About Cockroaches

Finding roaches in your home can be shocking, to say the least!  How is this possible? You may be surprised to learn that even the cleanest of homes can get infested with these insects.

 

Cockroaches are one of the most common pests found inside Canadian homes, apartments, restaurants, and commercial buildings. They have six legs, are brown to black in colour, are most active at night and typically prefer to hide in areas with high humidity and moisture.

 

Why do I have cockroaches?

You have cockroaches in your home or business for any number of reasons. Cockroaches can be brought into buildings in carboard boxes and packaging during deliveries, as well as in the belongings of friends, family and employees. They can be moved from one location to another in backpacks and purses and in infested furniture.

 

In apartment and condominium buildings, cockroaches can travel through walls from an infested unit to another.

 

Some cockroaches also come in from the outside. They find their way inside through dryer vents, beneath doors and windows. They sneak in through drains and pipes, through gaps in floors and walls, and through cracks or openings in a building’s foundation or exterior walls.

 

Cockroaches thrive in areas that have high moisture. As such, cockroaches are found in kitchens and bathrooms, under sinks, in walls near plumbing pipes, and damp basements.

 

Roaches are extremely versatile pests and can find food to eat even in a neat and tidy kitchen. They eat anything, including pet food, leather, soap residue, cardboard, decaying matter and even feces! But their favorite foods are sweets, starches, meats and anything greasy.

 

Can cockroaches make me sick?

 Yes, cockroaches can make you sick. The proteins found in cockroach saliva, feces and molting skin are known to have many negative effects on human health. Everywhere they go, they leave traces of their existence, including on countertops, food and food packaging, dishes, bathroom sinks, tables and more.

 

Because of this, cockroaches are known to trigger asthma and allergies, especially in children and the elderly. These allergies cause sneezing, congestion, and watery eyes. Asthma, or bronchial inflammation, causes coughing, wheezing and breathing difficulties.

 

Cockroaches commonly move from filth to food and food preparation surfaces. This is a recipe for food poisoning and other illnesses. E-coli and Salmonella are just two of the bacteria cockroaches spread that make you very sick.

 

How fast do cockroaches multiply?

Cockroaches reproduce rapidly, which means you can have a full-blow cockroach infestation in no time. In fact, a single female cockroach can spawn 6 generations of cockroaches in her one-year lifetime. She can lay up to 300 eggs, which hatch into nymphs or baby cockroaches. The baby cockroaches grow into adults, and the adult females lay even more eggs.

 

Baby cockroaches are small -- about 3/8 inch (9 mm) long -- and look like tiny adult cockroaches. Baby cockroaches are easy to mistake for bed bugs, given their size, oval shape and reddish-brown colour. 

 

Can cockroaches fly?  Only some types of roaches can fly and then for only short distances. Typically, these cockroaches live outdoors. They’re often attracted to porch lights at nighttime and occasionally find their way inside. While all cockroaches have wings, their large size makes flying difficult. Cockroaches make up for this by being very fast runners.

 

What types of cockroach cause problems in Canada?

Four species of cockroach cause the most problems for homes and businesses in Canada:

 

German cockroach – The German cockroach is the most common species of cockroach in Canada. It is tan to brown in colour with two parallel dark stripes on its back. It is a small roach, about 1 to 1.5 cm long. Although it primarily lives indoors, the German roach gets in cars, delivery vans, buses, trains and cruise ships by hitching a ride in people’s belongings.

 

American cockroach: This roach is larger, around 5 cm long, and is reddish brown in colour with a yellow-ish band around its head. They live mostly outdoors in sewers but find their way into basements, bathrooms and kitchens. They can fly short distances.

 

Oriental cockroach: This slow-moving black cockroach is about 1 cm in length. The Oriental cockroach mostly lives outdoors, such as under logs and mulch and in sewer and storm drains. It gets indoors through cracks and gaps in exterior walls and foundations.

 

Brown-Banded cockroach: The brown-banded cockroach is one of the smaller species of cockroaches in Canada at 1 to 1.5 cm long. It gets its name from the two brown stripes running across its abdomen. This cockroach doesn’t need as much moisture to survive like other cockroach species. As such, it can live in bedrooms and living rooms.

 

How to Get Rid of Cockroaches

To get rid of cockroaches, follow these 4 steps

 

  1. Inspect – Roaches typically come out when it’s dark. If you suspect you have a cockroach (cafard) infestation, use a flashlight at night to observe for cockroach activity. Inspect for
    • Live cockroaches
    • Cockroach droppings, which look like coffee grounds or bits of ground pepper
    • Cockroach eggs. Eggs are contained in a brown, oval-shaped casing. One casing contains many eggs
    • A strange oily or musty odour, which is the signature scent of cockroaches

 

  1. Clean up - Make your home as unattractive as possible to cockroaches by eliminating their sources of food. Every day:
  • Clean up dishes in the sink (do not let them sit dirty overnight)
  • Take out garbage
  • Discard uneaten pet food and wash bowls
  • Remove food from counters and store in sealed containers or the refrigerator
  • Sweep, vacuum and mop up crumbs and spills on floors and countertops
  • Clean appliances of grease and spilled foods
  • Get drains squeaky clean by using Invade Hot Spot+ foaming drain cleaner
  • Reduce clutter so roaches have fewer places to hide

 

  1. Seal, fix and minimize – Prevent cockroaches from getting into your home or business:
  • Use copper mesh to seal large cracks or openings around pipes
  • Use caulk to fill smaller gaps in the kitchen and bathroom
  • Install door sweeps to form a seal between the door and the threshold.
  • Fix leaky pipes, faucets or cracked shower doors to reduce the moisture that cockroaches need to survive
  • Thoroughly inspect items and packaging before bringing them inside
  • Ask guests or employees to stow their belongings in plastic bins

 

  1. Use the best roach killers in Canada - Once you have taken measures to eliminate the roaches’ food, water and shelter, use these pest control products to monitor for and treat your cockroach problem:

  • Set out cockroach glue traps, pitfall traps and monitors in areas where you suspect cockroach activity, such as the space between your refrigerator or stove and wall, and behind furniture. The more cockroaches you find stuck in one glue trap, the bigger the cockroach problem. If the roaches stuck in the glue trap point mostly in one direction, you can assume their hiding spot lies in the opposite direction. This will help you put pest control traps where they will be most effective. Apply a multi-bait attractant to significantly increase crawling insect trap and roach monitor

 

  • Apply Diatomaceous Earth (DE) or exterminator dust behind appliances and to wall voids, such as where plumbing pipes enter under a sink. When roaches walk through the treated area, the DE’s microscopic, glass-like shards lacerate the waxy outer layer of the roaches’ exoskeleton. As such, the roaches dry out and die. Learn about DE and how to use it.

 

  • Use a high-efficiency HEPA vacuum to remove live roaches if the roach population is high and this is possible. The more cockroaches you can remove, the fewer left to breed and lay eggs. After vacuuming, immediately remove and dispose of the bag in the outdoor garbage.

 

  • Cockroach spray and aerosol should be used as a last resort. That’s because overuse of insecticide can create resistance in cockroaches. Over time, new roach generations develop mutations that make them less likely to die from even the best insecticide for roaches. To ensure effectiveness and to reduce the potential for resistance, always use insecticide bug spray and organic bug spray according to the label. The label will identify where to apply the product, how much to apply and how often to apply it.

 

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