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What Can I Do About Cockroaches in My Kitchen?

a white kitchen that has a roach problem

It’s late evening and you’re feeling hungry. You head to the kitchen for a snack and flip on the light. Then, your heart starts hammering as cockroaches scatter to the nearest hiding spots. Finding cockroaches in the kitchen is annoying, not to mention disgusting and upsetting. After all, this could mean you have a roach infestation you didn’t know about. Roaches often infest kitchens because these rooms have everything cockroaches need to survive. This includes water, food and plenty of places to hide.

If you find cockroaches in your kitchen, it’s time to do something to keep these pests away. How you address the problem depends partly on which type of cockroach you find. Depending on the type, you may or may not have an infestation. Let’s learn more about the types of cockroaches most commonly found in American homes.

Identifying the Cockroach Species in Your Home

Finding one of the bigger types of cockroaches in your kitchen can be more alarming than finding smaller ones, simply because of their size. Oriental cockroaches grow to about an inch-and-a-half long and about a half-inch wide. These roaches are dark brown or black in color. American cockroaches are a medium reddish-brown color and are even bigger. They can grow up to two inches long and a full half-inch wide!

Both American and Oriental cockroaches can run several miles per hour, which is shocking in itself (even worse, some roaches can actually fly!). Still, finding an American or Oriental cockroach indoors may not mean you have a full-blown roach problem. In many cases, these roaches accidentally find their way indoors from the outside. They live outdoors in nests they build in rotting logs or underneath piles of vegetation. Sometimes, they wander inside in search of warmth, food or water.

Finding German cockroaches in your kitchen might be less startling. German roaches are much smaller than their American and Oriental cousins. This type of roach grows to less than a half-inch in length and a quarter-inch wide. These cockroaches are typically a tan or light-brown color, and they don’t wander in from the outdoors like other, larger roaches. They are usually brought into your home accidentally. Sometimes they hitchhike on grocery bags, luggage or furniture.

Unfortunately, German cockroaches are extremely prolific. Female German cockroaches can produce hundreds of eggs in their lifetime. Finding even one German cockroach in your kitchen is a sign that you may have a full-blown infestation. Cockroaches of all types are very good at hiding in dark, protected spaces. Some of these hiding spots include behind the refrigerator, stove or kitchen cabinets. This is why people can have cockroach infestations they don’t even know about—these insects are impeccable at hiding.

A cockroach infestation should be treated as soon as possible because of the problems cockroaches can present. In a typical kitchen, cockroaches will feed on anything they can find. This includes crumbs and grease splatters or pantry food that hasn’t been stored in airtight containers. They’ll even consume paper goods, including paper towel rolls, wallpaper and books, as well as the glue that binds books’ pages together.

The point is that cockroaches will eat almost anything, and they create unsanitary conditions in a kitchen. Cockroach infestations have also been associated with respiratory issues like asthma. Additionally, these pests are carriers of many diseases, pathogens and types of bacteria.

Making Your Home Less Attractive to Roaches

Getting rid of cockroaches on your own can be a lengthy and difficult process, if not an impossible one. Still, there are many things you can do to make your kitchen and the rest of your home less appealing to these pests. Here’s a list of steps homeowners can take to make their home less hospitable to roaches:

  • Keep your kitchen clean, wiping up crumbs, spills and splatters every day.
  • Store all foods, including pet foods, in sturdy containers with tightly fitting lids.
  • Similarly, keep all garbage, recycling and compost in airtight containers. Outside bins should be kept well away from the house. These bins can attract roaches and other pests that might try to get indoors if the bins are close to the home.
  • Don’t leave pets’ food and water bowls out overnight, which is when roaches are most active.
  • Repair any leaking faucets or pipes both indoors and outdoors. Roaches can be attracted to these water sources.
  • Cockroaches can fit through very tiny openings. Fix any gaps or tears in or around windows, doors, screens, vents or pipes leading into the house. Stuff weep holes in brick exteriors with wool mesh.
  • Don’t overwater indoor plants. Cockroaches sometimes like to live or hide in a well-watered houseplant.
  • Outside, keep your grass and bushes trimmed, and clear away dead leaves, branches and brush. These are all places where American and Oriental cockroaches might build nests. When you have fewer roaches outdoors it means fewer roaches inside your home as well.

Following all these steps will help to keep cockroaches at bay. But, if you’re dealing with a cockroach infestation, these steps will work best in tandem with professional treatments. A pest control specialist can identify the cockroaches you have in your home and where they are nesting. Then, they can advise you on the best pest treatments.

a cockroach climbing up a wall

Can Cockroaches Climb Walls?

If you see a cockroach running across the floor in your home, you might wonder, can cockroaches climb walls? Unfortunately, they can and they are very good at it.

Cockroaches have an amazing ability to climb almost anything. They grip tightly enough so they can even walk upside-down without falling. Their legs and feet have tiny barbs on them that make it easy for them to grip onto any surface with even a bit of texture. Cockroaches can’t climb up vertical surfaces that are extremely smooth, like glass or smooth metal. But, if the surface is at all slanted, textured or both, a cockroach will be able to scale it without trouble.

This is why people can find cockroaches in any room on any floor in the home, not just on the ground floor. People’s houses are made of materials like brick, wood and drywall that are more than textured enough for roaches to climb. If a cockroach gets into your home on the first floor, it won’t have any trouble climbing to the second floor.

In most people’s homes, of course, cockroaches stay where the food, water and shelter are most plentiful. This typically means kitchens, bathrooms and utility rooms. If you eat in your bedroom, however, any crumbs you drop could draw roaches. Cockroaches are also drawn to paper goods. Bookcases filled with books and magazines can be surprisingly attractive to roaches.

Keeping your home clean will go a long way toward keeping cockroaches away. This is especially important in the kitchen along with any other room where food is eaten. Roaches are also drawn to water sources like leaky faucets and pipes, pets’ water bowls and overwatered potted plants. Fixing any leaks and dumping out any standing water will deter roaches.

Limiting cockroaches’ ability to get inside your house will also help combat these pests. Many roaches that live outside get indoors through small openings such as weep holes, tears in window screens or gaps around vents. Fixing or blocking off these types of opening will help to keep roaches outside, where they belong.

Still, even people who follow all these steps can still have roach problems inside their homes. This is where a pest control specialist can really help. These pros have the knowledge and skills along with the products and techniques needed to get rid of a roach infestation. It may take some time as well as multiple treatments and techniques to control these pests. The sooner you consult with a pest control professional, the sooner you’ll be on your way toward reclaiming your home.

a dead cockroach

Do Cockroaches Shed?

Many types of insects have exoskeletons and wings that they shed periodically—so do cockroaches shed theirs? Cockroaches do shed their skins, or exoskeletons, as they grow from nymphs into adults. If you find shed cockroach skins in your home, they’re a sign of a cockroach infestation. These skins are shed by young cockroaches that are growing and moving through the stages of their life cycle.

Shed skins usually aren’t the only sign of a cockroach infestation. Other common signs include cockroach eggs, which are the small, hard egg cases laid by female roaches. You may also find cockroach droppings. Roach droppings look like tiny, black bits of dirt, or brownish-black dots and smears. These might show up on shelves or walls, under sinks or any other areas where cockroaches spend time.

Finding cockroaches, whether dead or alive, is another common sign of an infestation. In homes with heavy infestations, there is also a distinctive, unpleasant smell the roaches create.

If you notice these signs, it’s time to get professional help to diagnose and address your pest problem. Roaches can cause health and sanitation issues. And, these pests can infest even clean, well-maintained homes. They can also live for extended periods without food or water, so “starving them out” by removing food and water sources may not work. In many cases, the quickest and most effective way to deal with a cockroach problem in your home is to contact a professional. These pros have the best products and techniques for getting rid of these pests.

ABC Can Create a Thorough Roach Treatment Plan

Don’t waste any more time with do-it-yourself roach control treatments. For an effective pest treatment plan, contact ABC Home & Commercial Services. Our professionals are highly skilled and will be able to bring you and your family members peace.

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