Without a doubt, cockroaches are one of the most disturbing pests that can invade your living space. Although it is often mistakenly assumed that cockroaches can only be found in dirty environments, cockroaches are known to be equal-opportunity invaders that can thrive even in a clean home. Read on to find out how cockroaches may find their way into your apartment and how to get rid of them.
Where do cockroaches come from in apartments? Cockroaches that you find in your apartment may have already been present even before you moved in. Cockroaches can also be easily transported from an infested home to a new place, so they might have moved with you to your new apartment. You can also inadvertently bring in cockroaches in a cardboard box or a grocery bag, allowing them to breed and spread in your home. These pests can also come from your adjacent units, getting into your apartment through the plumbing within a shared wall or through small openings under the door. Once they are inside your home, they are not easy to find, and you will only probably get to see them at night since they are nocturnal.
Cockroaches are one of the most common pests that invade homes. They can inhabit any area of your home, including the bathroom, your kitchen, and the bedrooms, and even if you keep your home generally clean, you may still have a cockroach problem. Here is what you need to know about how cockroaches find their way to your home, signs of their presence to look out for, their common hiding spots, and how to get rid of them.
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How cockroaches get into your home
Unfortunately, your apartment provides the perfect conditions for cockroaches to thrive. All that cockroaches need to survive is food, warmth, shelter, and moisture, all of which are available in your home. Cockroaches are generally more active when the weather is warm and humid, which means you are more likely to encounter them in your home during the summer.
While having a messy home can encourage cockroaches to extend their stay in your home, having a spotless home does not mean that you won’t encounter these pests. Cockroaches can survive in an unoccupied home for a period of time, so they may occur even before you move in. Once you settle in and start having meals in your home, they will breed and increase in numbers, which is when you may start noticing them.
Some cockroach species are also notorious for hiding in cardboard boxes. They will sneak into boxes before they are shipped out of warehouses to homes and can, therefore, end up in your home. Similarly, you can unknowingly bring cockroaches into your home from other places through grocery bags, luggage, containers, backpacks, etc.
Cockroaches also get into your apartment through the pipes. In many cases, a cockroach infestation in an apartment building spreads from one apartment to another through the plumbing system that connects the units.
Small openings in your apartment can also allow cockroaches to access your home. The space where utilities like electrical wires and pipes enter your unit through the wall could be exposed, thereby serving as an entry point for cockroaches. Another opening that a cockroach can use to access your apartment is the space that is usually found under some front doors.
Signs of cockroach presence in your home
You may assume that just because your home is clean you won’t have to worry about cockroaches, but this could not be further from the truth. Here are the signs of cockroaches in your home that you need to look out for:
1. You might see one
The most obvious sign that will help you determine that you have a cockroach problem is physically seeing one. You are most likely to spot one or several at night since cockroaches are nocturnal insects. You will usually see them scurry away when you enter a room and switch on the lights. If you spot cockroaches in your home during the day, this could mean that the infestation has been going on for a while, so you should consider taking action as soon as possible. Cockroaches generally stay hidden during the day, but when their hiding spaces get overcrowded and the sources of food become limited, they may be forced out in the open.
You may also come across dead cockroaches near the hiding spaces. This does not necessarily mean that the cockroach infestation in your apartment is over, and you will still need to take measures to get rid of them.
2. Cockroach droplets
Cockroaches feed on a variety of things, including plant matter, dead skin cells, garbage, and people food among other things. Due to their high metabolism rate, cockroaches tend to leave a considerable amount of droppings wherever they go. The appearance of cockroach droppings will vary depending on the species of cockroach you are dealing with and can resemble anything from oval pellets to coffee grounds to specks of black pepper. A large number of droppings will indicate that there is a considerable cockroach infestation in your home. You may find cockroach droppings around areas where you store food.
3. A pungent odor
Cockroaches can emit a pungent, musty odor that you may notice as the infestation gets worse. Some species, such as German cockroaches, can produce an unpleasant smell even in small numbers. Dead cockroaches also emit an unpleasant odor which is as a result of oleic acid being produced as decomposition takes place.
4. Cockroach egg cases
The fact that cockroaches are aggressive breeders is hardly what you want to hear, but on the positive side, it will help you find evidence of their presence. When cockroach eggs hatch, they leave behind egg cases, otherwise known as oothecae. Cockroach egg cases have a dark-brown appearance, and they can be usually found in hard-to-reach areas such as between cracks in walls and behind furniture.
5. Shed skin
As cockroaches mature, they shed their skin, and you are usually able to spot the old skin when there is an infestation in your home. The shed skin has a light brown appearance and can usually be found on the edges of walls or along corners.
Common cockroach hiding spaces
To get rid of cockroaches, you have to find their hiding spots. Here are the common cockroach hiding places where you may want to take a look.
1. Kitchen appliances
Cockroaches tend to resort to the kitchen due to the presence of food, moisture, and general warmth. Some of the appliances in the kitchen where cockroaches may hide include toasters, coffeemakers, ovens, refrigerators, and microwaves.
Cabinets appeal to cockroaches, especially if there is food lying around. Furthermore, since cabinets are mostly kept closed, they provide the dark environment that cockroaches love.
Pipes are ideal spots for cockroaches to hide since they are moist and dark. If there are any leaks in the piping system in your apartment building, there is a chance that cockroaches may find their way to your rental unit.
If you have meals on your couch, you could be inviting cockroaches into your apartment, especially if you tend to spill food. The dark cracks in furniture are especially attractive to cockroaches and provide the perfect spots for them to lay their eggs.
5. Cracks and crevices
There are various nooks and crevices in apartments where a cockroach may hide. This could be corners of your apartment where you have let clutter pile up, picture frames, and cracks in your trim and molding.
How to get rid of cockroaches
If you notice that there are cockroaches in your apartment, ensure that you alert your landlord or building manager of the problem Chances are that your neighbors could be experiencing the same issue, and the landlord will therefore have to take action to eliminate cockroaches in the whole building. Although using DIY control methods such as bug bombs to get rid of cockroaches is quite effective, the chemicals may spread to other rental units. The best option when it comes to dealing with a cockroach infestation in your apartment is calling in professionals so as to ensure that the task is carried out properly without affecting adjacent rental units.
How to keep cockroaches out of your apartment
Even though it is almost impossible to completely keep cockroaches out of your apartment, there are ways through which you can make your home less inviting to them.
- Limit the food sources – Food is one of the main attractants of cockroaches, so you will want to limit it as much as possible. Vacuum or sweep regularly to get rid of food crumbs, and wipe down countertops as soon as possible when you spill food. Wash dirty dishes immediately and keep the food in your cabinets in airtight containers.
- Get rid of excess moisture – Cockroaches love moist environments, so it is important to ensure that you don’t leave standing water anywhere in your apartment, whether in stopped-up sinks and bathtubs. Ensure that your pipes and faucets are not leaking, and if your apartment is unusually damp, invest in a dehumidifier.
- Seal nooks and crannies – Caulk shut the various nooks and crannies in your apartment to reduce the spots that cockroaches can hide in.
- Regular treatments – Ensure that your landlord regularly carries out pest treatments in your apartment on a regular basis to ensure to keep infestations at bay.
Cockroaches can seemingly come out of nowhere especially if you maintain generally clean living space. However, there are many ways through which these pests can get into your apartment and as long as you are aware of the various entry points, you can significantly reduce the chances of a cockroach infestation.