Cockroaches come into your house primarily because of two things: food and water. Most species of cockroach prefer the great outdoors to call their home, but other roaches, particularly the American cockroach, prefer the sanctity of your home where they’ll find shelter from the sun (and the elements), and most definitely food and water. Finding a regular supply of food and water is definitely high on their list.
They can come through your pipes and drains, windows, doors, the gaps and cracks on your walls, vents, and a number of other places you won’t even think to look. Once they establish that yes, your home is a nice, cozy place, you best believe they’ll set up shop there. They may call the rest of their family and friends in, or give birth to a whole brood of fresh roaches right under your nose.
What are these sources of food? Well, roaches can eat almost anything. They get most of their nutrients from the bacteria living on their bodies, so they’re not exactly concerned with how healthy their food is – they’ve been known to eat the most unexpected things like toothpaste and even glue (like the glue on the back of stamps). They can eat dead skin flakes, eyelashes, fingernails – they prefer dead things because their jaws are actually quite weak.
If they have their pick, of course, it’ll be a wide array of choices from your garbage bin. So if you want to make your place inhospitable from roaches, keep your garbage properly contained and disposed of in a timely manner. Don’t leave dishes on the sink overnight either, because they will love to clean off those plates if you give them the opportunity.
Roaches are nocturnal creatures, and during daytime, they prefer to find dark, damp places to settle in. Get rid of possible hiding places in your house such as old storage boxes, which are also great places for roaches to lay their eggs in. Fix leaky faucets and make sure you don’t have standing water where you don’t want it (which can also serve as a breeding ground for mosquitoes). You may also want to wrap insulation on pipes that condense, as that can also serve as a regular source of water for roaches – remember, they can live for a month without food, but only for a week without water.
Seal or caulk gaps and cracks on your walls, especially if you have any gaps between the wall and any piping. Invest in screens for your windows and any outside vents, and use weatherstripping on windows and doors.
Also remember that cockroaches are a great source of food for a number of other pests like spiders and cockroaches, so if you have them, there’s a good chance these other pests will want to set up shop in your home too.
If you’ve tried to get rid of cockroaches on your own but still find them in your house after a day or two, then it may be time to call a professional pest exterminator like Watchdog Pest Control for a guaranteed pest-free home.
Roaches are one of the more common pests that plague the average household. One minute you’re totally relaxed, watching television — and the next, you’re screaming for your life running out of the room while the little creature of terror flies maniacally behind you.
But where did it come from? Well, there are many ways a roach could have entered your dwelling space. You could have unknowingly brought one in that hitched a ride in your grocery bag,or they were hiding out in a cardboard box that was delivered to your door. More likely is that they were just outside and shimmied through the gaps on your doors and windows (they can squeeze through spaces as little as one-sixteenth of an inch). They can even come through your pipes (they can hold their breath for 40 minutes).
Like many pests, they like places that are warm, have moisture, are dark, and have readily available food sources – all of which your home offers.
There’s a stigma that roaches are only found in dirty homes, however this is not true. Roaches don’t discriminate when it comes to setting up house, but they do enjoy places where there is more food available – that means, trash not properly disposed, dishes left in the sink, food items not properly stored – these all contribute to roaches staying longer, and the longer they stay means the more babies they’ll give birth to in the sanctuary that is your house.
That said, even clean houses can have a roaches living in it. Roaches need very little to survive. They can survive a month without food, and a week without water, and are happy enough with the warmth that your house provides.
If your house or apartment isn’t newly built, then chances are they’ve always been there. They’re very nocturnal creatures, so unless you’re regularly awake during the night, you might not even know they’re there.
Once inside your home, they’re hard to find unless they come out from wherever it is they’re hiding. They will hide inside walls and under sinks, especially in a room that isn’t often used. They like basements and attics, and have no problem traveling from one room to the next to get to their food.
To help safeguard against roaches living with you, make sure you always check your grocery bags every time you bring one home. If you have something delivered, check the box – it’s not that uncommon to find small roaches have taken up space in there. And since empty boxes are a favorite breeding ground for cockroaches, make sure you properly dispose of them right away.
Caulk or seal gaps along your walls and doors, especially cracks between walls and pipes. You may also want to use drain covers for sinks that are pest-proof, that is, with holes small enough that roaches won’t be able to squeeze through, and invest in nets or mesh for windows and outside vents.
Properly disposing trash, regularly washing your dishes, and properly storing your food also go a long way to make your house more inhospitable for roaches.
And if you have more roaches than you care to deal with, having a professional come take a look is just a phone call away.
There are around 4,600 species of cockroaches, but thankfully only about 30 species are associated with human habitats. In Arizona, there are only about 20 species. These cockroaches are often referred to as sewer roaches or even water bugs, though the latter is because some cockroaches, like the Oriental cockroach in particular, are often mistaken for the Giant Water Bug due to how similar they look.
Now we all know how hardy cockroaches are. It’s often said that they can even survive a city devastated by a nuclear explosion – they can withstand exposure to extreme radiation to a certain extent, according to MythBusters.
But another not-so-fun fact about cockroaches is that they can survive underwater for quite some time. Fully submerged, they can “hold their breath” for about 40 minutes. This is because roaches don’t breathe through their mouths and they don’t have noses. What they have are called spiracles, which are holes in their sides. They can close these holes and stay fully submerged in water for about 40 minutes. It’s this same ability that lets them crawl through our house’s or apartment’s pipes and drains – a way of moving inside and outside dwelling spaces commonly attributed to American cockroaches.
A cockroach can survive without food for up to a month – this is because it actually gets most of its nutrients from the bacteria living on its body, and it can survive without water for about a week. If a cockroach loses its head for some reason, it can survive for quite some time before it dies of thirst. If you think about it, sewers are not only great highways for cockroaches, but also great places for them to live in. It’s dark, they can feed on accumulated gunk, and they have a source of water.
Drain cleaning, drain treatments, and drain traps go a long way to eliminating not only roaches but a number of other insects that spread disease and bacteria, and having clean pipes mean eliminating conditions where these insects may thrive. Also be sure to use a proper drain cover where roaches can’t easily slip through (and they can slip through extremely small spaces including openings 1/16 of an inch).
When cleaning these pipes and drains, make sure to wear gloves and a safety mask as the cleaning process may aerosolize pathogenic bacteria. Some pesticides can be used on drains, but make sure to read labels carefully before use.
Make sure your drain pipes are properly sealed. If you find any cracks or holes, seal them with appropriate caulk. That includes gaps or spaces between pipes and walls where cockroaches may come through. Fix leaky faucets and dripping pipes, and wrap insulation foam around pipes that produce condensation. Standing water attracts roaches, and removing possible sources of hydration for them will make them want to look for a more habitable dwelling.
They may also come through doors and windows, so invest in weatherstripping to secure gaps and be sure to use mesh on outside vents.
Roaches are one of the nastiest, dirtiest, and most disgusting creatures to have ever crawled this planet. They crawl through garbage and merrily spread bacteria and disease on your kitchen countertops, and when they’re feeling particularly devious, they take to the air and laugh as you run from the room screaming. They’re rarely good for anything, except maybe as fodder for exotic pets. That and, well, they are excellent recyclers, chewing up almost anything they can get their mouths on. Which really, makes them all the more gross (can you tell how much I dislike them?).
Some species of roaches like to get inside our houses and apartments, and I recently noticed that the dead ones I encounter expire belly side up, like the turtles I’ve seen in cartoons that flip over and can’t get back up. And I got to thinking, why is that? Some of these roaches have wings, like the American cockroach that is a common house invader. Surely they can wiggle their wings and get right back up? They didn’t just lie there and wait to die like the turtles in those cartoons, did they? Probably not.
One explanation is that it’s because they have top-heavy bodies, and only six thin and long legs. When they die and lose muscle control, their legs contract and tuck underneath their bodies, which causes them to roll over. That’s why you find them in this position in the morning.
This always seems to happen with roaches that die from insecticide too – and that’s likely because insecticide affects their nervous system, which eventually leads to them having muscle spasms. When they’re twitching through their last seconds on this earth, their top-heavy bodies usually topple over and they get to die staring at the sky and stars (well, most probably your ceiling, which is a considerably less pleasant view).
In nature, a cockroach’s journey through life often ends in a predators belly so we don’t actually get to witness many dead roaches lying motionless and facedown in the streets (of the jungle, I mean. Or the city – it’s really one and the same, don’t you think? I digress). But if they’re not actually dead and they just accidentally flipped over for whatever reason, there would likely be debris they can use to right themselves up again, like tall blades of grass, a fallen fruit, or the occasional crushed beer can. In our homes, in our flat floors and countertops and even relatively flat carpets, they wouldn’t have anything to use to try to right themselves up to perhaps die in a more dignified manner.
Another thing that may be interesting is that roaches have been witnessed to come out into the middle of the room to die. Unlike a lot of other insects and animals that “hide” when they think their time’s up, roaches tend to seek out open spaces. A possible explanation for this is because when they’ve been hit with insecticide, they get disoriented and “flee” their hiding spaces, like a roach version of the phrase “I need some air”.
While there are more than 4,500 species of cockroaches, the American and German roaches are two of the more easily identifiable ones you might find in your home.
The American cockroach is thought to have immigrated to the Americas or the New World around the 16th or 17th century AD. It is the largest of its brethren, measuring anywhere from 1 to 3 inches. They also get to live the longest at around 2 years, which indeed is a very long time for a typical cockroach. If this makes you want to knit a tiny wizard hat for these wizened creatures, you are not alone (maybe).
They are reddish brown in color, and have a yellowish margin or figure 8 pattern on the region just behind their heads. They have antennae, 6 legs, and are oval-shaped. Adult cockroaches have wings (their immature offspring do not). They are known as one of the fastest running insects. They are opportunistic feeders, and can eat anything from flakes of dried skin to other dead roaches.
The German cockroach, much like the American cockroach, may also feed on things that may surprise you – in the absence of readily available food from your trash, they have been observed to dine on soap or toothpaste. In a more extreme scenario, they may even turn cannibalistic and attack other live cockroaches in an attempt to dine on them.
The German cockroach is the most common cockroach to be found in residential homes, and you can recognize them by their light brown or tan coloring, as well as the 2 dark parallel stripes on their backs, same as where you would find the figure 8 pattern on the American cockroach. They’re smaller at an average of half an inch, and also have a significantly shorter lifespan compared to the burlier Americans at 100 to 200 days only.
While German cockroaches have wings, they rarely fly, preferring instead to stealthily dart between your furniture.
Aside from seeing these cockroaches in your home in the flesh, other signs that would point to you having them would be:
1. Their droppings, which may be mistaken for mouse droppings. These are pepper-like, or have ridges on the sides and are blunt on the ends.
2. They leave behind their long, brown-colored egg capsules glued to various surfaces, possibly near food sources.
3. They exude a musty smell.
When you see one cockroach, there’s likely a hundred more you don’t see. Don’t hesitate to reach out to a professional right away before you have a full-blown infestation on your hands.