions. Moreover, killing cockroaches is hard. They have a thick exoskeleton and can ingest just about anything. This makes getting rid of them a bit difficult—but not impossible.
There is a way to drive cockroaches out of your home without the hassle of glue traps, harmful foggers, or ineffective poisons. Riddex’s Riddex Plus uses patented pulse technology to expel pests from your home in as little as two weeks. It works by utilizing the wiring in your home and is undetectable to humans and pets, but it annoys and repel pests. Simply plug it into your wall, sit back and relax, and have a cockroach-free home.