Roaches can be rather frustrating to have in the house. If you often have guests over, they can also be quite embarrassing. No one likes having a roach problem, which is why the sight of one roach often throws a lot of people into panic-mode.
So, does one roach mean an infestation? If you have seen one cockroach in your house, chances are that it is not the only one, and there are probably more hiding out somewhere. Cockroaches are nocturnal creatures, and rarely come out during the day. However, they can come out of hiding at times in search of food or fresh air due to overcrowding in their nests. This means that if you were able to see a cockroach wandering during the day, then the roach problem in your house must be severe.
This article will show you how to identify a roach infestation just by observing tell-tale signs around your house, as well as give you tips on how to deal with roaches,
Signs of roach infestation
1. Cockroach droppings
Typically, roaches have a high rate of metabolism, meaning they digest whatever they have eaten at a fast rate. they also have a wide variety of organic matter to feed on. roach droppings are characteristically oval pellets, specks of black pepper, or coffee grounds, all depending on the species present. all these vary in size.
2. Musky odor
Roaches are among the insects that leave pheromone scents for the rest to follow. The smell produced by roaches is unpleasant to human beings, and can be described as musky, lingering, and oily odor. the smell affects all parts of an infested house. the most common species of roaches are the German cockroaches, and these are more prone to leave behind a strong odor, the number of roaches present notwithstanding. Dead bodies of roaches also decompose and release an unpleasant smell because of the production of oleic acid, whose work is to decompose the bodies.
The odor is also contributed to by the feces that the roaches produce from time to time. This unpleasant smell continues to grow stronger as the infestation increases.
3. Shed skin
Normally, roaches are covered by an outer rigid cuticle that does not stretch, making them require molting to grow. They always find a secure location to shed off this skin and this is why you may find cuticles lying around. This is a clear sign that your home may be infested.
4. Roach egg cases
Roaches breed aggressively, growing their populations very fast in favorable conditions. Roaches’ eggs develop in casings called oothecae, which are often deposited in rarely-disturbed protected areas like spaces under sinks or behind electronic appliances. Broken casings are an indication of a roach problem.
5. Smear marks
If water is within reach of the cockroaches, they tend to leave behind irregular smear masks all over surfaces as they move about, especially on flat surfaces and on the junctions between floors and walls.
6. Sighting of a cockroach
Cockroaches are nocturnal, and are most likely to come out at night to look for water and food. However, if you notice cockroaches in broad daylight, it means the infestation might be severe and has been going on for a while and the cockroaches might have come out due to overcrowding and fresh air in their shelters. Dead cockroaches do not always mean that the infestation has ended, and might still be ongoing.
7. Damage to property
Roaches are not picky eaters, and they eat anything they find in their way. Roaches chew into non-edible objects like cardboard boxes, leather, old books, and newspapers.
How to get rid of roaches naturally
- Clean the house thoroughly – Maintaining a clean environment with reduce your chances of getting a roach problem in the first place. If it has already happened, don’t skip this step. Ensure that you have cleaned areas behind appliances, sofas, and under other big and small furniture.
- Mop up and dry moist areas – Some damp places like under the bathroom mat or below the kitchen sink are areas you need to ensure have been dried up before you can use the diatomaceous earth. The reason for doing this is that the diatomaceous earth will not kill roaches even if the area is slightly damp. Check for cracks that could be potential entry points and seal them for good.
- Go through areas you have seen roaches – Dust these spots just lightly, since the roaches will not dare tread on it if the diatomaceous earth has been applied heavily. Cover all spots that you think roaches might have sneaked in through to your house, and also areas where food is dropped often.
- Apply the diatomaceous earth at the bases of the house while outside – The applicators you will use to do this depend on whether the climate around your home is dry or damp.
- Let the solution stay until the roach infestation is done – If for some reason the product is washed away, re-apply it. Clean up the diatomaceous earth after you have eliminated all the roaches. You can even choose to leave it to prevent future roach infestations.
More natural roach repellents include essential oils, cinnamon, garlic, Pandan leaves and coffee grounds.
How to avoid cockroaches
1. Clean regularly
This is a very important step that you must not overlook. Always clean and vacuum the house every so often. Wipe and clean surfaces used for preparing and eating food to get rid of crumbs. Use disinfectant spray to clean kitchen counters every night before you sleep. Also, wash dishes thoroughly after meals to remove food remnants. Store away all food in sealed, airtight containers to prevent roaches from gaining access to it. Get rid of clutter in your home, because it only provides room and breeding ground for roaches.
2. Empty the trash
Ensure your trash cans have tight-fitting lids, and empty them regularly. Your outside trash can should always be kept clean and away from the house.
3. Seal cracks and holes
Cockroaches gain access to the inside of your home by squeezing through holes and cracks in walls, doors, windows. Some of these gaps can also be found around baseboards and the area between countertops and walls. Use caulk to seal off these openings to block passageways for roaches. Over time, the caulking will wear off with exposure and this is why you need to keep an eye out and reapply the caulk if need be.
4. Fix leaks
Roaches rely on water more than they do food, and can survive longer without food than without water. They are attracted to dampness, and are drawn towards the moisture coming from sinks and pipes. Avoid overwatering plants because you will only cause an attractive mess to roaches. Always dry out sinks after you are done using them.
You need to note that sometimes, the reason why roaches have infested your house isn’t always because you are dirty. It may be due to an attractive outdoor environment. The perfect ideal breeding ground for roaches need to be warm and humid. This way, roaches create nests outside and gain proximity to your house, where they can now enter easily. To avoid this, trim outside vegetation neatly and fix any leaky faucets that may be a source of water for roaches.
After you are confident you have done everything possible to get rid of cockroaches in vain, then this means you have to call the exterminator to give you a hand. It saves you a lot of time, energy, and money that you could have spent on something different.
5. Call pest control
If you suspect you have a roach problem, call an exterminator for help. The treatment plan to be implemented depends on the type of cockroaches you have. An expert will then do a full evaluation and set you up with a comprehensive treatment plan.
Cockroaches neither bite nor sting humans. However, they feed and live in areas that have dangerous bacteria, such as drains, bathrooms and dumpsters. These bacteria can even cause fever, vomiting, diarrhea, and transmit Salmonella, which then causes Typhoid.
Roaches will only attack humans in cases of extreme infestations, characterized by large populations or roaches and scarcity of food. However, this happens very rarely because as long as you have food in the house, roaches will likely have access to it. Plus, they are omnivores, so they have a lot of food options since they can eat both plants and meat.
If you suspect you have a roach infestation, consider calling an exterminator for professional help.