Pest Problems

What Attracts Cockroaches and What to Do About Them

Cockroaches exist because of people. You didn’t expect this as an opening line, did you? Truth is, they are one of those species which have drastically increased in population, all thanks to human settlements (along with mice and rats). So, if this is any consolation, it’s not that uncommon to have cockroaches at home.

Nowadays, however, there are ways to keep the cockroaches away and fight an ongoing infestation. With this handy guide, the Fantastic Services team will help you understand a cockroach’s behaviour better, what attracts them to a property and how to deter them.

What attracts cockroaches to your home?

Cockroaches can be a very stubborn pest and if you find them in your home, there are 3 main reasons for their presence indoors:

  • Food. Like any other living creature, cockroaches are attracted to food. They eat anything organic, so if you have food crumbs lying around, they will find them. If you leave dinner leftovers out in the open during the night, they will find them. If you leave dirty dishes in the kitchen sink, they will find them.
  • Water. Cockroaches also need a water source to be able to survive. This is the reason why you may often see them in the bathroom. But they don’t necessarily nest in there since they don’t mind travelling from their hiding spot to the water source on a nightly basis.
  • Shelter. This isn’t something you can control. After all, your home is warm and cosy for a reason. Unfortunately, that’s also what cockroaches seek all their life – warmth and security, hence they’ll look for dark places in your property. And your home has an abundance of those.

Unlike other seasonal pests, cockroaches are a year-round problem. As you see, they’re not picky eaters, so it’s very easy for them to take a liking to your property. Prevention is the best method for dealing with cockroach infestations.

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How do cockroaches get inside?

House cockroaches easily find ways to get into your property through cracks and holes in the building. It’s possible that they’ve been there even before you moved in. The plumbing system is another way for them to enter. These insects can often come out from the bathroom drain.

The pesky crawlies also have the habit of hitchhiking a ride into your home on groceries bags, luggage and corrugated cardboard boxes. Yes, you literally may have brought them home yourself.

That’s why it’s advisable to always dispose of cardboard moving boxes once they’re not useful anymore. Also, carefully check your luggage when returning from your holiday trip.

Where do cockroaches usually hide in the house?

  • In the kitchen. Where the food is, is the most correct answer. They won’t be attracted to the fridge, but if you have any dry food in the cupboards, they will be there. When you inspect, make sure to look up in your cupboard and keep them clean, since they often hang upside down.
  • In the bathroom. A cockroach usually hides behind a sink or bathroom cabinet. The bathroom offers cockroaches water and food, since they eat soap residue and toilet paper.
  • In the basement. Basements offer a lot of heat and cosy, undisturbed shelter, so it’s very common for the cockroaches to nest there. If you have stored food inside, you’ve already provided a home for them. But even if you don’t, they will still be satisfied with eating cardboard and newspapers.

What are the telling signs of a cockroach infestation?

The signs of cockroaches are very straightforward. You probably won’t notice them in the beginning unless you’re lucky. But once the infestation grows, you may be plagued by:

  • Unusual smell. Cockroaches produce an oily substance that gets onto everything they crawl through. That substance has its distinguished heavy odour.
  • Cockroach droppings. If the cockroaches have access to a water source, they will produce a lot of droppings. Droppings are tiny and barely visible, but the problem comes with their number.
  • Shed skins. A cockroach sheds its skin up to eight times in their life. You would mostly find them close to their hiding places where they feel the safest.
  • A live cockroach. Finding a live insect is the most telltale sign that you have an infestation. If you have one, chances are there are more. They are nocturnal, so you’ll see them during the night.

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What to do if you find cockroaches in your home?

Once you find out that your house has been infested with cockroaches, acting immediately is important, as they tend to reproduce fast. There are a few techniques for dealing with a cockroach infestation, and we will start with the most common one.

  • Purchase cockroach bait. One of the most effective ways to kill roaches is to use cockroach bait. You can buy cockroach bait in any pharmacy or local shop. It can come as a liquid, gel or solid poison, made to attract cockroaches. Be sure not to touch it with your bare hands.
  • Place bait in key locations. Do a quick inspection and look for the locations the cockroaches travel to. These will be the places, where the insects can get food and water or breed undisturbed. Place the bait in key spots.
  • Wait at least eight days for results. Once the poison is ingested, the cockroach won’t die immediately. It will go back to the nest and die there. Then, the other cockroaches will most probably eat their dead companion (cockroaches are cannibals) and get poisoned, too. Depending on the size of the infestation, this chain reaction of death may take up to eight days until you notice a result.
  • Clean. After it’s been days since you noticed the last living cockroach, you will have to clean the dead ones that you find around the house. Use a broom or a vacuum cleaner.
  • Repeat. Once a cockroach colony takes a blow like that, many survivors would relocate to a different part of the house and repopulate there. So, it’s very possible that you suffer a second wave of infestation. You will have to repeat the process in order to keep them out for good.
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Are cockroaches dangerous?

If the infestation is on your business property, it could cause significant damage to your business image. Especially if your business is food-related. If the infestation is large, it could also cause food contamination and a health hazard. Some diseases are spread through cockroaches, but the population needs to be huge to pose any danger to humans.

Also, roaches are on the spiders’ menu, so not taking any precautions may lead to a spider invasion. To learn how to deal with the 8-legged crawlies, read our post on how to deter spiders in your home.

So, the worst damage, most of the time, is psychological. Most people don’t like the idea of creepy crawling creatures roaming their houses at night. And much fewer people like the thought of insects crawling into their beds while they sleep. It probably won’t happen since the bedroom doesn’t contain any food or water, but this can still manifest into nightmares.

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What keeps cockroaches away?

Having driven off the infestation, you may want to consider a permanent solution to get rid of cockroaches for good. To do this, consider these most important tasks.

  • Good home insulation – Insulation is one of the best ways to keep roaches and all kinds of crawling insects away from your property. It would keep them out and keep your home warm in the cold winter months.
  • Lack of food sources – Ensuring that all your food is tightly sealed is another effective way of keeping the cockroaches uninterested in your home. So, ensure there is no pet food outside of sealed containers, the waste disposal is emptied often, and no food crumbs stay out overnight.
  • Plumbing in good working order – It’s important to make regular inspections of your plumbing and fix any leakage problems. Additionally, you can dry out your sinks and plug the drains before going to bed each night.
  • No hiding places – The less clutter and unnecessary items you have in your home, the fewer places for the cockroaches to hide. No cockroach goes to a place that is too open and too bright.

Cockroaches are some of nature’s best survivors. Fighting them is not easy, and it’s not uncommon for homeowners to lose the fight repeatedly. In these cases, professional cockroach control is just the solution you need. The Fantastic Services team is always here to help.

Need help getting rid of the cockroaches?

Professional pest exterminators often use a more traditional method – fumigation. It involves using an insecticide as gas to exterminate cockroaches in a confined space. You will be asked to leave the property for a few days during the cockroach treatment.

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