Cockroaches are scavengers who often feed on deceased animals and waste, so their presence in the home is never welcomed. Although an occasional cockroach sighting is inevitable in some regions, an infestation is cause for alarm since it may lead to bacterial and viral illnesses, and allergy attacks. Cockroaches look for shelter, food and water when hunting for a new habitat. Although poorly maintained buildings are most commonly infested, it is not unheard of for apparently pristine homes to be invaded by cockroaches.
Cockroaches must be able to enter the home from the outside for an infestation to begin. Keeping them out can save homeowners from the cost and hassle of removing the roaches once they have settled into the home. Use caulk or weather stripping to seal any cracks around windows, light fixtures, plumbing, electrical wiring or doors. Sprinkle boric acid along baseboards to repel roaches that try to squeeze under them. Prevent cockroaches from congregating near your home by keeping outdoor garbage bins clean, and kept as far from the house or garage as possible. Compost piles and yard waste should be contained and kept at the outer perimeter of the yard.
Cockroaches are skittish, nocturnal creatures who prefer a habitat with plenty of hiding places in which they can retreat during the day. Even when a home is free of dirt and debris, piles of items on floors or shelves and packed closets can harbor roach infestations. Clutter should especially be controlled in the kitchen, as many pantry staples such as canned goods and cardboard packages have painted labels, which cockroaches will eat after emerging from hiding. Throw out food items, supplies and furniture you do not use, and strive to keep all areas of your home minimalist and organized.
Although cockroach infestation occurs in both clean and unclean dwellings, a home that is dirty is more attractive to insects. Crumbs, dirty dishes, overflowing wastebaskets, pet waste and dust provide an abundant food supply to hungry roaches. Cockroach infestations that are nurtured by filth are especially hazardous since the roaches spread dirt and bacteria when their legs and bodies come in contact with it. Prevent roach infestation by keeping a regular cleaning schedule that includes washing dishes, sanitizing surfaces, removing trash, vacuuming and dusting. Fruit should be refrigerated or kept in sealed containers instead of being displayed on counter tops or in fruit bowls.
Cockroaches require a source of water to survive. Colorado State University Extension explains that this is why they are infestations frequently originate in kitchens and bathrooms. Elevate pets' water dishes if possible, and keep them in an open area away from walls, furniture or clutter. Repair leaky faucets and frequently wipe sinks to remove water droplets. Have plumbing inspected to identify and seal any hidden leaks.
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