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    How to get rid of cockroaches

    4 tried and tested methods for these unwelcome house guests

    Hannah | Oneflare

    It’s unlikely that anyone will ever be pleased to see a cockroach cross the floor of their kitchen. The negative emotions we have with these creatures make us think that all cockroaches are so disgusting some of us even freak out.  While it’s true that of the 4000 cockroach species in the world, about 450 species can be found in Australia, only a few of them are actual pests.

    They have a lifespan of 6 months and the female lays up to 8 oothecae, each containing about 40 eggs that incubate between 20 and 28 days. They have a flattened body and their colour is yellow to black, and sometimes brown. Its size varies from 1 to 5 cm according to the species.

    If you find yourself with some of these unwelcome guests, you can attempt to rid your home yourself – or hire a professional pest control expert.

    Here’s a rundown of the 3 common types of cockroaches that you might find in your house:

    The Australian cockroach

    Ever heard of the word sneaky? These cockroaches are the definition of sneaky – they generally enter buildings at night through the garden and found mostly in places where winter is relatively mild. Although they are called ‘Australian’ cockroaches, they are not a native species. Females of this species lay oothecae – egg cases that contain up to 24 eggs. Once hatched, it takes about 6-12 months for them to develop into adult cockroaches.

    The German cockroach

    The German cockroach, ‘Blattella germanica’, is a small species of cockroach typically measuring just 1 to 2 cm long. It’s found in many parts of the world, including Australia, mostly near human habitation. Its colour varies from bronze to light brown with two dark parallel streaks that extend from the head to the base of the wings – which are longer in the female than in the male. They prefer hot, humid environments – often found in residential and commercial kitchens and bathrooms.

    The American cockroach

    Originally from tropical Africa, the American cockroach has spread to all continents today. It is found, in general, in basements, sewage systems, and boats. As it consumes a wide variety of foods it is present wherever food is stored and prepared. It prefers relatively hot, humid, dark, and hidden places such as cellars or boiler rooms.

    What do they feed on?

    Cockroaches are omnivorous which means for them, everything is food, even paper, tissue, blood and faeces! In a more traditional way, they enjoy meat, dairy products, sweet foods, vegetables, fruits, and even animal feed. But they are not content simply munching on our food, they defile it with their excrement and a nauseating secretion. Finally, the cockroach is able to feed on the excrement and the corpses of its congeners. Delicious.

    What attracts cockroaches?

    Cockroaches are lovers of heat and humidity, requiring water to survive, and will find their way in no matter what. The hotter it is the more easily they reproduce around several thousand per year per individual. Don’t underestimate them! They can easily adapt to extreme conditions – remember that this is one of the oldest terrestrial species. They can hide anywhere and feed on everything, even paper, and leather. They are very fast, they can travel 1 km/hour and can climb on all surfaces. Food also attracts them, so be sure to keep your kitchen free of any easily accessible food.

    How to get rid of cockroaches?

    Mostly only active at night – it can be difficult to catch them out. However, this of course doesn’t mean they’re impossible to get rid of. There are many ways of ridding your home of cockroaches, here are some of the most tried and tested methods.

    Note: Cockroaches are good actors – they so plausibly pretend to be dead, having smelled the smell of chemicals, it is hard to not applaud their performance!

    A fight against cockroaches should begin with making their environment inhabitable. Here is what you should do in order to avoid these pesky visitors:

    • Regularly clean the kitchen, especially appliances and the kitchen hood, which can be clogged with grease splashes
    • Never leave dirty dishes lying around
    • Fight moisture and mould. Cockroaches need water and love hot, humid places
    • Keep surfaces clear of all food, water, and other spilled substances.
    • Have pets? Avoid leaving their food and water uncovered at night – and keep their baskets and litters as clear as possible as these can easily turn into a real “cockroach nest”

    If you’ve already spotted some roaches in your home, here are some methods to try and rid your home:

    1. Cockroach Bait

    There are a couple of methods of baiting roaches. Firstly, try mixing boric acid with mashed potatoes, boiled yolk, sugar powder or even bread. Put this mixture where you suspect cockroaches come out at night. A few of them eating the mixture is all it takes to infest most of the colony. Otherwise, you can try a bait purchased from stores. These contain .05% or Hydramethylnon 2% as the main ingredient.

    Once they eat the bait, cockroaches will excrete it at their nest resulting in other cockroaches coming into contact with it and dying. This might be a lengthy process, taking up to a few weeks.

    2. Cockroach Traps

    Cockroaches might be sneaky but they are not exactly the smartest creatures – traps can be an effective method of fighting against them. It can also be used to determine infestation areas and degree of the infestation, monitor the effectiveness of insecticide treatments and detect the onset of cockroach infestation. Several types of traps are available, with most around the size of a large box of matches. They are open at both ends and slowly release a food attractant – with the surface covered with a very sticky adhesive.

    • Traps are placed where cockroaches are seen the most
    • Cockroaches will smell the food, enter the trap and get stuck on the surface
    • If the trap doesn’t catch any cockroaches, relocate it after a day
    • Traps can also be informative in terms of the degree of infestation and its spread

    3. Cockroach Gels

    This method is popular because the application is discreet, does not require work interruption or evacuation of premises, no specific precautions such as emptying the cabinets.

    • Apply the gel where you think cockroaches’ nest entrance is at
    • Apply in small drops around the entrance so that the cockroaches can’t avoid it
    • Do it in as many spots as you can in your home

    After having consumed the gel, the excrements of the cockroach are infested and ingested by its congeners. The contaminated cockroach dies quickly and will be devoured by its congeners infecting the active substance, creating a chain reaction, which will quickly lead to the total destruction of the colony.

    The gel has a residual action of a few weeks to 6 months depending on the type of gel used and the environment, thus providing protection against possible reinfections.

    4. Cockroach Sprays

    Insecticide sprays can also be used against cockroaches. Make sure the one you get is labelled for use against cockroaches and contains Cyfluthrin or some other insecticide as the active ingredient.

    • Children and pets should be kept away while spraying
    • Read and follow the instructions on the packaging
    • Ventilate the area well after each use
    • Sprays might push cockroaches even further in their nests which might create additional issues

    If you are still struggling with cockroach infestation, you should find a professional pest control service and solve the issue for once and all.

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