Roaches – they're the worst pests to have in your home. They multiply in great numbers and take over interior living spaces through hidden entry points almost overnight, making it hard to get rid of roaches due to their evasiveness and resistance. They carry diseases and contaminate food and surfaces throughout homes and businesses. In nature, these pests consume decaying matter. In homes, they cause nonstop problems and require an excellent roach killer to get rid of them completely.
In this section, we'll talk about four common roach species that invade both homes and businesses across the country. Each species looks different and are easy to confuse with other insects. If you know how to spot the species, it'll be easier to treat them with the right pest control products and to keep them from reinfesting your home or business later.
A German Cockroach. (Image by Lmbuga CC-BY-SA 3.0)
So what do German cockroaches look like? They're one of the most recognizable roach species on the planet. Considered a nuisance pest, these insects move into homes and quickly multiply out of control behind the walls and other out-of-the-way areas. Because of their smaller size, they can sneak in and out of the home, especially at night when they're most active.
German cockroaches have six legs with fine hairs along each one. They often preen their legs after eating or moving through dusty and dirty areas. Pest management professionals take advantage of this preening behavior by laying down insecticidal dusts in the target area. Once the roaches begin to preen, they ingest the chemical ingredients and die as a result.
German cockroaches don't like to stay outdoors; they come inside at the first opportunity. They're a small roach species and can hide easily in tight spaces inside your home. You'll find them inside cabinetry, bathrooms, boxes and bags, where they breed and create even more cockroaches to infest the space.
Dirty dishes left in the sink can attract German cockroaches.
If German cockroaches have invaded your home, chances are you've brought them in or invited them unknowingly. Pre-owned furniture and electronics can harbor these pests. If you've bought used furniture from a yard sale or random person online, it's important to check the item thoroughly to prevent bringing uninvited roaches to your home.
Other things attract roaches to your home, such as:
German cockroaches are disease carriers and spread diseases wherever they travel. They're the cause of many food-poisoning and dysentery outbreaks and can even cause allergic reactions such as rashes and asthma attacks in some people.
Not only that, but the females can lay as many as 40 eggs at once, which can lead to a massive roach infestation in no time. It only takes two months for the larvae to mature into breeding adults and causing even more problems in your home.
Look for their droppings along countertops, baseboards and other places where they travel. Their feces look like pepper and can stain the surfaces. These roaches also produce a foul odor when they're present in massive numbers. It may smell musty near the walls and under the sinks. Of course, if you see any cockroaches, then it's a sign that more may be hiding out of sight.
An American cockroach. (Image by Gary Alpert CC-BY-SA 3.0)
American cockroaches are often called palmetto bugs or water bugs in the South and other parts of the country. No matter what you call them, they're simply another roach species that invades homes and businesses. These roaches are larger than German cockroaches and run very fast despite their size. Sometimes they fly when startled, which also startles the person who uncovers them.
American cockroaches have six legs like all other roach species, with each leg containing multiple hairs. These hairs pick up dust and debris as they scurry along surfaces, so they need to preen the hairs often to remove the contaminants. When treating American cockroaches with insecticidal dusts, these insects transfer the chemicals to others in the nests and ingest the ingredients while preening.
American cockroaches enjoy both the indoors and the outdoors, but they'll likely stay indoors if there's a constant food and water source. After all, your interior living spaces have many areas in which these pests can hide and breed. They prefer to live outdoors but will take refuge inside if they find damp areas. That's why most people find these pests in their basements or in the bathroom beneath the sink.
Clutter in the yard attracts American cockroaches, giving them a place to hide.
American cockroaches like damp places around your home, such as flowerbeds and mulch. If you have a well-maintained lawn with mulchy areas and numerous flowerbeds or a garden, these pests will seek out your home. A cluttered interior will also attract these pests as it gives them shelter and protection.
Other things that attract American cockroaches to your home include:
Like most roach species, American cockroaches spread diseases and contaminates food as they crawl around in the pantry. They pick up bacteria on their legs and transfer it to the surfaces in your home. These pests are responsible for spreading numerous diseases such as dysentery, salmonella and the plague.
American cockroach droppings look similar to a mouse's only smaller in size with blunt ends. When the roaches are agitated or have gathered together, they produce a musty-smelling pheromone. If you notice this smell, it could be a sign that these pests are lurking in the vicinity. Other signs include seeing the roaches scurry across the floor or seeing small egg cases under or behind appliances and furniture.
A female Oriental cockroach. (Image by Alvesgaspar CC-BY-SA 3.0)
Oriental cockroaches are like any other roach species. They eat most anything, including dead roach carcasses. Whether it's trash in your home or decaying matter in sewage drains, these pests will look for food and won't leave until they've run out of things to eat or forced out by roach control methods.
Male Oriental cockroaches have wings that cover about three quarters of their body. The rest of their body is exposed and shows a few segments. The females have no wings. Instead, they have wing pads that cover the first two segments of their bodies. Both the males and the females have six hairy legs and two antennae that measure about half of their body length.
Oriental cockroaches invade homes like every other roach species does. It sneaks through cracks and crevices and crawls up pipes and drains to reach your interior living spaces. They prefer to live and to feed outdoors and are found mostly around plants such as flowerbeds and shrubs. Though they thrive outside, they will infest homes if a food source is available.
Old garbage can lure Oriental cockroaches and other roach species.
Oriental cockroaches are a lot like American cockroaches in that they both love damp places. In fact, this species is found often around sewers and drainage ditches. When they're found in homes, they seek shelter in basements and other damp areas like the bathroom or under kitchen sinks, especially if there's a leak.
Other things that attract Oriental cockroaches include:
Because Oriental cockroaches feast on decaying matter, they're likely to spread various pathogens to people. They transmit diseases such as salmonella and E.coli as they walk on countertops and over food items in the pantry and cabinets. They may also pass these pathogens on to people as they crawl over toothbrushes in the bathroom.
The main sign of Oriental cockroaches is seeing one inside or outside your home. These roaches are larger in size and leave behind droppings that look similar to mouse feces. The droppings are smaller and have blunt ends; mice droppings are longer and have pointed ends. Oriental cockroaches also produce a musty odor when they congregate together.
A brown-banded cockroach. It looks similar to the German roach species.
Brown-banded cockroaches are similar in size and appearance to German cockroaches. They're small roaches and don't do well in cold temperatures. Therefore, they'll invade homes looking for warm temperatures and shelter from the elements. Once they're inside, these roaches seek out hiding places and stay close to their food sources, which are normally in the kitchen.
These roaches get into your home usually through cracks and crevices. However, it's most common to bring them inside either by carrying infested furniture, electronics or grocery products into your home. They seek shelter in out-of-the-way areas and raid pantry items once the coast is clear.
Leftover food attracts brown-banded roaches. (Image by Frank Saptel CC BY 2.0)
Brown-banded cockroaches will eat most anything in your home. Whether it's trash or food in the pantry, these pests are always on the hunt for something more to eat. They will also nibble on wallpaper and window drapes, including clothes made from nylon. If you leave leftovers on the table, these pests will come out of their hiding spots and raid the food. It's best to keep all food items sealed and put away to prevent attracting these pests to your home.
All cockroaches can transmit bacteria to people, and brown-banded cockroaches are no exception. They're known to carry and spread the bacteria that causes gastroenteritis and other stomach illnesses. When they raid commercial kitchens, these pests cause food poisoning as they crawl over and feed on food in the storage areas. They also multiply by the hundreds in a short time, making it easy to get an infestation in your home.
Mistaken identity often leads to further infestations. It's important to identify the cockroaches correctly when you see them so that you can treat them with the appropriate pest control products. If you see a roach, look at its coloring, and check for any banding. Look for peppery dots in your pantry and along baseboards where they travel. These dots are the roaches' feces and can contaminate your living space. Seeing dead carcasses, chewed packaging and small nymphs in the daytime are all signs that you have a brown-banded cockroach infestation inside your home.
Finding roaches in your home makes for an unsettling experience, especially if you don't know how many are actually in there. These insects have been on this planet for far longer than humans have, and they'll continue to be here for long after we've gone away. There are many misconceptions when it comes to cockroaches. We're here to debunk the myths and to give you the straight facts about these long-lived insect pests.
"How do you get rid of roaches without an exterminator?" That's a common question among homeowners who want to eliminate the problem themselves without having to involve someone else, especially if it means paying a person multiple times to complete the job. Some people try to fight roaches with diatomaceous earth or bay leaves; others go straight to tough pesticides.
Though you can kill cockroaches without the need of a professional, don't assume that it's an easy task. In all actuality, it may take numerous treatments before the entire roach infestation is completely gone.
If you're going to get rid of roaches yourself, then you might as well do the job right the first time. Therefore, you'll need to know all about the signs to look for, how to spot feces, where to look for the roaches and what products to use. There's also preventative steps to take if you want to keep roaches out of your home for good.
We'll cover all that and more in this section.
Toward the end, we'll provide a complete list of roach control products here at Pedchem that will help with getting rid of roaches fast in your home. Though it sometimes helps to have a professional exterminator inspect your home, there's nothing keeping you from finding the roaches and killing them yourself.
All pests, no matter how sneaky they are, leave behind signs in your home. Cockroaches are no exception. They leave signs that indicate their presence in your kitchen, bathroom and other interior spaces. Identifying the signs will help you spot an infestation and take control of the situation before it gets any worse.
If you see one roach, there's a chance that many more are lurking out of sight. Seeing roaches in your home is obviously the top sign that you have an infestation. Because they're mostly active at night, you'll want to inspect once the sun goes down, perhaps before you go to bed. Turn off the lights, and wait a while. Afterward, go into the kitchen or bathroom, turn on the lights and look for any roaches scurrying for cover. If you don't see any roaches, that's a good sign. However, they could be somewhere else such as in your basement, attic or crawlspace. If you're going to get rid of roaches yourself, you'll need to inspect every part of your home thoroughly.
Not all roach feces look the same. Some look like pepper; others look like mouse droppings. Larger roaches like the American and Oriental species have longer feces with blunt ends. Small roaches like the German and brown-banded species have peppery-like feces. Look for the droppings in the cabinets and under the sinks, including along baseboards and beneath furniture and appliances. Spotting roach feces means that you have an infestation somewhere out of sight, perhaps behind the walls or in voids around plumbing pipes. Keep these two things in mind when looking for roach droppings:
A roach laying an ootheca. (Image by Toby Hudson - CC BY-SA 3.0)
Roaches lay their eggs in cases called oothecae. These cases can hold 40 or more eggs that will hatch in a matter of days. You can find the oothecae in areas such as crawlspaces, attics, cabinets and beneath furniture, electronics and appliances. Sometimes they're right under your nose in the corner of your room; other times they're hidden from view. Performing a thorough inspection may reveal these oothecae and help you to figure out if you have an infestation in your home or not.
You probably won't be able to smell a single roach in your home. However, when they get together in large numbers, it's possible to smell a musty odor. Roaches produce a protein that gives off a faint smell, which gets more noticeable when the pests are congregating together. Not everyone smells roaches in their home. If you have a sensitivity to odors, it's likely that you'll smell this musty odor if an infestation has developed in your living spaces.
Cockroach feces in a home. (Image by NY State IPM)
We briefly discussed the signs of cockroaches and how spotting roach feces is a good indicator of an infestation. However, this sign deserves its own section because it's not always easy to spot or to identify the feces in your home. We'll break it down in three small sections to make it easy to identify the droppings, where to look for them and why you should be actively searching for roach feces in your home on a semi-regular basis.
You'll probably never notice any feces if only one or two roaches occupy your living space. However, if you see clumps or groups of droppings in an area, it indicates a serious infestation and requires immediate attention. Though we've talked about feces identification earlier, we can't stress this topic enough. It's easy to misidentify large roach and mouse feces in the same home.
Mouse feces are about the same size as a grain of rice and rounded with points at each end. Large roach droppings are slightly smaller with blunted ends. Smaller roaches, such as German cockroaches, leave behind pepper-looking feces on surfaces. They could be scattered over the area or clumped together. Both mouse and roach feces are dark in color, so it's easy to misidentify them. If you locate roach droppings and start setting out mouse traps, you're not only wasting money on the wrong products, but you're also wasting time and allowing the roach infestation to get worse.
Roaches can squeeze through the smallest cracks and the tightest spaces in your home. They've been found in appliances, luggage and even video game consoles such as the PlayStation. No place in your home is safe from roaches, so you'll need to be on the lookout for feces everywhere. Some common areas to search for roach poop include:
So what do you do once you find cockroach poop in your home? First, don't touch it with your bare hands. Roach feces are just as bad as mouse droppings. They both contain pathogens that could cause illness and spark allergic reactions. You should always wear gloves and a face mask to prevent kicking up dust and spreading those contaminants in the air.
Use a vacuum to suck up all the roach droppings in the area. Once you've removed the poop, use a disinfectant to clean the surfaces and to kill any surviving viruses and bacteria. Sealing cracks and crevices with silicone or foam sealant will keep the roaches out of those spaces and prevent further contamination.
You should look for roach poop in your home for two main reasons:
If your home is susceptible to roaches or pests of any kind, it pays to stay on top of your game to prevent infestations. Roach feces contains various bacteria that not only degrades your food items but also can make you sick and reduce your home's air quality. Taking a proactive approach and inspecting for cockroach poop will keep you ahead of any infestation that could break out at a later time. You'll prevent unnecessary contamination, unwanted infestation levels and illnesses that could affect you or your family.
Cockroaches don't come and go; they stick around once they've entered your home. In fact, they begin breeding right away and multiplying into an uncontrollable colony as soon as they have a reliable shelter and plenty of food and water sources. Seeing a cockroach more often than not means more are hiding somewhere in your home. If you're unsure where these pests make their hiding places, we have you covered with six common areas to look for roaches in your living areas.
Roaches can turn any crack and crevice or nook and cranny into a hiding place. They'll hide in the gaps around windows, doors and baseboards, as well as the spaces behind picture frames. They'll also nest under garbage bags that have been left out for too long. Eliminating debris and sealing all cracks and crevices will take away the pests' hiding spots.
Your stove, microwave and toaster has gaps and holes where cockroaches can sneak into and hide for a while. Because the kitchen is usually warm and has food and water, these pests will do their best to set up nests in the vicinity. It's important to wipe down the surfaces after eating and preparing meals, including mopping the floor and removing all crumbs and spills.
Roaches enjoy moisture and will make their way into your home through and around plumbing pipes. They'll also nest under the sinks where the pipes may leak or drip from the seals. Performing routine checks of all the drains will catch any leaks that could attract roaches to your home.
It's not uncommon to see roaches in gaming consoles, DVD players and other small electronics. They can squeeze through the small gaps and have a reliable, warm shelter inside where they can remain hidden. They've also been known to live inside laptops and desktop computers. It's a good idea to keep your electronics clean at all times, making sure to wipe them down if they're covered in crumbs after snacking while surfing the web.
Most of the food in your home is located in the cabinets and pantry. Roaches know this and will go where the food is, hiding in the crevices between the shelves and the wall. They'll squeeze under canned goods and camp between bags and boxes. You should always store pastas, grains and other opened foods in sealed plastic containers. Also, it's wise to do a check of your cabinets every now and then to catch roaches before they multiply.
Your furniture makes great homes for roaches. They can get into the couches and chairs, where they lay eggs and increase their numbers. It's important to vacuum your couches and chairs regularly to pick up any crumbs and to remove any egg casings. Flip the cushions and check for roaches in the crevices. Perform these checks regularly to keep the pests off and out of your furniture.
A roach treatment program isn't just about spraying some chemicals or treating the problem with boric acid. It goes far beyond simple treatments; it takes several steps to eliminate and to prevent cockroaches for good. If you don't prepare your home beforehand, you could be open to another infestation at a later point. In this section, we'll discuss the major parts of roach control, starting with the prep work and ending with the actual treatment methods.
Whether you get rid of roaches yourself or with the help of a professional, you'll need to prepare and sanitize your home before using any treatments. Sanitation is an important step in roach control. If you skip this step, you won't achieve the results that you're looking for.
If cockroaches don't have access to food, they will have less reasons to stay inside your home. Don't think that cleaning up crumbs will eliminate a roach infestation. Your home still provides a great shelter for roaches, keeping them safe from predatory insects and birds outdoors. However, removing their food sources will help to curb the population and bring the infestation under control.
Roaches need water as much as humans do. Though roaches can live for a month or more without food, they won't last long without water. Standing water attracts cockroaches, and a humid indoor environment makes a great haven for these disease carriers. Removing their water sources will spell disaster for the colony.
Treating roaches comes down to using the right products at the right time. Baits, sprays and insect grown regulators all help to kill roaches and to prevent reinfestations. But which products do you use and when?
All the treatment in the world isn't going to prevent a reinfestation. You'll need to take preventative steps if you want to keep your home free of invasive pest insects such as roaches. If you treat your home without taking preventative measures, you'll have to repeat the process sooner or later.
Here at Pedchem, we provide numerous roach control products for fighting these pests indoors and outdoors. Whether it's baits or sprays, you'll need all the help you can get when it comes to roach control. If you're ready to take the next step and to eliminate roaches from your home once and for all, we recommend the following products to help you succeed at DIY pest control.
You can kill roaches fast with the right know-how and effective products here at Pedchem. Knowing how to identify roaches helps a lot when coming up with a treatment program of your own. In this blog, you've learned how to identify the species, figured out their habits, understood how they behave and which steps to take when treating and preventing roach infestations now and in the future.
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