5 Signs You Have a Cockroach Infestation

Cockroach infestation all you need to know. Pest infestations can be a huge nuisance, and they can cause many different issues for you, your family, and your home or business. Since there are many different creatures and critters that can find a way into your building and make it their home, it can be difficult to identify them in the early stages. For example, chew and claw marks could indicate mice or rats, or even squirrels. And although we may associate them with warmer temperatures, cockroach infestations are also surprisingly not that rare in the UK, with various signs to look out for.

cockroach
cockroach

Although there are over 4,500 different species of cockroach, the two main species in the UK are the Oriental cockroach and the German cockroach. If you suspect you have a cockroach infestation, it is important to act fast since they can cause serious health issues. They are known disease vectors, carrying organisms such as salmonella and streptococcus that cause food poisoning.

When the warmer weather comes to an end, cockroaches will be looking for a way to make their home in centrally heated properties. Here are some signs of a cockroach infestation to look out for in the autumn and winter.

An Irritating Odour

If you start to notice a musty, unpleasant smell in your home or business, it is easy to assume you have a damp problem, blocked drains, or you simply need to do a deep clean! However, if the smell is particularly foul and does not go away, it may be that you have a problem with cockroaches. The species that we find infesting homes and businesses in the UK are known for causing a strong, ‘oily’ smell. Since German cockroaches prefer warm, humid environments, they can be found behind appliances that emit heat, such as ovens and fridges. They also require access to food and water, which means they will be hiding near drains, skirting boards, and cracks in tiles in the kitchen area. So, if the smell is particularly strong in these areas, it’s time to call pest control.

Cockroach Droppings

Cockroaches will leave droppings on every surface they walk over. However, the best place to look for cockroach droppings is near their feeding and nesting areas. This means you need to look closely at any cracks in your walls, or places likely to be entryways for the cockroaches. Their faeces are quite easy to identify, with some people likening them to specks of pepper or coffee granules. However, the bigger the cockroach, the bigger the droppings. If the cockroaches are quite large, their droppings will look like black or brown grains of rice.

Egg Cases

As well as droppings, you may notice egg cases. A female cockroach lays her eggs in a protected capsule known as an ootheca. This cock roach egg case will be brown or black, and they can vary in length from 5 mm to 13 mm. These capsules can contain up to 60 eggs and they will be deposited by the female in a safe hiding spot just a few hours before they hatch. If you spot an egg case, this is a sure sign of an infestation.

Skin Sheds

As a cockroach grows, it progresses through various lifecycle stages until it reaches adulthood. This is known as the nymphal stage, which lasts one to three months. During this time, it will shed its skin up to eight times. When cockroaches emerge from their old shells, they have white, soft bodies that then harden and change colour to grey or brown. So, if you have an infestation in your building it is likely that you will notice skin sheds of different sizes near their hiding places.

Dead or Live Cockroaches

Obviously, if you actually see a cockroach during the day, dead or alive, it is likely they have already set up camp in your home or business. Although cockroaches are known to be nocturnal, they will emerge during the day if they need to look for food and water. Seeing them in the daytime also means that the infestation is quite serious since it usually means their population has grown in size. Since German cockroaches live between 100 and 200 days, and the infestation has gone unnoticed until now, you will also start to see dead cockroaches on your floors.

How to Get Rid of Cockroaches

If you have read this far and found that you do have a cockroach infestation, there are a few different ways to deal with it. You must act fast since they can be difficult to get rid of without professional help. Also, the longer you leave it, the more at risk you are when it comes to your health. 

Clean the House/Business

Because cockroaches are attracted to food and moisture, it pays to make sure you are keeping your building clean, tidy, and free of any rubbish. So, start by making sure any dirty dishes are washed and put away immediately after use. Any spillages and crumbs on the floor must be swept/mopped up straight away, and bins should be emptied daily so that nothing is left out overnight. 

If you have pets in your home, make it a habit of removing their food and water bowls before you go to bed.

Give your appliances a good clean so that no grease or food splashes are left for the roaches to find. Also, make sure to wipe down all surfaces and tables after any kind of food prep or meals.

Next, make sure you store all foods in airtight containers and keep them off the floor. Anything perishable must be kept in the fridge and try to avoid keeping fruits and vegetables out on the kitchen surface.

Natural Remedies

There are a few natural ways to get rid of cockroaches if you want to avoid the use of chemicals to keep your children, pets, or customers safe. For example, baking soda is known to cause a build-up of gases in a roach’s stomach, causing it to burst.  For this method to work, choose a starchy, sweet, or greasy food, sprinkle a few pieces with baking soda, and place the bait near their hiding place.

You can also use boric acid, which is harmless to pets and people, but deadly to cockroaches. Simply add a light dusting of boric acid onto a sheet of kitchen roll. Add some orange peel to the centre and leave it near their hiding spots and entryways. When the cockroaches walk over the kitchen roll towards the food, the boric acid will stick to their legs. Once they ingest it, it attacks their digestive and nervous systems.

As a natural cockroach repellent, you can also use lemon oil to clean your kitchen surfaces and floors. Add a few drops to some water before using it to give them a deep clean. The smell will keep the roaches away.

Conventional Methods

If you would rather buy something off the shelf that is quick and efficient, you can opt for glue traps or bait stations. Glue traps contain a smell that attracts the cockroaches, and once they reach them, they will become stuck and unable to move. The best place to put these glue traps is under the sink and fridge. However, you will need to inspect the traps daily and remove and replace them when they are full.

You can also use bait stations. These tend to be long tubes that contain poison. A cockroach will be attracted to the bait, ingest it, and travel back to its hiding place to die. Since both Oriental and German cockroaches will eat the carcasses of other cockroaches, the poison will quickly pass through the group. Although bait stations are fast acting, it does mean that you will find dead roaches around the building, and after eating the poison, the cockroaches can be toxic to children and pets.

If you find yourself constantly laying down traps, you may need to start sealing up any gaps to prevent them from finding their way into your building in the first place. So, inspect your windows and doors to find any worn-out weather stripping. Use caulk to cover any gaps and entry points. This is a safe and affordable way of combating a pest infestation, but it does mean you will need to check these areas regularly to make sure the caulk has not worn away.

Hire a Professional

The best way to make sure you eliminate the cockroaches safely and effectively is to call in a professional. They are experienced in locating and eradicating the infestation without putting you at risk, and the results will be long-lasting. Professional pest controllers can identify the species, which will help them devise a plan on how to deal with them and keep them under control. They will use a combination of monitoring, baiting, and spraying, and they will also help you to understand the cause of the infestation in the first place. They may even provide cleaning and sanitation services. The pest expert will usually arrange follow up visits to make sure that the infestation is completely gone.

COMMERCIAL PEST CONTROL

We understand the importance of pest control in your organisation, as well as the economic and practical difficulties a pest infestation may cause.

We also recognize the financial risks you may encounter if your business is infested by a pest, such as missed revenue. For these reasons, it’s critical to have an effective pest management strategy in place at all times.

We provide a full range of comprehensive pest management services to all market sectors, which you may discover more about on the commercial page.

COMMERCIAL PEST CONTROL

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