Roaches in Your Florida Home
When you see a roach in your home during daylight hours, you know you have a problem. Even if you have never seen roaches in your Florida home, it doesn’t mean they are not there. They are active at night and will spill out onto surfaces from the crevices and wall voids in which the hide all day looking for crumbs and anything else that could be food.
What do they eat besides the crumbs of leftover food in your carpet, on counters, or in the trash? Almost anything is tasty to a cockroach: leather, cigarette butts, coffee grounds, soap, fabric, shoes, paint, the glue on the back of wallpaper or postage stamps, human hair and even fingernails! YICK!
Health Risks of cockroaches
Beyond the ICK factor, cockroaches pose a serious health risk. The shed skins and waste produced by cockroaches can trigger allergic reactions, asthma and other illnesses, especially in children. When cockroaches venture out at night, whatever they touch can become contaminated with bacteria, parasitic worms, and human pathogens. The bacteria they carry have the potential to cause urinary tract infections, dysentery, diarrhea, pneumonia, cholera, polio, septicemia, and more.
Domestic and Peridomestic Cockroaches
What are called “domestic cockroaches” live their entire lives inside homes or buildings. They are usual introduced by way of cardboard boxes or other seemingly harmless materials brought into your home from a warehouse or other similar building in which the roaches had made their home.
The German cockroach and brown-banded cockroach are unable to survive away from humans or human activity. The German and Asian roach look alike, but if it flies, you know it’s the Asian roach. Horrors!
The Brown-banded cockroach loves the warmth of electronic appliances like your TV, stereo or refrigerator. It can feed on the glue holding the components together as well as the insulation and other parts.
Did You Know?
- A cockroach can survive for 1 – 2 weeks without its head.
- A cockroach can live 2 weeks without water and a month without food.
- Cockroaches can run up to 3 miles an hour.
- Cockroaches communicate with each other by using chemical cues called pheromones. These pheromones help roaches find mates, places to hide and food sources
Then there are the “peridomestic cockroaches” which live indoors and outside. They will look for openings and cracks that let them come inside to hunt for food and water.
Most outdoor roaches are large in size and often referred to as Palmetto bugs. Actually there are several species of outdoor roaches found in Florida. They are the American cockroach, smoky brown roach, Florida Woods roach, Surinam cockroach, Australian cockroach, Cuban cockroach and Asian cockroach.
The American cockroach can fly for short distances and glide from high locations, but they rarely do so.
How do you know you have roaches in your home?
There are four things you can look for, listen for, or smell for to detect if you have roaches living in your house. (or you can call us to do the looking!)
Shells: Watch for their egg cases-the technical term is ootheca, which houses the developing roach eggs. Female roaches usually drop these or glue them to a surface. You might find these shells littered around your home.
Smells: Those cockroach pheromones can be particularly strong. If there are enough of them, you will smell a strong, oily, repulsive odor.
Sounds: Some cockroaches chirp or hiss and during the night when it is quiet you might hear these sounds coming from inside cockroach-infested walls.
Feces: What looks like dirt particles or black pepper littered in odd places in your home could actually be cockroach feces. A sufficient amount means either a large number of roaches or a long period of infestation.
What can you do about roaches in your home?
Hire a pest control expert to implement a plan of regular environmentally responsible treatments to rid your home of the current population and prevent an influx of new roaches.
You can also be proactive in taking care of your environment with these steps:
- Clean up clutter – piles of paper are like an apartment building for roaches seeking shelter. Get rid of the piles. Store items in air-tight sealable containers.
- Scrub your house regularly. A clean house won’t prevent roaches, but it doesn’t welcome them either.
- Use Borax. One fairly harmless (to humans and pets) natural treatment is to sprinkle borax with sugar around to attract and poison roaches. But don’t use this near food or food prep areas!!
- Use fabric softener. Yes, fabric softener, roaches can’t stand it. Lay a sheet down in out of the way places or fill a spray bottle with 2 parts fabric softener to 1 part water and spray those roaches when you see them!
- Catnip, too! It’s a natural roach repellent and is harmless enough to sprinkle under sinks and cabinets, near doors, and outside, too.
Follow these basic home and lawn maintenance steps.
- Seal cracks around your home.
- Repair water leaks.
- Remove sources of standing water. (Good to prevent mosquito hatching as well!)
- Try not to overwater houseplants.
- Wipe down your kitchen counters after every meal.
- Put dirty dishes directly into the dishwasher or wash them immediately after using them instead of leaving them in the sink overnight.
- Wipe down your stove after cooking.
- Take out the trash often, not just weekly.
- Sweep daily and vacuum weekly.
- Keep firewood and compost as far away from your home as possible.
- Keep your grass and landscaping neat and tidy.
“Unfortunately we had fleas all over our new house ,brought in by a dog we babysat.? I immediately called Heath Pest Control (who was already my pest guy) to schedule an emergency appointment, to which he clearly explained to me my options with his company, but also my options of trying to deal with it myself. And through his guidance and information, I was able to rid my house of fleas on my own. It was very refreshing to have someone honest just trying to help me, instead of just trying to make money off of me. I will always use Heath Pest Control, And will always recommend them to my friends and family.” (Amanda Robinson)