Cockroaches: The Ultimate Guide

Pest Control - Cockroaches

So you’ve woken up through the night craving a midnight snack, you’ve dragged yourself out from under the covers and made your way down to the kitchen to satisfy the craving. You flick the light on and there looking you dead in the eye from above the microwave is a big, dirty Cockie!!!

Alarm bells instantly start ringing in your head. How did that get in here?

People’s reactions to cockroaches range from subtle frustrations, to absolute terror but the desire to keep them out of our homes is universal. It is usually the stereotypical thought that if you have Cockroaches in your home, that your house is a mess, but be rest assured this isn’t always the case.

There are a handful of different ways cockroaches can gain access to your house. If they weren’t already in your house before you moved in, they most likely come from the great outdoors through an open door or window. Cockroaches are capable of wriggling through cracks, crevices, pipes and drains. They can also hitch a ride in furniture, boxes, and even shopping bags. Some species also fly.

Though your house or apartment might be spotless, you’re not immune from getting a share of your neighbour’s cockroach problems either. If a single pregnant cockroach from next door gets into your home you’ll soon know about it when cockroaches start popping up left, right and centre.

These unwanted guests carry diseases, cause food poisoning and even trigger allergies and asthma attacks by leaving faeces and exoskeleton fragments all over your house. Cockroaches can spread nearly 33 different types of bacteria, some of which can be incredibly dangerous to young children.

The following guide is aimed to help you prime your house to prevent future roach outbreaks, get rid of your current roach problem, while also learning some cool facts about these not-so-cool pests.

Where Do Cockroaches Come From?

While cockroaches are more likely to get comfortable in a dirty house, even the cleanest of houses can get the occasional roach. In order to get rid of cockroaches for good, it’s best to have a firm understanding of where they are coming from in order to prevent future infestations.

how cockroaches get in the house

Cockroaches are surprisingly resilient creatures. They have been around since the dinosaurs, and have survived virtually everything the world has thrown at them for thousands of years. Part of their survival is due to their ability to live up to a month without food and two weeks without water. You’re going to have to do much more than just clean up your kitchen to keep these cockroaches away.

Cockroaches are also incredibly effective at reproducing. Some female cockroaches only need to mate once and will remain pregnant for the rest of their life. That means all you need to do is attract one mama roach that scurries off into some impossible-to-find corner to have a long-term roach problem. While impressive, these statistics don’t make roaches any less annoying and potentially dangerous to our health.

Common Household Pest Cockroach Species

According to the Queensland Museum, in Queensland, there are three common household pest cockroaches, The American Cockroach, Australian Cockroach, and German Cockroach.  

German Cockroach (Blattella Germanica)

German Cockroach | Image courtesy of Queensland Museum

The most common type of indoor cockroach in South-East Queensland is the German cockroach. These little guys are small at around 10mm and pale in colour. Their distinguishing feature is two dark bars running lengthwise along the thorax. They prefer warm, dark, and humid places near a food source, so they tend to cluster around the kitchen and bathroom areas.

American Cockroach (Periplaneta americana)

American Cockroach | Image courtesy of Queensland Museum

The American Cockroach is large, can by slightly over 40mm long, and reddish-brown in colour. It has an indistinct brown pattern on the thorax. It can be found in houses (usually found in stores and near food) but is generally more commonly found in compost heaps, sewers and industrial areas.

Australian Cockroach (Periplaneta australasiae)

Australian Cockroach | Image courtesy of Queensland Museum

The Australian Cockroach is slightly smaller in size than the American Cockroach but are still close to up to 40mm long. They are reddish brown in colour, with yellow stripes along the front edge of their wings. Their distinguishing feature is the yellow area on their thorax. They feed on plant material and decaying material. They like book bindings and glue in boxes and even clothing. They thrive in South-East Queensland because they populate well in temperatures above 27 degrees Celsius.

Other less common types of cockroaches found in the South-East Queensland area include Oriental (mostly outside and under sinks, refrigerators, and washing machines), and Brown-Banded (prefer warmer and drier places, pantries, closet shells).

Get Rid of Cockroaches: The Defence

When it comes to your cockroach problem, prevention is the name of the game. Here’s a quick checklist to get you on the track to freedom from cockroaches:

  • Give your shopping bags a good look for any cockroaches. If you shop at organic supermarkets or farmer’s markets that don’t use pesticides, you’re more likely to unwittingly bring in some roaches.
  • Get rid of any stand alone boxes. Cockroaches love to breed in cardboard boxes. There are horror stories of people finding entire roach colonies in old moving boxes in the garage. If you’ve got some boxes hanging around the house, do yourself a favour and toss them.
  • Seal holes around plumbing pipes. Plumbing is like the cockroach superhighway.
  • Seal openings around windows and doors. This keeps your house safe from cockroaches and other pesky insects.
  • Never leave food out, and sweep up crumbs. Ensure that scraps are disposed of correctly and regularly and make sure that any food from the day is correctly stored in air-tight containers. Keep your rubbish in a bin with a tight lid. Thoroughly clean benchtops and stovetops. Since cockroaches can go a long time without any food, even the smallest meal can hold them over for weeks.
  • Keep your pantry cockroach-safe. Part of not leaving food out means making sure your food is locked away appropriately in your pantry. Cockroaches find their way into cereal boxes with a surprising amount of ease.
  • If you are a commercial food business, it is important to regularly clean out your grease trap.
  • Schedule regular pest control maintenance. Having a professional make sure that your home is receiving maximum protection from cockroaches, rodents, and a variety of other pests, is a phenomenal strategy to not have to deal with these troubles first-hand again.

By following the above strategies, you will be able to keep your home safe from future cockroaches. Be sure to always be attentive of roach sightings, because if there’s one, there are likely many lurking where you can’t see them. They could be in your bathroom, garage, or worse, crawling around your pantry looking for a bite to eat.

The Solution

Calling a pest management expert is a guaranteed way to take care of your cockroach problem. Pest technicians not only help with getting rid of the current roaches through a variety of strategies, they also help prevent future roach outbreaks by eradicating tough to reach nest areas.

At SPM, we guarantee our cockroach treatments for up to 12 months, which means that if cockroaches return to your property, then so do we!

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