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Cockroach Infestation: Signs and Prevention

Despite the fact that cockroaches are not disease vectors and do not feed directly on human blood or fluids, many people still fear them. Some people may scream or run away when they see a cockroach, while others may freeze or try to kill it. But no matter what, we don’t want them in our home or business!

Signs of an Infestation

Roaches crawling around a window with visible droppings
Seeing roaches in addition to the vast amount of droppings is a sure sign of an infestation.

These are the most common signs to look for to determine if you have a roach infestation:

  1. Physically seeing a roach: The most obvious sign of a roach infestation is actually seeing one. Roaches are nocturnal insects, so they are typically seen at night. You may see them scatter after you enter a room and turn on a light.

  2. Foul odors: Some roach species are known to emit a musty, unpleasant odor that lingers and gets more pungent with a bigger infestation.

  3. Droppings: Roach droppings resemble anything from tiny pepper specks to miniature pellets and are often found in areas where roaches are hiding.

  4. Shed skins: Roach skins are often seen where roaches are taking up shelter. As they mature into adults, they can shed their skin 5–8 times.

  5. Smear marks: In areas where there is a lot of moisture, roaches will leave brown, irregular shaped smear marks.

There are health risks associated with cockroach infestations that are primarily related to filth, food contamination, and allergic asthma rather than direct transmission of diseases. However, studies have found that they can harbor viruses and play a secondary role in the spread of some diseases. The most common disease spread by cockroaches is gastroenteritis, an intestinal infection that causes diarrhea, fever, and vomiting.

Prevention Tips

Entryway into home being caulked
Sealing gaps around doors and windows is one way to prevent an infestation.

When trying to prevent roach infestations, consider these tips:

  1. Keep your home clean: Roaches are attracted to food scraps, spills, and clutter. Clean up food crumbs and spills promptly, wash dishes immediately after use, and take out the garbage daily.

  2. Eliminate water sources: Roaches need water to survive, so fix any leaky pipes or faucets and remove standing water from buckets, sinks, and pet bowls.

  3. Seal cracks and crevices: Roaches can enter your home through small cracks and crevices in walls, floors, and foundations. Seal these openings with caulk or weather stripping.

  4. Inspect items entering your home: Roaches can hitchhike into your home on secondhand furniture, appliances, and boxes. Inspect these items before bringing them inside.

  5. Limit dining to one room: Eating in one room of your home can help contain food scraps and spills, making it easier to clean up and reducing the risk of roach infestations.

  6. Use home remedies: Home remedies like diatomaceous earth, baking soda, boric acid, citrus, essential oils, and borax can be effective ways to get rid of roaches.

  7. Keep your landscaping tidy: Roaches can thrive in woodpiles, leaf piles, stagnant water, and overgrown underbrush. Remove these potential hiding spots from your yard.

You can significantly reduce the risk of a cockroach infestation in your home or business by knowing the signs and following these preventive tips. If you have or suspect a roach infestation, contact a professional and reputable pest control company. Learn more about cockroaches and treatment here.

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