Cockroaches are undoubtedly the worst of all the pests you can see in your home. They are by far not the most dangerous, especially if you are living in the UK, but cockroaches are extremely tough to kill. If they invade your home and you allow them to create a nest, expect to be overwhelmed soon enough.
The German cockroach, the most common uninvited guest in the UK, can give birth to over 800 in their lifetime. This cockroach lasts up to 12 months and lays between 35 and 48 egg capsules, each containing 18 eggs. So, the longer you leave your cockroach problem unchecked, the harder it will be to get rid of the pesky bugs.
But why would you care if they are not that dangerous? While a cockroach won’t attack you, your children, or your pets in any scenario, they can certainly harm them, as they are well known to carry various diseases, which though not deadly, can undoubtedly ruin your week. Moreover, they will damage your belongings and contaminate your food, costing you a lot of money in the long run.
So, since the cockroach season is upon us, as the peak of cockroach infestation is in spring and summer, we decided to create a list to help you cockroach-proof your entire home.
Why should you be on high alert for cockroach season this year
As you might have guessed, cockroaches don’t appear out of thin air. Their natural habitat is outside, where they try to live off whatever they can find to eat. They are scavengers and opportunists and can survive on almost any organic matter. Unfortunately for them, they are way too weak to compete against other pests like rodents, wasps, spiders, and other predators, so they seek places where bigger and more dangerous pests can’t reach. Your home, unfortunately, is one of these places.
As the temperatures rise above 10 degrees Celsius, cockroaches can start moving across open areas, as they won’t risk freezing over or succumbing to the cold. Thus, while the peak cockroach season is the hot summer waves, cockroaches will try to enter your home once spring comes. Moreover, this year the winter was uncharacteristically warm, so chances are the cockroach season will start a bit early this year. On top of that, with the rodent population boom during the pandemic, smaller pests cannot compete with the vast numbers of hungry rats and mice, so for the past two years, cockroach-related pest-control calls have skyrocketed.
Seal all entry points
This suggests you must take care of all entry points while cockroaches can’t move outside. They mostly come through cracks in your walls or gaps near windows and doors. They are also well known for using drains and cracks near electrical wall outlets.
So, to prevent them from coming in, you need to take care of all external cracks. Seal them in with steel cotton so cockroaches can’t chew them through. Furthermore, make sure you close off any gaps near your window and door, and be sure to put caps on all your drains. Finally, check out for indoor cracks, and if you see such, close them off immediately, as cockroaches can move and nest inside your wall if they have easy access to your food.
Crumbs are not allowed
Food is the biggest driver behind cockroaches’ behaviour, and they will attack any home offering easy food access. This includes improperly stored food, rotting meat or fruits in your trashcan, and, most of all, crumbs and ditched dirty plates in the kitchen. While the latter can provide sustenance for cockroaches at night, crumbs on the floor are a downright invitation to the pesky bugs. This is an easy food source that can be snatched from the relative security of the ground, where you will usually notice the cockroaches. So, ensure you always swipe away all crumbs that fall on the floor as soon as they fall. Don’t leave this chore for later, as though cockroaches will attack predominantly at night, they are opportunists and will instantly help themselves if they see crumbs near a good hiding spot (like a couch, for example)
Declutter your home
Reducing the hiding spots and safe places for cockroaches will also bring you a long way when trying to prevent an infestation. Moreover, decluttering your home will get more benefits than just fewer pests. It will help your concentration, mental health, and happiness. So, don’t hesitate to declutter your home right away. It’s not that complicated. First, you need to create a plan and check everything. Then, organise it in several piles, which will designate its future place. For example, one pile will go directly to the trash, the second to storage, and the third to remain in the house. Try to stay emotion-free with your decision, and don’t keep anything that you certainly will not use in the foreseeable future.
Store food properly
The next step in making your home as cockroach-proof as possible is to store your food properly. As cockroaches are not too fond of the cold, keeping as many foods in your fridge and freezer might prove extremely useful. For anything that’s not in the refrigerator, try to find proper packaging. Carton packaging, unfortunately, won’t suffice. Instead, go either for hard plastic containers or, better yet, glass or metal. This is especially mandatory for sugar, as cockroaches seem to have a sweet tooth and will go after anything sweet, like a zombie horde.
Eliminate moisture in your home
Next, you need to take care of the moisture in your home. This won’t only prevent cockroaches and other pests from finding a valuable water source, without which they won’t consider your home a fit for their nests, but moisture can also lead to mould and some diseases. This can be easily achieved by a dehumidifier or even an air conditioner. However, if you don’t have one, you can also aerate your home often. Most importantly, try not to hang your laundry indoors to dry. If you do, leave one or two windows open so the moisture can evaporate.
Inspect common hiding places
This would be very helpful in preventing a small-scale invasion from becoming a full-blown infestation. First, check the most common places cockroaches love to hide regularly. This includes behind and within kitchen appliances, behind heavy furniture, behind kitchen cabinets and any cracks between them and the wall, as well as pipes and behind drywall. You will notice their activities by finding their droppings (small dark dots) or shed skin. They usually leave them close to the entry point. If you see any signs of a cockroach, take action immediately.
Maintain a meticulous kitchen
Finally, to prevent a cockroach infestation, you must ensure your kitchen is always clean and tidy. Your kitchen is the primary interest of the pests, as that’s where your food lies. So, regularly sweeping and cleaning with a mop is the bare minimum. Also, don’t leave your washing machine open with dirty dishes inside, and forget about leaving dirty utensils to clean in the morning. Finally, make sure your trash is always sealed within a trash can, and before you go to bed, take it out and throw it in the bin, which must be far away from your home. It’s a bit of extra work, but nothing compared to dealing with cockroaches.
What if you fail?
If you fail with the prevention, the best course of action would be to call a professional cockroach control crew to take care of the problem. You can also try several DIY methods, which, however, don’t deal with the main problem, but instead deal with the cockroaches in sight. So, calling a professional crew is the most viable and cost-effective way to get rid of cockroaches for good. Most of them will even give you some guarantees you won’t see cockroaches in the next few months or even years. So the money you will spend on that is well worth it.