I believe there is a general consensus that cockroaches are scary, evil creatures. That they are big, creepy, scurrying insects that the worst nightmares are made of. And I can’t stand them!!
But another important fact about them is that they are incredibly dirty and a big carrier of germs – yet another reason to keep them OUT of your house!
Once every couple of months we find one; so I started doing my research…
One night, a couple months ago, we found a HUGE American cockroach on the ceiling of our family room. In an attempt to knock it down and then smash it, my husband hit it with a broom. Unfortunately, our family room has ceiling tiles and the force of the broom lifted one of the tiles and the cockroach climbed into the ceiling…completely out of reach.
Suddenly, all I could picture was this grotesque bug crawling across my face in the middle of the night!
That was it! I needed to find a way to control these heebie-jeebie inducers!
Thankfully, after my grandfather retired from 40+ years at our local grocery store, he got bored and went to work for a pest control company. He had no ambition to climb the ladder or break any customer records…he just wanted to fill some empty time and learn everything he could about bugs so that he could serve his clientele.
So I decided to give him a ring and gained a lot of new information!
The first thing that Grandaddy told me is that just because you occasionally see a cockroach in your home doesn’t mean you have a problem. If you live in hot, humid Florida like we do, it is just a matter of time before one gets into your house looking for water.
The second thing that he informed me of is the difference in roach species. Now, I am of the opinion that a roach is a dirty, yucky roach, but Grandaddy informed me that there are generally two types of roaches: American and German.
He said that with American roaches, they are generally larger and lighter in color, and usually are by themselves. They just wander in to get out from the heat. German cockroaches are the smaller, darker roaches that are usually seen with their friends. They are the ones usually associated with infestations (YUCK!).
Both species are able to squeeze into tiny cracks that you might not think could be an entry way.
The problem arises if they live in your home for an extended period of time. But most likely, they just crept in through one of the many probable entry points:
- Holes in the house (fire places, vents, unsealed doors etc)
- Open front door
- Up through the drains
- Riding in on grocery bags
- Nested in your hair…just kidding
The bottom line is that if you live in an area with cockroaches – there is NO WAY to guarantee the prevention of entries.
So we must focus on extinction AFTER entry!
The Professional’s Opinion
While I was panicking with a huge insect in my ceiling and ready to contact the first pest control company I could find…my grandfather gently reminded me that these businesses are in it for the profit. Of course that is completely understandable and makes perfect sense…but it is important to remember that facts as you listen to what they have to say.
Pest control companies will tell you: If you see one cockroach on the ceiling – there are 50 in your walls! NOT NECESSARILY TRUE.
Pest control companies will tell you: There are hidden entry points all over your house and if you don’t get an inspector out today this problem will never be under control! NOT TRUE.
Pest control companies will tell you: The only way to treat bugs is professionally. NOT TRUE!
Now, if you are seeing/killing cockroaches every day or two, that is an indicator that they live and have laid eggs in your home. This situation would warrant a professional visit. Keep in mind that pest control companies offer a complete, one-time extermination OR a contract with regular visits. Getting the one-time deal and then keeping it up yourself might do the trick.
If you are only seeing one or two cockroaches every 2-3 months, you can exterminate the pesky things all by yourself!
Cockroaches need two things in order to stay alive in a house for a very long time – food and water. Although we have all probably gone to great lengths to make sure we aren’t leaving food out on the counter or crumbs on the floor in order to not attract bugs; we are wasting our time with cockroaches. A cockroach can survive for several weeks by eating the ink off of the pages of a book!
So let’s focus on the water supply that a cockroach will have to visit at least every couple days:
- For the American cockroach (a huge beast) that enters through drains – pour a cup of bleach down every drain in the house every 2-3 month.
- For cockroaches that have already come up the drain or are in the house by another route – put roach poison tablets under all sinks (make sure to child-proof cabinet doors and keep the tablets out of children’s reach) to catch them when they come for a drink.
My grandfather let me in on a little secret…he has never had a pest control company visit his home and he never used any of the chemicals he had free access to while working for the company. He has simply followed the directions above and never had a pest issue.
A couple more general precautions: keep your house clean, seal your doors, put screens on your windows, don’t leave outside doors open, don’t leave standing water in the house, place poison tablets in any other safe place away from children throughout the house where you have seen roaches, and always be ready to grab a squashing shoe!
Let’s bring them to extinction together!