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Cockroaches have been around since the age of dinosaurs. These winged insects are capable of contaminating food and surfaces with various diseases and can contribute to asthma conditions with their droppings, body parts, and secretions. Cockroaches can squeeze into cracks and crevices as thin as a quarter. They are found where there is food, water, and shelter, as in kitchens and bathrooms.
There are three cockroach species that may be identified in your home. The German cockroach is the most common. It is about a half-inch long, tan, and normally found in kitchens. The Oriental cockroach is about one inch long, black or dark brown, and prefers to live in sewers. It may enter your home through broken sewer pipes. The American cockroach is the largest of the three roaches at one and a half inches long, reddish-brown, and prefers food establishments.
Integrated Pest Management (IPM) should be used to control cockroaches. IPM is an effective and environmentally sensitive approach to pest management that relies on a combination of common-sense practices, such as sanitation, exclusion, trapping, and applying low-toxicity, low-risk pesticides only as necessary.
To control cockroaches, you need to remove their food, water and shelter in your home. If you buy food or other products in bulk, you should inspect the boxes before bringing them into your home. Cockroaches can hide in the corners of the box and within the cardboard siding.
- Store grains and cereals in plastic containers with lids.
- Clean up spilled food and drink.
- Put all trash into a container with a lid.
- Fix any leaking pipes or faucets.
- Run the garbage disposal regularly.
- Remove any puddles in bathrooms or basements.
Remove any clutter or unnecessary boxes.
Screen vents or pipes that lead outside.
Seal cracks and crevices along baseboards, behind sinks, and around windows. Seal around the water and waste pipes under sinks.
Trapping and Baiting
Use glue traps, bait stations or gel bait to catch and kill cockroaches. Sprays and fogs may kill a few cockroaches, but the survivors will move on to the next room or apartment (if in a multi-unit building). Glue traps will help monitor how many cockroaches are present. Bait stations protect children and pets from accessing the poison. Gel baits can be placed into cracks and crevices. The cockroaches eat the bait, go to where other cockroaches gather, and die. The other cockroaches will eat the dead cockroach and die. This may occur over several generations of cockroaches.
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- Cockroach Information for Kids (En Español)
- Cockroach Information (Burmese)
- Integrated Pest Management
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More Articles: General Information • FAQ • Animal Bites & Rabies • Bed Bugs • Built Environment • Childhood Lead Poisoning • Childhood Lead Screening • Children's Environmental Health Protection • Healthy Homes • Indoor Air Quality • Integrated Pest Management • Lodging Establishments • Meth Labs • Mold • Mosquitoes • Mosquitoes - Biology • Mosquitoes - Diseases • Mosquitoes - Prevention & Control • Pests & Other Vectors • Radon • Rats & Mice - Biology & Diseases • Rats & Mice - Control • Ticks • Unsanitary Conditions • Unwanted Refrigerators & Freezers
Lead poisoning can cause brain damage in young children.