If you see one roach, there’s hundreds more behind it. Roaches are an unwelcome pest in any home. I’ve got the lowdown on why roaches invade homes, and the top five ways to keep these pesky insects out of your home for good!
What Are the Different Types of Roaches?
Regardless of the type, we all know the unsettling feeling of watching a roach scurry along quickly as you turn the light on. They all have six little legs, but there are differences. There are Oriental roaches, also called water bugs are fairly common and are typically about one inch long. Wood roaches are brown and can be almost one inch long, this bug can also fly (gross). A German cockroach is brown with stripes, and it is about half an inch long. In the US, we are more used to the American cockroaches, which are red and brown, while typically being about half an inch long.
Many people confuse the cockroach with a water bug. They are different in size. Water bugs are usually more than two inches long. Cockroaches are usually shy while water bugs will swim around for you in broad daylight.
Can a clean home have roaches?
Roaches love the food, warmth, and moisture a home provides to them. Even if your home is as clean as possible, roaches will often still find a way into the cracks and crevices of your home where they lay their eggs. Dirty homes are a whole other story. They love food that’s been left on the counter or dirty dishes lurking in the sink. They even find the smallest leaks. Roaches can live for long periods of time without food. They can even live a week without their head! Though they prefer dirt and debris, roaches will live anywhere there’s warmth and moisture. Roaches love sweets, meats, and starches the most. This means if you have any in your home, they’ll try to get to them. If they’re really hungry, roaches have been known to gnaw away at leather accessories and/or books. There may not be a way to totally prevent the little pests, but there’s a way to keep them minimal.
1. Clean, Clean, Clean
Keep Your Appliances Clean
Always clean your kitchen appliances after you use them. It’s not always easy to realize the amount of grease or food that spills over when you’re cooking on a stovetop. Its also incredibly common for food or crumbs to make their way under the fridge or behind it. Make sure you pull the fridge out to sweep and wipe it down every so often.
Try this Fuller Brush Appliance Cleaner & Wax. It can work on all surfaces and should help keep the grease away in between cleaning. It also has the added benefit of protecting the surface of your appliance.
Use a spray like MDXconcepts Organic Home Pest Control Spray. This is completely safe for pets and children, while it can also be easily worked into your cleaning routine. Spray it in the hard to reach areas to help keep the bugs away.
Check your Pantry for Open Containers
One of their favorite places in the pantry in the kitchen. If you stash a chip bag in the pantry and a few crumbs fall out, roaches are ready to attack the fallen crumbs. From cereal to crackers, bugs can climb in the open cracks for a snack. Dry goods can also easily fall out of their packaging in your cupboards or under them. Roaches that travel along the walls munch on these tiny crumbs as they travel by. These bugs love to eat at night, so you may not even notice they are snacking on your leftovers. Once it’s dark, they’re ready to scour your house. Combat this by ensuring you thoroughly sweep your floors on a daily basis.
I would recommend using something like these food storage containers to help keep your pantry organized and pest free. Who really wants to find a roach in their bag of chips anyway?
It’s also important to vacuum regularly to suck up anything the bugs may leave behind. They often shed skin, feces, body parts, and even their egg sacs. This is rarely visible but is often a big contributor to repeat visits. Its especially important if you have pets that may be responsible for dragging in bugs or things bugs like from the outdoors.
If you haven’t tried a Roomba, you may fall in love! The Roomba will help you keep consistent with your vacuuming, with a fraction of the effort.
Keep Your Trash Covered
Make sure your trash can lid is sealed all of the way. Roaches would hit a jackpot of crumbs and old food in the trash if they can crawl their way inside the can. Take the trash out regularly so they aren’t attracted to the scent.
Invest in an easy to open and close trashcan, like this 40 Liter Simplehuman Step Can.
2. Take Away Their Source of Water
Water is constantly running in any home. There’s always someone taking a shower, washing the dishes, brushing their teeth, and/or flushing the toilet. You can’t eliminate all water sources, but you can work to minimize these so roaches don’t overtake them. Bugs love the water and they have no trouble with crawling right up a pipe or into your sink.
Check the Sink
Inspect for any small leaks under your sinks. Even a tiny drip can cause a problem or time beyond attracting the wrong kind of pests. Sweating pipes can even be a slight concern so make sure to repair them or have them looked at by a plumber.
Pet water dishes can provide a swimming pool for small roaches. If you have an active problem, it’s best to place the dishes outside or empty them during the night. This can also be much healthier for your pet.
Shower or Sink Drain
Some bugs enjoy hanging out in drains. Make sure to put the drain cover of your tub back in after using it. Also, look to see if a drain cover is damaged or broken as they can easily crawl through the tiniest of a hole. If you are having an issue with bugs calling up through your drains (or hair), you may want to try something like the Tub Shroom for a cheap and effective way to keep them out.
3. Seal Cracks and Crevices
There are naturally tiny cracks and crevices in any home. Roaches love to make their way into these as well as into a dark wall. You may not be able to find every crevice, but you can put in the work to seal what you can.
Arm yourself with a caulking gun and go after any crevices and/or cracks that you see. These are often found around windows, bathtubs and showers. There may be holes in your wall around pipes also. Despite the bugs, this is just good practice to help prevent water from running into places you don’t want it.
Doggy Doors & Windows
Fully shut doors and windows. If you have a doggy door, make sure it is shut at night or has the ability to be completely sealed. Once roaches get in the house through a crack, they usually release droppings that contain pheromones. These signal to other bugs that they’ve found a special place to hide. The best hiding places are packaging, stacks of newspapers, towels, and cardboard. Make sure to clear the home of this clutter after sealing all of the cracks and crevices. It’s amazing the places where they are able to live!
4. Tidy Up Outside
Cleaning your yard may be a key factor in keeping roaches far away from your home. Their natural habitat is outdoors in the grass near water if they can find it. They don’t necessarily want to enter your home, but they also aren’t choosy. You can keep them from being interested by doing a few simple things outside.
Rake Your Leaves
Rake your leaves and mulch as much as possible and keep the piles as far away from your house as possible. You should be doing this already for many reasons, but this is a big culprit of pests finding their way inside. If leaves pile up in your yard, moisture is often stuck under them leaving the ground to grow mold and mildew. This is a breeding ground for roaches especially.
Keep Bushes and Shrubs Off Your House
Keep bushes, shrubs and trees trimmed back away from the home. Bugs have no problem jumping from leaves, stems, and branches onto your home. It’s also important to remove any dead vegetation and trash away from right outside your home. Bugs love thick vegetation and outdoor debris.
Firewood and Misc
If you stack firewood, keep it as far away from your home as possible. Many different kinds of bugs love to live in wood. It’s best to spray insecticide around your home every month to keep the bugs away from the entrances. Check out your porch and decking for any holes as well. Roaches can live in there for months eating whatever debris they can find.
5. Contact A Pest Control Service
No matter how much you try to prevent them, roaches often become a problem. The main thing is to act quickly if you suspect you have bugs. A long-term solution is often found in a pest control service. Specialists will evaluate your problem and find the best ways to combat it. They can also monitor the issue. Pest control is often the best way to ensure your home isn’t taken over by roaches. An infestation happens rather quickly and then it becomes much more costly to deal with the problem.
Pest control workers have professional-level insecticides to spray on the exterior and interior of your home. They will also set up the appropriate traps if needed. The professionals may surprise you with what they find lurking in your home since roaches are experts at hiding and running. Working with a professional may be the best way to keep these insects from multiplying and taking over your home.
…or, How Can You Kill and Repel Roaches Yourself?
If you suspect you have roaches and you don’t want to pony up for a professional, there are a few things you can do to kill or repel them. They apparently hate essential oils because the smell throws them off their scent trails so they cannot hunt for their food. You can also use Borax, baking soda, and sugar which seems to have some success repelling them. You can also try to make a homemade trap with petroleum jelly and sugar. Another odd tip is that it may actually be beneficial to hang onto those tiny packs of Silica gels that come in many shoes and other products. When roaches come in contact with the small gels, the gel naturally dries out the insides of the roach and can help wipe them out.
Roaches become a problem quickly. No matter what you do, the little pests can make their way into your home in tiny nooks and crannies. Take preventative measures to fight these infestations the best you can by following the advice above. You can drastically cut back on seeing these tiny pests scurrying across the floor just by staying vigilant about the cleanliness of your home!