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How to prevent cockroaches in your home

How to prevent cockroaches in your home

Pest infestations of any kind are a household nuisance. However, most people consider cockroaches one of the most unwanted pests in any environment as well as a risk to human health. Cockroaches in the home environment are a health hazard not only because of the risks posed by cockroach antigens to asthma sufferers, especially asthmatic children and the elderly, but also because they can carry diseases like Salmonella by picking up germs on the spines of their legs. Here are a few simple tips to prevent these pests from accessing your home.


Do

Do clear all waste, food and liquid spillage

Clean up food debris and spillage from food preparation areas, under sinks and appliances. Empty the trash on a daily basis and keep all garbage in containers with tight-fitting lids.

Do eliminate cracks and crevices inside

Cockroaches prefer to harbor in narrow cracks and crevices. Inspect around baseboards and also look for gaps between countertops and cabinets or walls. Additionally, in multi-unit housing, cockroaches will travel between units via utility pipes. Be especially sure to look beneath sinks to identify gaps where utility pipes enter. Use an appropriate sealant to plug these areas.

Do seal entry points around the outside

There are some cockroaches living outdoors that will enter inside, should the opportunity arise. To deny access to cockroaches in your home, seal all potential exterior entry points. The most common points of entry include openings around utility pipes that enter the home and gaps or cracks and crevices around doors or basement windows.

Do contact a pest management professional should you suspect an infestation

Successful elimination of a cockroach infestation is a difficult task for the do-it-yourself type homeowner. A pest management professional can offer safe, proactive solutions for eliminating an infestation and will also make recommendations for the prevention of future infestations.


Don't

Do not forget to rinse cans, bottles and plastics

Cockroaches often scavenge on residues around empty food and drink containers, so be sure to rinse bottles, cans and plastics before placing them in the recycling bins.

Do not forget to inspect plants, and used furniture and appliances

Cockroaches often gain entrance indoors via potted plants that are moved indoors or when plants are transported from warmer areas of the country. Therefore, inspect all plants for cockroaches and other pests before bringing them into your home. Additionally, cockroaches will harbor inside of used furniture and appliances, and it is common to introduce cockroaches into your home when you purchase or rent these items at garage sales or second-hand shops. It is very important that you carefully inspect all used goods, using a flashlight and focusing on all cracks and crevices, before bringing them indoors.

Do not forget to clean pet food dishes

Although it may appear that your pet has licked the bowl clean, there is probably enough residue leftover for a cockroach feast. Unfortunately, cockroaches are quite fond of pet food. Therefore, once your pet finishes eating, it is important to wash out the dish. Additionally, keep all pet food stored properly so cockroaches do not have access.

Do not store food in open containers

Food stored in open containers gives cockroaches easy access to eat and multiply! Avoid supplying nutrition to these pests by storing food in plastic containers with lids. Store food items such as leftovers, open cereals, snacks and treats in sealed plastic containers rather than leaving the food exposed on countertops or in cabinets.


Summary
Jumping cartoon

To prevent these unhealthy pests from invading your home, be sure to clean up waste and food spillage and seal interior cracks and crevices, as well as gaps or openings on the exterior of a home. Inspect all plants before bringing them indoors, as well as any used furniture or appliances. Additionally, rinse empty food containers prior to throwing them in the recycling bin, and wash pet food dishes daily. Finally, store food in plastic containers with lids, rather than leaving food exposed on countertops or inside of cabinets. Seek professional treatment if you suspect a cockroach infestation. This can guarantee a long-term solution and reduce the risk of re-infestation through safe prevention methods customized to your home and lifestyle.


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Photo Credits: NejroN Photo/bigstock.com; Check Man, Cross Man and Jump Man © ioannis kounadeas - Fotolia.com

Nancy Troyano, PhD, BCETraining manager / Entomologist

After graduating from Lehigh Carbon Community College with an A.A.S. degree in Veterinary Technology, Nancy became a certified veterinary technician. Nancy worked as a zookeeper while pursuing a B.S. degree in Environmental Science at East Strou...

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