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Roach control methods and cockroaches is possible but it is important to know the enemy well in order to hit his weaknesses.
Let’s start by saying that cockroaches have lived on earth since 300-350 million years ago, so long before us! The fossils with cockroaches date back to the Carboniferous period and the species that still live today date back to the Cretaceous period: if they have survived until today, overcoming glaciations and all the cataclysms that have hit our planet in these 350 million years, such fools must not be!
HOW TO TRAP COCKROACHES AND COCKROACHES: WHAT SPECIES ARRIVE IN OUR HOMES?
Cockroaches are spread all over the planet, with the exception of the polar areas and on peaks over 2,000 meters because they do not tolerate the cold. There are more than 4,000 species of cockroaches in the world, but in Italy there are only about forty. Most of them live in forests and gardens and feed on plants, but not enough to be a problem. Only 3 families are defined as “diners of man”, i.e. they enter our homes in search of food and protection. Among these there are 4 species in particular: the Blatta orientalis (black), the Periplaneta americana (reddish), the Blattella germanica (greyish) and the Supella longipalpa (with a brown band). The last two prefer temperatures close to 30°C, while the former also appreciate lower temperatures and therefore we can also find them in cellars.
Recently two other species have been identified: the Polyphaga aegyptiaca present mainly in the south and the Blatta lateralis in Sardinia.
WHAT A BAD TEMPER!
Cockroaches hate the light, they only roam at night, they love narrow and dirty places and even though they live in colonies they are quite solitary and do not disdain to eat the corpses of their fellow creatures: practically psychopaths!
The species that we can find in our homes do not know how to fly but they run very fast. They also have a great sense of orientation and in case of danger they quickly escape into the nest. They are very strong, robust and some species, like the American Periplaneta, can live without their heads for a few weeks!
They have few natural enemies: in the woods there are some hymenoptera that feed on larvae and in our gardens we can resort to the help of hedgehogs.
BECAUSE THEY ARE DANGEROUS TO HUMANS?
Besides being psychopaths, cockroaches also have very repulsive habits. They have repulsive glands that give off foul-smelling substances in case of danger and odor glands to attract females. Not only that: when they are looking for food they emit manure to mark their path and when they eat they have a revolting habit of regurgitating and defecating on food.
Cockroaches are therefore dangerous for two reasons. First, they cause economic damage because they make the food they come into contact with unusable. But above all they are vehicles of important diseases. Because they visit unhealthy environments, such as landfills and sewers, they can transport viruses and bacteria between the bristles of their legs that cause bacterial dysentery, salmonellosis, hepatitis A, polio and legionella.
WHERE ARE THEY HIDING?
They prefer damp, dimly lit places. In nature they are born under stones or foliage, in some cases even inside the nests of ants and termites from which they steal food. In our homes they are attracted by the smell of food and damp places: the kitchen is therefore often the environment most subject to attacks, followed by the bathroom. Under the dishwasher, behind the oven or refrigerator, or under the sink where we often keep the container for wet garbage, are all potentially interesting places for cockroaches. But they can also nest in cracks in kitchen cabinets, electrical wire ducts or plasterboard wall cavities.
HOW DO THEY GET IN?
Cockroaches are always looking for food and constantly search the places around them: even if they don’t fly, all of them can climb the walls and some species can even do so on smooth surfaces. But there are many routes that can bring them into our homes.
For example, in a cardboard box of books that we bring into the house from the cellar or in a box bought online, there could be roach eggs; just to mention the most common cases.
More frequently they enter from the balcony, windows, sewerage system, smoke outlet or cracks in the window frames or clogs. But they also move through the electrical, gas or water systems (loading and unloading): so if your neighbour has roaches in a condominium, they may come to visit you too.
WHY ARE THEY COMING IN?
Basically looking for food and to protect themselves from the cold, which they can’t tolerate. But also to create a nest and reproduce. The females produce many eggs, from 16 to 40 in each act depending on the species, and during their life they manage to realize several “broods” after a single mating. The eggs are kept inside the female, which expels them just before the hatching.
WHAT DO THEY EAT?
By nature, most cockroaches eat plants. But those that invade our homes love starches (bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, etc.) and especially sugar. As we said, they also eat the corpses of their companions and in extreme conditions they are also cannibals.
HOW TO PREVENT THE ARRIVAL OF COCKROACHES?
Cockroaches are fearful animals and avoid contact with humans: as soon as they perceive our presence they quickly flee into the nest to avoid being seen. Moreover, only turning at night, it is not easy to meet them. When we see one of them, maybe because we go for a glass of water in the kitchen in the middle of the night, it’s already too late: the invasion has already started and it’s easy that there are already eggs ready to hatch in the nest.
For this reason it is important to make sure that the first “explorer” cockroach doesn’t get in and in case it doesn’t find the ideal conditions to take up residence. Here is what we can do:
the presence of cockroaches doesn’t mean the house is dirty. But a good and daily cleaning of the kitchen and dining room floors, even in the corners, is a first step to limit their presence. Remember that even a bread crumb is enough for cockroaches.
To avoid food residue that can fall behind kitchen furniture, periodically remove the skirting board that protects them and clean down there as well.
If you use the slicer, clean it after use to remove any food residue.
Clean the kitchen floors and worktops with a disinfectant.
Do not leave food packages open, such as biscuits or rusks: put them in a sealed food container and get used to always closing them tightly.
Use a container that can be closed tightly for the collection of organic waste.
Do not leave dirty dishes in the sink overnight. Put them in the dishwasher and close it tightly and, if not, wash them before going to sleep.
If you live in a detached villa, keep the roof clean, especially if it is inhabited by birds. Wet guano scabs are a good environment for cockroaches and from the roof they may enter the rooms below.
Check periodically if there are dark balls in the kitchen cabinets or on the floor, as small as a speck of sugar, which are their droppings.
In the clothes cupboards or in the cellars, we can place mothballs of mothballs: cockroaches hate this smell.
Seal the cracks and crevices on the walls and floor to prevent cockroaches from getting in. Also close any cracks in windows, doors and under sinks.
PREVENTION: ADHESIVE TRAPS
To check for cockroaches, you can place adhesive traps in the most exposed places, such as under the sink, behind the fridge and the dishwasher, in the air intakes in contact with the outside and in general in dark and humid areas.
This is an adhesive sheet with a food appeal, which causes the cockroach to fall into the trap. They do not contain active insecticides and can therefore be handled safely and do not create danger in the presence of pets, such as dogs and cats.
In this way you can monitor the house and notice the cockroaches’ entry in good time, so you can take the appropriate countermeasures before they can reproduce and become so difficult to control.
The trap should be replaced every 3-4 weeks as the glue adhesiveness decreases with time.
After use you can throw the trap in the trash. The insects will remain glued inside the trap and die without releasing unpleasant odours.
WHAT TO DO IN CASE OF INFESTATION: BAIT AND INSECTICIDES
If we are too late, we can intervene in various ways.
First of all by using cockroach bait: it is an insecticide gel with a high attractiveness and knock-down power. When the cockroaches find it, they take it into the nest and help us to eliminate the whole colony, even the smallest ones that rarely come out into the open. In addition, cockroaches feed on the corpses of their fellows: if they died of poisoning, the cockroaches that eat them will also be affected.
Just a few drops in the moist, dark corners of the insects are enough to solve the problem. The colony should disappear within two weeks and it is advisable to repeat the treatment after 15-20 days to be sure to eliminate the insects born in the meantime.
In case of more important infestations we can use a specific insecticide, ready to use or to be diluted in water. These are products with a strong knock-down effect, a long persistence but low toxicity: be careful when buying to choose an insecticide for civil use and not used at home of products designed for use in agriculture.
Simply spray the product at the points of greatest passage, such as edges and cracks. Repeat the treatment after 15-20 days to make sure you hit the whole colony.
These are Surgical Medical Devices (Pmc) and it is important to read carefully the instructions on the label and take all the precautions indicated: remove children and pets, use gloves and mask during application and avoid staying in the room for a few hours. Ventilate the room before returning.
Finally a final recommendation: if you crush a cockroach with your shoes, clean the floor with a disinfectant: do not forget that cockroaches can carry serious diseases.