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Insect Pest Control Articles - Cockroaches

Insect Pests: Cockroaches
(published January 2009)

Cockroaches are one of the most commonly found household pest insects in the UK and few pests conjure up such strong feelings of distress, embarrassment and disgust as do cockroaches. Chemical control may seems the obvious solution, and is still a common sight but method is not always necessary as some domestic cockroach problems can be controlled without reliance on pesticides. A better, and more humane method is to prevent cockroaches entering your premises in the first place by means of a Mousemesh grid covering potential entry points such as air bricks.

Some cockroaches have been known to live up to three months without food and a month without water. Cockroaches frequently live outdoors but although they prefer warmer climates they are resilient enough to survive occasional freezing temperatures. This makes them difficult to eradicate once they have infested an area - making the "cockroach-proofing" of your home with Mousemesh even more vital.

insect pest control - airbrick grills help prevent the cockroach entering the home

The two most common varieties of cockroach found in Northern Europe are the German and the oriental. The German cockroach is approximately 14mm in length, is light brown in colour and has two dark stripes on the section of the thorax behind the head. The female produces an average of four egg cases during its life-span. Each egg case contains between 30 and 50 eggs and the female carries the case until 12 days before hatching. It takes between three and four months for the egg to pass through the nymph stage and reach the adult stage. Adult cockroaches live for more than six month. Because of their small size, the large number of eggs per case and the speed with which they mature, the German cockroach tends to be more prolific than the oriental cockroaches.

The oriental cockroach is 32mm in length with a dark red-brown-black colour throughout and as an adult lives for between four and five months. It is usually found below ground level, in drains and sinks, and under refrigerators and washing machines. The female produces egg capsules at monthly intervals, each case containing up to 16 eggs. The cases are placed in debris or food under sheltered areas. It takes between 10 months to two years for the egg to reach the adult stage. Because the life cycle is so long, severe infestations should be avoidable with good hygiene practices.

Both German and oriental cockroaches are large enough to be denied access to a building by the 2mm grid of Mousemesh.

Cockroaches adulterate food or food products with their faeces and defensive secretions. They carry and often harbour pathogenic organisms, may cause severe allergic responses, and in extremely heavy infestations have been reported to bite humans. In addition, some scientists suggest that German cockroach infestations may cause human psychological stress and that the stigma associated with infestations can alter human behaviour - for example, people with infested houses do less entertaining, and avoid the kitchen at night for fear of encountering a cockroach.

Cockroaches seek cover during the daytime and are most active at night. Good hygiene practice is essential in the control of cockroaches, as is the reduction of access to food and water. Food should be stored in airtight storage containers and any crumbs, leftovers or food waste should be cleared up immediately. The same applies to household refuse-bins - those fitted with snap on lids will go a long way in controlling other pests such as ants and flies. Since cockroaches can survive longer on just water, as opposed to just food, reducing supplies to water is essential in controlling cockroach populations. Fix any leaks and sweating pipes, provide ventilation to moist areas, mop up any spillage's, do not leave washing up soaking overnight and empty any pet bowls over night.

If the cockroach problem is in a block of flats or offices then screening the many ducts and vents that interlink the building is essential. Remove existing grillwork and place aluminium screening behind it, making sure to caulk around the edge. If the above methods are followed then at least one flat or office should have a much reduced or cockroach free environment.

Prevention Tips
Follow the following tips to prevent household pests, pest infestations and the potentially dangerous health and property threats they pose. Find out how to prevent insects and rodents from entering your home and how to protect your family and property from disease and property damage.

  • Fit Mousemesh over all airbricks
  • Seal cracks and holes on the outside of the home including entry
    points for utilities and pipes
  • Store rubbish in sealed containers and dispose of it regularly
  • Keep cellars and attics well ventilated and dry
  • Store fire wood at least 20 feet away from the house and five inches
    off the ground
  • Replace weather-stripping and repair loose mortar around basement
    foundation and windows
  • Call a qualified pest professional for additional advice and
    treatment if necessary
  • Keep tree branches and shrubbery well trimmed and away from the
    house.
Mousemesh grilles were originally designed to keep mice from entering your home through air bricks but the small mesh size means that most insect pests can be kept out by fixing a MouseMesh grille over all your airbricks.

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