[Editor's Note: When trying to kill a roach infestation, it's best to get the advice of an expert. William T. Taylor is a 15-year pest control veteran, and he has put together a guide to help you get rid of roaches quickly and effectively. Check out Cockroach Be Gone.]
Cockroaches are one of the most troublesome pests found in homes. They cause damage to food, stain furniture and books, and they can be a health hazard for people with asthma. Studies have shown a strong association between the presence of cockroaches and the increase of asthma and allergy symptoms. Cockroaches will infest any structure, clean or not, to escape extreme weather and to find food and water. Using prevention techniques, treatment with pesticides, and a good clean-up afterwards will help reduce the risks of an asthma attack.
Proteins found in cockroach saliva and droppings are what triggers attacks in people with asthma. Another trigger is caused by what some researchers call roach dust. Roach dust is found in the decaying body and body parts of dead roaches.
To get rid of roaches you must eliminate any food and water sources in your kitchen. Clean the kitchen before going to bed because cockroaches look for food at night. Use a small trash can in your kitchen that requires the bag to be emptied each evening. Put away the pet’s food for the night and seal up any containers of pet food. Do not leave food out on the counters on dishes and wash off the counter tops to remove all crumbs. Sweep and mop the kitchen floor. Eliminate water sources by draining the sink and wiping up any water from around the sink.
Roaches can be carried in or they can find their own way inside your home. Inspect bags, boxes, furniture, and books before you bring them inside. Seal cracks on the outside of your home at the foundation and around the exterior doors and windows with caulk. Seal areas with caulking or foam around wiring and plumbing that provides an opening around your home. Clear sealants can be used to seal baseboards, molding, and around doors and windows inside your house. Seal your outer doors tight with weather stripping. Beneath cabinets use caulk or foam to seal around drains. Roaches must have water, so you should repair leaking pipes in the house. Eliminating their way in and eliminating their food and water sources will greatly reduce your chances of an infestation.
If you or a family member suffers from asthma and you have a roach infestation there are some effective treatment methods you should follow. Powders are effective treatments for roaches and they do not release irritants in the air like most store-bought pesticides in a can do. Powders usually take a little time to show results, but they can continue to work for a long time after application.
Apply powders where pets and children cannot reach it, behind appliances, under the stove and refrigerator, and in open spaces beneath cabinets. Apply the powder in areas where roaches are active. As roaches hunt for food and water they walk through the powder. The powder sticks to their bodies and the roaches lick it off, poisoning them. Lightly apply the powder, if it is too thick the roaches will avoid it. Most powders come in a plastic squeeze bottle with a narrow tip, making it easy to apply. You can also purchase a powder applicator that helps to apply it properly.
Baits are a safe treatment alternative for people with asthma. Gels, pastes, granules, and dusts are all forms of baits. For heavy infestation, you may want to use baits with powder. But, do not put the powder on the bait and do not spray the powder or bait with an insecticide. Sprays have odors that the roaches will avoid.
Baits contain food that attracts roaches. The baits poison the roaches after they eat the bait. Then the roach returns back to its hiding place and dies. Other roaches eat the body of the poisoned roach and it kills them as well. Apply gel baits in small drops along the baseboards, behind appliances, and along the counter at the back of the countertop, but only at the edges and in the corners. Be careful when cleaning the counter that you don’t wipe the area clean and that you don’t apply water to the bait. Baits must be kept out of the reach of children and pets and way from food, so be careful not to smear the bait while you clean.
Often, asthma is triggered by roach dust even after the roaches are gone. Clean the house thoroughly by wiping up the roach dust. Use an old, damp cloth that can be thrown away after use. Dead roaches, droppings, and eggs sacks are all evidence you can find after an infestation. The roach dust needs to be vacuumed up and the vacuum bag disposed of. If possible, use a HEPA vacuum cleaner, a HEPA filter, or a water vacuum cleaner to avoid the risk of dust particles going back into the air. If the person doing the cleaning has asthma, he or she should wear a dust mask. Once the roaches are gone and the dust is gone as well, your home will be cleaner, it will smell better, and it will be free of asthma causing irritants.
To fid out how to get rid of roaches in or around your home, please visit www.pestproductsonline.com.
By: Dennise Brogdon
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Dennise Brogdon is the managing editor of the Hughston Health Alert, a quarterly, patient-information newsletter, and she is an editorial assistant for the National Athletic Trainers’ Association’s scientific journal, the Journal of Athletic Training. Dennise is a Web site copywriter and editor. She has experience writing and editing SEO copy and META tags, brochures, advertorials, video scripts, and other technical and promotional material, as well. Dennise earned a BA in English with professional writing as an emphasis at Columbus State University. She is a member of the American Medical Writers Association and the Georgia Writers Association.
The Oriental cockroach , aka the “water bug ”, is larger than its German cousin measuring almost one inch at maturity. This is considered to be the king of all creeps, the nastiest of all house-infesting cockroaches.
To kill roaches successfully, spray them down with an oil and water mixture, which covers their shells and suffocates their air supply. Eliminate roaches from the house, keeping the house clean to take away their food source.