If you are like virtually anyone else in the world, you probably don’t want to see roaches scurrying around your home, which is one of the reasons you strive to keep your house clean, take out the trash on a regular basis, and wash the dirty dishes in the sink so that they don’t pile up. However, as you probably might know, roaches can still invade a clean apartment and manage to breed and generally thrive. Read on to find out why roaches could steal find their way to your home even when it is exceptionally clean.
Why do I have roaches in my clean apartment? Although cockroaches are generally associated with dirty environments, they are equal-opportunity invaders that can also survive in clean homes. One of the conditions that may attract a roach to a clean home is dampness. They are known to gravitate towards standing water, condensation emitted by air conditioners and refrigerators, and even the water bowls that you might leave out for your pets. Other than dampness, roaches also enjoy dark areas that are rarely disturbed, so if you live in an apartment that doesn’t receive adequate light, cockroaches might be a problem.
If your home has cracks and crevices or any other entry points such as spacing under the front door, cockroaches may also find their way into your apartment even if it is clean. Your location could also be an issue, especially if you live in roach-prone states such as Florida and Georgia.
Roaches are incredibly versatile creatures for a variety of reasons: they have a widely variable diet, they possess surprisingly sharp water-finding senses, they are experts at finding hiding spots, and they have the impressive ability to detect even the slightest movements around them. These resourceful adaptations allow them to survive in different environments. That being said, there are several factors that allow cockroaches to thrive in your home regardless of how clean it is.
Factors that allow cockroaches to thrive in your home
Some regions are simply more prone to roach infestations than others. The southeastern part of the United States, particularly Alabama, Georgia, and Florida, are more likely to deal with cockroach issues. A number of areas in these states are home to a significant number of American cockroaches, which are sometimes known as palmetto bugs. Unlike German cockroaches, palmetto bugs are not known to invade homes due to the unsanitary conditions, so it doesn’t really matter if you clean your home on a regular basis.
2. Damp areas
Roaches rely on water to ensure their survival, so they will find their way into your home if they sense moisture. A leaky faucet or pipe is a great source of water for cockroaches, which is probably why you will encounter cockroaches in kitchens, laundry rooms, bathrooms, and any other areas of your home where water is used frequently. Roaches also gravitate towards air conditioning units and refrigerators due to the condensation that they release. You may even stumble upon cockroaches hovering over your pet’s water bowls that you might leave overnight. The standing water that you may leave in the sink to soak dishes that are particularly tough to wash can also attract roaches.
3. Cracks and crevices
Roaches are thigmotropic, which basically means that they prefer the feel of something solid against their bodies. Consequently, your home provides a number of hiding spots for these pests, regardless of whether it is spotless or not. This means that the spaces between tiles, cracks in the walls, pieces of molding, and gaps that are found between electrical installation and piping systems could serve as shelter for cockroaches.
4. Poorly maintained outdoor spaces
You may clean your unit on a regular basis, but the landlord is not as consistent when it comes to maintaining the outdoor spaces of your apartment. As a result, the communal garden or backyard may be harboring roaches. As previously mentioned, water draws roaches, so any standing water found in gutters, flower pots, and birdbaths will serve as their source of hydration. Any woodpile or compost that may be adjacent to your apartment building can provide both shelter and food for roaches. Trash cans and recycle bins that are within the compound provide a convenient food source for cockroaches and dense vegetation, leaf litter, and mulch provide great hiding spots. As long as cockroaches are within the vicinity of your apartment, there is a chance that they will eventually find their way into your apartment.
5. Uncovered food
Sometimes you may clean your kitchen, wipe down your counters to get rid of food crumbs and mop your floor, but forget to close a box of cereal before putting it back into your cabinet. Open food items are easily accessible to roaches, and by frequently forgetting to secure food items, you will unwittingly invite them into your clean apartment.
6. Overlooked areas in your home
Areas that are not in plain sight or are hard to reach as you clean in your apartment provide great hiding spots for roaches. These are the parts of your home that you may not clean as often as you should, such as behind the stove or fridge. Other frequently overlooked areas which cockroaches can use to access your home and set up shelter include trash cans that are not cleaned on a regular basis, air conditioning units that are ill-fitting and window screen that have tears in them.
7. Other food sources other than human food
Other than human food, roaches also feed on other organic matter. This means that even if you try your best to keep your apartment clean and free of food debris, there are other food sources that can attract them to your home. Roaches feed on grease, cardboard, wallpaper paste, book bindings, soap, fecal matter, leather, human hair, and toothpaste to mention just a few. As a result, the presence of these items in your apartment might be what is attracting roaches into your apartment.
8. Dark areas of your apartment
Roaches are drawn to the areas that are dark and rarely disturbed. As a result, areas in your apartment such as cabinet corners, the space under large appliances, and underneath your kitchen sink are ideal areas for cockroaches to set up shelter.
9. Bringing in cockroaches yourself
You may also unintentionally bring roaches into your home, whether it is indirectly through the items that are shipped to your apartment or directly through the items that you bring with you to different places other than your apartment. Roaches that are present in warehouses may find their way into boxes that are shipped out, and if you are to receive one of these packages, you could also be inviting in cockroaches. Similarly, you could also unknowingly allow cockroaches into your apartment from other places through your luggage, grocery bags, and backpacks.
10. They might have been there all along
Cockroaches can survive weeks without feeding, which means that they can inhabit an unoccupied apartment and survive for a period of time. When you move into such a unit, there may be roaches lurking around and their numbers will only increase as you start having meals and using water.
Dealing with cockroaches in a clean apartment
1. Limit the moisture in your apartment
Get rid of standing water in your home to reduce the chances of a roach infestation. This may mean unblocking stopped-up sinks or avoiding soaking dishes overnight in an effort to cut down on the sources of water that are available to these pests.
2. Seal nooks and crannies
Carefully check for cracks and crevices that may be present in your apartment, and then use caulk to seal them and effectively block off the entry points that roaches may use.
3. Check packages and bags
Ensure you check the packages that are sent to your apartment for cockroaches to ensure that they are not getting into your apartment this way. Do the same for your bags when you come home from a potentially infested place.
4. Deep clean before you move in
Even though landlords usually hire a cleaning crew to clean an apartment before a new tenant moves in, you may want to do a deep clean of your own to reduce the chances of a roach infestation that may have plagued the previous tenant.
5. Cover food
Ensure that you perishables and any other food items in airtight containers to prevent roaches from accessing them.
6. Ask your landlord to get rid of potential roach habitats outdoors
If your apartment is infested by roaches, chances are that your neighbors are going through the same thing, and your poorly maintained outdoor spaces may be contributing to the problem. You can work together to get the landlord to pick up the slack in terms of maintenance and potentially reduce cockroach infestations.
7. Get rid of items you don’t need that may be potential roach food
If there are old storage boxes lying around in your apartment or any other items you may not have much use for, you will want to get rid of them since they could potentially become a source of food or roaches.
It can be disappointing to try your best to maintain a spotless apartment and still have to deal with roaches invading your living space. However, by keeping the elements that attract these pests in check, you could significantly reduce their populations. If you spot roaches in your apartment despite maintaining a clean environment, ensure that you alert your landlord to deal with them accordingly.